Browsing Category

Critical Thinking

Creative Thinking Critical Thinking Learning Commons Makerspace Our TpT Products Project Based Learning Science

Host a Maker Walk

Are your students using your Makerspace and now you want to show off their hard work? Host a Maker Walk. Picture a science fair, but so much cooler because it’s filled with the creations your students made in your Makerspace!

If you’ve ever run a science fair, you know the basics of organizing the event. Pick a date, time, place and then ask students to bring in their projects. They are judged and winners are announced. The difference is very small, but the object of a Maker Walk is to let the makers talk to each other, share their creations and inspire each other, so instead of judging, look to let the makers give each other feedback.

Encourage others to come see the creations. Invite classmates, teachers and local community members. The first even will always be a little smaller but as it catches fire, the word will spread and you’ll have more makers that you can handle. The event can be mandatory, but we’ve had better results just asking for participants. We don’t usually have prizes, but they love to talk about what they’ve created and share it with others.

We created an organization product to help you sort out all the details. It includes examples of some of our events, pictures, possible themes and materials to get your inspired. You can find it in our store.

We hope your students enjoy the Maker Walk as much as ours have. Be sure to tag us in any photos as our students would love to see the creations around the world!

Love the Ninjas

Critical Thinking Current Events Our TpT Products Social Studies

The Pipeline Perspective

The Canadian news is flooded with discussions about pipelines and where they should or shouldn’t be built. So, how do we address these issues in the classrooms? Many of our students have family members who work in the oil industry and many have parents who work closely with Indigenous people and environmentalists. So when these issues are so hotly contested in the media, how do we teach students to listen to all perspectives and form opinions based on facts (especially in light of how many people are unable to look past bias)?

We created a product that introduces all sides of the pipeline issue. It’s not meant to have students create an opinion, but to learn to listen to a variety of perspectives. Sometimes when we feel passionately about an issue, it’s difficult to hear the other side. Even as teachers, we have to be careful to not influence the opinions of our students. We need to teach students to listen and evaluate multiple perspectives, disagree respectfully and back up their opinions with facts rather than other people’s opinions.

You can find in our store here.

We’d love to hear about your experiences discussing polarizing issues with your students. How are you managing the current culture of differing sides? How do you keep your personal opinion out of the classroom? Please share with us in the comments below.

Love the Ninjas

Classroom Management Creative Thinking Critical Thinking Differentiation Our TpT Products Professional Learning Project Based Learning

Why You Should Give Students Choices

How would you feel if you knew you were a wonderful writer but the only way you could express yourself was through modern dance? What would you do if you have to recite your report card comments by memory to each and every parent? How would you feel if you were given the choice to write your report cards any way YOU want? (Ours would be invisible!)

Wouldn’t that be amazing? Wouldn’t that make you want to write the best report cards the world has ever seen?

So why are we so determined as teachers that there’s only one way to assess our students? Why can’t they have choices too? Continue Reading

Creative Thinking Critical Thinking Makerspace Our TpT Products Professional Learning Project Based Learning

Work Through the Design Process

Here’s a quick lesson you can do with your students to learn how to use your Makerspace while teaching students to enjoy the process.

Give your students a selection of pieces. These can be any material you have available. We used bottle caps, straws, tape, index cards and string. We also had scissors available. You can use these materials or use what you have in your Makerspace. The items should be flexible enough to let students explore. Continue Reading

Classroom Set Up Creative Thinking Critical Thinking Makerspace Our TpT Products Professional Learning Project Based Learning

What Goes in a Makerspace?

You’ve decided to have a Makerspace. What should you put in it? Any thing you want. Start small. We put out origami paper and a book during the first week just to see what would happen. (Turns out the answer to that question is lots of paper frogs.) But seriously, we made a list of potential items for your Makerspace. Continue Reading

Creative Thinking Critical Thinking Growth Mindset Makerspace Professional Learning Project Based Learning

Why Makerspaces?

Makerspaces: They seem to be all the buzz, but the concept that drives them isn’t new. For many years, we’ve been focused on directing every moment of our students’ lives. As parents, the lives of children are scheduled to the point they never have a moment to decide for themselves what to do. So when did we decide as adults that play is a bad thing?

Exploration is key to problem solving, critical thinking and self-regulation. Children learn by role-playing real-life situations, rearranging toys, touching materials or using items in unconventional ways. So why not include Makerspaces in our school environments? Continue Reading

Creative Thinking Critical Thinking Differentiation Historical Thinking Our TpT Products Project Based Learning Social Studies Universal Design for Learning

The Reasons For Project Based Learning

Project Based LearningProject based learning can be a challenge because it moves the control from the teacher to the student. When we began our teaching journey, controlling every aspect of student work from beginning to end seemed like the right thing to do. As we’ve evolved as teachers, we learned that loosening the reigns has many benefits.  Check out some of the best reasons we use project based learning in our classroom. Continue Reading

Critical Thinking Differentiation Growth Mindset Our TpT Products Professional Learning The Learning Pit Universal Design for Learning

The Learning Pit

The Learning PitTeaching students to overcome challenges can be difficult when we live in a society that is all about getting things done quickly. We have technology, parents and constant distractions constantly telling students they can learn anything anytime with little or no effort. As a teacher, this is very challenging when students feel they’ve failed, get frustrated or give up right away.

This was what was happening in our classroom. Students that could manage challenges were more successful overall because they kept working until they got it. It felt like it was a lack of effort, but it was much more than that. So we started investigating and researching best practices to help us teach students to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Continue Reading

Creative Thinking Critical Thinking Our TpT Products Science

Design an Electrical Game Board

Electrical Game BoardAs ninjas we are always looking for ways to teach our students new skills like problem solving and critical thinking without the students KNOWING we are teaching them skills like problem solving and critical thinking.

As part of our science curriculum, students in Alberta have to design and build devices that use electricity, so we came up with an electrical trivia game and the best part is students ENJOY it!  We challenged them to design a board game that would use an electrical circuit to check if an answer to a trivia questions was correct or not.  Some students thrived Continue Reading