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Design Thinking Helps Grade V Get A “Charge” Out Of The Maker Space


Ms. McLean works with two Grade V students


The Maker Space in action!








Throughout the electricity unit, Grade V students build an understanding of electric energy through a series of mini-investigations. In pairs, they construct series and parallel circuits, learn the importance of conductive materials and explore the inner workings of lightbulbs. Once they have a foundation in the essential understandings necessary for creating working circuits, they receive electricity tinkering kits comprised of a collection of items hand-selected by Ms. McLean including alligator clips, motors, LEDs, and resistors. Students are challenged to use the skills they’ve learned throughout the unit to craft projects of their own design that are powered by circuits using the materials found in the tinkering kits. There are no instructions – only a few teacher examples for inspiration and a manual to help construct electrical components from every day items like paper clips. As students work independently to innovate and document the scientific process, they are encouraged to learn from their mistakes and empowered to find creative solutions to complex problems. They provide feedback for each other and engage in reflective learning throughout the process. All of these actions and reactions model elements of design thinking, which you can learn more about in this article from the Innovative Parent blog.

Check out the videos below to see our Grade V students reflecting on the process and their Maker Space projects during a recent Morning Meeting:

Watch part 1 of their Morning Meeting presentation  HERE

Watch part 2 of their Morning Meeting presentation  HERE

Watch part 3 of their Morning Meeting presentation HERE


Have You Filled A Bucket Today?

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” Amelia Earhart

At our Middle Division Morning Meeting on Tuesday, November 15th, I read aloud the story, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? For the past ten years, this book has served as the foundation of a very popular character education program in elementary schools across the country.

The story helps children understand the metaphor of an invisible bucket. The story is simple and highly effective in understanding how our actions and words have a lasting impact on others. We, children and adults, each carry an invisible bucket that represents our emotions, feelings, and thoughts about ourselves. When we express acts of kindness to others, we fill their buckets. Our buckets can also be dipped, removing positive feelings.

At the end of the read aloud, during our moment of silence, I asked the children to think about the most recent time someone filled their bucket and reflect on what it looked like, what it sounded like, and what it felt like. I also asked the children to think about someone’s bucket they could fill as we began our day. I asked them to notice how they felt after they filled a bucket. Did they feel happy too?

My hope is that students think about the happiness and positive feelings they can create when they fill other people’s buckets. Filling a bucket could make someone feel cared for, happy, accepted, respected, and supported. Acts of kindness, have two positive outcomes, both the recipient’s bucket and the giver’s bucket are filled with happiness. Spreading joy throughout the day and promoting compassion and kindness impacts everyone and our school environment in a positive manner. A safe and nurturing learning environment that promotes kindness and respect for all members of its community, impacts the whole child. The emotional, social, and mental well being of children directly impacts their cognition, engagement, and academic success.

I highly recommend this book and hope that you will read this story at home with your child.



“Be Yourself; Everyone Else is Already Taken.”

“Be Yourself; Everyone Else is Already Taken.” -Oscar Wilde

To kickstart our school year, I asked the Middle Division Team to help me bring alive the book, Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles. I chose this book because of its central theme, be comfortable and proud of who you are. This is the first message I wanted our children to hear from me, their new Middle Division Head.

The beginning of every new school year presents a lot of anxiety and I wanted to create an engaging, entertaining first morning meeting that helped break the ice and connect with the children’s hearts and minds. My goal was for the students to hear loud and clear from their new Middle Division Head and Faculty & Staff that our school is a safe place to be yourself.

From the first day of a brand new school year, we expect our students to take risks, be courageous, and lean into discomfort. I thought that seeing the adults on stage modeling risk taking, showing courage by stepping outside of their comfort zones, and having fun, signaled to students that we are all in this together.

The students highly enjoyed the read aloud and watching their teachers in character! At the end of the performance, we captured the theme by sharing the following quote by Oscar Wilde, “Be Yourself; Everyone Else is Already Taken.” In order to help remind students of this powerful message throughout the school year, we wrote the quote on bulletin board paper and asked all Middle Division students and adults to show their mark by adding their fingerprint to the paper. The quote along with a picture of Edward the Emu is hanging on the bulletin board outside of my office to remind everyone that we are all unique individuals and we celebrate all of our differences. It is my desire to help students feel confident that they can achieve their goals, have a sense of belonging and high self esteem, in order to meet their fullest potential. At the end of the book, Edward the Emu discovers that “being an emu may be the best thing after all”, at Park we want our students to look forward to coming to school knowing that “being themselves is the best thing after all.”

To view a portion of our performance click HERE!