Saturday, March 24, 2012

Battle of the Books!

This year I wanted to try to inspire kids to choose "just-right" books while they were doing independent reading. Battle of the Books is something that I wanted to do for a long time, but have never been around enough books to do it properly. I'm still not, but instead of having a book for each child, I put out 26 books with 5 or 6 copies each. Then I split the class into 6 groups. Each member of the group worked with each other to maximize the number of books they read, and at the end of 2 1/2 weeks we all came together in the library to do our battle.

The prize? An increased grant for their startup businesses in class economy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

4th Grade Film Festival Part 1

I haven't posted in a while (besides the International Poetry Day post) in part because I've been really busy with our advertising unit. This year we have 26 students who each made a commercial in a particular genre for their class business. It was a big task. But when it was over, our class had a really cool film festival for the elementary titled "26 short films that want to sell you something." For the next few blog posts I'm going to feature a few of these short films based on their genres.

Before we started writing, we studied and discovered several advertising genres. Here are some of the genres that were found this year:

Adventure, Bandwagon, Celebrity, "You'll Be Better", Fear and Safety, and Comedy

The next challenge was for the children to write a commercial for their product in a particular genre. Then they wrote a commercial for the same product in another genre. And then another.

After that they chose one to polish and include as many details as possible.

Some commercials required a green screen, and some did not. For this blog post, I want to highlight the "Adventure" genre of advertising. We see this genre a lot when companies sell toys. But there's a surprising amount of ads that sell socks that use this genre too. Socks by themselves are quite boring. But socks worn by a mountain climber on the top of Mount Everest are awesome!

Kids love writing in this genre. Here are three diverse student examples from this genre. The first imploys the green screen in a variety of ways.

International Poetry Day

Wednesday, March 21st was International Poetry Day. To celebrate, the 4th grade had an evening Shel Silverstein Poetry Jam. I scoured “Light In The Attic”, “Where The Sidewalk Ends”, and “Falling Up” for the 40 longest poems, then had each of the 26 children choose from those poems.


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