Making our Mark for You: Albert City-Truesdale Elementary Celebrates Dot Day

Making our Mark for You: Albert City-Truesdale Elementary Celebrates Dot Day

Albert City-Truesdale students celebrated Dot Day, an international event celebrating the mark all of us make on the world, in connection with their traditional Grandparents’ Day on Friday, September 19.

Wednesday, September 17 and Thursday, September 18, elementary students participated in a maker version of Dot Day “Making our Mark for You” #makerdot. The maker time consisted of sessions connected to the Core that allowedScreen Shot 2014-09-20 at 10.41.25 PM students the opportunity to think, design, and create. Students shared and celebrated “Making Our Mark for You” by sharing their creation and explaining their learning to their special guest on September 19 after their traditional afternoon music performance.

The days were broken into grade spans. On September 17 from 9:00-11:00 AM and 1:00-3:00 PM 3rd-6th students designed and created during four sessions. On September 18 from 9:00-11:00 AM preK-2nd grade students designed and created during two sessions. Students chose sessions in their areas of interest:

1. Cardboard Challenge lead by PLAEA Instructional Technology Consultant, Mrs. Leslie Pralle Keehn
The global Cardboard Challenge is a chance to collaborate learn, and build anything you can imagine. In the spirit of “Making Our Mark for You,” students will create cardboard masterpieces with their grandparents in mind. Check out students’ work: AC-T Sharing

2. Out My Window lead by PLAEA Instructional Technology Consultant, Mrs. Leslie Pralle Keehn
Out My Window gives students an opportunity to combine poetry, pictures, and geography to tell a story.

3. Exploring Sound lead by AC-T music instructor, Mrs. Laura Sievers
Students will discuss how sound is created and explore the differences between sound and pitch by creating simple instruments (drums, kazoos, etc.) and using them to make music together.  Videos of the students’ final performances will be made and shared.

4. Digital Storytelling lead by PLAEA Instructional Technology Consultant, Mrs. Erin Olson
Students will discuss what makes a good question and generate questions that will spark an open-ended response. Students will interview classmates asking them questions about their grandparents. Using the ChatterPix app and the camera on the iPad, students will record the interviews for a special tribute. Check out students’ work: AC-T Tribute

5. Art Dots lead by AC-T art teacher, Mrs. Andy Bean
In this session students will have the opportunity to design their a “dot” to represent their life and experiences that have helped form them into who they are today!

6. Sentence Stop Motion lead by PLAEA Academic Strategist, Mrs. Jennifer Sammons
Students will discuss their understanding of KU Sentence Writing Strategies and sentence types. Together they will create different sentence types that describe and share what makes someone special. Each student will choose a sentence formula, and then plan a stop motion video that will show and share their sentence. The sentences and stop motion will honor their grandparents or special friend. Check out students’ work: AC-T Stop Motion

7. 3D Printing lead by PLAEA Instructional Technology Consultant, Mr. Mike Anderson
In this session students will be presented with a design challenge and will then explore making their ideas come to life by creating a 3D object on their iPad or a computer and printing it out utilizing the Makerbot Replicator 2.

8. Lego Robotics lead by PLAEA Instructional Technology Consultant, Mr. Mike Anderson
Robots offer students the opportunity to engineer and program to complete a challenge. Critical thinking and creativity will be needed to come up with a unique solution.  LEGO Mindstorms offers the ability to build, test, redesign, and modify with ease, giving students multiple opportunities to #makeitbetter.

9. Scratch Jr. Programming lead by PLAEA Instructional Technology Consultant, Mr. Mike Anderson
During this session students will be introduced to the world coding.  Scratch Jr offers an easy system of connecting drag and drop blocks to create a unique program for their characters to follow.  Students will be able to demonstrate understanding through creating a model, telling a story, or creating a game.

10. Hummingbird and Sphero Robotics lead by PLAEA Instructional Technology Consultant, Mr. Mike Anderson
Robotics offer students the chance to design, build, and test their own inventive thinking.  In this session we’ll explore both a Hummingbird Robotics kit, which allows students to create a robot with ordinary objects, and Spheros, which are programmable sphere-shaped robots.

11. A World in Motion lead by PLAEA Instructional Technology Consultant, Mrs. Julie Graber
A World in Motion program incorporates the laws of physics, motion, flight and electronics into age-appropriate hands on activities that reinforce classroom STEM curriculum.

Planning began in April with AC-T Principal Mr. Cody Tibbetts and Prairie Lakes AEA consultants, Leslie Pralle Keehn, Mike Anderson, and I discussing the endless possibilities of maker spaces. The goals of immersing students into learning experiences that allowed them to experiment, problem-solve, and make was at the heart of the design. The theme of Peter H. Reynold’s “The Dot” fed the desire to have the experience be more than an experience, but an experience honoring the mark students make.  The connection to the school’s Grandparent’s Day celebration provided opportunity for #makerdot to serve the purpose of “Making Our Mark for You”. PLAEA Academic Strategist, Mrs. Jennifer Sammons, witnessed the power of this during her Sentence Stop Motion session:

The students’ creativity was inspiring to me! One student asked if he could write his sentences in English and Spanish because his grandparents were coming and could only speak Spanish. WONDERFUL moment! Pride and ownership in their creations. POWERFUL!

All of the session leaders witnessed a “magic moment” during the maker time, but no planning could have accounted for the personal reward. The grandparents were not the only ones to benefit from the students’ creativity and passion, AC-T music instructor, Mrs. Laura Sievers, explains a few pleasant surprises during the two days of making:

Myself – how much joy I felt during the two days. Some of my best days of teaching ever! I learned as much if not more than the students did. Students – how engaged they were. There was none of the usual chit-chat between students, they were focused on their task. I was also surprised how well the younger students (even PK) did. I was not sure if the concepts I presented were appropriate for their age level, but they bought in right away and had some great ideas!

The end of the second day, Mike, Leslie, and I met to reflect. As we shared what went well, what we wanted to improve for next time, and what schedule adjustments we will make, we realized all of us shared the same epiphany. Too often we underestimate the ability of our students-young and old. And-too often-our fear of what our students can’t handle or can’t do influences unwarranted, unnecessary restrictions on their learning experiences. With certainty, #makerdot will happen again. With certainty, #makerdot not only allowed students to make their mark, it reminded us they can and will. Our hope is the maker spirit of #makerdot continues long after the conclusion of the week. After all, Author Peter H. Reynold’s challenge speaks to that power, “Just make a mark, and see where it takes you…”