Friday, April 20, 2012

Celebrating Earth Day with Dance and Song

After my wonderful 2nd grade colleague, Crystal, and I wrote a song for Earth Day on Garageband, we challenged our students ( 2nd and 4th grade reading buddies) to create their own dance moves to represent Air, Fire, Water and the Earth.  If we had had more time to prepare, we would have had them compose the song but we only had 4 days to prepare! The students came up with an incredible plan and Crystal worked the magic for it to all come together.

Here is the song:

Although I cannot show you photos with their faces here, I can show a couple shots and let you hear the music.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Break the Rules!

Inspired by wonderful educators and thinkers I've met on Twitter, Pam Moran, Ira Socol and their work with schools here, I went out on a limb and broke the rules last week! I was further inspired by the work of Michael Thornton shown here.  After privately testing to be sure that the dry erase markers wouldn't stain the desks, I carefully planned my surprise.

As I talked with students at the beginning of the day about our plans, I casually walked up and began to write on a student's desk, sharing that I had been invited to discover a new way to illustrate our learning. Gasps and giggles erupted as I showed how I could erase my work easily. "When can WE do that?" was of course, the next question.  And, by the way, this question has been asked nearly every day since.

During math, our lesson ( as described by our curriculum) required students to practice drawing lines of different lengths. This was the perfect activity to practice measurement, both drawing these lines, reporting their lengths in different units, and then later measuring and calculating the perimeter and area of their desks.

Enjoy a few pictures, with faces omitted due to school policies.

There is something really fun about "breaking the rules!"

Students all brought in old socks the next day in anticipation of needing more erasers :-)

100% of the students are engaged when we write on desks!

I'll take that heart as a symbol she is having fun!

Students who often draw other pictures instead of answering problems on white boards did not get off task.

By the way, the marker wipes right off and if there is residue, dry erase cleaner or disinfectant wipes get the surface clean!