Sunday, May 20, 2012

Open House

A huge part of my life is my work... Our school's Open House was just this past Thursday, and even though it has been the hardest teaching year of my career, I must say that the Open House was a highlight of my year!   
My room's "theme" this year was a States Fair.  We've been learning about the 50 states and each student was assigned a specific state to focus on.  We researched and completed different projects that were showcased during our Open House.  Here's a glimpse of my room:
(No, my desks aren't normally arranged like this!)
For the first time ever, I asked students to dress up for Open House.  They had an option of dressing up as a Famous American from their state or as a state symbol.  It was FANTASTIC what the kids came up with for their costumes.  Here's one example:
When the kids arrived at our classroom, they picked up their "Special Guest Pass" (nametags) and wore them in case people couldn't tell who they were.  They had to find an adult to give them a "V.I.P. Interview."  The students had to answer the questions based on their character/symbol, and the interviewer had to rate the students' answers.

After the interview, the students guided their parents/guests around the classroom to show off all of their learning.
Students created 3-D Flag Art inspired by Jasper Johns' "Three Flags" and wrote descriptive paragraphs about the flag's symbols.
Students learned how to read and create timelines by researching important events in their state's history, including its statehood.
The students researched about famous people from their state.  They used the information to write biography poems from that person's perspective.  Then, they got to create a visual of their famous person.
One thing that I'm proud of this year is how I've taught across the curriculum.  I've definitely worked at "killing more birds with fewer stones."  This particular project tied together ELA, Science, and S.S. standards.  We read about animal and plant cells, compared them using a Venn diagram, then researched State Birds (animal cells) and State Flowers (plant cells).
A popular project that I've assigned over the years is for students to create a State Float.  Students spent a lot of time researching about their state, and then designed a float to represent their state.  Three awards were handed out- this particular float won "Judges' Award."  All Open House visitors got to vote for their favorite float, and I also had the class choose their favorite float.
This past year, we learned how to read physical and political maps.  We also learned about the different landforms across America.  Students used this knowledge to make 3-D relief maps of their state using salt dough and when it was dry, they painted them.

I forgot to take a picture of our Road Trip Scrapbooks.  Every day for the past few months, we've pretended to jump on a bus to take a road trip around the U.S.  Students pretended to take a picture (drew and colored) and write an entry describing something they might have seen while visiting that particular state.

Particularly since I'm Canadian, I always find it interesting to teach about the different states.  It has involved a lot of research on my part and boy, I've learned a lot!  Anyway, I just wanted to share a glimpse of my teaching world!  The end of the school year is almost here!


Jamie said...

You are one amazing teacher Jane! I wish all my kids could have you for 5th grade! I am sure that when your students are grown they will remember you and some of the fun projects you did with them during the year!!!

JHNickodemus said...

So cool! Can I be in your class?! I love the idea of using fewer stones!