On Monday we went for a walk to the lake with 3J. Miss Meehan gave us a clipboards so we could draw pictures and write down what we saw. Our 3J buddies had sheets to tell them what to look for. It was like a hunt! Miss Meehan blu tacked the pencils to our clipboard so we wouldn’t lose them.
We had to look for lots of things, a boat in a driveway, house numbers and jacaranda trees. After we crossed the road we quickly did a loop around the BBQ so we did not disturb the ladies eating their lunch together.
As we walked along the boardwalk we saw buoys, jetskis and speedboats. We listened to sounds. Finley heard a boat engine. Osh heard nature, birds tweeting and the breeze through the trees. Jenna thought we were going to fall in the water because it felt unstable because of the little holes in the metal.
At the end of the boardwalk, we went through the underpass and we made lots of noises in it to hear our echoes. We think it was made out of concrete. We could tell because Finley tried to climb up the side but couldn’t because it was smooth, slippery, very hard and cold. We saw some graffiti on it.
When we got to Bunyah Park we had a huge drink! Our little brothers and sisters who came with our mums played on the equipment but we did not get to. We were busy listening to Steve who told us about the community garden and the proposed pizza oven. This made us very excited! We chose some signs like Watermelon, Pineapple, Carrot and Banana. We helped stick them in the ground in order of fruit, vegies and herbs.
On the way back to school we saw 6 rainbow lorikeets sitting on the same branch, they were squawking and eating. We also heard a Kookaburra. We waved at a man mowing his lawn and walked past a huge bamboo fence. Once we got back to school Patricks’s mum surprised us all with ice blocks.
This term, all Kindergarten classes and Year 3 & 4 classes will be participating in the Eleebana PS Gifted & Talented Kindergarten project. It won’t be long before you will see an invasion of Bee-bots in each of these classrooms.
Last week, the teachers participated in professional learning and, already this week, students from Kindergarten and Stage 2 have been working collaboratively to program robots to move, teach their robots to dance and play board games using robots.Watch this space for more images and stories!
teachers learning to program Bee-bots
so much fun!
As part of our Eleebana Gifted and Talented Kindergarten project, we have been focusing on the importance of feedback (a formative assessment strategy). It is quite timely given that Semester 1 reports (a summative assessment tool) are currently being prepared by teachers to report to parents about student academic progress so far this year.
Feedback to any pupil should be about the particular qualities of his or her work, with advice on what he or she can do to improve, and should avoid comparisons with other pupils.
Giving our students regular feedback is a very important part of the process of design-based learning. We have been using student-centred pedagogies or teaching strategies – DT (design thinking) and GBL (games based learning). Both have a strong focus on feedback as a ‘loop’, creatively referred to as a ‘feedback loop’.
The ultimate user of assessment information which is elicited in order to improve learning is the pupil.
Here’s how our process works:
After reviewing lots of board games, 3/4E students drafted a couple of their own original game prototypes. These board games designs needed to teach Kindergarten students how to program BeeBots to move around the board (spatial and logical thinking) while learning concepts that include: healthy eating, the human body, making healthy choices, the effects of growth and change (conceptual thinking).
3/4E students showed their Kindergarten buddies their prototypes. They negotiated together to select the game design they liked the most
(1st feedback loop).
3/4E students revised and modified their prototypes and did a test run of their designs with a classmate and their buddies (2nd feedback loop).
This week, Mrs. Birleson and I have been giving more detailed feedback to each student about their game. At this point, it is critical to make sure that the object of the game is achievable yet challenging, not to mention fun! (3rd feedback loop).
Watch this video to see what Andrew has to say about the feedback process:
Designing online computer games is not easy! It requires the use of algebraic thinking. Algebraic thinking is about generalising arithmetic operations and operating on unknown quantities. It involves recognising and analysing patterns and developing generalisations about these patterns.
Research shows that students can more easily understand algebra when they have a good knowledge of the general properties of numbers, the relationships among numbers, and the effect that basic operations have on numbers rather than just having a focus on finding an answer. Many of these concepts are best taught at a young age because misconceptions which develop early on can inhibit a student’s ability to work with symbols and generalisations at a later time.
“The language of arithmetic focuses on answers while the language of algebra focuses on relationships.“1
Last term, 3/4E learnt how to use algebraic thinking skills to design Scratch games for their Kindergarten friends. Today, Nick L showed us his latest game: a 2-player Pong game. Watch the video where Mrs Birleson plays to win!
Nick’s Beebot Scratch Game.
1 MacGregor, M & Stacey, K. (1999) “A flying start to algebra. Teaching Children Mathematics, 6/2, 78-86. Retrieved 17 May 2005 from http://staff.edfac.unimelb.edu.au/~Kayecs/publications/1999/MacGregorStacey-AFlying.pdf.
2 Assessment Resource Banks: English, Mathematics and Science http://arb.nzcer.org.nz/supportmaterials/maths/concept_map_algebraic.php
Watch this video about Nick’s Scratch game.
Nick’s Beebot Scratch Game.
Kindergarten and Stage 2 students from Eleebana Public School have once again been working together on design tasks as part of a project-based learning approach to curriculum differentiation. During this iteration of the project, children are challenged to build, create, test and evaluate their ideas.
These design-based projects allow students to learn what they need to learn in a just-in-time fashion while trying to design something.
This year, the project includes range of design tasks:
- Beebot homes: where each home includes an upper level, an up-ramp and a large undercover living space
- Beebot board games: student-created board games to reinforce spelling, reading and number skills
- Online computer games: student-designed Scratch games for Kindergarten children designed by Stage 2 students
Planning a bee-bot line dance is not always easy. Teamwork, negotiation and cooperation are key skills required to work collaboratively.