Friday, February 20, 2009

5th Grade Humor?

Some days as a teacher, I'm concerned for the youth of America. I have felt this concern overwhelming the past few days in my classroom, and I really needed to share my feelings with someone. Thanks for listening.

Why, you ask?

Let me start by saying that I consider myself pretty tuned-in to what kids (or tweens) are into these days. Knowing what my students are interested in helps me relate to them, and it allows me to reach them as learners. Fifth graders can be pretty random, but I find myself fairly tolerant. The past couple of days however, I have questioned the sanity of all 10 and 11 year-olds.

They have been walking around our classroom obnoxiously singing and saying the oddest things. (I'd tell you what, but it'd spoil the surprise!)

Finally, I asked them, "Where in the world is this coming from?"

"YouTube!!!" They announced with glee, and later, one of them emailed me this link.

Just watch it, and you'll understand why I'm having a hard time putting this all into words.

Are fifth graders odd for thinking this is the coolest thing ever, or am I bananas?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dottie the bear hunter

I was sitting in my living room grading papers, when Dottie inspired me to be distracted. Her persistence in nudging me and overall cuteness coaxed me into a game of fetch, or "go get em,'" as we call it here in the Schmeebz household. Life shouldn't be all work and no play - right? Procrastination justified.

I was going to write this blog from the perspective of Dottie, then I stopped myself. Did I really want to go there? Did I really want to be that person who writes blogs from the perspective of their dog? No, not today anyway.

I ended up taking a series of pictures of our interaction, and didn't realize until later that it sequences perfectly this common occurrence.

Dottie found this festive doorknob cover somewhere in the Christmas stuff. She thinks it's her toy now. I mean, who wouldn't want the head of a bear dressed as Santa wearing a red bowtie as their plaything?

The drop in front of you is always the initiation of the game. She's giving me the eye as if to say, "game on."

I ignore her. (I'm such an attentive caretaker) So she nudges it closer, as if maybe I missed the first dropping of the top of a decapitated bear directly in front of me.

I still ignore her. So she beats up on Santa-tie-guy in front of me. Maybe I will step in and save this poor trunkless cub by chucking him through the air far away from the evil pup.

And yet I still ignore her. (Is that bad parenting?) So what does she do? Gives the old "cute face" to the one-who-always-caves. He is more commonly known as Jay, or the man with the large forehead.

Where did bust-of-hoho-bowbear go in this picture? Jay picked it up. The look works every time.

Finally, the little dipface brings her festivuscarnivorous back to me. The one who ignored her all along. I don't think we'll probably ever bring her hunting.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Digital Storytelling

This past month, my class had the unique opportunity to have access to a laptop cart with 20 MacBook computers on it. For anyone who knows my love affair with technology, you know that without a doubt, I had to come up with a fabulous project to seize this chance.

So...I decided to take our typical study of biographies, and give it a twist. First, students were assigned one of the six pillars of character - trustworthiness, responsibility, respect, fairness, caring, or citizenship. Together with a partner they were to come up with a "definition" so to speak of that pillar of character. They were to decide what displaying that pillar looks like, sounds like, etc. We talked a lot about the difference between being a person who is famous and someone who is known for their leadership and character.

Next, students were to find a person that they felt was an outstanding example of that pillar of character. They had to show this through important events in the person's life, people who influenced them, and compassion they have shown for others.

Finally, students created a digital biography in iMovie. They took all of their information and created a storyboard and script, collected digital images, recorded sound and downloaded music.
For most of them, it was their first time working with multimedia and working with Macs.

I had such a blast working with my students on this project. I really have to admit, their final products were above and beyond my expectations! Here is a sampling of how they turned out:

I'm such a proud teacher!! Can you believe these are done by 10 year olds?