Sunday, September 18, 2016

Oh Where to Begin...

As the challenges of a new school year have begun, I find myself already about to embark on my 3rd week of school and wondering where the time has gone. The excitement looms in the air of what the new week will bring. My partners and I have met numerous times already to discuss our plan to roll out our TLLP. As we sit and share some planning time, we get quickly consumed with amazing ideas of things we want to do but have yet to start because time just seems to consume us.

Important to note, I am a grade 6 teacher and my partners are both grade 2 teachers. As we sit with excitement as to where to begin we often find ourselves at a stumbling block. Our most recent planning time involved us wanting to sit and write our first blog post together, but quickly our excitement turned to what we want to accomplish with our students and how, only to be stopped by the bell and back to class. We mutually agreed that I would be the guinea pig and roll out some of our robotics with the "BIG kids first and see how that goes..LOL..  In the next few paragraphs I will explain my experience from the past week.

SO the carts and all materials arrived in late June, and as the year wrapped up, it was important that
we stored all our treasures in a safe place over the summer. As soon as we had finished the finishing touches in our classroom, we found ourselves unpacking all the goodies from dash and dot, to sphero's, circuits, makey makey's and more... If felt like Christmas morning! As I rolled the cart into my room, I didn't know quite where to start. So it sat..and sat..So week two of school approached and I was itching to get my hands on some of those was I going to do this? I didn't know much about some of the tools other than to see them at various conferences or read about them on twitter..and now I had them right in front of me.  How was I going to teach my students how to use these gadgets when I didn't even know how to? Do I let them just explore? What was my purpose? Tons of questions running through my head!

So I took the plunge..last week I sat with a group of 19 students and we decided we were just going to learn from each other so out came the Cubelets, Sphero and the makey makey. Students were
assigned into group and placed with the robotic or tool they wanted to try most. Off they went!

If I could capture the excitement in the classroom with a single photo I would! For some that excitement was short lived, (but I will get to that in a moment).

After a few glitches with getting the sphero synced with our iPad, students were in the hallway chasing our principal with the sph
ero. In the classroom, some students were beginning to feel the frustration of having to work in a group and really understand the meaning of collaboration. For some groups, it was all hands on deck and students were sharing ideas of how to get things to move and ideas were met with respect. While others were quickly getting anxious and frustrated that others were not sharing some of the devices or listening to ideas. The week prior to this roll out, I sat down with my group of 19 students and we participated in numerous engineering challenges. We had a discussion about the challenges that this brought from working as a team, to listening to other's ideas, to having a growth mindset. Although the excitement on the faces of my students far outweighed the glitches, it did make me wonder and question what had changed from the previous week. As the time passed and it was time to put things away I sat with my class and I discussed the skills I was proud to see developing and a discussion about next steps- some things we still need to work on. I think we have just scratched the surface of some of these cool tools and can't wait to share with you some more tools as we begin to explore.

Stay tuned!
A. Porcari

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