Monthly Archives: April 2016

Food for thought

One of my Saturday morning routines is to scroll through Twitter… scanning the posts of the people that I follow –  many of whom work in education all over the world.  Yesterday, I kept coming back to this graphic – and found myself wondering, “What would the school day look like, if these questions drove the agenda?”  – I won’t pretend to know how to organize a day, with 31 different learners (I include myself in that number), all with different goals and interests, strengths and needs, levels of maturity and self-regulation –  all pursuing their own agendas, but I do wonder if it would work – would everyone learn? be engaged, on-task, motivated?  Do 9 and 10 year olds have it in them to effectively direct their own learning? What do you think?questions

Flag Counter Widget

Hey everyone – check out the Flag Counter Widget in the right sidebar menu of our class blog – since I added the counter last weekend, the class blog has had over 430 visitors from 7 countries around the world.  If you click on the flag counter, it’ll take you to – where you can get more information about who in the world is checking out our class blog.

If you’d like to add a flag counter to your blog, let me know and I’ll walk you through how to do it

Back to the Drawing Board

Today we pulled out the gear cars that we started to work on last week, and began to explore how to make them move faster, or slower, straighter, farther…. and boy did their frustration levels rise – but this is the work of designers and builders – try and fail and try and fail and try…. we closed out the morning with a discussion of Thomas Edison’s Quotes:download images

Here they are at work this morning – I didn’t have the chance to make too many photos – I was pretty busy helping the kids find ways to cope with the various frustrations they encountered while building their designs.

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Masters of Multiplication?

For the past week (or so…) we’ve been exploring different ways to multiply – today, we played a game called “Twenty Times” – that had us practising our skills while dealing from the top of the deck.  Here are some photos of the “Multiplication Masters” at work – iPads at the ready to photograph their work and send it to me on Showbie.

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Getting Started with Gear Cars

On Friday, students were presented with this design challenge:  using the items pictured below (and tape, glue, etc..), build a car that, with a gentle push, travels several metres in a straight line:


They jumped right in – building their cars, testing them out, and making modifications to improve them – all the while using their iPads to document their process (by photographing their work at different stages, and then annotating the photographs, describing the steps they took, the problems they encountered, and how they solved them, using the Explain Everything App.)

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In under an hour, everyone had a working prototype – I hadn’t expected them to get this far, this fast – but they’re good! Fortunately, I was prepared for the next step in the challenge:

Using the items pictured below, adapt your car so that it is gear-driven and battery powered – and travels down the hallway in a straight line, without a push:


Frustration levels rose, and there was gnashing of teeth (but no weeping… thank goodness!) as they struggled with this new challenge.  Some of them were pleased that I gave them no instructions (figuring it out yourself is the fun part!), while others were really irritated with me :).  They persevered, and by lunchtime some actually had a working model.

Next Challenge?  Test your car – how far will it go?  How fast?  How can you make it go faster?  Slower?  and… (thanks to Nolan for this idea)… how do you make it stop? (without running it into something, or catching it).

I’m looking forward to watching the kids continue to figure out how gears and motors work next week.

“We Be Up in the Gym…Just Workin’ On Our Fitness!”

We’ve started a 10-Day Fitness challenge in gym class, where we work our way through a variety of strength and endurance activities, recording our best times and results (hence the iPads you see in the photos… they’re not gaming 🙂 – they’re busy tracking their results on a document on Showbie.)

Everybody was moving so fast, it was hard to get action shots of everyone, but I’ll keep trying as the 10-day challenge progresses:


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