Birch School : Maker Rings

Sharing the Story of "Students supporting Students to MAKE their best work"

Design Thinking with Students

Another snowday today, another missed Monday. Last Friday some districts had a three-hour delay (previously unheard of) and attendance was at half. But we are ready to go. Kids are ready to work in their newly-identified Maker Rings, and we keep getting these forced hesitations. At least the rest of the week looks okay weatherwise….

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Teaching with video.

    Whenever I begin to plan for a lesson I start by searching videos. I see myself as a facilitator, more than a teacher. I want them to utilize their own perspective, view the information through their own lens. As much as possible I want them to draw their own conclusions rather than be…

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Student-Led Conferences at Birch

  Student-Led Conferences This Edutopia blog post,  by Meg Riordan and  published earlier this month looks at Student Led Conferences.   Ms. Riordan works as Project Director with Expeditionary Learning.  She discusses how the Student Led Conference helps students take charge of their own learning. Birch School Teaching staff is very enthusiastic about Student-Led Conferences. For…

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The count to 10 game

In this Edutopia post called “Creating A Classroom Culture of Laughter, vitamin ”  teacher Laura Davis shares with us games and routines that enable her to start her classes by getting students to let down their defenses and laugh a little together.  This simple approach, taking just a few minutes, contributes to the environment of…

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The Fourth Iteration

  The Fourth Iteration Last week our Middle and HS students watched Ron Berger’s Classic 6 minute video “Austin’s Butterfly”. In this video Ron talks with elementary students about a first grader, Austin, and his progress toward a scientific drawing of a Swallowtail Butterfly. The kids in the video grasp the idea of kind feedback,…

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Oh, The Joy of Curated Resources!

        When we first began to use online resources to identify learning tools that would compose Student’s school curriculum we were not surprisingly overwhelmed. It was exciting to realize that there were free resources available to meet any need for any topic at any level of learning. One resource led to another,…

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Pattern Practice

At the start of today’s circle we played this quick game. We know that recognizing patterns is essential to understanding the complex interrelationships that make up our modern world. Kids who are skilled in this area excel in problem-solving and advanced level thinking. To this end, order we practice “patterning” skills as often as possible….

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The Longest Line

As part of our Maker Rings we have been participating in Team-Building and creative challenges. It has been a few sessions since we did this, so everyone seemed ready for the challenge. Students have been working on projects and exploring the tools that are available and that has been the focus for the past few…

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Group Challenges, Collaboration, Play

We’ve introduced several group challenges that promote teamwork and creative problem solving. They always involve laughter, and that is essential to success. This one,  from Teamwork & Teamplay, is called Magic Carpet. You can download the complete lesson here. (Thank you Jim Cain!) Our teams were made of two Maker Rings, so there were about…

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Team-Building and Creative Thinking Challenges

Some of our favorite activities come from the work of Jim Cain at Teamwork and Teamplay. As we progress in introducing team and community building activities we are expanding the types of challenges we offer the Maker Rings. Arrowheads, From Teamwork and Teamplay Download here For this lesson we gave each Maker Ring an envelope…

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Blogging as our Rings Grow Stronger

  Convincing them Blogging was different At first, no one was interested in blogging. They wanted to have their writing be private. Didn’t want to share with anyone. Wanted to use assumed names. We reintroduced the idea by talking about the origins of “Web-logging”, and that a Blog is a running journal or commentary on…

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One Minute for Maker Rings

  Take a peak at what we have been up to with this short video. Thank you to Samara Blank for her film making skills. <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>      

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