End of Week10: Robots, Finishing “Documenting Your Journey” etc.
It should be a sign that I’m already two days into week 11 before I’ve been able to post this to my blog. Ack. So, except for the holidays and sick days that knocked the program off the “plan,” for week 10 I needed to diverge the different grade levels from a unified curriculum. Every couple weeks fourth grade has SLG (Student Learning Goal) writing prompts to do, I’ve begun the WeDo robotics curriculum, currently with the three second-grade classes, I need to finish the “Documenting Your Journey” google slides project (grades three through five), and I started a “Seasons” unit with grades K through 2nd. So, I think that’s now over three different curriculum streams are running over six grade levels. It’s not new material every day, but it’s managing the learning of the whole school population every day and every week. Unlike my library/science coworker, who is trying to deliver a different lesson for every single grade level, I’m differentiating between the primary grades and intermediate grade levels, with break out exceptions for WeDo robotics that I’m currently doing with second grade and the SLG writing prompts that I’m doing with fourth grade.
So for week 10 I tried to finish the Google Slides/“Documenting Your Journey” project with grades three through five. Half of 5th and 4th grade will need next week to finish. Third grade “might” finish next week.
When I was in fifth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Austin, started letting us kids use this large-format to make scrapbooks as a kind of project research. I still have a project on the NASA Apollo missions book and one on Benito Juarez and a third that I might have done on my own that was a scrapbook of all the things I was interested in when I was in the fifth grade. I don’t remember anything about how we put the scrapbooks together, but I still have at least three different scrapbooks from that era. I bring all of this up because I’m trying to finish this “Document Your Journey” project, but I feel like the vast majority of the student are more focused on getting the “done” message so that they can get a few minutes of “free time” to even be aware of the gift of personally reflecting on their own heritage and the assignment. But admin has noted my lack of completion when it comes to these projects, so I’m focused on getting as many of these projects to “port” as possible and not belabor the few who don’t make it. If they can’t be bothered then I should give myself a pass as well.
The next project pending is teaching stop-motion storytelling to the students. But before that I need to create 30 cardboard iPad stands to facilitate stop motion filming. That might be something that I just do on my own, or something that I have fourth and fifth graders try to do. I’ve also decided that all students, K through 5, need to create little robotic figures, that can be used in the stop-motion filming. In the Full Sail Labs days there was huge box of action figures provided for by one of my co-workers that student could use in their projects. I decide that I don’t want to offer/sacrifice any of the mini-figs that I’ve added to my collection to be used (and “lost”) by students. So I decided that everyone will need to create their own robot character that will be handy when we get to the stop-motion project(s). I’ve also decided that instead of the hot-glue wine cork legs that were used in the Full Sail Labs experience, I want to use some of the EV3 extra parts available to me, and have 30-wheeled chassis that can be used during filming/projects.
It will be interesting to see how many of the students will take to the stop-motion storytelling and how many, like the “documenting your journey” project, won’t be bothered to really participate or explore this process. Sad.
So, that’s the near future plan, get an army of glued-together robots to be used in stop-motion projects. I’d also like to have a collection of WeDo and EV3 robots available for students to use to explore (scratch) programming. We previously explored small machines: Lever, so there are four more “Simple Machines” to investigate. I’d love for this work to be more than a slight bump in the road that students try to overcome on their way to “free time” with no sense of things beyond “free time.” That’s the hope, to be the influential historical relic (like my ancient Apollo script book), that they eventually value.