Designing our Design LAB

2015-16: A Year of Learning, Making and Designing Together

Last Week at Design Lab:

9th Graders are in the Makerspace learning to deconstruct pallets. Our students are solving their first real-world problem. Our first problem to solve was generated by Mr. Senor. How do we turn pallets into steps for aerobic exercise? Students are working through their own designs, constraints, and learning to use our tools. I saw students who are traditionally disengaged in class, locked in on the learning. I saw students arguing over the math required to determine the location of the first cut. I heard one student say, "Look at his prototype, we need to make it like that." And I heard another student in the group respond with, "We don't need to make it his way. We need to make it our way."

12th Graders are learning to use our Green Screen. We downloaded an IPAD app and taught ourselves how to use it. I saw 12th graders positioning each other to ensure the image what right on the screen. I heard 12th graders laugh together and enjoy creating something new. I saw 12th graders trying different strategies and tools within the app. And I've loved showing our results to students and teachers across the building.

9th Graders designing wallets for users in History Class to learn empathy. Over several days last week, students in World History class were making wallets for users. The students are so proud of their creations. Ask to see them when you talk to a 9th grader.

PE/Health Students collecting data at lunch. Last week our students started collecting data about school lunch. Each day, students kept track of how many people took a lunch that day. As we move forward they will begin to collect data about what's eaten, what's not, and how much is consumed and wasted.

Journalism students interviewing teachers and students. Our journalism class is beginning to collect stories for our first edition of the DL Newspaper. I saw students interviewing teachers for the stories they are about to write.

What Else Happened at Design Lab Last Week?

The above list is just a sample of the learning that occurred last week. What happened in your class? What real-world problem are you having students solve? Share with your colleagues the great learning that is occurring in your class. How does it relate to a real-world problem? Is there an intended audience? What Thinking, Making, and Problem Solving did your students address?

Green Screen Practice Videos

Check out our First Practice Green Screen Videos!
Making our first green screen video

Check Out the Work in the MakerSpace!

Pallet Making Video 1
Sanding the Step

What Does Making Look Like at Other Schools?

The Albermarle County Virginia schools started focusing on Making in School several years ago. Their superintendent and her leadership team have committed to building a makerspace in every school in the district. From the superintendent, to district administrators to principals and teachers, Albermarle County is great at publicizing the amazing work they are doing. The district also had a teacher-representative at the Maker Roundtable I attended at the White House in June. In our opening PD, several of you asked about examples of what this looks like at other schools. I think it's hardest to see what making and design can look like in History classes. It seems the least concrete. So here's a fabulous example of what making looks like in a middle school history class.

The article is also located in the Design Lab Staff Folder.

News and Notes: 9-8-9-11

-We will have both ProCore Testing and NWEA Testing this week. Jessica Yox is our new Testing Coordinator, and she will be around to speak with you about both tests.

It's vital for 9th and 10th grade teachers to set a serious and positive tone for NWEA tests. These tests give us important data about where our students are in their learning. When we set a positive tone about the importance of these tests, the students follow our lead. Please set the right tone.

-I am expecting a Fire Safety Inspection some time this month. Please make sure the evacuation route is posted at the door of your classroom. We will also have a fire drill some time in September. Please review the evacuation route from your classroom.

-There is a district AAP meeting on Friday, from 8:30-11:30. Ken Beavers, Shawntel Bailey, and I will be attending the meeting. Coverage is needed for their classes. The purpose of the meeting is the following:

-Monitor the degree of implementation of the first 20 days of our AAP

-Evaluate the effects on desired changes, ensuring school team is progressing towards desired goals

-Reflect and get feedback from the District Leadership Team

-Review and refine first quarter targets and update action plans for the November AAP meeting

-Next Thursday, September 17 is both a half day for students and Open House. As we discussed at the start of the year, all parent events will be Exhibition Nights. We want our school walls, halls, and classrooms filled with what students have made or designed. We need to tell students that they should invite their parents to see their work. We average about 25 parents at our Open House event. If students invite their own parents because their excited for their parents to see what they have created, we'll get a better turnout. What will you show in your class? What can you do to generate excitement among the students to show their parents what students have created? We are targeting sixty parent attendees for Open House. That would double our best parent attendance rate at any event. What will you do to help get parents here?

-200 Minutes this week:

-Tuesday-Personal Planning Time

-Wednesday-Staff meets in the teacher's room to discuss student data in teams

-Thursday-Staff continues work in teams to work with student data

-The Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah is Monday, September 14, and Tuesday, September 15. I will be out both days celebrating the holiday with my family. I'll let you know if there will be a substitute principal in place.

Thank You's:

A huge thank you to:

-Our custodian Loretta for fighting on our behalf to get our AC units fixed

-Our food services staff for helping us get cold water for everyone

-Rob Senor, Shawntel Bailey, Rosemary White, Katharine Sroka, Loretta Farmer, Garvin Yeung, Donika Memaj, Jessica Stickel, Michelle Asberry, Ana Terry and Sean Wheeler for putting up with extreme heat all last week. Thank you for your patience and understanding

-Donika Memaj for ably subbing for Eddy Ezepue

-Meghan Paris for braving saw usage for the first time

-Jessica Yox for sorting through the many sets of tests sent to us last week

-Rosemary White for thinking about what her students' need before thinking about her own comfort level

Thanks to all of you for your efforts last week. We're off to a great start. Let's keep working together and focusing our efforts on improving student learning.