Robots in Social Studies
Today, I co-taught a social studies activity with our first grade team. This lesson focused on prioritizing needs vs wants. The class had discussed these two areas, and the teachers were looking for a unique way for students to work in groups to identify wants vs needs. Rather than doing a traditional sort, where students would categorize photos of items into wants and needs, the teachers reached out to me to integrate robots into the activity.
In addition to serving as my Instructional Coaching office, where I meet with teachers and teams to reflect on lessons and engage in coaching conversations, my office also houses our building's Makerspace Carts, which include several types of robots. After meeting with the first grade team to learn more about the activity, I selected four types of robots: Ollie, MiP, Dash, and Grip Robot. The teachers would place photos of various wants and needs (candy bar, glass of water, video game, etc.) on the floor, and students would then navigate the robot to the needs, while avoiding the wants. Since students were in groups of 3-4, they had to work together to control the robot and successfully achieve the task. Groups spent approximately 5 minutes at each station, allowing them to use each robot. These robots will then be used in different activities as the year progresses.
Bloxels and Story Retell
Four days a week, I have the privilege and opportunity to support our first grade team during their MTSS (multi-tiered systems of support) time. I have planned a helped facilitate several enrichment activities for first grade students who have already met the end of year reading benchmarks. Earlier this year, students researched animals and created Who Would Win books. Now, they are working on story retell (CCSS RL 1.1, 1.2, 1.3) using Bloxels as we read High Time for Heroes by Mary Pope Osborn.
To help facilitate the process, I created a guidebook for students to use (see photos below).
As for structure/pacing/routines, we meet for 25-30 minutes, four times a week. During those times, we read a chapter and complete the planning guide section on Mondays and Thursdays. Tuesdays and Fridays are spent creating the game level for the chapter we read the previous day. The first week we did take a little extra time getting familiar with Boxels (both the kits and the app), and creating the main characters, Jack and Annie.
To date, we are about halfway through the book, and the first graders are enjoying collaborating with their partner, problem solving how to create the game, and look forward to publishing their game in the near future! The photos below are from a few of their level creation days. Stay tuned to see the finished project.
If you would like a copy of the guidebook, please let me know!
Update March 2020:
Unfortunately, due to the extended school closures from Covid-19, this group wasn't able to meet again to finish the book or the Bloxels game. It's a disappointing way to end our time together!