Saturday, August 31, 2013

Whew, I survived

I can't believe I survived the week! Okay, so I passed out at 9 pm on Friday from pure exhaustion, but I'm still so invigorated about this school year.

Monday I had to give a three-hour presentation to over 60 teachers about our reading curriculum that I helped create in Google Drive.  I created the presentation in Drive, too. Who has ever heard of Drive crashing for over 30 minutes? Well, it does and it did right when we had to present.  Amazingly, we continued on, and the Google Drive was back up right when we needed the videos and links.

Tuesday I totally shocked my co-workers with the photo booth.  It was a hit! Even the principals did it.

I couldn't wait for Wednesday to see the students' reactions in getting to play with Play Doh (Thanks to TLAP).  I couldn't believe what they ended up creating!  I play with this stuff all the time with my daughter and never thought you could make something like these.  I always just make snakes or baskets made from making a lot of little snakes.

I stayed up late the night before the "big day" and made a little treat for my students.  You can get this template for free thanks to Eighteen25.  I heard many "awwws" as I handed them out at the end of class.  

Of course in order to have a TLAP "hook" for tomorrow, I told them their homework was to bring in a Hawaiian shirt and/or beach hat.  I told them to borrow if they had to since I was borrowing mine.  They had to create their Edmodo accounts, too.

If you haven't read Teach Like a Pirate (TLAP) yet, then I'll let you know that Dave Burgess likes to dress up a lot.  I didn't think I would do that.  I don't recall if he does for his day two island lesson.  I certainly couldn't bring myself to fly around the classroom like a crazy person and then pass out on the floor!!! Dressing up in a Hawaiian shirt and beach hat at work was already pushing it for me who even dresses up on Fridays when all others dress down.  However, I did come up with an idea to make the day an adventure.  I saw on one of Burgess's retweets of a teacher who had the students flip their desks and pretend to fly when they learned about Lindbergh.  I do know how to make a movie using iMovie so I went on YouTube looking for plane crash videos.  I can't believe there are real ones on there.  I certainly didn't want to use those so I found one that had the entire crash from Lost (my all time favorite show).  I also found some shots of Hawaii from a helicopter company.  I took both videos and created a two minute video, but I didn't want the sound that they had.  I couldn't believe iTunes has a plane crash sound that was 30 seconds long.  99 cents was a little pricy, but it's for a good cause, right?  I put Jimmy Buffet's "Volcano" for the island shots and weaved in the crash right with the first jolt in the video (I'm super impressed I could do that.  It took a lot of patience and effort to get that just right and the students probably didn't even notice.).  Then I found a song called "The Ocean" by Yuto Kanaza who created it about the tsunami that hit Japan.  You can view the final product here.  

I brought in extra shirts and hats for students to borrow.  They grabbed them up right away.  They were extremely confused on why some of the desks were upside down.  I had two chairs flipped in the front.  I was their pilot and easily got a student volunteer to be the co-pilot.  While watching it, I had students clapping their hands and dancing.  When the crash came, they LOVED screaming.  My teammate said the class on the other side of my wall was wondering what was going on.  Once it was finished, I told them they were a survivor.  I switched gears and had them be the captain of the boat who was going to save 5 out of the 10 survivors.  As they worked in groups on the assignment, I learned so much about how they will work in groups and saw the roles that they automatically took.  I used it as a time to talk about group expectations and what makes a good group.

I stopped by the office while I took the students to lunch since we have it in the middle of class.  The secretary wondered what my outfit was all about.  My principal, who has read the book, loved it.

My "hook"/homework for Friday was to bring in their best "thinking cap".  At night, I used Remind 101 to send a message out about not forgetting their "thinking cap".  

I have to have two Student Learning Objectives as part of my evaluation.  On Friday, I had students do the first of the two tasks that gives me some baseline data.  The only thing I could think of to make it an adventure was to have them have "thinking caps" and allow them to wear them in class.  Also classical music is known to help, so we listened to it quietly during the entire task.


  1. Sounds like a truly unforgettable beginning!Your smile in th e picture says a lot; I bet your students have matching grins.

  2. it was the best and most fun opening I've ever had. Thanks for reading!