Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Dances All Around.

Well it's February and I have been slumming it on Pinterest a lot these days with my cabin fever and all. So this happened...
Happy Dance #1. 

I toyed with the idea of graffiti for my next book project. Rewind: okay, book projects. The way this happens in my classroom has evolved over the past couple of years. I never wanted to do the classic book reports that I completed as a child (well that I partially completed and my mom partially completed at 2 am the night before it was due - LOVE YOU MOM!) and I had an insane struggle with Accelerated Reader... my 12 year grudge towards AR still taking up unnecessary space in my emotional bank - ha.

My first year teaching I gave a slew of options for book projects each month to my students. I had learned in college Choice = Good. I soon found myself trying to find new and exciting book projects each month for my students to complete... in fact as many as five a month (wipes sweat off forehead.) Not until April of my second year teaching did I see the value in all of my students completing the same project. My teammate brought Mr. Hughes' DODECAHEDRON book project to the table -
They looked especially bomb hanging from the ceiling at open house. 
Happy Dance #2!
I then discovered if I give my students a highly engaging book project, that also, let's be honest - was fun and looked REALLY REALLY AWESOME - they would all totally buy in. So here starts my journey of the ever evolving book project. 

Now this is RIGHT up my alley. I love teaching reading and adore being creative so I'm not admitting this, but one of my secret pleasures is completing a book project model before I assign it to my students. This was another thing I struggled with - if I show them an example will it hinder their creativity? I found quite the opposite actually. My level of students need the scaffolding and need the model. My kids are now begging for their book projects each month, and dare I say it, they all seem to turn them in ON TIME.  Oh education Gods please don't jinx me for that one :)

Backtrack to graffiti. I love this quote by Steve Jobs and have it hanging in my classroom. 

This quote IS me. I am constantly being sparked by my surroundings, which is why when I saw this image on Pinterest about one of my favorite books - it stopped me in my (pinning) tracks - which isn't easy mind you.  

I couldn't NOT develop a book project like this. Then came a Powerpoint chalk-full of images of POSITIVE graffiti. We had a discussion about how graffiti is a powerful thing in society and how it has the capability to send positive messages to countless individuals who see it.

I will let the students' Novel Locker Graffiti speak for itself... 

They did a beyond phenomenal job. Along with their graffiti they needed to pick 5 of the most essential quotes to elaborate on. They wrote a paragraph for each explaining how it connected to the plot or theme of their text. 
Happy Dance #3 :)

I hope you have many moments to insert a little happy dance this wintery week, because life is pretty - dang - good.

Stay chip free and standards based!

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