Monday, 29 September 2014

#YYCLC Day 20: Small Group Learning

Small group instruction sometimes happens in the Akkerman Learning Commons reading corner.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

#YYCLC Day 17: Learning to Take Photos

Chris Akkerman grade 1 students learning to take photos on iPads before venturing outside to document the trees!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Friday, 19 September 2014

#YYCLC Day 14: Non-Fiction Scavenger Hunt

Students in grade 5 at Keeler School on a scavenger hunt for features commonly found in non-fiction text.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

#YYCLC Day 12: Lego Math

Grade 1 students at Keeler School using lego to create patterns according to pattern formulas provided by their teacher.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

#YYCLC Day 11: Tabletop Whiteboarding

Tabletop whiteboarding: giving examples of how students demonstrate the four pillars of the Circle of Courage.

Maker Stations are Open!

Today, our first 2 maker stations are open. Now the fun part begins of inviting kids in to interact with it. In my school, this will be the challenge but I believe it will slowly spread. The teachers seem really excited about the maker space.

The idea at this point is that I will open the Maker Stations up to all students. The younger students may need some guidance at first but our grades 3-5 students should be able to work through the stations. I'm thinking I might train some leaders in each class to help the other students. Then they can pass on the leadership to others' in their class too.

I will also make it known that students can come in and experiment at lunchtime.

As for what students will take photos of, we will link it to the curriculum somehow. We will slowly build a collection of artefacts and/or subjects for students to focus on.


I'm really excited to see where this will take us. I'm not expecting it to take off over night but will continue to work on getting students to come and explore!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Maker Stations are Coming!

In an effort to create some interest around some of the technology we already have in our building, I am introducing some maker stations to our learning commons. At this stage, our first maker stations are going to be set up around digital photography.

Students will come into the Learning Commons in small groups or independently to work through stations. Printed instructions will help students work through the station and learn something new.

Watch this space!

Maker Stations coming very soon!

Stations being set up

#YYCLC Day 10: Read Write Gold

Students at Keeler School learning how to use Read & Write Gold on their MacBooks to support their learning needs.

Friday, 12 September 2014

#YYCLC Day 9: Digital Citizenship Inquiry

Students adding to the class Google Doc about the importance of keep personal information private. We also used as a resource.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

#YYCLC Day 8: One & Only LC Visit

Grade 1s visiting the library/learning commons as a class to exchange book the one and only time this year. The rest will be independent book exchange!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Saturday, 6 September 2014


I’m presenting today at the MakerFaireYYC in a panel of outstanding CBE teachers and other teachers - I’m more excited about what I can learn than what I have to share! Some questions they have prepared for us are:
  1. ntroduce yourself and tell us how you’ve brought Maker to your school?

I’m Mike MacKenzie, and I was in the LC at Keeler for a few years. The LC space is a formal library with a student focus that encourages and supports hands-on learning and collaboration. Learning Commons, though, seem to be in a constant state of evolution. As the LC model develops, it has begun to emerge as a place where things (teacher directed and student directed) are being made/practiced. We just facilitate this evolution. 

2. Where/how did you connect maker to what you’re teaching? 

I taught with students throughout all grades (K-6), often on projects in Social Studies, Science, or Math. Each group was “making things” (zombie shelters and other blueprints in math, parachutes, cars, and airplanes in science, etc.). My role in the LC was to make learning visible and attainable to all students - so maker stations were born. Why should only grade 6 students make parachutes? All kids should get a chance... And with that our maker stations were born. Recess and lunch hour meant kids from across the school could come and build the grade 6 project. And if they got stuck? Grade 6 students were the experts, so they connected with them!

3. What inspired you to want to try maker?

Visual learning... Shared learning... Accessible learning... Kids are entrepreneurial, imaginative, and engaged when they have an environment that is safe, available, and where they can feel free to make (or make mistakes). Kids learn from other kids. When we set up that environment, the learning didn’t stop when kids left the classroom.  

4. What were your challenges? 

Mess and noise. At the beginning we didn’t set up the expectations for cleaning up afterwards (and the storing of projects), and often it felt trashed. And because we didn’t set a number limit on the kids entering the LC, we had too many kids at lunch. We generally fixed these with time and giving clearer expectations. 

5. How did you set up your space physically? 

The Learning Commons at Keeler is a big open space with tables on castors that can morph into a thousand different combinations. Eye-Hooks were screwed into bookshelves for pulley stations (4 or 5 throughout), stations were set on top of book shelves and in tubs, and a RaspberryPi was connected to a tv (also on wheels) that was standing only for groups to program. 

6. What do you see as the future of maker in Education? 

The future of a “Maker” education is potentially enormous. Open challenges presented by students (or teachers), as teachers facilitate and encourage the growth of entrepreneurial spirit... Kids are trusted (and groomed) to be designers. Trust is shown by providing time, materials, and by allowing noise. Students will teach other kids, too. Not in a strictly, “Science Fair” way where only the end product is shown- they will come together throughout the process and celebrate the process and the end products. Assessment, too, will be on competencies and processes where even if an end product doesn’t work, the ideas and creativity will be considered with more weight. 

Friday, 5 September 2014

Thursday, 4 September 2014