Monday, November 16, 2015

How to Have Fun and Learn- Christmas Break Extended Learning Projects.

My biggest job as an educator and parent is to create and model the joy of learning to my students.  One of my most  favorite courses that I took at the university level was Massachusetts Institute of Technology's “Learning Creative Learning” class.  This was a free online course at MIT”S Open Courseware.  Here’s that link for anyone interested in taking the course. HERE

What really made an impression on me about learning creative learning was that learning is playing and having fun.  Professor Mitch Resnick, one of the courses creators used a model of a Life Long Sandbox of learning and spoke of that when we open the walls of our classroom and raise the ceiling to allow more learners in we create a space for the joy of creative learning. This is part of MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten idea that changed the way I thought about learning.  This course shows a diagram of how we learn creativity but this model works for more than just creative learning.  It carries over to all subjects that are project based or group lead.  It goes well with the Bloom’s Taxonomy described HERE

In a nut shell.

We learn in these steps.

Imagine:  We think of an idea, we conceptualizes, we imagine an idea.
Create:    We make the idea, we draw, we build, we make.
Play:        We use the idea or the object we make and we experiment how it works.
Share:      We show it to the group, peers or our family, we get feed back, we let others help create.
    Sometimes our project doesn’t work and/or it gets knocked down which leads us to the next step.

Reflect:     We think about what went wrong and what worked and what we can do better
Imagine:    We recreate fix and make our ideas better.
This model of how we learn is flow chart that continues in a circle or spiral.  While you work on the activities below refer back to the Imagine-Create-Play-Share-Reflect-Imagine model.   Remember playing is essential to learning and allow yourself to do something you might not have ever thought of as learning.

The least thing I liked about Christmas break as a child was the packet of worksheets my well meaning teachers sent home for me to do over the break.  No matter how they package them or wrapped them they were still worksheets and frankly boring.
Learning should be joyful, if we are to create life long learners we need to find activities that make the majority of learners want to participate. so here are a few activities to try this break.  Have fun and never be afraid to mess up.  This is how we learn.  Keep at it, don't quit and don't worry if it is silly or not perfect.  This is how learning looks.

MATH PATTERNS:  Decorate a Christmas tree on paper or the real thing using patterning and show your work.  Use ornaments, strings of popcorn or garland or pine cones and follow a pattern of color or shapes or texture.  Ask someone to see if they can see it and get your family to help.

MATH PROBLEM SOVLER: Come up with a formula to determine how long of a shoelace you need and show how you figure this out.  Research the relationship between shoelace length and shoe size.  Show your work in a graph or drawing or algebraic formula.  What are some of the variables?  Do the eyelets matter?  Do the way you lace up your shoes matter?  Part B:  Design a new way to lace up your shoes.

SONG WRITER:  Come up with a new story for the 12 Days of Christmas using all new items and characters.  You can write it, sing it, dance it act it out or story board it.  One Ipad beeping, Two Xbox dinging, Three puppies yelping....

CARTOONIST:  Write a cartoon where you are the hero and save the world.  This is where writers learn to story board and this can carry on to all kinds of creating.  Make us your own super power.  Design a costume, a hide out, or a side kick. Draw it, make it, create it in another way like acting it out and filming it.  Some ideas: I am the Super Hero Fuzzworth and my super power is I can freeze time and move around fixing bad things right before they happen by moving victims out of the way.  My disguise is an old lady because no one ever suspects them. The people I help only have a fuzzy recollection of what happened, hence my alias.

BE A CHEF:  Make up your own recipe for a salad, sandwich or any meal, using nothing but left overs.  Record your work and interview who ever eats it.

BE A REPORTER:  Interview someone about what they got for Christmas.  Try to ask investigative questions like: Did they like it?  What did they really want?  Then try and recreate the event to layer your news story using friends for actors.

BE A CONCEPTUAL CREATOR OF GAMING:  Write a conceptual idea for a computer game.  Story board it or show it in a way that is meaningful to your creativity.

DESIGNER:  Make a marble run out of items in the house such as cardboard, tissue boxes, paper towel rolls BUT HERE IS THE SECRET SAUCE:  Make the marble or ball go slowly down the structure.

TEACHER:  Make you own tutorial of something you can make or do well and share it.  Teach it to your parents.  *** Example: How to survive the 1st night on Minecraft.

BLOGGER:  Make a Blog or Vlog about something you are interested in.  Even if you cant film it your can do this in the mirror.

ARCHITECT:  Make the highest structure possible out of marshmallows and dry spaghetti. Ask questions,  What made it stronger?  What shapes did you make your building blocks out off.  What worked?  What didn't word

PLAY WRITER: Create a play, design the set, make costumes perform it for family and friends.

INSTRUMENT MAKER:   Make your own musical instrument. 

COMPOSER:  Compose a song and perform it.  Ask your family to sing it with you.   See if you can do harmonies to your own melody

LINGUIST:  Create a new language out of symbols or pictures.  Teach it to someone.

SCREENWRITER:  Write or conceptualize a new episode of your favorite show and show it to someone. See if you can rewrite it with a different ending.

SUPER NINJA:  Make an your own America Ninja Course out of snow or soft items in your environment and run it and time yourself.  *******Don't do anything dangerous.

THEME PARK DESIGNER:   Make a roller coaster on Minecraft using only the natural landscape.  Don't use blocks to build but only mountains and digging down is okay.  You can use tracks.

MATHEMATICAL GENIUS:  Create a new model of the Multiplication Table using cartoon drawings.  Look at this chart below for ideas.

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