Find the STEAM choice survey here.
This project was imagined and planned during a Harvard online maker course that myself and a few other educators at Flynn participated in. The shadow puppet play ended up being a truly collaborative project fusing the concepts and practices of music, science, art, social studies, and language arts. Myself, Emily Willette, our music teacher, Janine Plumer, art teacher and Rebekah Thomas, our EL teacher, all taught separate parts of this project with the final culmination of learning as a shadow puppet play.
The story, ¨The Story of the Talking Vegetables¨ is a northeastern Liberan tale about a spider who refuses to help his villagers with the planting and tending of their crops, and in the end gets accosted by the vegetables when he tries to eat them.
Janine had students create shadow puppets, while Rebekah worked with her EL students on creating a script from the original book. I led investigations about how light interacts with the puppets, and how color can emulate feelings, and Emily worked on the musical score. It was such a pleasure to work with one another in this capacity and the students really enjoyed it. Watch it here.
As part of my Personalized Learning Planning class, I am having students in fifth grade take the following survey. The reason or goal behind this is to evaluate how often students think they are given choices in school or their voice heard. I would like to see if having increased choice an voice increases engagement.
The following article was written last year in regards to Emma Jenkins and I´s work at Shelburne Farms Education for Sustainable Institute. I am continuing the work we have started in relation to climate change. Read the full paper here: Sustainability at JJ Flynn Elementary
Over the last few weeks, fourth graders have been doing some inquiry around simple and series circuits. We began with the idea of a complete vs. incomplete circuit and then quickly went into investigations with insulative and conductive materials. I did trick them a bit during this investigation though, I had them test some conductive string to see if it could create a complete circuit. Isn´t technology amazing!
Students then had to create a series circuit and see which colors of lights could be illuminated together. Next, we plan on created illuminated wearables that will be showcased at our Maker Faire on March 20th. Stay tuned!
That was the question we asked students to answer when prompted to draw a picture for their final watershed project in 5th grade. This project occurred last year, but was by far, one of the favorites of teachers, parents and students alike.
It began when I procured a grant from Generator to make this project possible. Joni Pecor, 5th grade teacher, and I, wrote a proposal for the project in connected with their watershed unit. With this generous grant, we were able to bring in Peter Katz, the artist who inspired our mosaics, and whose work at the time was being shown at the Generator. He worked with the entire 5th grade in showing them how he created his nature-themed mosaics.
With that, the students set to work with the help of Janine Plumer, our art teacher. Students created mind maps and then drew pictures that depicted how they would answer the essential question above in a visual form.
They then, turned these drawings into mosaics by ¨chunking¨ the individual parts of the drawings. Many colored them after we scanned them to get a sense of what their mosaic would look like in the end, and to choose the three or four colors they would like.
Once scanned, Janine, myself, Mr. Clarke, our principal, and Generator member, Alex Swaisgood, worked tirelessly on Adobe Illustrator, to make sure each one was neat enough to send to the Generator´s laser cutter. Once there, each mosaic was etched into a piece of baltic birch wood bought from The TreeHouse.
Myself, and Keith Brown, took turns picking up the finished laser cut pieces from Generator and delivering them back to Flynn Elementary. It was then, in STEAM and their homeroom classrooms, the mosaics began to come to life.
Each student measured, cut and glued kite paper to the back of their mosaics. It took a long time and really tested each students patience and endurance.
In the end, the mosaics were displayed at our Maker Faire, the classrooms, and some were entered in World Water Day, which won our entire 5th grade a free trip on the Spirit of Ethan Allen. It was a lot of work, but well worth it for the beauty of the end product. It was also an amazing way to see how so many different facets of people can work together to provide an ¨out of the box¨ hands on, minds on project for students that is connected to their science curriculum.
Did you know that Flynn and ECHO have been piloting a science professional development outreach program this year? Well, we are and making great progress!
The Leahy Science Center, otherwise known as ECHO, has a newly established goal to provide rich STEM PD to rural communities in Vermont, based on our Next Generation Science standards and practices. Chris Whitaker, STEM coordinator and teacher at ECHO, has been working with our first grade team on their light unit. He uses the model, “I do, We do, You do.” So far, he has brought engaging lessons and materials to Flynn and has helped strengthen our teachers science teaching. We look forward to working with he and his team next year as well!