Sunday, February 19, 2017

At the Root (Word) of It All

Coming back to face the second half of the school year after two or three weeks of fun and free time can be challenging. Over the holidays, I perused the Internet to see what I could find to get my kids back into the swing of learning. I found what appeared to be a wonderful idea and, when I tried it, I had no need to have control in my classroom. My little angels were working so hard, they forgot to have ANY behavior issues! Not only that, but when they finished early in other subjects, they ask permission to continue working on their project. Are you curious? Do you wonder what they did? Well, let's get to the root of the issue.

The project was Superhero Root Words! We took root words and used them to create unique "superheroes." The first thing we did was use the word "RUPT" to create a collective classroom superhero. We talked about what the definition of the word 'rupt', words that owed their existence to the root word and then we defined those words.  As a group, we created "Eruptor"- the superhero with powers to burst forth or break up things. For example, as an interuptor, we can break up sentences. As an eruptor, we can cause lave to break forth from below the earth...ecetera!

We created a costume. First, we traced a paper plate on a piece of brown construction paper. We cut from the edge to just over the center of the paper. Then we cut a 4 inch rectangle of red paper which was cut into strips that ended one inch from the bottom. We folded it and glued it into the center of the brown circle and stapled it shut to make an erupting hat. Then each child designed his or her own special glasses. Some were simple masks. Others had flames leaping from them. We demonstrated the entire process together.

Placed in groups of two (i.e.-their seatmates as my desks are in groups of two), they chose a Greek or Latin root word. They were required to create a costume with two elements: glasses, gloves, capes or hat. They had to research the root word to find its meaning before discovering words that included the root word. Each group created a lesson, many with a story of how they became a superhero using appropriate words.

Over a two day period, the lessons were shared with the class. The presenters dressed in their costumes and took to the 'stage'-also known as the front of the classroom. The audience had special pages they used to take notes about each root word inclucing its meaning, and examples of words it helped create.

(They used rocks to create their masks.)

Again, the kids were on-task with no words from me. This project will also work after Spring break or, well, it was so much fun, it will work just about any time. For more information, and free downloads, visit Cinnanom's Classroom.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Words to Think By

Be a learner first; become a Master second; and remain a student forever.
Life's Secret Handbook

Quotes have been used in the classroom forever. One of the reason's I like to use them in my classroom is because it gives the kids something to think about and write about. I want to share a list of some that help kids think, but are easy enough for them to figure out. When the quotes are way over their heads, they get frustrated and feel incapable. Try these with your kids and see what you think!

It is what you learn after you know it all that counts.
John Wooden

If you are not happy here and now, you never will be.
Taisen Deshimaru

Only those who dare, truly live.
Ruth P. Freedman

The brighter you are, the more you have to learn.
Don Herold

We can never have enough of nature.
Henry David Thoreau

Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?
Friedrich Nietzsche

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
John Wooden

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.
Charles Dickens

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read good books.
Mark Twain

Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking.
J.C. Wells

For a free download of the quotes and a Scoot sheet, click here. Simplify the process by copying the sheet on the front and back of a single sheet of paper.

Cooperative work:  Put students in small groups and play scoot. Put the quotes on posters around the room. Have the groups of three or four discuss each quote and write a small statement about the meaning of the quote.

Individual work:  Make a book with one quote for each page. Have students illustrate each quote and write down what the quote means.