Friday, 13 June 2014

School Zine Fair

Today during break, lunch and after-school zines/comics created by every student in my school will be out and available to read in the library. Students will be encouraged to take these home, interact with the zines, (some have QR codes, others have areas for the reader to fill in) and to have conversations about them, especially with the creators.

Although the school I teach in is pretty much paperless, I wanted to do a unit where students could create zines/comics, because it is something I am interested in, it shows them the importance of being a creator and not just a consumer, and it shows them they can create something wonderful with very little.

Grade 6 and 7 made mini comics about superheroes they invented. During this unit they filled in character sheets and brainstorms, took part in a hot seating activity and then created storyboards, before making their finished comics. As they went through different stages to build and add depth to their characters, their stories are truly wonderful! They superheroes each personified a different attribute of the IB Learner Profile, (different skills such as being knowledgeable or a communicator, which lead you to being a life long learner). In their reflections they were also asked to think about how their show the skill and also what they would include if their created their own Learner Profile. They all came up with some really lovely ideas and I encourage other IB educators to do a similar unit!

[Reflective - Captain Obvious was dropped in to a cauldron of Reflectivity Liquid as a child-which turned him into a superhero. In the comic he is fighting his obnoxious enemy Birdman on the roof of a skyscraper and pushes him off...He stops time and reflects on his action...then saves Birdman!]

[Knowledgeable - Mr. Q Cumber - a cucumber sent to school in a lunch box...but jumped out and joined in the lessons, getting top grades! He now creates new software and shares his knowledge, by being a news reader!]

The last unit of the year with grade 8 was getting them to take on the persona of a famous mathematician and blog as that person, (I will show off their amazing blogs in another post). As this was an interdisciplinary unit with maths and technology we had to start it on a certain date, which gave me one week free - this meant I was able to do a one week zine challenge! I introduced zines, told them about the history and culture, described how to get involved in London and showed some zines I, my friends and even my mum had contributed to. They spent the first lesson looking through a selection of zines I bought in. During the second lesson they each designed an A5 page about happiness, which fed into one zine. Their pages included reviews of SLN skits, recipes, illustrations of pugs and flowers and a platypus...

Grade 9 had a lot more freedom with their zine and could choose any format they wanted. We had self-care zines, zines about basketball, football, tea, pranks and even a colouring book. A couple of students even brought in goodies to give away with their zines.

I am excited to do similar units in the future. I want to build up my library's zine collection and continue to add student made content to it! I also plan on making these all available as PDFs and adding them to our library's collection as e-books.

[See his mega-brain]

Monday, 9 June 2014

Picademy Photo

 Hadn't seen the Picademy group photo before! Such a fun few days. Read about Picademy here and see our Raspberry Pi posters here and here.

Sneak Peak

I feel refreshed, motivated and excited for the new year. Here's a little sneak peak of some units I am working on for next year.

Exhibition Stand
Follow Ms. Dutton's board Exhibition Stands on Pinterest.

Students will design an exhibition stand for a city of their choice. I might modify this and choose a city which struggles with attracting tourists or I might just choose somewhere I have been and love, which I think the students will also enjoy! I might change this and get them to create an exhibition stand for something else, maybe to show off some sort of product, or maybe even one about our school!

Christmas Window Display

Follow Ms. Dutton's board Window Display on Pinterest.

I will get students to create a Christmas Window Display for a very blank item, (maybe a plain white t-shirt). During this unit we will visit the Selfridges Christmas Window Display! We might even make this themed, maybe 'Christmases around the world' or 'Christmas in the year 3000' or link it to the Christmas text students are studying.

Roller Coaster / Theme Park Design

Follow Ms. Dutton's board Theme Park Design on Pinterest.

I am not ashamed to say I have always loved playing Roller Coaster Tycoon and Theme Park World, (and Theme Hospital of course). I have lots of ideas for this unit. I may give students a ride each/a few rides and they must create the theming for the area, including activities for people to do in the queues, props, restaurants and even audio. I also might get them to design the coaster from scratch, or any ride of their choice. During this unit I will get them to listen to some of the How Stuff Works Podcasts/read the How Stuff Works articles including one about the creation of the Disney Haunted Mansion and another about Roller Coasters!

Paper Theatres

Follow Ms. Dutton's board Paper Theatre on Pinterest.

Here students will design and build paper theatres, including backdrops and characters. I may even get them to perform! This will hopefully be an interdisciplinary unit with English and Drama, though I might start off small and get students to design for a well known fairy tale. I will hopefully take students to visit Pollocks Toy Museum, as they have an incredible collection of Paper Theatres

Town Planning

Follow Ms. Dutton's board Town Planning on Pinterest.

If we get a 3D printer I would love to do a Town Planning unit. Students would design individual buildings and we would work together to design the town. This could be a really fun unit and could link with the humanities civilisation unit! I could also incorporate this sort of design into the Theme Park unit!

I also have a few unit ideas using Lego, including a Stop Motion Project using the StoryStarterKit and a 100 Brick Challenge, (see my Lego Ideas here). I will also be doing a food tech unit with some of the younger students where they cook Ration Recipes. Of course I will also repeat some of my favourite units from this year.

Watch this space!

Google Form Notifications

A quick form to show you how to get notified when there are changes made to a Google Form or when someone submits a form. You can set it for a daily digest or an individual email. This is going to be really useful for me for a form I have embedded in my library site, for students, staff and parents to make resource suggestions. It could also be useful for forms that need immediate attention, such as forms to alert staff to technical issues or student bullying. The daily digest is a great tool for forms that you send to a large group of people. 

 Thank you to Michael Horne for showing me this neat trick!