An integrator’s job is to meet with teachers to discuss their curriculum goals and brainstorm ways to make projects more fun and interactive through the use of technology/making.
In Grade 2, students learn about San Francisco landmarks, so we thought it would be interesting for students to build the Golden Gate Bridge in teams. We wanted the project to integrate both engineering and technology. Each group constructed their bridges using materials, such as cardboard, paper, tape. Once the main building phase was completed we challenged each group to integrate basic circuits into their sculpture using conductive thread, tape, LEDs, and coin batteries.
Group work also addresses other classroom goals, such as developing listening skills, learning how to work well with others, practicing advocating for yourself and your ideas while staying open-minded to what others have to contribute, and being flexible.
Directive: design a piece that could be given to a loved one during the holidays. Students were allowed to look at websites like Instructables for inspiration, but if they chose to download a template they had to modify the design in a significant way.
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.