Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Beginnings

So today Kate (a.k.a. Miss Monahan/Mrs. Kenyon) and I began working on a collaborative project involving 5th graders composing a piece for their end-of-the-year graduation ceremony. This concept was not an original idea, however (although all the steps and ideas within this project are the product of both Kate's and my collaboration). In the words of Dr. Joshua Oppenheim, "Good teachers are good stealers." However, I'd like to take this statement a step further with the statement that "Great teachers are great adapters." I'd like to think Kate and I adapted the idea of having our students write a piece for their graduation in ways that fits both our demographic and our assets best.

We began by making an outline of things we could include as far as technology (right now we've got video conferencing with experts on the brain), what past experiences the students already have (as far as writing lyrics, the feelings they are having about graduating, etc.), and who we can collaborate with to allow for interdisciplinary opportunities (such as working with classroom teachers, the librarian, the art teacher, etc.). I am very much anticipating what kinds of possibilities are available (right now they are endless!) and what kinds of ideas the students will have.

This past school year I had done a very open-ended project with my fifth graders where they were able to choose their own project to do for the end of the year. Some researched musical artists and bands they liked, some researched a favorite instrument, some wrote songs (I have a fabulous rap a student wrote about placing his order at a KFC restaurant), and some created their own musical instruments. I was so impressed with the outcomes of the projects and it really revealed to me the true abilities of students and what possibilities there are, even with such young students.

My goal with this project is to bring all the abilities of my students together into one common, collaborative goal so that each student feels a part of not only the process, but has a sense of pride in the final product.

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