Teamwork is Tops in Rm. 202!

This month at our school there has been a door decorating contest.  Since our class seems to always be doing 10,000 things at once–all fun and motivating, of course!–I chose not to participate in this project.  It was running for the last two weeks and the classes on both sides of us (Hi, Ms. Turken and Mrs. Appelbaum!) have been creating amazing displays, and no one in my class has really said anything.  A couple of friends inquired in passing, but were fine with my answer of “We are doing so many other things right now!”  It wasn’t until the last few days of the contest when someone finally asked me about it and wasn’t so happy with my answer….instead of “ok,” he asked, “What if I do it?”  I am almost always on board with kiddos taking the lead on things, so I was willing to play the game with him.  I told him he could TOTALLY do it, if he was in charge of the whole thing and that the only time I had to give them to work was recess.  I have to admit I was a little surprised, but he was instantly on board.  This was Friday, so he was given the weekend “homework” of figuring out the theme, the plan and the ideas for how the rest of the class could help get it done.

I have to be honest that I was expecting him to come back on Monday having changed his mind, but instead he had a pretty well developed plan and excitement to include his classmates.  We made plans for who would come to join us at lunch and recess, and almost the whole class wanted to help!!

We only had from Monday until Thursday after lunch to complete our BIG job, so on the first day we brought our lunches up and worked for as much of our 40 minute lunch period as we could.  By the end of that day, we had the background up and a great plan for what we would do the next day.  Oh, and we ate our lunches. LOL

Can you tell our theme just by this picture?


Well, if you know my friend who planned it, that would be an easy give-away, too, but I’ll just tell you that we had the theme of teamwork, shown through a football game.  We have a HUGE rival down the road in Webster Groves, so that’s the reason for the red and orange end zones. Our rough-draft plan looked like this:


On this first day we had about 16 kiddos working and not many jobs, so I worked it out with one friend to be our photographer.  I needed pictures to document our work and he wanted to help, so bingo!  I am super happy I did it, now, too, because it’s so great to get a kids-eye-view on what we’re doing.  Obviously he took very different pictures than I would have (and I’m even in some of them! Thanks for being kind–LOL), and it makes me think I should hand over the iPhone more often!  Check out the work we did on our first day. Oh, and I didn’t edit them at all.  I kind of thought it was very organic and “real” with his fingers were in some of them.  I also love that you can see conversations happening in many of them, as well as how messy it is working with 2nd graders; I think often I try to crop and edit our life into just the right picture.  But you know, honestly sometimes we just watch.  And sometimes we leave big piles of paper laying around, and often it takes 6 people to do the job of 1 person.  But no matter what, we work together, solve problems together and have fun with each other.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our second stop in the process was to create the field, with yard lines, names and goalposts.  Some friends started on bleachers and a crowd, but we quickly had to scrap that part for time’s sake.  Next decide about teams, then create football player and cheerleader versions of us to play the game.  For this job, I did give them some class time, as there really wouldn’t have been enough with just recesses to make that part happen.  We divided in half, created the parameters (7 inches tall), and even decided that we should have a mascot (Remember my photographer friend?  He was cast as Pioneer Pete!).  Again, here’s what it looked like while we were working, from a kids’-eye-view of the room:

Once we were all said and done, our entry into the door decorating contest looked like this:

I was SUPER impressed with how quickly it came together, with how well everyone worked together towards a common goal, and how willing my friend was to lead us all to this great product!  On Tuesday at the end of the day, as we were having our closing circle, more than one kiddo thanked him for being a bold leader.  What a great way to end the day! Way to go, Rm. 202 friends!!




LRRH–Inspiring Sharing and Caring

I started the story recently about our culture/geography/literature study of Little Red Riding Hood.  We’ve done many things along the way with stories and maps and learning about regions (which I promise to share later!), but today there’s another story to tell.

Today we read Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst.  The connection was to the Midwest region (at least as far as our SS unit was concerned), but my kiddos made many others kinds of important to connections in addition!

Screenshot 2016-01-20 13.44.55

The Little Red story here is very different than most others (and I won’t spoil the ending for you), and so gave us some new things to think about and respond to as readers and thinkers.  Before I was even finished, the suggestions came spilling over and kiddos could not contain themselves.  Many of them were related to this picture, which is on the last page:

FullSizeRender 21-min

Like I mentioned, the muffin-related ideas came quick and fast and I grabbed a marker and started recording so we wouldn’t forget the conversation:FullSizeRender 22-min

There are many layers to this list, and they’re not all related to the 100th Day, but that was a catchy title that Tyrin suggested.  We did decide, though, that we wanted to make these as part of our 100th Day festivities and share them with our 2nd grade friends–and there happen to be about 100 of them.  Seems like a match made in heaven. 🙂

We hope to address some of the others (and I’m sure add many more!) in the days to come.  Many of them could relate to a service-learning project and all will touch the hearts (and stomachs!) of our community.  As I keep saying, I can’t wait to continue to share this story!



Revised Pirate Code Ideas

Today we were finally able to revisit our initial list of ideas for our own Rm. 202 Pirate Code.

We used a protocol called Walk, Stop, Turn and Talk (which I saw on Twitter this weekend but sadly can’t remember who to credit for the idea) to talk about our thoughts on the first try.  Kiddos walked around until I called “stop,” in which case they turned to the closest friend and talked about which options on the list they thought should be kept.  They were supposed to give reasons based on how that addition would help us learn like pirates (based on our answers to that question which we had recorded the other day).  It looked and sounded like this:

Here’s our revisions, and then a “prettier” copy of the changes:

Pretty good, huh?  Oh, and that red part is that we decided that Learn or Walk the Plank! should be our Class Motto.  Verdict’s still out on that one. 🙂