… & so, if you were a fly on my classroom wall you would see that this is the way we start our day in Grade 5A:
1st: Our Brain Breakfast:
First thing every day I show a “cool video” on the Smartboard.
These videos are not necessarily “curriculum related”, but they are all educational in their own way, are entertaining and most often help us to start off on the right foot!
For example, these videos may be science related
(currently, my fav. site is: http://www.symphonyofscience.com/), or they may be pictures of cool graffiti (http://weburbanist.com/2008/11/29/architecture-optical-illusions/),
or even articles about and clips of baby zoo animals (http://www.zooborns.com/).
2nd: What’s In Store for Us this Day:
Now that I have everyone’s attention (e.g. see Brain Breakfasts), I outline the day clearly and carefully – taking care to answer any questions and allow for processing time.
Just like their teacher, my students are better able to navigate their way through the day when “there are no surprises”.
(I even go so far as to tell them what they will be writing about in the afternoon, for example, giving them time to their process ideas (whether they realize that they are doing just that or not ;-).)
3rd Riddles & Brain Teasers :
I post a riddle and leave it up until someone is able to answer it.
(I never leave a riddle up for more than a week.)
Some good sites for this include:
Last week, for example, the riddle was:
Q: “What comes once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?”
A: “The letter M.”
I originally began to post riddles in order to introduce yet an another activity that encourages “flexible thinking”.
(The truth of the matter being that riddles and brain teasers are simply good fun as well!)
What has surprised me the most however, is that this “activity” has proven to be a surprisingly informative additional assessment tool!
“Sam” for example, is usually one of he first to answer our riddles. In doing so, not only is she “shining” and having fun, but she is showing us that she is a creative, clever, flexible, playful thinker. I know beyond a doubt, that she possesses excellent reasoning abilities and is a a true risk taker.
In playing with riddles we come toegther as a class to model and practice all of the above skills as well. We always take a moment to share with others our problem solving methods and thinking processes.
We just love it!
How do you start your day?