Today's post is cross posted at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge and Reflections on the Teche DigiLit Sunday. Please check in at both sites to read other posts.
I love my after school digital writing group for several reasons. The first and foremost reason is that I get to work with great kids. The second is that it gives me my classroom fix. So many times I go to conferences, read an article or find something on Twitter and I wish I had a classroom to go to the next day to try something out. Monday afternoons give me that opportunity.
From the beginning, I knew I wanted this group to be different. I wanted it to be student driven with lots of choice. Based on my summer work with #clmooc, I wanted to have a maker set up where kids could problem solve, collaborate, create and connect with others.
I began by asking the kids what tools they were familiar with and then what they wanted to learn. A pattern emerged. They wanted to explore Scratch and do some coding, create movies, do some hacking, and create animations. All of these things are a bit out of my comfort zone, so that means I've got some exploring and playing to do on my own.
Thanks to Kevin Hodgson, I am learning about paper circuitry. This project done with his sixth graders intrigues me.
PowToon, an animation tool, is another one I want to explore. There are so many resources on Twitter alone, that I will be kept busy. It's not a tool the kids are familiar with, so I'm anxious to see what they come up with.
I dabbled with Scratch with my students last year and they loved it. They have a support page with several resources that will help all of us learn.
Our very first session was about introducing themselves. They all chose to use the iMovie Trailer app on our iPads to create their introductions. I thought they might try different things, but that was not the case. I hope they'll be finished tomorrow and I can share their work. The collaboration began right away as some of the kids were more familiar with the app. Since I haven't used it yet, it's another one I need to explore. (Hmmm...I have to create something to show my Makerspace for Digital Maker Playground. It might be a good idea to use iMovie trailer). I'd also like for those who are interested to explore using the full iMovie feature.
Jen Brittin wrote a Slice of Life post today about the messiness of creation and exploration. You can bet that my after school writing workshop is messy, but that's ok with me. The kids are learning, working together, and taking risks. I love it!