Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week 3, Marlborough School

September 27, 2011- Day 3
To prepare for today’s class I brought home the bin and reorganized the materials.  I separated the yarn into many spools:  I wrapped each color onto several different pieces of cardboard so that many students could be using the same materials at the same time.  I cleaned out the fabric a bit and trimmed down the larger pieces to accommodate a larger variety for the class to choose from.  I bought 2 more hot glue guns and some ordinary pipe cleaners.  Once at school I set up two hot glue stations, with two glue guns at each.  Each station also had a large metal tray for gluing on.  I set all of the heads and bodies out and as the students filed in, they retrieved their belongings.  I gave brief instructions (pertaining to the glue guns and the plan of the day: finish peeps, work on profiles, and work on town name).  Then the kids went to it.  We were joined by a new student today, I helped get her started and then paired her off with some of the other kids who were further along.  I made rounds, offering help where needed.  Most of the class finished making peeps today.  Some went ahead and began shelters… even though this was not allowed.  One thing that would be helpful at this point in the game would be to bring a helper to direct the students that are ahead and keep them on task.  I could allow them to make pets and things, but I am not going to because not everyone will have an opportunity to do so at this time.  I think it’s really important at this point to forge as a group.  I tried to get the students who were ahead to work together on town names or alone on peep profiles.  This was harder than it should have been.  One student suggested that we have a medieval themed village.  I told him I thought that was a great idea and we could discuss it at our first meeting.  
I stopped the class when there were about eight minutes left to allow for clean up…. Kids did what they do, which is to line up and not clean.  This was corrected.  I wonder if by Christmas break we will clean up as a group?  I took a tally of who would need some more time to work on peeps and let the class know that we will have our first meeting next week to do some peep introductions.
Materials for next week:  camera, clip board, folders
Today we learned/ used:  to work together a bit, hot gluing skills, listening skills, cleaning skills!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 2- Marlborough School

Talk about and create Peeps

September 20th, 2011 Day 2
I must begin by saying that today was GREAT!  Any misgivings I had last week seem to have dissolved.  I brought in the peep making materials and began set up @ 7:45.  On each desk I placed two pipe cleaners, a pencil, one piece of paper, one muffin wrapper, one lump of sculpy (pre-lumped at home).  On one desk I set up two hot glue stations.  On another desk I set out the yarn variety, thread, needles, scissors, toothpicks, and beads.  The fabric box was on the floor.  As expected the kids came in in three waves.   As each wave came in I invited them to sit down and told them they could touch anything on their desk except the pipe cleaners.  I thought this would keep the fidgeters quiet and happy because there was a lump of clay on each desk.  Strangely, there was no need.  All of the students waited quietly and respectfully for further instruction.  When everyone was ready I told them that we would be making peeps today.  I then explained who a peep might be, let them know the peep could be themselves but by no means should be.  I let them know that the only rule involving peep making is that peeps must represent people they could actually meet, example:  You cannot have a dinosaur or a robot, but you can have a peep wearing a dinosaur or robot costume.   We then folded our peep bodies using the two pipe cleaners.  The group was very attentive and asked for help as needed.  We moved through this step by step as a group.  Next students shaped their heads, tooth picks were distributed where needed.  The importance of the neck hole was stressed.  Finished heads were placed in the muffin wrappers with student names written on them.  I will bake the heads at home because there wasn’t really space or adult power enough at school to prevent the heads from burning.  Next students wrapped their peep bodies in yarn and began the clothing (and for some, weapons) process.  This activity completely filled the period.  I only interrupted their work once to tell them about time and space capsules.  I showed them an example of one from summer camp, told them the purpose (to keep your peep safe, and to make it easy to carry your peep with you when we are not in the class room).  I asked to students to look around their homes to try and find something for this purpose.  I also reminded them at this time that they should be thinking about who their peep really is.  I let them know that after we were all properly introduced, all interactions in our class will be between peeps.  They looked a little excited about this!  I brought all of my materials home today to find a better way of organizing them.  Next week I intend to make use of the atrium as a class space. 
Plan for next week:  finish peep making (glue on heads, hair, finish clothing).  Students who finish early can help other kids finish.  They may also work on a peep profile (to really nail down what they will say during their peep introduction), brainstorm names for our town.  I am determined to come up with one more options for early finishers before next class.  Next week I need to have things in place for the kids to pick up after themselves.  I did all of the clean up today…. It took a long time!
Materials for next week:  more hot glue guns, everything that is already in the peep tote, a couple metal trays for hot gluing on, a tray for the beads, perhaps some ribbon, more yarn
Today we learned/used: the limitless power of creativity, you can get more done by behaving respectfully!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week 1, Marlborough School

Introductions, scale activity

Today was our first day.  Oh My!  The plan was to introduce ourselves and everyone else, introduce the game and what the kids might expect from this program through the year, make mini rulers, discuss scale, break into groups and do the scale activity.  It is hard to know where to really begin.  I suppose it begins with me/the school sort of dropping the ball.  When I arrived at the school I began by setting things aside for the scale activity and getting out materials that I thought we would need.   This was mostly fine.  In the future, I really should do that at home and have separate bags for each group’s items.   The first ball that was dropped and I should anticipate happening again, was that the kids staggered into my class.  So much for introductions!  They came in three waves, ugh. 

Next I invited a student to come up and tell the class what village is and what they might expect to happen this year.  In the future I should actually plan what I am going to tell them about the game and its goals with key points written on note cards or something.  I was extremely nervous which I wasn’t planning on and I think I may have forgotten some key points.  I should lead the intro discussion and have students add to it because they are only going to share what they have gotten out of the program in the past and these experiences are specific and unique.

 Next we labeled our rulers, I brought in twenty 18” rulers (made from wooden yard sticks cut in half, with masking tape covering the numbers), this activity went fairly well…. I don’t think I would change it at all.  Well, I didn’t have an accurate class count, so I didn’t have enough rulers for everyone, however, the kids did fine with this.  Next the students split themselves into groups and each group sent one representative to gather the items for the scale activity.  Among the items for each group were actual peeps and toys representing things that would be too big, too small, or right size for village.  Groups were asked to use their rulers and the peeps to decide what the “right size” was.  When each group was finished they walked around to look at what the other groups had come up with.  Next I had the students bring up everything that was “right” size and place it on one floor tile; then the too big and too small things.  We stood around the three piles and I asked if they agreed with the placement of the objects.  The first thing that caused a stir was a model fighter jet.  The students felt that it belonged in all three piles.  I asked them, “does anyone know about how big, in actual feet, a real fighter jet is?”  Many students raised their hand and shared guesses ranging from 60 to 190 feet in length with similar measures for wing span.  We then measured the model in mini feet with our new rulers and found that it was about 30 minifeet.  It turns out the model fighter jet was too SMALL!  This was a surprise to many students.  We did this for several more objects.  This led into a discussion on proportion when the students pointed out an action figure.  The action figure measured (with her hat) about 7 minifeet… which is about the right size for village.  However the action figure looked wrong for village.  We stood the action figure next to a peep.  Definitely looked wrong!  The kids said that the action figure’s head was too small.  I measured my head, I measure the peep’s head, and I measure the action figure’s head.  I turns out that peeps are not in proportion, the doll was, which is why the doll did not look right size.  We were still on this activity (although we had exhausted it by this time) when the bell rang for the next class.  If more time were wanted on this topic, it could be expanded to having the students regroup the items according to proportion.

Today we used/learned:  scale, proportion, estimation