On Friday I will be showing this slideshow of memories to the class. Google Slides does not yet enable audio playing behind the slideshow, so I will be playing a YouTube playlist to accompany the presentation. If you'd like the full experience, click play on the playlist below, then watch the slideshow. You have to pause the music whenever a slide contains a video for you to watch, so heads up. Enjoy!
Friday was the day of our much-anticipated SUPER market! This market was the peak of our classroom economy. If you need a refresher on the ins and outs of our classroom economy, I highly recommend reading this entry, and this one too, before continuing.
What sets the SUPER market apart is that it is the final market of the year, so many people have looots of money to spend. All year I've been reminding them to keep some money saved away for this special event. To make it worth their while, I made sure to get bigger and better items for them to buy than I did for the regular monthly markets. These included large stuffed animals, snacks and gum, and board games.
As usual, the small businesses really made the market come alive. We had more businesses than ever this time around! Interestingly, we had more services being sold than goods. There were students selling massages (which I happily paid for), backpack holding, and even archery lessons! As the businesses earned money, the business owners would take a break to do a bit more shopping, then head back to their stations.
As the cashier, I noticed the students' increasing savviness regarding how to organize their bills, what bills to give, and how much change they will receive. More than markets past, this felt like true commerce. It was a rewarding experience for all, and a fabulous activity for the end of the year.
Sometimes in the classroom everything goes just right. And when this happens, the wise teacher notices, leans in, and basks in the moment. This entry is inspired by such a moment, a moment which happened today.
Our language arts lesson centered around metaphor - what metaphor is, how it is used, and the impact it can have on a piece of writing. To experience the power of metaphor, I turned off the lights and read the poem "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod." The students sat in wonder, envisioning the dreamy imagery of the poem. I left out the final stanza, which reveals the meaning behind the metaphors in the poem. We discussed parts of the story that didn't seem literal -- sailing in a wooden shoe, fishing for stars, a talking moon, etc. The students made guesses about what the elements could be standing for. This conversation created a feeling of curiosity and wonder in the room, so that when I finally read the last stanza, the students "oohed and aahed" at finding out the meaning of the poem.
Keeping this dreamy mood going, I invited the students to write about "fog." I told them they were to spend 20 minutes writing, using as much description of the fog in their story as possible. The room stayed dark and silent as they wrote. "Please can we share our stories when we're done?" a student asked. "Sure," I said. And why not? How often is every child intrigued and engaged by a literary activity?
From the first sentence of the first story, it became clear that these "foggy" stories were going to be on the creepy side. So we kept the lights low, and brought a flashlight into the mix.
And so it went. They read their stories, each writer holding a flash light for effect as he/she read. Their stories were indeed creepy, mysterious, and overall quite intriguing. Some were able to use the fog as a metaphor -- for blindness, for confusion, for a memory. Some used metaphor to describe the fog. Take, for instance, one writer who referred to the fog as a "blanket of darkness." One story was so exciting that we even acted it out!
It was a moment to revel in, and revel we did.
Little people, big minds.