Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Rules Icon

It's difficult for my students to apply rules to anything except what you are not supposed to do in class! We are getting there, however. We've used this icon in math often-the rules of 10's and 1's, the rules of identifying shapes and spelling is easy-the rule of using "y" at the end of a word. Now we are moving toward incorporating it into science.

We discussed the "Rules" of being an artic animal. The fact that artic animals need to have ways of protecting themselves from the cold and from being open to predators. They have blubber, thick fur, ways to camouflage--all rules of these animals. Then I asked them to invent their own arctic animal using these parameters. It was again challenging for many of them to come up with something NEW. They wanted to do a dog or cat-many of them combined 2 animals-a penguin/shark. In the end, I believe the activity at least made them think a little harder, which of course, is my classroom mission!

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  1. Oh, how I wished I had this idea earlier. My daughter's teacher (first grade) invited the students to do a research project on a polar animal. She wanted 1 page written and a drawn picture. She later emailed me and said that if my daughter wanted to do something more she could. I asked her and she was planning it out before I could finish telling her. LOL! She planned out the project and filled it with math, science experiments, vocabulary, comparing/contrasting, maps, 2 pages written (1 for each animal...because she didn't just want to do one), art projects for each animal, photo albums of each animal, and a creative writing piece. I dug around in my brain forever trying to come up with something for her for the creative writing and I just couldn't think of anything like this. She would have loved this idea so much! I will probably mention this to her anyway. I knew there was a reason I added your site to my igoogle homepage! Thanks!

  2. Wow-you're little one is a go-getter! Yeah, I try to get them to invent/create whenever possible. Some had difficulty with it, but I think everyone benefitted from the activity in the end.

  3. I'm really interested in the `Icons' you seem to use in most aspects of your teaching. Can you explain them or let me know where I can learn more about them please?

  4. Jen-the icons represent concepts to help the kids go deeper into their thinking. So, for example, with perspective-you view the world differently depending on your own experiences. If you are a butterfly you see much different things than if you are a caterpillar. Or the roots of a plant have a much different view of the world than the flower at the top. It forces them to think on a higher level.

    It also helps give them vocabulary to describe what they are learning. My kids will hear someone say an older kid was writing on the walls in the bathroom and their response now is "that's not ethics" (of course, they mean ethical, but little steps :)They can understand story characters better in a sense of what's right and wrong. This site is an overview:

    This site is an overview:

  5. Thanks so much for that - will have a look (and probably be back with more questions!) :)