Friday, March 20, 2015

How Ben Franklin Stole the Lighting- Kite Biographies

This week's story was How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning. I do sometimes give the selection tests and I often hate them but I also don't have the time to create assessments for every single story. As often as possible we'll do something that accomplishes the same goal without all the bubbles and questions. This week was one such week. It's the week before spring break. Everyone is crazy and antsy. It's time for some art.

I googled "Ben Franklin Art" for ideas and a kite popped up. Perfect. I don't think I followed what the kite was about. That's how I work. I find someone else's idea and then change it so it fits with what I want to do. Often all I need is the kickstart and then it's off to the races.

We quartered (I know it's not really quarters, math teachers) the kite first as a rough draft on small paper. In the top two quadrants they were to write two things Ben Franklin did in his life. In the bottom two they were to illustrate two things he did. In the bows on the kite string they needed to talk about some of his inventions. And on the key they needed to write the title of the story.

I encouraged the rough drafts to be rough but good enough to give them an idea of what they'll be writing, a place to check their spelling etc, and a way to judge drawing within the unusual shapes. The original plan was to work with the 4th grade teacher next door to me and the kites would be flyable, but after a little experimenting we realized what a nightmare that was going to be so they are indoor kites. That's why the big kites are done on light paper. The cross beams are Popsicle sticks because not having dowels is the mother of invention. Sticks are glued and tail, bows, and key are taped.

The finished products got to fly on the walls and ceiling of the classroom. Who says teaching in America today is all testing and test prep and crying children?

Some students got the chance to reflect on the process on our Kidblog.

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