Every year I try to break us out of our long Wisconsin winters by taking an hour or so of class time to create a spring bulletin board that brightens our spirits! Today I thought I’d share a little bit about what we do–and why we do it! I so often hear people say, “We don’t have time for cute projects anymore.” I certainly agree that I do LESS than I used to–but I definitely believe that fitting in meaningful projects can be an important part of our students’ learning experience.
You CAN address standards when doing projects!
One thing we have worked on ALL YEAR is defending our thinking and proving our ideas. Whether we are writing about a text and need to support our ideas with evidence from the book or supporting opinions with clear reasons–this is, indeed, a huge part of our standards. To piggyback on that, this project asks students to pick a book they truly love and state one or two reasons WHY. As my students drafted, they had to check with a partner to see if, indeed, their reason was convincing others to read that book. It was fun to see how they made suggestions to each other to improve word choice and so on. Success! We also made drafts first, then revised–another one of our standards. It is ALWAYS good to work on that writing process…and it is so nice to easily be able to get to each student to do a “teacher edit” since the amount of writing is so small.
Easy grass…take 12 x 18 paper, cut into four inch tall strips, then slice grass blades into them. I gently curved every 2 or 3 blades to give it a little texture. I made grass while the students grew flowers!
Projects build classroom culture, creativity, and community
It has been a long winter, and our little family is ready for a spring break. Doing projects like this can help remind students that learning is fun and that they can each contribute to something really beautiful. I did make tracers available for students who wanted them for their petals–but hardly anyone used them. The creativity was flowing! As we worked, I loved hearing students ask each other for help, compliment each other, and work collaboratively on their designs.
“Can you help me with my petals?”
“Do you think these colors work together?”
“I love how you did your leaves! Can you show me how?”
I also loved the BOOK discussions that were happening! Students were checking out what books everyone selected and were having informal book talks WHILE they worked! I loved it!
Projects can help students shine
So much creativity!