Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Santa Letters from a Character

I'm a bit of Grinch this time of year. :) Instead of having the kiddos write Santa letters-I want this toy or I want an XBox, my students write to Santa from a character. Since we are reading Charlotte's Web right now, I asked them to write from the perspective of Wilbur-what would Wilbur ask for. I did get a few who said a scooter or books-which is probably what the student wants, certainly not what a pig wants, but I was actually really impressed with their answers!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

In Defense of the Grinch

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of my favorite holiday stories. I'm a sucker for characters who change their behavior and become good. :) There are so many activities you can do with this story, one of my favorites is to have the students think like a lawyer and defend the Grinch. My students were not familiar with the vocabulary of a judge, jury, courtroom, lawyers. So we looked at pictures from the courtroom and watched a court case in action.

Then the students finished the sentence--"The Grinch should not go to jail because....". I know it's easy to talk about why what he did was wrong, but defending his actions take a little more thinking.


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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Gingerbread Ethics

I was doing training for my colleagues last week on Depth and Complexity and I told them Ethics is by far my favorite D&C concept to teach! (Yes, I know it makes me a total nerd that I have a favorite. :)  Ethics is all about taking a side and developing reasoning for that argument. Is it right or wrong? Are you pro/con? When my students first come to me it is very important for them to give me the "right" answer-what does she want me to say? After doing these activities throughout the year, they end up students who are capable of having an opinion and making an argument for it. I don't know if their parents particularly like that I'm making them better arguers :) but maybe there will be a future litigator in the bunch.

We read Gingerbread stories and I asked the students to write whether it was right or wrong that the Gingerbread cookie ran away? The little old lady and the little old man were sad and the Gingerbread Man certainly didn't get very far after he met the fox. Was it the right thing to do? Many of the students did say that it was "right". When this happens sometimes I even assign them a side like they do on debate teams-this half of the room say how it was "right" this half "wrong".



Now I do get these answers in the beginning. It's almost as if they are thinking it's a true/false question instead of right/wrong. It was right because that is what happened.

Gingerbread Self-Defense argument :) 

I love that she took the other side of the argument. She said if she was hungry she would not want her cookie to run away.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors

So I discovered this hilarious book by the author of the Day the Crayons Quit:

This man truly understands what makes kids laugh. The story begins in the Realm of the Backyard where Rock is looking for a formidable foe. There is a pattern to the story that makes it interactive and there is talk of underwear and how the apricot looks like a butt which you know makes kids sit up and pay attention. I LOVE reading books like this where I can be silly and do different voices.

So I asked the students to come up with a new foe for either Rock, Paper or Scissors and to write who would win. It always cracks me up to see them play this with each other because inevitably one will say "volcano" and that beats everything so they win. I expected them to come up with things like that but it was the 1st day back after a week-long break so I did get some Rock vs. Scissors, etc.

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