We had a stellar day one, and our day two was fun as well. This year, I am incorporating graphica into my curriculum. Inspired by Adventures in Graphica by Terry Thompson, I plan to use graphica in my reading, writing and math instruction (these are the only subjects I teach).
The kids were partnered up and given a humorous comic strip. I printed all the comic strips from gocomics.com for free and laminated them. I am creating an ongoing comics accordion file for kids to enjoy.
Back to the activity. The assignment was to read their comic strip, then create their own version. Some of the students created the story that came right before their strip and some wrote what happened right after their strip. Some mimicked the story and some were inspired by the joke in their strip and thought of a joke they wanted to portray. Lots of creativity, and I learned who perseveres and who gets flustered with a little challenge.
Some students had been concerned that they couldn't draw. As a debrief activity, before students shared their work, I read Ish by Peter Reynolds. I won't summarize the book here, but it is easily the most important book I have found for read aloud. This led to our first mindset discussion of the year. I will send the message constantly that hard work and practice will make their work better. No one is born able to do everything perfectly. Room to grow is a good thing! We will refer back to Ish all year long!
I was amazed by the teamwork and creativity here!!
Below are the templates they could choose from after planning was done. Eventually, they will create their own. Found these on Pinterest after searching "comic strip templates."
Later in the day, we had our investigate the room/materials time. They were able to try out the board games, word games, math manipulatives, craft materials and classroom library. It was the last hour of the day and a getting to know each other, free time extravaganza. Kids worked well together and had realizations about the materials in the room. For instance, many asked if they could take some of the learning games to lunch with them in the future. Others asked if these materials would be available for the many indoor recess times that we have in our New England climate. Of course, the answer was, "Yes!"
Students chose where to go the entire time and learned who in the room had similar interests. I saw students appreciating each other's sense of humor and abilities.
This picture of two of my students hovering over a comic book just makes me smile.
Investigating the games and other materials:
Many were drawn to the tangrams. One student traced them to create a beautiful abstract geometric design.
I wish I has taken more pictures, but I felt that I was not being 100% present with my kids if I was taking pics the entire time! I had some great one on one time with students, as well as time with groups of them. Very valuable investment of classroom time!
In this post, I only highlighted two activities. The entire day was active and collaborative, and we are ready for a productive school year!