Schools often fail to simultaneously train students how to be skeptical of claims & how to embrace the weight of evidence.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) July 31, 2016
Donalyn Miller, of Book Whisperer fame, is in the midst of her 8th annual #bookaday challenge. Everyday during the summer, Donalyn reads a book and encourages people to use the hashtag #bookaday on twitter and instagram to show off what they are reading. It’s a great way to get new book recommendations, especially for picture books and middle grade reads.
This Is Not A Book | by Jean Jullien | pop on your shoes and RUN TO YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP and grab a copy of this GENIUS board book – it's interactive to the max and funny and so clever and gush gush gush, etc etc etc, it's not a book, it's a computer, a tent, a piano, a tennis court 🏁 @jean_jullien @phaidonsnaps #jeanjullien #thisisnotabook #thelittlebookcollector #bookaday #bookstagram #instabook #bibliophile #kidsbooks #kidlit #childrensbooks #book #kidsbookstagram #bookclub #littlebookcollector #bedtimestory #picturebook #igreads #raiseareader #bookreview #kidsbookreview #kidsbookstagram #countryroadstyle
In June, I had a class full of almost second graders. Their independence had soared throughout the year and I had adjusted my expectations to meet their levels. Now as I teach our summer program, I have a group of rising kindergarteners and I have to reorient myself all over again!
One of my personal challenges is to identify activities that children can do independently and feel confident with. I found Race to Fill a Cup from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls when browsing pinterest.
I had four separate stations of math manipulatives. Each child got a cup and a die. At each station, the child would roll their die and count how many objects to put into their cup. When they filled up their cup, they would count how many pieces and move on to the next station.
At the end, I felt that the children were recognizing each side of the die more automatically. It was also interesting to observe how they counted larger quantities of manipulatives and the organizational processes that they used.
As a way to embrace provocations in my own teaching practice, I completed my first Art Assignment: Copy a Copy a Copy
Molly Springfield, a contemporary artist, challenges you to think of texts and books as physical objects and art. By photocopying pages, you are altering the image, changing the meaning, and emphasizing certain aspects.
I chose a book about Egyptian art and turned to a random page: Art as Magic. I chose to enlarge the image by 200% each time, instead of 400%, because I liked how slowly the change occurred. At 400%, the change was too drastic.
Also, just like in the classroom I have decided to utilize one of my walls as a gallery space for this installation. Displaying students’ artwork is important and shows that their effort are validated and taken seriously. I think I’ll keep this up until I complete another assignment.
Last year as part of my summer reading, my school offered In the Spirit of the Studio: Learning from the Atelier of Reggio Emilia, by Lella Gandini. As someone who is interested in the Reggio Emilia approach, I jumped at the chance to read it.
This year, my co-teacher and I plan to integrate more art and exploration into our curriculum. Reggio Emilia and especially the concept of provocations appeal to me. I understand provocations to be items or activities that provoke thought or some sort of exploration.
I have recently discovered a youtube series called The Art Assignment. The Art Assignment describes itself as “a weekly video series that introduces you to innovative artists, presents you with assignments, and explores art history through the lens of the present.”
Since The Art Assignment calls upon a variety of contemporary artists, each assignment is different. For the Surface Test assignment, people were challenged to create rubbings of the ground.
The assignments immediately reminded me of provocations and a way for teachers to embrace them in their own practice. I would like to try out some of these assignments as provocations to my own teaching practice and document the results.
This July, I am teaching at my school’s summer program. I am primarily working with our rising first and second graders, who need additional practice and time to review the math skills they have learned over this past school year.
Building Towers is a simple, hands-on activity. Each student was given cards 1-10 and told to put them in order. After, they had to create towers with unifix cubes to correspond with the number on the card.
Roll and Record is a classic. Our rising second graders worked in partners to practice basic addition facts. It worked wonderfully yesterday as one student was immediately able to apply something she did in Roll and Record to her other work. Since Roll and Record is a favorite, we’ll also use it next week to practice our doubles facts.
During the last full week of school, I found a bag of scrap paper underneath our classroom sink from our animal study. I took a large piece of chart paper and started sorting the scraps by color. Soon a student came over to help. We began thinking about how we wanted to create our mosaic. Some ideas didn’t work or we didn’t have enough of one color. Eventually, we moved it to a table and decided on vertical stripes to create a rainbow.
Then over the weekend, Orlando happened and our mosaic took on a new meaning. Over the next few morning, students wandered into and out of the mural area. They sorted and glued until our memorial was complete. Due to it’s structured pattern, they were able to do this independently without any formal instruction. When it was finished, we decided to hang it outside our classroom.