Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Classroom Chef on My Literacy Mind!

The Classroom Chef on My Literacy Mind!

Dear Readers,

I was recently reading The Classroom Chef and now have Barbie Zipline on the brain. I thought the entire concept was fascinating. I wanted to run out and try it myself! I NEVER had math classes or tasks like that when I was in school.

The connection to my literacy class? Today being the last day I would see my 8th graders, I gave them the last 15 minutes to play with Play-Doh, write on the chalkboard and listen to music. It really is entertaining and insightful to just sit back and watch what they do.

My observations:
  • A student in the front row made a basketball player and a basketball hoop.
  • A student next to him, took that idea a little further, he made a basketball hoop and started rolling about 20 mini-basketballs to actually throw into the hoop.
  • A student in the back row had a hoop set up against the back wall and was trying to round his ball enough to make it bounce into the hoop.
Three different students, similar concept. I kept watching.
  • The students got up and went over to the open area where the book corner was. One of them arranged my textbooks as a base and put a small garbage can in the center. They started to see if they could make baskets using Play-Doh basketballs..... and...... success!
As sometimes happens, when creating, something unexpected happens.
  • My yoga balls were balanced on the window sill next to the "basketball hoop" they constructed. A student accidentally hit one with Play-Doh and it bounced back. 
  • Of course, this was extremely intriguing to them and they started to experiment a little bit with it.
I was still watching carefully, but did not stop them. I wanted to see where they would go with it.
  • They started to discover that the Play-Doh would bounce back faster or slower depending on distance from the ball, speed it was thrown and angle.
What was I thinking during all this?
  • I wonder if there is a math or science lesson to be embedded in what looks like craziness?
  • At what distance would the Play-Doh bounce back the slowest? Fastest?
  • At what angle would the Play-Doh bounce back the highest? Lowest?
  • At what speed would the Play-Doh bounce back the slowest? Fastest?
Never in a million years would I have thought about any of this prior to reading this book. Thank you to John Stevens, Matt Vaudrey, Dave Burgess and Shelley Burgess for a fantastic read!

It's not just for math teachers!