Following Grade 4’s Stem the Gender Gap field trip to NASA, we launched the Wind Tube project. In groups of 6, students built a wind tube using wood, plastic, tape, and a fan. Next challenge = build and test flying structures!
I teamed up with the Middle School Art Teacher for a unit that explored patterns and shape with 6th Grade students. We used Illustrator to create our patterns and then we laser cut our creations using felt.
Cut settings for the Full Spectrum Laser: Speed 100%, Power 10%.
The Hour of Code is definitely relevant to educators! In a time where we ask teachers to regularly update and post content to online class pages, why not take the opportunity to develop basic web design skills? That’s exactly what we did for our Lower School and Middle School faculty using lessons 1-4 of the Playto HTML/CSS free online course. The purpose was to show teachers how to use the HTML content editor on their class pages to embed a larger image, enhancing the visual experience of the students and parents visiting the webpage.
Partnered with the Lower School Counselor, we discussed typical aspects of childhood development for Kindergarteners through Grade 2. We outlined how we merged our Social Emotional Learning curriculum (Toolbox) with the Digital Citizenship curriculum (Common Sense Media), as well as how we use technology and making at Hamlin to support both curriculum goals and social/emotional development. To highlight this last piece, I surprised the parents by giving them a design directive:
Your team: the parents sitting at your table (3-4 people)
Your challenge: In teams, using the materials provided, create the biggest free-standing structure you can in 25 minutes.
View the slides:
This directive was taken directly from my art therapy training. It’s designed to highlight group dynamics, i.e.: the way the group works together, while including engineering/making. The results were great! Because the parents groups were random (who they happened to be sitting next to during the presentation), many team members had not met each other prior to the challenge. Parents definitely had a lot of fun, and we processed the various interpersonal issues that emerged. By the end of the presentation parents experientially understood how our technology and social emotional programs are intentionally developed and the power of creating as a group.
At Hamlin, digital citizenship is interwoven into the social emotional learning components of our program.
In K-4, teachers offer a digital citizenship lesson once a month as a part of Toolbox. In 5th and 6th grade, Ms. Beck and Ms. Davis team up to regularly deliver digital citizenship classes, and in the 7th and 8th grades, advisory teachers check in with their students and teach digital citizenship during advisory time at least once a month.
At home this week, we ask that you consider taking the Device Free Dinner Challenge! Having family dinners together, without your devices, helps model what a healthy relationship to technology looks like. It also gives the benefit of making deeper connections with your child(ren) and is correlated to better nutrition, better academic performance, and fewer behavioral problems.
At Hamlin, we’re constantly striving to innovate in the classroom, with the benefit of students and evidence based pedagogy at the heart of our choices. ATLIS, a new organization started only two years ago, offers a great conference focusing on education technology specifically in Independent Schools. I’m grateful to the Hamlin community for sponsoring me as I pursued this excellent professional development opportunity.
Ideas around integrating maker spaces into curriculum
How to create relevant and timely digital citizenship curriculum
The future of education technology in Independent Schools
Strategies around providing professional development to faculty and staff
I also teamed up with Kelsey Vrooman, one of the founding members of ATLIS, and presented a Deep Dive (1h45min) presentation about Blended Learning (BL). With around 20 attendees, we had a fruitful discussion about BL and how various models are being applied within Independent Schools currently.
Having returned, my mind is now buzzing with ideas! Thank you, Hamlin, for the opportunity to connect with like minded educators and learn from some of the most accomplished education technology leaders in the country.