Sunday, October 2, 2016


As we take on the innovator’s mindset, our lens on many activities has changed.

To get our Grade 2s started on making and creating this year, we introduced some low-tech lego challenges. The challenge cards had a variety of tasks (e.g. Can you make a flower? Can you make a lego man that flies?). Task cards were put in a bag and partners drew cards out randomly to complete. Student engagement was really high. Part way through the block, one set of partners had written three of their own challenge cards to add to the bag.

Even though some groups got the same challenge, no two groups created the same thing to meet a challenge card. What hooks me on these types of activities is how much you can learn about a student. Watching students create and work through problems (“Our tree kept falling over. The top was too heavy. We had to make the bottom stronger. It took a lot of tries!”) gives great insight into their creative thinking and their grit. Some students have good collaboration skills. Others need coaching on how to work with a partner. We definitely saw the global competencies in action.

One of the things that you strive for most as a teacher is for students to be excited about learning and positive about coming to school. Students entering the classroom the next morning asked, “Are we doing lego challenges again?”

Building on the enthusiasm of the Lego challenges, the grade 2s got together with the grade 6s in our Learning Commons to meet some robotic friends. Our newly organized Tech carts with Dot and Dash, Sphero, cubelets, and makey makey (Lego robots too) had been explored by the grade 6s . Now, the grade 6s were excited to introduce them to the grade 2s.

Natural curiosity was at the fore and the excitement was palpable in the room. Sphero kept hiding in corners and Dash was eliciting a lot of giggles as he/she spun about and spoke robot gibberish!  

One grade 2 student demonstrated perseverance and focus as he
worked diligently to build an mBot with his (patient) grade 6 partner.

The makey makey teams had some challenges and learned that plasticine was not as good a conductor as playdoh. Not all the technology worked right away and some frustration was obvious, but trial and error, perseverance and grit led to new learning. This experience let us see the strengths of many of our students through a new set of challenges early in the school year.

We have started this leading and learning journey as three teachers with our students and as George Couros says, “Innovation is not about the stuff, it is a way of thinking.”  We’re in this together!

A. Eaton and T. Roche

No comments:

Post a Comment