I came across these drawings by Adam Watson. They’re scenes and characters from Star Wars, remade in the style of Dr. Seuss. What a fascinating way to extend a typical writing assignment: ask students to recreate a story as if it were created by another author.
Symbolism, a mainstay of literature discussion, seems too abstract and ephemeral to teach to younger students. However, with a well-constructed lesson, students will quickly get the hang of symbolic representation. We’ll finish this unit up with some great pixel-art and computer painting.
This week, we’re tackling the comprehension skill “story structure” featured in the Houghton Mifflin reading program. It’s absolute nuts and bolts (identify setting, character, and plot) and is part of the reading program beginning in Kindergarten. A quick pre-assessment verifies that my sixth graders have a thorough understanding of this material.
Advanced learners and chess go hand in hand. In the past, I’ve used chess to introduce systems, introduce depth and complexity, and discuss paradoxes. However, since so many of my students understand the basics of chess, I decided to expose them to some chess-like games from other cultures.
We’re supposed to rank fifteen items according to usefulness if we were stranded on the light-side of the moon. The items range from pistols to powdered milk. Some seem useful, but are actually worthless while others seem unnecessary on earth, but are actually vital when stuck on the moon. However, the structure of the activity as a website is not optimal. Let’s improve this and make it an awesome problem–solving exercise for our class.
I’ve been continuing the idea to explore classic music during silent reaing, and incorporated Gustav Holsts’ “The Planets.” My students, who have an affinity for memorizing gods and goddesses, took a special interest in this idea. I figured, let’s see how far their interests will take us?
Is this the message I want to give to my gifted students? “Follow the directions?” This is a room full of students who are creative, flexible, divergent thinkers. These are the future Noble Laureates, inventors, and revolutionaries. Let’s allow them (or better yet: force them) to exercise their creative muscles.
As we review for midyear tests, my students are working in groups to analyze eight characters from any story from this years’ readings. I’ve given them three dimensions to use when looking at each character. Each dimension is based on concepts created by three different researchers: Howard Gardner, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Sandra Kaplan.
We decided to promote creativity and curiosity through student-led research and experimentation. Students developed guiding questions and created hypotheses. They are now ready to dig into resources, find answers, ask new questions, and report what they’ve learned. As the teacher, what are your responsibilities?
Merlin Mann stated that employees’ motivation increases when they get to “build a robot” once in a while. That is, do something creative beyond regular work. Can we do this at school? Offices have “casual Fridays,” can we have “curiosity Fridays?”