Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mission Possible

Duh duh duh duh... duh duh duh duh... duh duh duh duh.....duhduhduhhhhhhh duhduhduhhhhhh duhduhduhhhhhh duh duh... 

Mission Impossible theme song in your head yet?!  

hmmmmm....

Well I need ya there with me here is some help Mission Impossible Theme song (not that Tom Cruise Mission Impossible stuff...old school Mission Impossible Peter Graves style)

Ready now?

Duh duh duh duh... duh duh duh duh... duh duh duh duh.....duhduhduhhhhhhh duhduhduhhhhhh duhduhduhhhhhh duh duh...

Your mission if you choose to accept is to transform this wagon into a school pride float...
...if you accept it and you are caught or put in detention the Principal will disavow any knowledge of your action...

So we began our TOP SECRET mission!

Collaborative group work is something that generally does not happen too much in my classroom.  When students goals are to improve their individual student skills and independence, close the gap of reading, math, written language and language skills through intense direct instruction and need a predictable, structured environment and it does not leave much room for the unpredictable navigation that goes with group work.  

I was not sure how much support they would need to get this very important mission done but....it was a school wide activity and we were all in.  

Mission accepted! 

One of my teaching assistants (bless her) googled wagon decorating ideas.  I decided I would decide on the theme, thus eleminating that time consuming complicated step, but the students would be incharge of everything else.

My teaching assistants and I decided this would be our inspiration...
CLICK for Source
My students and I met in the hallway for our first planning session.  Excitedly we all spread out, their eyes focused on me.  They were giddy and ready to hear what we are going to do.  I showed them our inspiration and with paper and pen in hand I ask them what supplies or what will we need to make to create this.  Eyes stared back at me for a moment.  I suddenly was over come with worry.  They were going to need more help then I thought.  

Then this happened... 
CLICK for Source
Ideas started flowing.... 

Each student began excitedly shouting out their ideas of things they wanted to add to the ship and materials we needed.  In ten minutes our TO DO list was made and students were off getting the needed materials.  My students came back to our spot from all areas of the building.  They proudly carried their supplies.  I crossed off the things from our list that were done and instructed them on what needed to be done to build the base of the ship.  

Some students cut, an other drew the pirate flag and another was using You Tube to figure out how to make a pirate hat.  My students giggled, smiled and spewed happiness.  As the ship began to take shape the unexpected happened. 

"Let's try this Mrs. B!"

"Let's try this Mrs. B!"

"I have another idea Mrs. B!!!"

"What about this!!!!"  

Ideas flowed out of each of them like I had never seen or herd before.  And not the, "Oh that is a good idea, but it's really not going to work ideas."  Awesomely fantastic ideas!  Awesomely amazing ideas that kept adding to the ships greatness!  Suddenly some of their weakness, things that were challenging for them  to do before, were gone!  

I could not have been more energized and proud!


Finished Pirate Ship  


As we proudly added the finishing touches to the project I knew several things...
1)  Group projects MUST be part of their education next year
2)  Genius Hour (a concept I thought was beyond my students abilities) may be exactly what would enhance their educational experience
3)  In addition to all the direct instruction I do with them I must find a place for this type of outlet because it is awesomesauce!!!
4)  NEVER under estimate the power of creativity to pull out the best in your students!
5) My students make excellent pirates!  You should hear their arrrgggggg!  

What has been a newly iPad 1:1 class for over 8 weeks suddenly had a lesson in old school creativity.

Our mission was accepted and we TOTALLY ROCKED IT!!!!!!! 

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