There is a bit of arguing going on in some circles about crafts in the classroom.
I get it. In this day of rigorous testing and expectation, there just isn’t time to do crafts just for the sake of cuteness.
That being said, I do feel our kiddos need to cut and paste. They need to assemble and use some “higher-level thinking” to figure out how things go together. I think they work best as part of a “bigger picture”. The kinesthetic and visual activity is a vital part of cohesive learning and concept mastery.
In my room we’ve been working on adjectives. Last week we had a few mini-lessons regarding adjectives that ended with the kiddos demonstrating their adjective schema by completing a few worksheets.
The lessons included reading plenty of books and lots of adjective discussion.
We read Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse…
This book is absolutely PERFECT for discussing adjectives. Kevin Henkes uses plenty of memorable and descriptive adjectives in this story.
After reading this book we created a chart. I asked the students to tell me all of the DESCRIBING words they heard in the story. This was our initial lesson, so we had a tough time sticking to a WORD. Many of the kids would say things like, “Lilly loved her purple purse.”
So we worked on it. “What ONE word tells about her coins?” They would answer “shiny” and “jingly”. After I began writing those single words on the chart, their answers began to improve without a ton of prodding and prompting from me.
On another day I read my class this little cutie.
This book has a completely different type of adjective. These adjectives about internal feelings, although relatable, are a little more complex. Again we made a chart, but this time listed “feelings and character”.
Doing this made it a little more easy to explain to the kiddos that adjectives are generally intangible words. “Angry can describe how someone feels, but we cannot HOLD it.” “Fuzzy is how something might feel when we touch it, but we cannot hold fuzzy.” etc. This helps to separate adjectives from nouns and demonstrate how words fit into different categories.
For the culminating activity for our adjectives unit we applied these adjective recognition and naming skills to ourselves.
I use a color-code method to help my new writers complete extensive fill-ins that most are not yet ready to read independently.
With my doc camera, I display on the board the same page on which they are working. I choose a color marker to highlight the area we are going to fill and then use that same color marker to create a list of ideas. I give some ideas, they give me some ideas, they all get written on the board.
I then move on to the next fill-in – select a different color – highlight it and create another list in that color. I do this for one simple reason. This is not exactly a group-write. The kids can use their own choice of words to do the fill-in. Some write fast. Some write quickly. So have the ideas and fill-in area color-coded helps keep everyone on track.
At this point I want to display and celebrate this gained knowledge. We’ve discussed, shared, demonstrated and written our new schema. Now it’s time to put it all together, coupled with our own creativity. This element of personalizing your knowledge helps encourage ownership of it.
Although I demonstrate the basic steps, I encourage them to do their own thing – unless their own thing has an arm sticking out of the front of their face. 🙂
“I have CURLY hair.” “My face is HAIRY.” Fabulous adjective application! (However, mister – YOUR 6-year old face is NOT hairy, but your surfer-dude’s face is!) HA!
I want my kiddos to be able to explain their work. Not just that we made some surfer dudes and dudettes. But that we learned about adjectives. We know how to describe things and ourselves. That we wrote about it and those surf boards held by our little surfer-selves contain lots of details about us.
It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but this bulletin board is labeled with a header that matches the theme of the board. The more interesting your bulletin boards, the more invested your students will be in creating things to be hung upon them. “If you don’t finish (because you are too busy playing around with things in your desk) it won’t go up” is a fabulous motivator.
So that’s how I use crafts as a culminating activity in my room. They are almost always used after a unit to highlight their new knowledge.
What we do in class should be as fun and engaging as possible. In my experience, remaining focused on an objective for a period of time is the best way to achieve mastery of a new concept.
This header, craft, lessons and more is included in my “All About Me Adjectives” pack.
If you’d like to grab a copy of this adjective unit to do with your kids. Just head over to either of my stores.
The little reader that comes with this pack is on my plans for next week. I am spending more time focusing on character next week with The Golden Ruler pack and I like to use this reader to bridge these two concepts.
Click the plans below to enlarge them and get a better look. Click HERE to grab a copy of my planner sheet. The download is a “clickable” .pdf so you’ll be able to visit the blog posts about many of the various items I have included in my plans for next week.
Check out Deedee Will’s “Peek at My Week” linky party for some other plans for the week.
I hope this helps some of you not sure how to incorporate the crafts you want to do while coping with District, Administration and curriculum demands.
Have a fabulous week, peeps!