Thursday, April 25, 2013

Coaster Persuasion Mania!

Now that CST (our annual testing) is over, we have been able to really focus on technology and presentation skills. My kiddos have been busy creating inventions, products, etc., that they have to "sell" to the potential buyers (classmates). They are also responsible for preparing PowerPoint presentations. Both of these activities allow them to work on persuasion tactics when they are presenting and in further developing their oral and writing skills. I have seen a tremendous improvement and they are also a lot more confident when presenting in front of a group. My kiddos have also become better judges of what is effective and not-effective when trying to persuade an audience. They are quite equipped at identifying "quality" work and WHY it is quality work. I hope all this work will be helpful as they head on out to middle school.

I have included a slide show of their coasters as well as tow PPT's of my students.

mrsgarciascorner's Coasters album on Photobucket

Monday, April 8, 2013

Geometry & Art

I have always been a looping teacher. I actually began teaching in a K-2 multi-age classroom. As a new teacher I was completely frightened. I felt so unprepared and I always felt like I could do more. What I realized at the end of the third year, was that keeping the same students for that amount of time gave me the time to work with them at their own developmental stage and to see them flourish at the end of our journey together. I grew to LOVE the learning, time together, and the fulfillment it gave me. I have never looked back since.

This has been the longest stretch of time that I have kept a group of students. Most of my class has been with me since first. A few left to other schools, but they were soon replaced by other kiddos. Every year, I tell myself that this would be the last, but I just couldn't not let them go. I kept going up in the grades with them. I think I grew quite possessive attached to them. Now that they will be leaving this June to middle school, I feel quite sad, but I above all, I feel so very proud of them. Today, I had a moment where I felt very validated. I received one of my kiddos at the end of third grade. She was far below grade level compared to the rest of the group. I saw some progress in fourth, and today as we finished our last practice test before the CST, she scored in the 90 percentile on both the math and language arts practice book. I felt so very proud of her, and I could see how proud she was of herself. It is these moments that make me love looping.

What does all this have to do with 2D art and geometry? Well, I had never before done 5th grade beyond subbing. This past summer, I dedicated a lot of time to planning and looking for resources that would engage, motivate, and help my students do their best. I also found Blog-land and I am so grateful I did. There are just so many amazing teachers out there that inspire me every day. One such teacher/blogger, that I am constantly 'borrowing' ideas from, is Jen from Runde's Room. She is just an unbelievable teacher that has saved me more than I wish to count.

As way to have my students de-stress, get their mind of the CST, and close up our unit on Geometry, I decided to do 2D geometry activity Jen did. My kiddos totally love it and loved the end result of their project. They also want to try other things instead of shapes--maybe their names. We'll see.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you for being my life jacket through the year.

Inventions for the Future

We have begun our unit on Persuasion and I wanted to try a different approach, one that would "hook" them and that would show them how we are surrounded by persuasive tactics every day, before we jumped into our essays. I also wanted to integrate STEM-UP strategies/concepts into our learning. I began by showing them a variety of commercial clips that I found on youtube. Some were funny, some were profound, and others were just plain ridiculous.

As we watched the short clips they realized that regardless of the commercial, they were trying to convince them of something. It might be to buy something, donate to a cause, change your mind, or to influence a way of thinking. We charted out different elements (tactics) that we found in all of them. They came up with the following list:
  • music/sounds that match the theme of the video
  • time--urgency
  • visuals, graphics
  • catchy phrases
  • targeted audience
I decided to let them create their own commercial with an invention they would create. In groups they discussed what they could create and used their charted tactics as guidelines. As part of their project they had to prepare three things: a PowerPoint on their invention, a model of their invention, and a live commercial in front of their peers or they also could prerecord it at home. My kiddos have been doing PowerPoints since last year, I therefore did not have to spend time teaching them the process. Their inventions had to be practical, useful, and creative. I included some pictures of their inventions, a student PowerPoint (ELL student), and a prerecorded video.

mrsgarciascorner's Invention Commercial album on Photobucket
What do you do to help your students understand persuasion?

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