Saturday, October 5, 2013

Community and Mapping Fun!!

I blogged earlier about our first PBL -- "New School Brochure" (which ties our community and mapping lessons together) and thought I would back up and let y'all know what we did to build up to this project. 

COMMUNITY- After spending the first couple weeks talking about what a community is, beginning with our own classroom community! We went over rules and procedures and how they help keep our classroom community a safe place to be. We also discussed how we each bring something special and unique to our community. 
MAPPING- At the same time we were discussing mapping. We read "Me on a Map" and created little flip books of where we are on the map, beginning with our planet and ending with our address. I asked the kids if an alien friend from another planet how would they find you? The students also created detailed maps of their homes. 

COMMUNITY- We then moved on to town communities by reading "Boom Town" (a wonderful story about a family who move for the gold rush to a place with nothing and she begins making and selling pies while convincing others to open up shops like stables, banks, schools, churches....). 
MAPPING- The kids created their own town maps with streets and different businesses, schools, churches, neighborhoods and ect. On the back of their maps they had to say why that place on their map was important to have in a community. 

**This really bridged the two together and prepared them for the project**

We learned about compasses. Each student got a compass and we walked around the school finding out which way the nurse's clinic faced, what direction the office was in and ect. The kids LOVED it!!!! They were so transfixed on their compasses and watching them move with each turn that they were seriously running into walls and each other!! They caught on quickly after the experienced the compasses hands-on. 

PROJECT TIME! See my PBL post: 
to learn more about how I implemented our first PBL in our classroom! 

Happy Teaching Friends!

PBL: "New to School Brochure"

Ah... our first PBL (project based learning) task. I always have a love/hate relationship with the first project. This is usually the first time they are doing a PBL where they are working in groups and have to rely on each other (a task hard for most adults to do much less 8 year olds...) and they are also use to having examples galore and struggle with the concept "this is YOUR project, if you want to use markers you can! If you want to use tape vs glue you CAN!" oh the freedom... their little brains just can't wrap around it!! BUT-- I do love seeing their smiling faces and sense of accomplishment after the first project. They are always SO SO SO proud of what they have created and I am SO SO SO proud and amazed at what they learned. It is an amazing experience. 

For this FIRST project our sweet counselor came in and presented the "problem" to the kiddos. 

PROBLEM/QUESTION- "We have many new students and families that aren't only new to our school but also new to the community. So the kids don't only know their way around their new school but also know nothing about their new town! How can we effectively let them know about our new school and our community along with a map of our school so they don't feel so nervous?"

Since this is the first project we guided them to the idea of a brochure or pamphlet with the school map on the inside with some information about our school and community on the outer flaps. 
***(Before they were presented with this problem we had been spending the past few weeks talking about our community and mapping skills.)*** 

FIRST- We went over the rubric and the expectations for their brochures and maps of the school. 

SECOND- I broke them into their groups. They created their contract while discussing how they will resolve problems that arise and how they will treat each other. The group members and I signed their contract. 

THIRD- We toured the school collecting all the information we would need for their maps. Room numbers, teacher names, the hallway numbers, the order of the rooms... ect. (This was very frustrating for the kids and we left a trail of tears down the hallways both mine and the children's...) 

FOURTH- I gave them a full sized poster board, with a blank map of the school already drawn on it. 
This wasn't originally the plan but after we had our Tour of Tears, I desperately needed to modify some -- for my own sanity!! This map they will do together and will act as the "rough draft" for their published maps on the actual brochures. 

FIFTH- the kids created their legend and compass rose. They also numbered the rooms and added the teacher names along with adding parking lots, pick up routes and whatever else they deemed important on their maps. Some added where the fish tank is while others thought the Lost and Found was an important place to know about! :) 
***This is where we are currently at in this process***
 The pink card is a "Question Card", a brilliant idea I heard about at a training this summer.
Each group gets 4 of these each time we work on the project. They have to turn in a card each time they ask ANY question, even to go to the restroom. They have to ALL agree to use the card. BEFORE we begin our work that day I answer every single question they have along with going to the restroom together, so they usually don't have to use the cards. This does put a stop to the "Can I use markers? What kind of glue am I suppose to use?" type questions quickly!  

SIXTH- Next week the kids will take their giant posters over to math class where they will add the scale (3 feet = 1 inch) to their maps. Here is where we will also throw a "twist" to the students. They will be presented with a "what if..." What if a legally blind student came and they needs to know the number of steps it took to get from one place to the next. Students will do some math by counting their steps for a bit down a hallway then predicting how many total it will take to get to the end. 

SEVENTH- Back in my classroom they will be researching the community and drafting what information they want to include in their brochures and type it out. 

EIGHTH- They will then each receive a legal sized piece of copy paper with their typed info on the flap and a blank map of the school on the inside. They will then copy what their rough draft map from the poster onto the copy paper map. Each student will receive their own map to publish. 

NINTH- I somehow copy these to create their brochures... I will probably just take their brochures to a place with a color copier and let them create the brochures! 

TENTH- Project OVER! Kids present their brochures to our counselor for our new students and families to enjoy!!! :) 

** I will add new pictures as we continue and hopefully finish smoothly!! **


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*** This project idea came from:
AN AMAZING SITE with GREAT PBL ideas with complete rubrics that are in a word document so they can be easily modified to fit your kids!!***

Happy Teaching Friends!

"My Super Hero" Imaginative Story with the PLOT mountain

We love writing in room 201! We are always taking a writing piece all the way through the process --
Once we finish one, we begin another the next day! I always try to make them fun and build the kids up so they are so excited to begin. 

One thing I also do is try to always show the connection between reading and writing to the students so they can see that we are READING a book that someone WROTE. One way I do this is the week we are beginning a new writing piece, we will read a story that is in the same genre and do a story map over that book. Then later that week when we begin our new paper we use the same story map for our pre-writing. This way they see that their writing needs to include all the same parts that the book did -- strong characters, a problem and solution, a clear beginning, middle and end, an exciting plot.

One of the first papers we did this year was a superhero imaginative story. The kids learned about plot and the parts of the plot mountain. Below you can see the story maps I used. When we used these with books I just deleted the super hero pictures and title so it was just plain and could be used with any story. I teach two different classes -- both on two totally different levels. The first one is the story map I used with my lower class, much simpler. The other one I used with my higher group and has all the correct plot mountain lingo. 

**This looked alot better in Word... google drive messed it up a bit, but you get the general idea**

The day we began our paper I wore my superhero skirt and lightening bolt earring (I think I'm Ms. Frizzle...) and did an onomatopoeia mini-lesson. They were SO excited to use all the action words in their stories. 

Day one I let them choose which superhero they wanted to use for their main character. We did discuss how even though some of the super heroes resemble Super Man or The Hulk they couldn't use those names or the adventures they go on in the movies and books -- that would be plagiarism! They also began their
 pre-writing (see worksheet above) 

After pre-writing comes drafting then editing with the red pen and revising with the blue! 

After revising and editing comes PUBLISHING!
 The kids love to publish because they get to use colorful pens!!
Check out this post to read more about my colorful pens:

I let them use the colorful pens to write their onomatopoeia words too!  

The paper was a success and a ton of fun!! Now it's time for a biography paper.... 

Happy Teaching Friends!!