Thursday, March 21, 2013

When life gives you lemons...Take pictures!

On Tuesday, I was informed that my computer lab was going to be used for testing, and that I could use a newer lab instead for the day. This would be great if there was a server my kids could save information to, so they could get it from any computer. But we don't. This would also be great if the kids could get over the novelty of new computers that aren't "theirs" for one day. But they can't. The one other time we did this, virtually no learning occurred because they were so excited with the new computers. So, when I was told that I could use this lab again, I decided it wasn't worth it, and we went outside.

When I was a classroom teacher, I used to take kids outside on gorgeous Arizona spring 85 degree days. I forgot how much more I loved my classes when they were spread out over a football field. So much more tolerable!! Of course, I couldn't just let them play, we had to be doing something curriculum -related. So, we implemented our own BYOD-type activities :-)

My 8th graders worked in groups of 3 or 4 (they had more devices) and chose a vocabulary word from class. They then looked for each letter in the environment and took a picture with a phone or ipod. Below is my example (ACE--not a vocabulary word, but the quickest example I could find). The rules were that it had to 4 letters or more, couldn't be printed letters, and had to have at least part of it that was in the existing landscape (i.e., you can't make an O with your arms). They had a great time :-)

My 7th graders had an even better time :-) Their assignment was to work in groups of 5 or 6 (they had fewer devices among them) and choose a fairy tale. They were then to identify the 5 plot points (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution), re-enact a scene for each plot point, and photograph it. First I had each group identify their fairy tale (following brief, but intense debate over what a fairy tale was: Jack and the Bean Stalk? Yes. Tangled/Rapunzel? Yes. The Avengers? No. Harry Potter? No. The Wizard of Oz? No. The Lord of the Rings? No.--The goal was SHORT, since we only had 45 minutes.) Then they retold it to each other to make sure they knew the ending. (Also, brief, but intense debate over the endings of Jack & the Beanstalk and Beauty and the Beast.) Then, they went out to take their pictures. Here's one of my favorite versions of Cinderella I saw acted out. (Captions below photos.) The kids had such a ball, and asked if we could do it again :-) Must have been a success! (Minus my intense sunburn.)

 1. Cinderella. 

2. Gus the mouse :-) 

3. Cinderella cleaning. 

 4. Enter the evil step-mother. 

5. Prince invites Cinderella to the ball. 

6. Smooth carriage ride for the prince!

7. Cinderella loves the ball. (Turns out the top of the jungle gym is a great place for a ball :-)) 

8. Cinderella loses her slipper. (top of the stairs in the shadow)

9. Prince findes the shoe. 

10. Prince (and Gus) deliver the shoe. 

11. (Drumroll) Will it fit? 

 12. It fits!

13. Cast photo :-) 


Rodney Turner said...

This is a great example of how a Computer teacher is a teacher! You had time to use and no resources to do your assigned duty but you gave your students a chance to be creative and see the world differently. Kudos to you. What will you do the next time you have no lab?

Dierdre said...

[Sorry for the delay, just finally getting to this!] The ironic thing is that I was told this week that there were angry parents there because 1 student put the pictures on Facebook of "the big bad wolf and a little pig" with the pig being "punished." You win some, you lose some...