“The HWDSB Enrichment & Innovation Centre is a hands-on learning and inquiry Makerspace with a ‘coffeeshop’ atmosphere that serves over 400 gifted students per month from across the district. Each day starts with a cup of tea to set the tone for group conversations. Students are offered a variety of seating arrangements, from traditional desks to a kitchen table and comfy beanbag chairs. This relaxed learning community atmosphere has proven to be so vital for student success.
The room design recognizes the need for quiet and individuality when learning and includes a cozy living room space with lamps, curtains, a carpet, a couch and books for “chilling” where even the most anxious learner can find a comfortable place to engage in inquiry.
We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone – Parents, Teachers and Students who came to our presentation on Tuesday Night. We got the sense that everyone is excited about the many opportunities that lay ahead!
Here is the presentation, for those of you who could not make it, or simply want to review some of what was said:
In our Grade Five Program, students have been learning about all aspects of Leonardo DaVinci (as an artist, as an inventor, as a writer, as a city planner).
In this learning session, students will be learning about what made DaVinci a LEADER and INNOVATOR.
We are connecting this theme to our “ED-CAMP” theme where the concept is about CHOICE and LEADERSHIP.
At our Centre, Students will have the CHOICE to Lead and learn throughout the day – all focused on their passion and skills. Topics are facilitated by student leaders, teachers and other experts who are coming in for this special day.
How can students prepare for this?
We encourage students to bring something to share, demonstrate and possibly teach others in a small group situation. Like what? (robotics, electronics, games, knitting, art activity, musical instrument, other???).
Demonstrate how a particular tool or program works (using 3-D printer software, using robotics, arduino circuits, Google documents, shared online Calendars, music skill, art, bracelet making, origami, programming…)
Participants and Learners will:
Try something new
Actively participate in at least two activities
Write a short blog about 2-3 new tools or interests they have learned or shared with others with possible next steps or ideas
During the day we will be using a dehydrator to prepare dehydrated apples with cinnamon (imagine the smell of apple pie all day!)
My son Ryan screamed with excitement the minute I pulled the Makey Makey out of my school bag. Apparently he had watched an advertisement for it on VAT 19 (some YouTube show, one of many that I do not follow!). He quickly pulled it up for me to see and told me that he wanted me to do what they were doing in the video. Little does he realize that the cool tricks that he sees in videos require time and patience to learn and perfect.
We started by checking out the Makey Makey website: http://www.makeymakey.com/. I wanted to read as much as I could before I dove in and Ryan wanted to replicate what was happening in the videos. You could clearly see our different learning styles emerging, he a child of the YouTube generation, and me, clearly a child of the 80’s, looking for written text to tell me what to do.
Our problems started almost immediately. This was not a result of the Makey Makey. It’s obvious that it is going to be a great addition to the Enrichment & Innovation Centre where I work. The problem is that it requires the user to trouble -shoot, problem-solve, think outside the box, be innovative, the list is endless!
So why might I say we had problems? Well, trouble -shooting, problem solving and being innovative require skills such as patience, perseverance, determination, and the ability to accept failure and dive back in again! It is these skills that my eight year old son still needs to further develop. The unfortunate side of the videos that he watches is that it is the end product that is shown and marketed. The process of getting there is not always shown and if it is shown it is after the creator of the video has ironed out many of the kinks.
Ryan wanted the glory without the work. Despite my efforts to make him his own game pad on which he could play Flappy Birds, I lost his interest as soon as I had to fiddle with getting proper conductors of electricity. Off he went to watch YouTube or play Minecraft (a game I love, but he is very familiar and comfortable with).
I started out the day thinking that I was going to learn about the Makey Makey (I’ll write more on this later) and instead found myself reflecting on why we need to bring back the maker culture of our grandparents era. It is through making that we develop a variety of skills that transfer into all areas of our lives. If you were to ask me the curriculum that the Makey Makey covers I could make many links to the Grade 6 Electricity unit, but that’s not it’s major selling feature. It’s endless possibilities provide kids and adults with a hands on way to develop perseverance, determination, grit, and problem solving skills. If you are willing to develop these skills then you will love the Makey Makey.
For now, Ryan returns to the world of Agario and Slitherio, two games I can’t quite understand (however, in my youth I loved Burger Time!). I can’t harp too long on his lack of persistence when it came to the Makey Makey, in other areas of his life he does show those skills. I could BLOG so much about Ryan’s determination to be the best baseball player he can be! That sounds like a post for another day – How can we transfer skills we are able to use in one situation to another? (perseverance to master a skill in baseball to persevering to make a working circuit for Makey Makey).
I can’t wait to try out the Makey Makey with the students of the Enrichment Centre and see what they do with it!
My colleague Zoe has excitedly shared with me all year information about the Hamilton Farmers Market where she shops for her family’s weekly groceries. Before our first trip to the Market with our class I thought I would visit the Market with my family so that I had a sense of what was there and where I would be taking the kids to visit.
Being a Mountain person, I am totally spoiled when it comes to parking.This first part of the trip started to create angst in me.We had three primary aged children with us that we had to navigate through downtown to the Market. I would love to say that they are these perfectly well behaved children that would walk in a single file line, but they are not. Have you ever heard the saying, “God made us cousins because our parents couldn’t handle us as siblings.” saying? Well, it applies perfectly to our little crew!
We arrived at the Market and were shocked at the size. Every direction we turned had different vendors for different products. I honestly didn’t know how to shop at a market. I am so used to navigating a grocery store and using a check out system using debit, that it was very unusual for me to see multiple vendors selling the same item and using only cash for purchases. The open style of the Market and the hustle of the people became overwhelming. I left that day very uncertain of what to expect when we took our students.
The day of our first trip came and I hesitantly embarked on our outing. Much to my surprise, the experience was totally different than when I went on Saturday. What was the difference? The difference was that I now had a tour guide. Someone with knowledge of the Market who could navigate me through everything! Someone who knew various vendors and allowed me to see the incredible personal side of the Market.
I have now taken three different classes to the Market and each time I go I enjoy it more than the previous time. Instead of feeling the anxiety that I felt on the first day, I feel comfortable talking to the vendors that I have seen on previous trips. Instead of feeling overwhelmed at where to shop and eat, I look forward to seeing what menu items some favourite places have to sample (Lina’s European Pastries, Sensational Samosas or Eat Industries).
I can now see why people who shop at the Market prefer it to a grocery store. Those who run their stalls are invested in their shop in a much different way than an employee. They really appreciate their customers and therefore treat them with respect and do not take them for granted. I was impressed on many occasions as I watched vendors interact with the small children who were visiting the Market with their families.
Will I return to the Market in the future? Absolutely! Once I understood how a Market worked and left behind me my grocery store expectations, I really enjoyed the Market! As you get to know the various vendors, you start to gain a greater trust in the products that you are buying. It is nice to know where your food is coming from and who prepared it. I can’t wait to share the articles written about the Market Place by our students with the patrons of the Market. Student work will be posted on display soon!