being a teacher, challenge, ideas

A Couple of Ideas Before Break

Image from here

March in the US means spring break is fast approaching and so are the students yearning for vacation.  So what is a teacher to do when the learning cannot stop and neither can the teaching.  Well I created some projects that yes, cover the standards, and also keep my students on their toes.

  • The Grand Canyon Challenge.  I have wanted to incorporate Google SKetch Up for along time in my classroom and now finally have a chance.  In this extension for a landforms science activity students have become structural engineers that have to get a large crate from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other every day of the year.  There are limitations of course, such as a no fly zone, and the students have to ultimately sketch their concept in Sketch Up.  I revealed this today and the kids were stumped and excited.  Final product:  3-D sketch to be judged by my husband and presented to the class.
  • The Slavery Research Project Prezi.  Prezi is another tool I have wanted to show my 5th graders and this delving into slavery comes as integrated social studies and reading activity.  We have been reading “Jump Ship to Freedom” and the students asked, yes asked, whether they could do research on issues surrounding slavery.  So for the last 2 weeks the students have been very hard at work researching (nice way to discuss Sweetsearch and other internet searching tips) as well as creating their Prezi and their presentations.  Final product: students present their research and are videotaped so they can critique themselves.
  • The Superheroes Writing Project.  Stumbled upon this brilliant idea from TES and then adapted it for my own use.  We have been discussing authors’ tools and this exploration of superheroes through comic-books gives us a chance to really work on creating a character, creating a setting and a plot development.  I have never had students complain to me before about not having enough writing time, now they do.  Final product:  Superhero and villain dossier, detailed setting description as well as mini plot development with illustrations if they choose.
  • Readers Theatre.  We have 1st grade buddies that we do a lot of fun projects with and this month we are working on readers theatre with them.  In the end students will film their productions and perform for each other, the filming is for their parents to see.  Natural way to practice fluency and expression at all reading abilities.
  • Mini projects in general.  I am trying to come up with more movement in my classroom right now as well as mini challenges.  Students are currently bringing in spaghetti, marshmallows and toilet-paper tubes for some mini challenges we will be doing as well.  

We are finishing up several units before spring break affording us the ability to come back and get immersed in new stuff.  I do like to wrap it up a bit before break because after it the year just seems to disappear.

A couple of notes:

  • I am sharing my superhero lesson plan but it is a work in progress and I am adding to it as I teach it.
  • Prezi cannot be used without email addresses so I have students use my account for it, however, if they have emails you can give them individual accounts for free.
  • Google Sketch Up does give out free educator licenses for their Pro version, which is awesome, so take advantage of that!
  • Many of my ideas come from the people I am connected with; my inspirational husband and my PLN so thank you.

2 thoughts on “A Couple of Ideas Before Break”

  1. Pernille- These ideas are fabulous! Very versatile and engaging! Love your lesson plan for superheroes- Ann and I have just started focusing on 'transformation' of character, discussing our characters' traits within social/emotional lessons of focus with our school social worker. And recently we just spent time discussing superpowers and acknowledging our own. Currently we are right in the middle on studying a variety of genres, as well as focusing on Narrative writing for many. Your lesson plan was just the inspiration we needed to spice things up!! 🙂 Thank you for helping me connect all the dots! ~Celina

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