Our 1st #3dprinting Project of 2014-15: Native American Hopes and Dreams stamps

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Fourth grade has launched into an incredible project for the 1st quarter of the year.  I’m so excited to be a small part of the project in the library.  In social studies, they are studying Native Americans.  Their standards include:

SS4H1 The student will describe how early Native American cultures developed in
North America.
a. Locate where Native Americans settled with emphasis on the Arctic (Inuit),
Northwest (Kwakiutl), Plateau (Nez Perce), Southwest (Hopi), Plains (Pawnee),
and Southeast (Seminole).
b. Describe how Native Americans used their environment to obtain food, clothing,
and shelter.

During this study, they are exploring the folklore of Native Americans through several folktales.  The brought them to the idea of a grade level dream catcher.  The beginning of the school year is a time full of hope.  It’s a time where students, teachers, and families set goals for what they hope to accomplish throughout the year, and many spend time writing about hopes and dreams.  The teachers in collaboration with the art teacher decided to design a project to capture the hopes of dreams of students in the form of meaningful symbols on a dream catcher.

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Working together, students will creative a massive dream catcher.  In art, they are designing symbols that represent their hopes for the year.  They are designing shapes that can be drawn in one continuous line.

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With me, students are using an iPad app called Cubify Draw which is designed by 3D Systems.  The app is very simple to use.  With your finger or a stylus, you draw one continuous line to create pretty much anything you can dream up.  You can adjust the thickness of the line and then touch “make 3d”.  The shape automatically turns 3D and you can adjust the height and thickness.  Once your design is ready, you can email the file to a central location to prep for 3D printing.

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For the lesson in the library, I gave a very brief intro to the app and shared some tips that I discovered through my own tinkering.  Big open swirls seem to print better than lines that are close together.  The shortest height and thickest line tends to print best.

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Mrs. Foretich, our art teacher, passed out the paper designs students made in art and gave students another opportunity to make adjustments to their designs and practice tracing the design with their finger.  I passed out iPads and the tinkering began.  Most students made several designs until they got the design just the way they wanted it.  Mrs. Foretich and I walked around and conferenced with students about adjustments they might need to make to their designs as well as helped troubleshoot problems.  Students emailed their designs to me with their teacher name and first name in the subject line.

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We are doing this lesson with the entire 4th grade, so that makes for roughly 60 designs.  Each design has to be imported into Makerware, reduced in size, and exported as a file for our Makerbot Replicator.  These files are being placed onto SD cards.  To speed up the file prep progress I used multiple computers and multiple SD cards.

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Then, the printing began.  Print after print is now running in the library.  It took about a day and half to print the first class batch.  Now I have 2 more to go.  Each student print is being placed in a ziploc bag with the student and teacher name on the bag for easy distribution.

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The next step will be for students to create a vessel out of clay in art.  They will use their 3d stamp to press designs into their vessel.  All of the vessels will hang from  the grade level dream catcher, including vessels designed by all of the teachers involved in the project.  This will serve as a symbol for the year to represent our connectedness and our common goal of working together to achieve many hopes and dreams this school year.  Our vessels and dream catcher will hold these safe throughout the year.

Thank you Mrs. Foretich and the 4th grade team for an incredible project for our students that allows them to dream, tinker, create, and share.

 

Explorers and Native Americans: Perspective & Transliteracy with 4th grade

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Update:  This post is featured on Jane Yolen’s page for Encounter. 

Our 4th grade is studying Native Americans and Explorers.  When I met with the 4th grade team to plan, one of the main topics of our conversation was how we wanted our students to really think about perspective.  We didn’t want them to come away looking at the explorers as only a group of heroes, but instead to question what the costs were of their exploration.  We wanted them to think from the Native Americans’ perspective and consider how they felt about the explorers coming into their land.  We decided to approach this in a few ways.  The teachers planned regular social studies instruction in their classrooms.  They made Google presentations that were shared with the kids.  They also created graphic organizers for students to use to collect info.  Some students chose to have paper print outs of their organizers while others chose to fill out the organizer digitally.

