Mapping Out Peaceful Imaginary Lands

Some projects just seem to connect with students, and our Imaginary Peaceful Land Brochure project is one of those. With lessons around informational text and creative writing, with a focus on our school’s role as a Peacebuilding Community, students create an imaginary place and then design a brochure. I particularly love the maps they draw, which brings out a different angle of creativity in students.

Check out some maps:

Peace (in the lands of peace),
Kevin

Breaking Apart the Saxophone

Saxophone Construction Diagram
I am going to be writing more about this lesson around reading and writing diagrams for my blog (Working Draft) over at MiddleWeb soon, but here is a diagram that I shared with my students about the saxophone, as I modeled how to draw a simple diagram. Their assignment has been to create their own diagrams, as we talk about ‘reading’ different kinds of texts and information sources, including diagrams.

Peace (in the music),
Kevin

Some Respect: Student Webcomics

Our school theme this month is about “respect,” which turns out to a tricky concept even for sixth graders. It’s not as concrete as our theme of “kindess” from last month. We had a long conversation the other day about what respect might look like, and then I had my students go into our comic site to create ideas around respect. Here are a few:
Respect Comic1

Respect Comic2

Respect Comic4

Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin

 

Student Views about Cell Phones in School

We are working on a synthesis reading/writing activity, in which students are writing persuasively about whether or not cell phones should be allowed in school. Your first impression might be that they would want them, but surprisingly, that is not the case.

Check out the breakdown of their views:
Cell Phones in School

Peace (in the chart),
Kevin

 

Student Voices on Art and Peace for National Day on Writing

http://lionsclubs.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Peace_Poster_Logo-resized.jpg

Yesterday, students in each of my classes did some podcasting for the National Day on Writing.

They had written an artist statement about a Lions’ Club international Peace Poster project now underway with our art teacher, with a theme of Our World/Our Future. When their posters are hanging up around the school, their artists statement will be part of that. I am still mulling over the best way to connect the podcasts to the posters in a digital space. Maybe Voicethread …

Here are a few of the podcasts:



Peace (in every poster),
Kevin

 

Of Field Trips, Vocabulary and Comics

We went on a whitewater rafting trip last week and when we got back, I challenged my students to create comics about the trip, using some of our vocabulary words. A few have gone into our webcomic site but a few chose to do traditional comics.

Check them out:
Raft collage

And:





Peace (in the panels),
Kevin

Stories Untold: Short Story Titles by Sixth Graders

Here, at the start of the year with my sixth graders, we do a lot of brainstorming activities. This writing prompt has them generating a list of short story titles that they might pull from during the year for various writing-into-the-day activities. Plus, it is interesting to see what they come up with. Here are just a few from the list of 80 short story titles of stories not yet written. I put them in Prezi to give them a little “wow.”

Peace (in the story),
Kevin

What It Looks Like When We Hack Chess

hack chess collage 2013
My sixth graders have been working in collaborative groups to hack the game of chess, with new pieces and new rules on how to play. I’ll share more later as part of a larger collaborative DS106 radio project but this collage nicely captures some of the work they are doing to invent new board games out of traditional ideas.

Peace (in the hack),
Kevin

 

Slice of Life: Did You Approve My Comic?

sols_turq

(This is for Slice of Life)

She was barely in the door, when she asked: “Did you approve my comic?” When I answered, yes, she jumped and shouted out, “Yes!” and high-fived her friend. Talk about getting excited about publishing. We’ve been using an online webcomic space and it’s interesting how the act of sharing out work to an audience of peers within the closed webcomic community of just a classroom can really bring forth a certain amount of excitement and motivation.

Honestly, I liked her comic because of the musical theme, and girl empowerment. She’ll be happy to know that I am sharing her comic here, too, I suspect.

My_Band_2

Peace (in the frames),
Kevin

 

What My Writing Looks Like When I Freewrite

Freewrite with Students Oct2013
I am going to use this image for another post in another space, but I thought it gives a pretty good view of what a page of my writing notebook looks like when I am freewriting over the course of a day, which is what I was doing with my students the other day.  There is a poem in the middle, some funny notes making fun of myself along the edge, and then the sketch when I got lost and didn’t know what to write. You should have heard the gasps and laughter when I shared this page with students. They expect that I write perfect, every time, but no … my writing is often a mess and a stew of ideas that sometimes coil around a theme.

Not always, but sometimes ….

Peace (from the writer to reader),
Kevin