Makerspaces moving ahead at our school

Makerspaces continue to develop at St. Anthony and St. Luke.  Last week, our teachers met with Alison Evans Adnani of Maker Junior.  Her main point – get kids creating, you don’t need to be a technical wizard of have a huge budget, just get them in there making.

We continue to work on this.  We are hoping to get more lego soon and we hope to have a lego wall.  We are also planning to add calligraphy and knitting to the list of activities available to our students.  We are learning more about how to use Makey Makey kits and we would love to add Minecraft to our makerspace soon.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

 

 

 

 

 

The great thing about all this is that the possibilities are endless.  Kids love the opportunity to create and innovate and they love the freedom to explore.

Here are a collection of comments and photo and video material from recent visits to the makerspace at our school

Myan and Elise:
“We love coming to Makerspace“! We made a back massager using the pulse bit from the LittleBits kits and you can change the speed of it.
Justin:
“This is my first time and I love Makerspace”!
Ngun:
“I made an intruder alert with LittleBits but it wasn’t loud enough so I used a Lego
block and it worked, it made it louder”!!
 SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

 

 

 

We are looking for learning partners!

I guess we need to take a new approach

We are just coming off of a major national campaign to revive our old schoolyard. We’re not sure of the results yet, but it has been a hard slog, encouraging support and voting every day. If we make it to the next round it will be by the skin of our teeth!

Here is the concept drawing that was developed for our yard - we will get this done!
Here is the concept drawing that was developed for our yard – we will get this done!

 

We have applied for grants throughout the fall, but this doesn’t seem to be the right approach. Grant writing takes a long time and usually the results are negative.

So, today, we start a new approach. We are going to promote all the great things about our school and our community and see who out there wants to work with us!

What do we have going for us?

We have great kids, totally engaged in learning, happy for what they have who display daily a love of learning and a joy for living.

We have a great, dedicated staff who really work hard with our kids. The results show in the provincial testing where are kids consistently score above provincial and board averages.

We have a great supportive community with all sorts of services for struggling families and for those who don’t speak much English or French. Right now, we have a cooperative daycare in our basement and a new community agency room on the second floor housed by groups connected to the school and open to finding ways to engage our parents in our school.

We are developing a vibrant makerspace through a generous donation from our superintendent. The makerspace is supported by an ‘innovations groups’ made up of profs from the university of Ottawa, student teachers, local entrepreneurs and a few principals. We don’t have much equipment yet, but we hope our group will come up with more resources as we look for second-hand lego and other materials.

Our kids are also mad about Minecraft!  We want our own server so we can run the program on Minecraft edu, safely for all our students.  They have great ideas on how this can be used for education and have done some great writing about how we can bring this into the classroom.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

We are running a terrific arts program.  The kids have all taken part in hip hop lessons and there is much more to come.  They have worked with a local artist to create a beautiful mural right in the entrance to our school.  The mural is an expression of how the students see the community – we are all really proud of this. We will go beyond hip hop and add music and storytelling as the year progresses.

SAM_1028.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

our mural and our artists

We are also experimenting with a computer lending program.  We have old Dell Netbooks that aren’t being used much anymore.  We are starting to lend these out to students and families for the year so that they can continue to work on programs like Raz Kids, Mathletics and Dreambox.  We need more of these machines to give out and we have to ensure that the machines are hooked up to the internet.

camera_Anne_Black1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

looking for machines like this to send home

We are also working with our partners to develop a parent outreach program.  School Board in other jurisdictions like Hamilton-Wentworth and having lots of success offering parent workshops at the same time as they offer student tutoring and enrichment.  We would like to find a way to do this here.

So, are you interested in working with us?  We would make a great partner!

Minecraft – what do students say?

gaming-12793345-o

One of the great things I  learned this year at the ECOO 2014 Conference is the power of Minecraft.  I never really understood the importance of this game and its potential to unleash creativity and innovation.

I took in two workshops on the topic and learned a few things:

  • Minecraft is like an unlimited amount of lego – unlimited amount of math manipulatives at your disposal.
  • you can purchase Minecraftedu – downloaded to each computer. I haven’t figured out the importance of the server yet, working on it!
  • There is a tutorial for use – sign me up for this!!
  •  Servers on-line – if students  have an ip address they can join other worlds and other people. Then you can join other servers – have to be mindful of servers you join.  This is why having a school server sounds like the way to go.
  • You can create an ip only accessible to the students in your class.
  • Regular Minecraft ips will not work with Minecraftedu – so it sounds like edu is certainly the way to go
  • Really need to use a laptop for this – will not work on chromebooks. Ipad apps also not as effective. So – I need to get my hands on a few more regular laptops – not the way we are going right now at our school!  This will help us with Arduino as well – it doesn’t work on chromebooks either
  • Fraps Video – make your creation into a movie.  This is a great resource so we can share what are students are making!
  • Amazing collaborative tool – encouraging high-level thinking because they are working together.
  • Great tool for collaboration for real life problems.

 

When I came back from the conference, I started asking our students about what they do with Minecraft.  I asked some students to write about what they could learn from the game.  The hope is that our own school board will get its own server so we can offer the game to students safely for free.

Here is one response, unedited from one of our grade 6 students – I couldn’t say it any better!

 

Let’s see what the students can do!

 

To Whom It May Concern:

I think that Minecraft  Is a good game for learning about architecture.  From playing minecraft I myself have learned that I am  good  at building. For example, I have built this structure.

 

My second reason for having  Minecraft is that there is something called Redstone. Redstone is a material that is used for a lot  of stuff  like this

1

 

 

 

 

 

the red dust thats Redstone and the torch- looking thing is going to make the light light up.  The redstone helped me learn about electricity.

2

 

Minecraft is also a game about responsibility. When playing Minecraft you also have take care of the animals. Here are my two favorite animals: a dog and we all know dogs are man’s best friend, and a cat who is very purrsuasive.

 

So as you can see Minecraft is a good game for  our school.

how are students using Minecraft in your school?