Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Roller Coasters and Wax Figurines

     Does anyone else's desk look like this? or am I the only one with growing "piles"?? Please say no! and Yes, that is a pot on top of that stack of papers...a COOKING POT!
I can't even begin to explain how I feel right now. 
                                yep .. .. . it's definitely the end of the year ;) 
     This emotional roller coaster prevails from about March 31st {the exact moment I realize IT IS MAY!} till 5th grade graduation - for us June 7th this year.

I felt this mixture more than ever coming down on the end of this year .. ... .

My group this year has an absolutely beautiful innocence... .  however, once in a while, their sweet immaturity is overridden by an incredible lack of common sense. For 5th grade, some of their problem solving skills are a bit lacking. It drives me BUGGY! Frustration and impatience are felt in moments when, simple YEAR long procedures cannot be remembered We are talking going to the bathroom people, instructions are repeated nearly 1,000 x's I exaggerate, puzzled looks of not knowing what to do with a sweatshirt found on the ground is this real life??, asking where they should cut on the dotted line that has a pair of SCISSORS on it, Columbus apparently set sail in 2002 Think, does this make sense!?, and so-n-so is sitting in so-in-so's chair and no one knows what to do about it ... . . . .yes, it begins making one feel like mad King Ludwig! without his KILLER castle, unfortunately. 
Mad King Ludwig's Fairy tale Castle

 On the flip side,  their immaturity also means that they LOVE EVERYTHING! For 5th grade this is quite remarkable - generally they are much "too cool" for most everything! But these kiddos are enthusiastic about ALL lessons, ALL activities, ALL trips, ALL THE TIME! Joy is felt in moments when students clamber to volunteer for activities, cheer because they get to go "Rock shopping", proudly wear their "planet" hats to the lunchroom, scream out their fluency mantra and hand motions for the whole school to hear, and tell you how much they enjoy learning from you. It is beautiful. It is exasperating. It is what I love about teaching :)
Ok, time to climb out of my head!
     The kiddos have been working on our culminating 5th grade Social studies/writing/language/speaking project this week. We do a Wax museum of early American characters that we have studied throughout the year. They present an oral biography of their person during our “Wax Museum: America’s Walk of Fame.” The students memorize the information, dress up in some way and/or use props, and are frozen,like a wax figurine, with a sticker on their hand. The sticker serves as their “on” button. Visitors will press the button to activate the students acting and dialogue. Other classes are invited to attend as well as parents, grandparents and other student relatives! I make this an "at home" project, but due to the lack of home support many of my students have, I end up giving a lot of "in class" time to work on it. I send home a Parent letter explaining what the event is, what the students are expected to prepare for it, due dates, example reports, requirements, etc. I also attach a list of characters that we have studied along with some lesser known characters during early American history that they can help their child choose. They then have their child list their top three choices and return the top three slip signed BY A PARENT. This ensures not receiving any angry/confused parent letters come the report and poster due date. You can get my wax museum packet here.
     One of the requirements was to create a poster of their character. I get these biography posters from the local teacher store. You can find them here. The kids did an amazing job of doing the research and really making these look attractive! They will hang behind the kids in the hallway during the museum.

     Another requirement was to write a biographical report on their character but change it into first person to be used as their museum "speech". We did not do these in class together this year {contemplating it being our informational writing next year ... however, they tend to get to long for a speech if it is the actual paper}but I was impressed with how well they turned out! They were due this Monday and since then we have been practicing HARD CORE. Every morning I have them pair off and read their speech, hand it to their partner, say it without the paper, vice versa, then they must "earmuff" it 3x's somewhere around the room to themselves. Does anyone else use earmuff a lot? I use it ALL THE TIME - it makes my heart feel so good when I look around and see my kiddos so focused on editing, reading, re-reading, or practicing fluency - whatever we are using it for that day. {happy heart}
Anyways .. .. .. .
Most of them have it memorized and it is only Tuesday! Yippy! Thursday we will be having a dress rehearsal where we bring out costumes {I supply kids with needed props/costumes from my costume closet who need it on this day} and perform our speeches in front of the class. It is pretty much a shot morning, but makes the performance in the hallway THAT MUCH BETTER! 

Look for more pictures coming soon on the Wax Museum ... ... . . .
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