A Moment in My Classroom: Let’s Create

A Moment In My Classroom
This seems to happen each year…this type of moment in my classroom.  Fresh off the ICE conference and well into a routine with my students.  I suddenly feel inspired to start changing things.  This year was the same as last.  The change meant it was time for my students to start blogging.

Student blogging is nothing new to me.  My class blogged last year too.  It should have been something that I started right at the beginning of the school year, but with a new group of 6th graders and a brand new Reading and Language Arts curriculum, it left me little time for anything considered extra.

Three quarters of school and more the six months into school, me and my students were ready…ready to start blogging!

A Moment in My Classroom: Let's Create By Carrie Baughcum

….as eyes lit up and smiles of inspiration took over faces, I wondered why they heck did I wait so long to do this and I knew that I would never wait this long ever again!!!

 

You can check out other Moments In My Classroom here!

The Lesson That Was The Problem

A Moment In My Classroom: Problem SolvingSkill building, structured, routine and direct instruction are the foundation of the instruction I provide.  My students flourish in structure, in the routine and the predictable. They excel because of the strong focus on student skills and consistent presence of tools to enable them to compensate for their weaknesses.  I spend everyday establishing routines, making my class predictable, working on student skills, building academic skills and teaching/training them to use technology to enhance their learning, help them compensate for their weaknesses and access to information.  I am excited for the moment when my students are ready to put down the books and start applying all of these skills to a project.

I came up with a project I knew they would love.  I gave a detailed expectation, the project requirements, shared  the grading rubric and I taught them how to use app I wanted them to use to produce the final product with (we even practiced using it).  I was certain that they would be able to independently make a great final product and finish feeling very successful about what they had created!

I handed out the iPads and sat in the front of the room ready to watch and relish in my teacher glory the awesomeness that I had set up for them to experience and feel about themselves.

One hand went up.   Then another.  The questions started.  One after another, after another.  How could this be?  I gave them all the tools. I had prepared them.  By the time the bell rang I slumped into my chair exhausted, defeated and wondering what the heck just happened!

As I drove home that day  I couldn’t help but think about that lesson what had gone so not the way I had expected.   How, what I thought was perfectly prepared lesson, a lesson I thought would empower them, enable them to be independent …how could it not have gone perfectly?  Then it hit me.  The one thing….the one part I had failed to remember. The part I had forgotten was that no matter how much I planned.  No matter how much I structured, organized, added visuals to things…it is still new.  This project had nothing to do with the project and everything to do with problem-solving.  This project wasn’t about creating a product but instead was about practicing and applying problem solving skills…this project was about them taking their problem solving skills to a whole new level!

Problem Solving Rubric
 ‘CLICK’ Here for Downloadable LEVEL 1 Problem Solving Skill Rubric

So I decided it was time to take a new approach.

A Moment In My Classroom: It’s Magic!

A Moment In The ClassHe had been working on a project for weeks in my classroom.  It was time to get back into our usual Social Studies routine.  I knew that the shift and transition back to this routine would take a couple of days for my student to re-adjust to the expectations of participating in class, listening to group instructions and taking notes on the topic were learning about.

He was taking the break he earned from the class before mine and I knew he would be a little late getting to my class.  He usually took notes using Microsoft word.  It worked ok for him but he still needed a lot of adult prompting and additional interventions to type his notes from the board and stay on task.  All of my older students used Google Drive docs to take all their notes on.

I wondered….

Do you think he could?

What if I???

A Moment In My Class #1: Today It Rained

A Moment In The Class

Every Friday in my Math class is a Snow Day.

Every Friday it snows when white pieces of paper are throw randomly on the floor around the room.

Students pick up one piece of paper from the floor and I write a math problem on the board (usually a problem from a concept we worked on during the week or a problem from past lessons)

Students solve the problem, make a snowball and toss it to a peer to get it checked

I circulate the room to ensure students are grading each others work correctly.

If a student needs to make a correction on their work, the student who graded the problem walks over to the student who solved it and explains/reteaches that student what need to correct.  If the student who solved the problem  is correct their snowball gets tossed back to them (when deciding what problems to give to students I do use this activity as an opportunity to review mastered concepts.  This keeps corrections at a minimum and allows for a lot of review, practice and positive feedback)

(Added by my students….) Then the snowball gets tossed into (or at least they try to toss it into it) the recycling bin they have set up in the front of the room to act as a basketball hoop…hand drawn back board and all.

Every week we all look forward to this class period.  It is full of movement, fun, increased interaction with their peers, great skill review and who doesn’t love to throw paper in class!

SOOOOOO today when I said to the class we are having a Snow Day I suddenly heard…

“UUUgggggggg!!!”

“NO!!!!”

“No more snow!”

“No snow days!”

“It is SPRING!!! We have to have a RAINY DAY!!!”

As soon as the words left their mouths I couldn’t help but smile as I changed gears and sent two students to the supply cabinet to get blue notecards.

Today were were going to make it rain in in our classroom!

The Day It Rained in My Math Class

And as they crumpled up the a blue notecard after solving their math problem on it and getingt it checked, they threw it at the recycling bin and realized… even though they didn’t want a Snow Day…snow balls are easier to throw then rain!!!!

I just sat and smiled!  It was a really fun moment in my classroom!