Our guiding standards included:

SS4H1 The student will describe how early Native American cultures developed in
North America.
a. Locate where Native Americans settled with emphasis on the Arctic (Inuit),
Northwest (Kwakiutl), Plateau (Nez Perce), Southwest (Hopi), Plains (Pawnee),
and Southeast (Seminole).
b. Describe how Native Americans used their environment to obtain food, clothing,
and shelter.
SS4H2 The student will describe European exploration in North America.
a. Describe the reasons for, obstacles to, and accomplishments of the Spanish,
French, and English explorations of John Cabot, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Juan
Ponce de León, Christopher Columbus, Henry Hudson, and Jacques Cartier.
b. Describe examples of cooperation and conflict between Europeans and Native
Americans

In the media center, I pulled multiple folktales from each of the Native American tribes.  During 2 separate sessions, we looked at Google Earth to see where the tribes were located originally.  Then as we read the folktales, we considered how location impacted the food, shelter, and clothing of the tribes by citing evidence from the tales.

The teachers wanted students to have access to multiple kinds of resources for their research portion of the unit.  We talked about classes coming individually to the library, but we ultimately decided that it would be nice for students to all be together in one location with multiple resources.  We scheduled 3 hour-long sessions.  I pulled together folktales, books about explorers, books about Native Americans, a pathfinder about Native Americans, and a pathfinder about Explorers.

During session 1, we met as a whole group.  I showed students a video of Christopher Columbus from National Geographic.  After the video, I asked students to think about how they would describe Columbus.  After talking with partners, I put as many words into a Tagxedo as possible.

These words were how students described Christopher Columbus after watching a video about Columbus.

These words were how students described Christopher Columbus after watching a video about Columbus.

Then, we read the book Encounter by Jane Yolen, which is the Columbus story told from the Native American perspective.  After the story, I asked the students to once again describe Columbus.  Their words made a big shift.

These words are how students described Christopher Columbus after reading Encounter by Jane Yolen.

These words are how students described Christopher Columbus after reading Encounter by Jane Yolen.

I followed up by talking about perspective, and how so many stories in history are silenced until the perspective of that group of people is brought forward.  I cited authors such as Phillip Hoose and Tanya Lee Stone who have written multiple texts about stories from history that have been untold.  I encouraged students as they did their research for this project to strongly consider perspective.  I did not want to tell them what to believe, but I asked them to be critical of the information they read and form their own opinions of history.

During sessions 2 & 3, all classes came back to the media center.  On one projection board, I posted the Native American pathfinder.  On the other projection board, I posted the Explorers pathfinder.  In addition, I made QR codes for each pathfinder and pulled out our cart of iPads.  I separated the books into 3 separate areas:  folktales, Native Americans, and explorers.  All students brought their netbooks, but they had the option to use the iPad if it fit their learning needs better than the netbook.  After  a quick reminder about our focus and where things were located, students freely moved around the media center.  About 75 students simultaneously made choices about which resources to start with, where to work, whether to work with a partner or small group or alone, and what technology supported their needs the most.  All 3 classroom teachers, a teacher candidate (student teacher), a gifted teacher, and I walked around and checked in with students.  Sometimes we were troubleshooting technology or redirecting, but often we were able to have individual conversations with students about the information that students were collecting.  Teachers worked with all students regardless if they were in their class or not.

