resources for learning
While Scissors and Glue is mostly focused on resources that engender creative learning, it is important to remember those abstract aspects that create depth in any effort. Just as “creative processes” can accompany any subject matter in teaching and learning (not just art class), so too can music ignite the spark all children need in their growth and development. Check it out here.
My post last week dealt with honing in the same zeal used in marketing character themes in the media market (movies turned books turned trinkets, toys and experiences). Consider how exciting it is to win a plush toy (without any real monetary value) at a carnival game . . .or the claw! I’ve noticed many claw games now guarantee a win. . .$1.00 and you can take as long as you want to scoop up a 2 cent toy with a crane line challenge that really won’t even prepare you to be a crane operator, but will take your money with a 500% return for the owner of the game.
People like plush. We like characters. My challenge to you: how can you capitalize on that apparent fact to help student learning? Design lessons around themes based on book characters, assign a character to a cheap plush (get those claw winnings and put them to good use!). Incentivize learning with sharing reading time with a classroom plush. Have children act out a story they just read and retell it using plush characters. The possibilities are endless!
Using cupcake liners to create pictures and characters. . .unlimited creativity. Keep them handy and buy them when they are on sale. Washi tapes make for easy adhesive and not messy. Need a summer lesson? Read a story (or have students read one), create a picture with cupcake liners, have them write about it.
In earlier posts I shared the value in snipping the square picture ends off of free return/address labels that often come in the mail to promote for St. Jude’s Hospital and other charities. If you don’t use these seals as return/address labels, save them for student use instead of tossing them.
One idea for their use is individual student “quilts.” We all know quilts are icons of American folk history. They can also serve as a basis for integrated thematic instruction. Our next few posts will focus on ideas for comprehensive student learning across subjects all revolving around quilts. Any type of square stickers can offer the material needed to allow students to create their own mini quilt. They have the freedom to design the layout, the theme and then write about it, consider related questions of depth dovetailing from the subject of quilts, compute math related to their design, consider materials and spatial order.
What fun the English language is, for those who find the nuance (see post title and begin to have fun with commas and meanings and verbs vs. nouns etc). The one thing I’ve noticed about the new “data informed” approach to kindergarten is it lacks the attention to nuance that indicates and salutes intelligence. When children read a passage such as “Mary found a basket. Mary took the basket outside. Mary filled the basket with eggs. She showed the eggs to her mother;” and then they are expected to allow such passage to indicate their comprehension when they retell it (as measured by such products as M-Class), it’s any wonder the children don’t exclaim themselves: “what color was her basket? was it heavy? was the grass tall in the yard? Was it wet? how many eggs did she find? etc. etc.” We are measuring certain aspects of reading before the nuance that actually fuels comprehension is available. If students are not inspired to comprehend, they won’t.
That brings me to laundry caps. “Oh, we can make Mother’s Day vases out of the laundry caps!” Well, yes; you can. And you should. (see photos). But you can also use the craft project of creating a small vase out of a laundry bottle cap (by decorating it with ribbon, washi tape, stick on jewels, etc) into a lesson that integrates every subject. Headed to a history museum? Have students look for early vessels. Look through art history books and find vessels in art throughout history. Learn about circumference and volume by measuring the cap. How much water will it hold? Estimate the number of flowers that will fit in the vase. How high is the vase in inches? Centimeters? How tall must a flower stem be to fit in the vase an still stand up? What are five synonyms for vase? Why is the laundry cap shaped the way it is and the size it is for its first intended use? What materials have been used to make vases over the course of history? Why were clay vessels more prevalent in some parts of the country than others? What is the history of laundry? How did people wash their clothes in the 1800s? What is dry cleaning? (Tour the local dry cleaner). Find literature about a missing vase (there are tons of books at every reading level centering on a missing vase).
Do these things! Present mother with her vase. . .but present the child with engaging learning experiences and I guarantee comprehension and nuance, true levels of intelligence, will emerge.
Discussing horses with your students in any particular fashion? Don’t forget about corks. . .they are a wonderful raw resource for student crafting. Emphasize the theme of the lesson with a cork horse. (caveat: some communities might frown upon the use of corks with children, so do ask your administrator before doing so).
With the continued focus on carrying a thematic instructional approach, let’s not ignore that the children at the Comics and Dots workshop ended the activity by decorating cookies. . .with dots of course. Again, full sensory connections related to the theme that encompassed history (Ben-Day dots and comics); reading (comics); science (bubbles); art (creating comics); math (circles). There is no need for learning to be dull! Ever.
Choosing a theme for a learning session (no matter the desired outcome as far as the subject being taught) helps organize the approach to the lesson in terms of materials, flow, activities and point of reference. More photos from the recent comics and dots lesson, which covered history, science, writing, math and art.