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Makerspace

Mme. Bronwen and I ran a Makerspace experience for her grades 4 & 5 French Immersion students this year. After two sessions with recycle bin materials, we switched to Tinker Toys, building blocks, PlusPlus and other prefabricated, commercially available materials. Engagement was high and it was a great sandbox for developing social skills necessary for effective group work (not always easy).

These makerspace experiences were inspired in part by our Professional Book Club selection, Invent to Learn, an introduction to the maker movement in educational settings.

May the Fourth

was an exciting day at Strathcona. It was our third annual Star Wars Reads celebration and the library offered numerous fun literacy activities. Above, you can see our bulletin board, that grew over a week, building anticipation. Staff and students came dressed as favourite Star Wars characters. One of my favourites, was the Princess Leia hoodie:

 

At recess and lunch we had Star Wars books on display and pencil/paper activities. The ultimate activity was the Star Wars Trivia Game Show, set up by tech guru Mme. Annie. Using the site, Kahoot and a projector/screen, kids answered Star Wars trivia questions using iPads. It was a tad tricky for some of the primary students to log in, but the intermediates gladly helped as many as they could. We also ran a draw for students who could guess how long the average Wookie lifespan is (400 years).

Locally raised brothers Jack and Holman Wang are the authors and needle felt artists of the Star Wars Epic Yarn board book series, one of my favourite children’s series. Ever popular, the Star Wars phonic books are a hit for hight interest low vocab seekers.

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

 

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/

https://www.historicacanada.ca/

http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/home/

http://www.historymuseum.ca/

http://www.canadashistory.ca/

http://www.heritage.nf.ca/index.php

http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/exploration-settlement/pathfinders-passageways/Pages/pathfinders-passageways.aspx

 

 

Evaluating Websites

http://www.petroldirect.com/

Select a website below and use the CRAAP test to decide if the site is credible or not.

http://www.thedogisland.com/

http://www.molossia.org/countryeng.html

http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

http://www.dhmo.org/

https://allaboutexplorers.com/

http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/

http://buydehydratedwatermt.weebly.com/

 

 

 

Black History Month

There are so many great picture books to read with kids for Black History Month, but this year try this true story:

viola

Viola Desmond was arrested in 1946 in Halifax for sitting on the main floor rather than the balcony in a theatre. Because she was a non-white patron, theatre employees insisted Desmond sit in the balcony. She refused and was taken away by the police. Viola Desmond’s face will now be printed on Canada’s ten dollar bill.  An essential library book.

 

The Two Sisters

sisters

The Two Sisters, a tale from the Squamish Nation, that explains the existence of two iconic peaks on the north shore of Vancouver. If you live in the lower mainland, you probably know these peaks as The Lions. This beautifully illustrated book is loved by teachers and students. Never in the library and always in use, I hope to purchase another two copies. As one grade 4 student told me, “I can see them from my front window!”

An essential library book. Great for launching writing and art projects.

Discovery Table


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When you walk in the doors of Strathcona School Library, one of the first things you see is the new Discovery Table. Here students can investigate and explore natural objects with their hands, eyes, and noses. They can use the magnifying glasses and read bits of related books I’ve left there. The Discovery Table is inspired by our wonderful Kindergarten teacher and winner of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellency, Colleen Sturrock’s classroom. Full of wonderful natural objects, beautifully displayed and arranged to invite children to explore, play, learn and tell stories, Mrs. Sturrock’s classroom is engaging and inspiring place. Tucked to one side of the classroom, is a sand table. Its not just any sand table, though, this one also contains fascinating natural objects such as fresh water drift wood form Pitt Lake, shells, rocks, and pine cones. When I saw this sand table, my heart leapt, and my imagination  soared.

How could I incorporate this into my school library without creating a giant headache for myself? Borrowing some shells, pine cones, and pieces of wood from Mrs. Sturrock, I arranged these objects on a low, natural wood table my mom gave me. A few books and a couple of magnifying glasses completed the table. I was surprised by how interested the children were. Gathering around in small groups of two to five, they explored the objects, picking them up, peering closely, and smelling them. they compare information in the books with the objects on the table.

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As interested waned, I replaced the natural objects with some simple puzzles and building materials. Kids were thrilled. Changing the materials every so often seems to work well. My colleague Annie gave me some evergreen branches with needles and cones that she used for a writing and math provocation inspired by the Reggio method (see book below). I am inspired by the provocations Annie and Colleen use that invite and inspire children to inquire and express.

Image result for hundred languages of children

What’s next? I plan to read the book above, learn from my colleagues, and try Story Workshop with some intermediate students. I am grateful to work with such amazing colleagues.