Monday, August 11, 2014

The Global Cardboard Challenge...yes, please!

I have been co-moderating the #ITLchat (Invent to Learn book study chat) on Monday nights on twitter these last few weeks of summer, and it has been awesome! This book has challenged me in so many ways to change the way I think about learning - and in turn, the way I teach.
Learning is CONSTRUCTED...not consumed. 

"Too often, kids are hooked on teachers and teachers have a faith-based relationship with the textbook."
- Sylvia Martinez, Gary Stager; Invent to Learn

This quote hits too close to home for most schools and teachers. Students have relied on teachers giving them information for so long (even as young as elementary), that they no longer know how to construct knowledge for themselves! School is ruled by the attitude of 'give me what I need for the test, so I can forget it.' Many teachers no longer require their students to THINK. Just regurgitate. What kind of citizen does that create? What kind of co-workers do you end up with at work when we've all been forced to learn this way? Frankly, it's people that I do not want to spend my days with. I want to work with people who are creative, independent problem solvers, who are passionate about who they are and what they do. 

So, how do we help kids become creative, independent problem solvers? 

This quote from the book says it all for me - 

"When we allow children to experiment, take risks, and play with their own ideas, we give them permission to trust themselves. They begin to see themselves as learners who have good ideas and can transform their ideas into reality."  - Invent to Learn 

That is why I am excited about the possibilities this class offers my students, and one reason we are going to participate in The Global Cardboard Challenge. The challenge was inspired by a nine year old boy named Caine. Caine's story is pretty amazing - and inspiring. In fact, there is a short film all about Caine and his cardboard arcade adventure you can see here

But what I love is what happened after this short film came out. Watch and see how this little kid inspired thousands!

So, my school family and I will participate in the awesome Global Cardboard Challenge in October! We will create, experiment, take risks, and play with our own ideas so that we can see how our good ideas can be made a reality - and we will begin with a cardboard creation! 

Start saving your cardboard, NOW! 

Mrs. S

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Finally Finished!

The room is finally finished! I finished it about 2 hours before open house...ahhh...but I got it done! This post is going to be filled with pictures - so enjoy the tour! 

This is the view from the front door of the room! I love it. I'll have a whole separate post to explain the story behind the wall quote, but the vinyl lettering turned out amazing! I got the lettering from this website called Words Anywhere. Fully customized vinyl lettering at nearly any size. 

Going to the right you can see the window into the "office" area as well as the CLEAN lab table tops! When I showed this pic to my husband, he said, "Wow! Where'd you get the rug?" was there the whole time. It's just the first time it's been visible!! 

This is inside the "office" area. (I hate calling it that because I plan for the kids to work in there too, but I don't know what else to call it.) I love my bar height table and stools! Kids can either sit or stand comfortably while they work. Great for those kids who never sit still! 
Since this picture - I put in a second double door storage cabinet. I needed the space for expansion and storage! 

I am excited about this! I did not have a place to store and charge my 10 laptops and I was having the hardest time figuring out what I wanted to do about it. I finally found some plastic drawers at Target that would hold two computers - but ended up taking out the drawers and just using the skeleton of the whole unit instead! Easy to access and plug in! I plan to use the bottom drawer to house my Sphero robots when I am able to purchase them! 

I love my chalkboard labels! I figured I'd at least start the year out looking organized, maybe I can stay that way through the year. We'll see...


Finally, my favorite! My friend's talented daughter painted this chalkboard sign for my door way and 

Well, there it is! All finished and ready for kids on Tuesday! 

Here we go!