What amazed me the most were the decisions that students made about their learning.  I saw transliteracy in action.  As I walked around, I saw students with pencils, papers, iPads, netbooks, and books all spread out around them.  They were simultaneously moving from one device or tool to the next.  Some students sat at tables while others sat inside bookshelves.  Some students tucked away by themselves while others worked in a large group.  Some students worked with very few resources at a time such as 1 book while others had every possible resource in front of them at once.  After months of wondering about how our space would support the kinds of learning I hope to see in our library, I was finally able to truly see it today.  I saw every piece of furniture in use.  I saw students combine pieces of furniture to make themselves comfortable for learning.  An entire grade level descended upon the library and remained productive while groups of kids were still coming into the library to checkout books.explorers & native americans (15)

It was loud, energetic, productive, and fun.  It’s a model I hope to replicate with other groups and a model that I hope carries into our classrooms, which can now accommodate some of these sames types of opportunities.

4th Grade Native American Research

I am so thankful for time to get together with other librarians to learn.  We recently had a professional learning day in our district where many of our school librarians/media specialists shared how they are using Google apps with students.  The amazing Tanya Hudson, librarian at Chase Street Elementary, shared how gadgets could be embedded in Google forms.  She had used this tool with a 1st grade Common Core lesson using the book How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.  Her sharing made my brain wheels start turning about how this gadget might be used with other projects.

Our 4th grade is currently studying Native Americans.  Their standards have them look at how location and environment affect the food, shelter, and clothing of groups of Native Americans in each region of the United States.  Once again, I used a transliteracy model to think about all of the ways that students could experience these 6 groups of Native Americans.  I pulled informational books, folk tales, and stories from each group and put them at tables.  In the computer lab, students used a pathfinder which included Youtube videos, databases, and informational sites on clusters of Native Americans but also group-specific information as well.  Students used a graphic organizer to gather their information.

Filling out the Google form

For the portion inspired by Tanya Hudson’s work, I created a Google form and asked 2 questions:  What is the Native American group you discovered? and What is their location?  I used 2 iPads as a station in the library where students could go and input thisinformation as they discovered locations in their research.  I also embedded a map gadget in the form so that each time a student filled out the form, it pinned a location on a Google map.  This map was displayed on the smart board.  As the map started to populate, students began exploring what other students had posted onto the map, and an interesting thing happened.  Students quickly discovered that students were entering incorrect information.  The coolness of the iPad was causing some students to skip their research or type what they “thought they knew” into the form.  The great thing was that other students started to call them out on this error.  Other students discovered that you had to be specific on the location.  Simply typing “southwest” did not necessarily put a pin in the right place of the map.  Students began looking for specific states or, even better, specific cities.  Our time simply wasn’t long enough, but a logical next step would be to have students begin to weed through the information in the form and decide what is valid and what is not.  The data can be easily erased and disappears from the Google map.  I already have one student who is interested in doing this by himself, but I think a whole class exploration would also be great because it lends itself to authentic conversation about why we do research in the first place.

Google map with pins

Once again in this experience I allowed students to freely move from place to place.  Most migrated and remained at computers, while others stayed at the books for the majority of their time.  Students who went to the books commented on how much information was in one place rather than having to look at multiple places on the computer.  It was interesting to hear this come from them rather than me telling them myself.  So many interesting conversations and teachable moments occurred  and I wished that our time could be extended.  This will be helpful in future planning to schedule multiple sessions or longer sessions with classes.  In all, I think students gathered enough information collectively that they can share their information back in the regular classroom.

Fourth Grade Folktale Collaboration

Each mask was created in art and is accompanied by a student-written story developed in class

As a part of 4th grade’s Native American unit, they studied folktales.  They spent weeks reading a variety of folktales from around the world as well as Native American folktales.  In the media center, they used Google Earth on the iPads to examine the regions of the United States where the Native Americans are found.  They noticed what landforms and water features were in each area.  Then, I told folktales from each tribe and they noticed how the land and regions came into each story.

In class, students continued to read folktales and examine the elements of each kind of folktale.  They began to develop their own story and implement these elements into the stories.

In art, the students designed masks that accompanied their tales.

The process was long and spread out over several months, but we are excited to finally have the finished products on display in our media center.  If you happen to be near Barrow Elementary in the coming weeks, feel free to stop in and read some of these stories and examine the beautiful masks.

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