Saturday, 8 December 2012

One more from J&GP week

I found these adorable photos on my phone. I completely forgot that we had 'the Bugman' come into school during the week. He showed us all sorts of amazing insects from around the world including: Hissing cockroaches, crickets, stick insect, tarantula and millipedes.
Millipedes, milling about. They felt really weird and when they walked their legs moved in a wave-like motions.

My students bring brave and petting the tarantula. I chose to hang out with the millipedes  instead.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

James and the Giant Peach Topic

For the past two weeks our whole school has been involved in a James and the Giant Peach topic. We have included many different activities across the lessons to relate to the story, with the culmination being a 'Big Write'. Each teacher was given their own copy of the story to read to their class. We have story times for the last 15 minutes of the day, where each teacher read J&GP. I absolutely love Roald Dahl and am kinda shocked that I wasn't in to him or possibly exposed to his work as much as a child. I distinctly remember seeing Matilda at the movies, but don't really recall the books being a part of classroom life. I feel like I'm making up for lost time!
It was interesting trying to fit in topic-based acitivities but still wanting to stick to the main curriculum, especially as we have testing in the next few weeks.
One amazing activity I was able to incoporate comes courtesy of CF Classroom and involved inferencing. If you haven't seen her blog post or visited her TPT store, this item is a MUST. After humming and harring for weeks about purchasing this, my saviour came in the form of a Thanksgiving sale. Result! Basically it involved me collecting 3 items that I thought one of the characters from J&GP would have. I put them in an envelope with a letter and gave it to another teacher in the school.
I modelled this activity for the students using 3 items from a teacher in the school. We discussed each item and inferred what it must mean about the person. Midway through this activity I got a knock on the door with 'another letter'. The kids were absolutely ecstatic! As we finished my modelled activity I moved onto the new envelope. As I pulled each clue out I posted it on the wall. Each table was given post-its and asked to infer what each clue was. They then shared their ideas and put it on my bulletin board. Woohoo, instant display!

A close up of some of the clues and a student recording sheet.
After we had discussed the 3 clues and who it might be, the students drew each clue. Underneath they wrote about who it might be based on the clues.
The final clue was a letter. In the letter were some hints. The students were then able to decipher the character and wrote it down. They also wrote down which clues helped them make their final decision.

Top: Final Display, post-its with clues, Centipede and his letter
Bottom: Some of the students inference work above the board

One of my other favourite activities during the week involved the parents. A letter was sent out to all the parents in school inviting them along on Friday morning to take part in a 'Guided Reading lesson' with their child. I decided to involve the students in making a diorama. For those of you who aren't sure what this is, (which included every single person in my school, apparently not a word in England) it involves making a 3-D model. I decided to have the students create a 3-D scene from J&GP. I must say, I completely underestimated my students AWESOMENESS. I made this whole flipchart with examples of dioramas, with discussion points on using space and even printed out pictures from the book to help them. Umm...not necessary, those creative juices were flowing from the word go and the kids got down to business. It was great seeing the parents using their creativity and also letting them watch their children in class. The hour flew by and it was a great success.

Some of my favourites: Top: peach in the yard with the insects, Middle: Peach and insects escaping the sharks by being tied to the seagulls, Bottom: Peach rolling away and squashing Sponge and Spike - best bit is the students creating this even thought to attach a string to the peach so you could pull it across Sponge and Spiker!
We did do other activities, such as writing a postcard from the top of the peach, making tally charts and bar graphs of students favourite character and a variety of other things, but these two were by far my favourite.
Have you been able to successfully do cross-curricular topics? What are some of your favourite activities?