Moberly Arts Centre and because of the strike we had to postpone our next session until after the March break. Our sessions will eventually culminate in the planting in the herb garden fiery herbs and participating in Elemental on June 9.
Each session the students have done exercises to help them with story telling, they have listened to stories and had guest story tellers work with them but a part of each session we have been working on our "story", a very interesting saga of a bear and a scorpion who travel from India to Egypt to Austria to New Jersey and back to India with many adventures and challenges along the way. Each student has contributed to the story and moved the action forward. I can't really totally explain how involved the students are in their story and what a sense of community this gives them. They can hardly wait to return to work with Naomi, our facilitator and storyteller.
At the last session they finished the story and Naomi talked about mapping it-a rough sketch emerged. When we came back to class the students drew their own maps and wrote about the map or their experience with these sessions. As I looked at their maps I really wanted to share them with you.
I will quote Alfred...
The storytelling session yesterday was fun and interesting. I did some research on the stone soup story and found out that the version Naomi told us is the French version because of the soldiers.
The gift I am bringing to the next session is my creative imagination. Ever since I was young I always liked to imagine stuff even in stories. For me, it is easy to imagine something.
The second day was great and I liked the chicken and fox story that Melanie Ray told us. Melanie was a very good storyteller because she really put lots of detail like the expression and the tone of her voice the character spoke with. The story we did at the end was funny continuing the bear and scorpion story.
Making the third part of the story was very fun because of imagination. I really want to keep going with the bear and the scorpion story because there could be an adventure anytime. Naomi is really good at storytelling and I hope to hear another story from her or someone like Melanie again.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
We have now had three sessions (well actually five now) with our artist in residence, Phyllis Schwartz. We had a two week hiatus due to her being away on holiday and our long weekend. So far the students have done masks and hand built projects of their choice. They have had a marvelous time and are eagerly awaiting her return to work with glazes and decorate their works of art.
When I was a consultant I was often told how great it was to have me in a classroom (okay at least sometimes) and I loved being in those classrooms. This year having Phyllis teaching the children, I realize how much kids benefit when someone has knowledge and passion about a subject and in her case, much patience and appreciation of the children's efforts. I, as a teacher, so appreciate how she can do what I really can not.
I want to freeze the experience a bit for my students and I have found that the best writing occurs from what experiences kids actually have.
Before we began working with Phyllis, I had the kids think about masks, look at examples of different kinds of masks and do a bit of research into masks (thanks again, Wikipedia). During the project I had them keep "Clay diaries" writing shortly after they had worked with Phyllis each time. Then they edited these and did drawings of the steps of their progress and published them.
I think we were all pleased with the results and I will share a few here.
Since then we had Day Four when students painted their masks.
the finished products that we put in the show case yesterday!
To say that my students were excited to be back at school Thursday would be an understatement. They may not all admit it but they love being at our school. Thursday was absolutely crazy. Phyllis had dropped off all our pottery so that was very exciting. Each group was supposed to prepare a recipe demonstration in French Tuesday so I had all those posters and some ingredients in the class as well. Then the grade sevens had Ancient Greek projects due Thursday as well. I should have taken a picture. What with the ipads as well my class was very crowded.
Back to those Ancient Greek projects. The Grade Sevens only had a couple of weeks to do these as I hoped to have them brought to conclusion prior to the break. Having three days off made it a bit more difficult for them but most of them did get finished on time. We are moving on to Ancient Rome but I have actually posted the project now so that they can get started if they want during the break. They begged me to let them so that is a good sign.
Lunch was a meeting of the Tech Committee to go over guidelines and procedures with the ipads. It's been great having them in the classroom but they will be moving to the library so that all classes can book them out and there will be a wireless router with the cart.
We ended the afternoon with an Intermediate Sports Assembly. In our small school it's amazing how many students are able to participate in sports every season thanks to our amazing P.E. teacher and other teacher and SEA volunteers who coach.
I really don't know if our government really understands how much school means to many of our students.
I am very much looking forward to my break (and note I received my pay statement when I got home with about $1200 deducted from it for our strike and please note we aren't paid for the summer). I know I keep making political statements!
Despite not doing report cards this year, I don't think I could work much harder than I do, the idea of ten days in Florida sounds wonderful, but as crazy as it sometimes can be, I will really miss my students.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Yesterday I decided to let them try out Videolicious on the ipads. I divided the class into three and each period one group had the ipads. With a partner each student was able to go around the school and make a video. Now I can assure you that there weren't any academy award presentations but they certainly had a great time and we had lots of laughs watching them. Later two of the girls showed one of our teachers how to videotape her student teacher teaching!
Motion Math, Hungry Fish) you get a great idea of positive and negative numbers. You can read a book, play the piano, research for your Ancient Greek project and write up your notes. You can present projects to others easily and it's really great for working collaboratively. Thanks to sites mainly recommended on Twitter I have some amazing applications.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore, based on the academy winning animated film, this interactive book is amazing. Last period Thursday we had half the reading buddies using the ipads with half the class, while the other half did their usually reading. Friday last period we switched. Needless to say they had a great time.
At one point yesterday I looked at one of the girls and asked, "Is this the craziest class you have ever been in?" and with a smile she said,"Yes!" as two of the boys piped up and said it was the best ever, that it was awesome. I think we have engagement!