Thrifting

A week of exploring!

Quick link to my  video demonstration of my creation (also posted at bottom of blog).

For this week’s module, we were told to explore/play with a few different things. The first tool I played with was Evernote which is a great app and website for organizing and sharing notes on the web. This website isn’t one that I’ve looked into much before this class, which surprises me. I’m someone who thrives off of to-do lists and constantly adding sticky notes to my desk. Of course, there are probably thousands of other classroom applications for Evernote.

I see Evernote becoming a more frequently used app for me personally as a graduate student as the semester continues in order to keep my thoughts and ideas collected in one place. It’s also beneficial because it’s an app that can be downloaded for free and go wherever I do – perfect for those random ideas that pop into your head. I think that Evernote would be great for working with coworkers on collaborative lessons or even for school functions. My school has become more focused on using Google and all it’s features but Evernote may provide more features that teachers find useful – clipping researched base articles or work chatting. 

It was time to move into exploring my maker tool kit. For this week’s focus, it was important to learn about repurposing, playing, creating and making. I feel that this mindset is something teachers are constantly working on within our lessons. As our classrooms get filled each year with new students, so too does the learning style and need of each child. It’s important to take the time to look into innovative lessons and adaptations that could be implemented in daily lessons so that all learners have a chance to succeed. 

STEP 1: Thrifting

Step one for thrifting involved a small scavenger hunt around my house. My goal was to utilize the arrow features of Makey Makey and knew I’d need about four objects to execute my idea. I finally settled on a “small game controller” made by a dessert sized paper plate and aluminum foil as the arrow keys. I felt this was appropriate because I believe it would be a “controller” my first graders could hold comfortably.

STEP 2: Repurpose 

The Makey Makey kit was my top choice because I believe it can be used by young learners and could envision using it in some of m my lessons. It seemed to be fairly straight forward and versatile enough that students would be motivated to use it. Using the new game controller I developed, I thought about what I could create that would be applicable to my classroom setting and curriculum. Some of the thoughts I had related to math: time and money or even and odd sorting or for practice of phonemic awareness. spelling or identifying sight words.

I thought that one of the examples provided in this module that created with Makey Makey was a very practical creation. The fist pump to check for understanding was so universal and could be such a great way to informally assess student understanding. This creation is one that would boost confidence in learners as their understanding wouldn’t necessarily be “publicized” in class with a thumbs up/thumbs down in front of their classmates. This sparked my thinking even further as I brainstormed exactly what I would create that applied to my own classroom.

TEP 3: Prototype

I took a peek through some of the suggested apps and websites that work

IMG_8162
Playing with coins to test out the Makey Makey kit.

well with Makey Makey and determined that Scratch would be the best-fit for my first graders. To understand the program little bit better, I ended up searching for some tutorials through trusty YouTube. I found this video (one in a four part series) to be particularly helpful in working with Scratch.

I began the prototyping process by playing around with the arrow buttons. I knew that this would be the primary focus of my creation. Using coins was an obvious first-try since there’s four arrows and identifying and counting coins is a big part of first grade math lessons. This was where my patience and experience were tested. I had watched a few video tutorials of how to use Scratch, however, it still proved to be a bit challenging to get the arrow features to work. Once I did, I knew that I’d stick with it for my final creation.

How to build my prototype:

IMG_8160

Final prototype game controller.

  1. Find a paper plate that’s small in size to act as the game controller. I used a dessert size paper plate because I felt it would be one my students could hold with better grip and use.
  2. Cut out pieces of aluminum foil to act as arrow keys. Space cut pieces of foil far enough apart so that they’re not touching and are close enough to be clamped onto by the alligator clips.
  3. Add tape to the back of the aluminum foil pieces so that they stay in place on the paper plate “controller”.

    Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.59.19 PM
    Creating the arrow functions on Scratch.
  4. Using Scratch, create one Sprite that will act as the main character in the game. Program that Sprite to have the ability to move left, right, up, and down with the Makey Makey arrows.
  5. Search CreativeCommons for both a clock face with numbers and a minute arrow hand. This will then be imported as a part of the “background” on the Scratch game.
  6. Optional: Add a background from the library of images provided by Scratch.

 

*Note: Prototyping Fail:

I wanted to mention that I my above “how to” was after my first failure. I followed a similar process, however, instead of using tape, I used a glue stick. I thought it would provide a smoother looking appearance so I added glue to the back of each circular cut out of aluminum foil. What I discovered was that the glue counteracts the electricity and produces a “defective” controller. Lesson learned!

IMG_8161
Game controller fail.

This prototype could be used in my teaching context as a way to enrich students in their understanding for both telling the time, but also to use Makey Makey to help them with problem solving skills. This not only addresses a math content standard, but it also would give students to become “hands on” in their learning. I could use this creation as a center in my classroom for a partnership to work together to move the cat to the correct time as a team. My prediction is that this type of “playful learning” would spark motivation (and curiosity) in my students and give me even more potential avenues to pursue with Makey Makey and the types of ways I could adapt it to my lessons.

Here is a video demonstration of my creation.

Play it on Scratch!

 

Resources:

File:Clock-hour-12.svg. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2016, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clock-hour-12.svg

Clock position. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clock_position

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