First graders at The Dalton School in New York City did a recent reading, writing, and art project using our Fibonacci Folding Book App for the iPad. They took photographs, wrote Fibonacci poems, and made Fibonacci Folding Books. You can see their work here.
The Fibonacci Folding Book project is also available on my website in the section labeled For Teachers. I love hearing about it when teachers and librarians use the educational materials we’ve created for Growing Patterns and Wolfsnail.
I spent Saturday leading a workshop for a dozen Greenville Public School teachers titled “Read a Book, Make a Book.” The workshop was organized and paid for by the Greenville Arts Council. I appreciate all the help I got from Megan Hines, the education director for the arts council.
I taught three book forms: the instant book, the Wolfsnail on the Move Book (a scroll form), and the Fibonacci Folding Book (an accordion form). I shared the stories behind each of my books to give teachers a window into the creative process of a writer of nonfiction, and to empower them to lead their students through the same process.
We used Private Eye loupes to examine natural objects.
It was a cold, dreary day in the Delta so we didn’t spend time outside. We did a few exercises that teachers can use to prepare students for nature journaling outside, including the 20-second nature break.
A highlight of the day was making our Wolfsnail on the Move books.
I used some portions of the Digging Deep curriculum I developed this year with the Mississippi Museum of Art. I thank the museum education department’s Elizabeth Williams and Dorian Pridgen for sending copies of the curriculum, other MMA materials related to schools, and door prizes for teachers.
I spent a delightful hour with the Poindexter Park After School Club. I read my books, guided the students in making an instant book, and turned them loose to take macro photographs.
After just a few minutes of “practice” with private eye jewelers loupes, the students took turns taking photographs using the macro setting on my Canon elph. These are some of the best images. Others were blurry, but most of us have to take many, many images to get any useable ones. I look forward to seeing how the photography improves and to reading the books they’ll make.
Julie Owen and I taught our “Read a Book, Make a Book” workshop this week at the Whole Schools Summer Institute. We taught three book forms: the instant book, Wolfsnail On the Move, and the Fibonacci Folding Book.
I spent a few hours Thursday, helping teach a workshop at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Elizabeth Williams, the museum’s education director, and Carol Cox Peaster, the director of the museum’s Art Garden, and I guided 15 teachers through Digging Deep, the art/science/nature curriculum we put together earlier this year. We piloted it with fourth graders at Davis Magnet IB Elementary School. (You can read more about the pilot here.)
Teachers who participated learned the 20-Second Nature Break, some nature journaling techniques, how to use Private Eye loupes, basic sketching, and how to turn a sketch into a watercolor. Everything we did was with the goal of developing observational skills for scientific research, writing, and making visual art. We didn’t talk much about photography, but I couldn’t resist taking my camera along for some more shots in the gorgeous garden.
A little less than a month ago, I presented at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Conference in Philadelphia. Along with Beth West, the International Baccalaureate coordinator at Davis Magnet IB Elementary School, I taught a workshop on using photographs to illustrate math stories.
Regular readers of the blog will have been following our efforts to pilot this work at Davis this Spring. Read about it here. And here.
We had a great group of teachers at our session. We also had help from Andy Boyles, my editor at Boyds Mills Press (and Highlights). He took many of these pictures, and kept the slideshow(s) going while Beth and I alternated with teaching.
I’ve been so busy with students I haven’t had much time to blog. We are in the final stage of our bookmaking, and the books look great. The third graders did a terrific job!
Students created stories in the broad categories of patterns and measurement. We had six groups of students. Four groups had four students each, and two groups had three students each. The groups worked together to brainstorm, write, storyboard, and take photographs.
After an initial visit, during which I talked about my Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature (read about it here), Beth West worked with the students to talk about what all math stories need. Together, she and the students developed a checklist. The group writing was a challenging part of this project. In order to facilitate the process, Beth and I worked with each group for about an hour — to help integrate disparate drafts and press for coherence in the math methods being deployed.
We spent the next full school day, working individually with groups to storyboard the photographs and then take them.
After the photographs were taken, we asked the groups to self-select for four tasks: chartist (to create any chart needed for an illustration on good paper), folder (to make the instant book out of the good paper), assembler (to order, trim, and glue photographs into the book), and scribe (to write the final text into the book). So, on our final two work days, we worked with groups according to their tasks. All six folders made their books at the same time. All the chartists made charts at the same time, etc.
This final picture is of the classroom teacher, Mrs. Lieb. She has been very patient with Beth and me as we invaded her classroom. Here she is enjoying reading one of the books for the first time. Thank you, Mrs. Lieb.
Patty Crosby took all but two of the photographs in this post. She also had the task of capturing the whole project on video. Thank you, Mom!
Thank you, also, Beth.
I learned a long time ago that anytime I planned to do a project with students, I’d better try it first myself.
So, today, I’m sharing my attempt at a math story illustrated with digital photographs. This is my current project with third grade students at Davis Elementary School. (Read this previous post for background.) Arguably, I’ve done this before. My Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature is a model text for this lesson.
My co-teacher, Beth West, and I aren’t asking the groups of third graders to write and illustrate a 32-page picture book, though. We’re asking them to write and illustrate an 8-page math story problem. The broad topics we asked them to write on were: patterns and measurement.
Beth created two useful documents to help students with this project: a graphic organizer and a checklist. I wrote a story titled Toby Knits a Blanket. In it, Toby wants to use a growing pattern to make a red, white, and blue baby blanket. The seeds for his growing pattern are 4 and 1.
I spent about an hour last week meeting with one of the third grade groups. Beth met with another group at the same time and their classroom teacher, Mrs. Lieb, had charge of the rest of the class. The group I worked with is writing a story about trying to find a library book in a library where the cataloging has gone crazy, but in a patterned kind of way. Beth’s group was writing about predicting which student might win the most classroom incentive prizes over a designated time period — based on a pattern established in the first few days of the competition.
I go back tomorrow to work with a third group. We have six groups in all, and we are eager to get started on the photography part of the project.
I dug these lego figures out of my boys’ containers so I could use them as models for my other story — involving measurement. These lego folks represent a classroom of students who are going to eat pudding at a party.
As my regular followers know, I am in the middle of a photography project with fourth graders at Davis Elementary School. With educators from the Mississippi Museum of Art and teachers at Davis, I am helping the students make field guides of the museum’s Art Garden.
I thought I’d share some statistics from our project.
Photographs Taken By Students: 1,493.
Field Guides: 10.
Photographs Selected for Field Guides: 46.
Murrah High School Quiz Bowl Team
I spent Friday evening and most of Saturday with Murrah’s Quiz Bowl team. The team participated in a tournament at the University of Mississippi; three of us parents drove. Both teams competed with great aplomb — the ‘B’ team, consisting of 5 freshmen and 1 junior, lost two before lunch. The ‘A’ team, three juniors and three sophomores, didn’t lose the second time until the finals of the B bracket. I was proud of them. (One fun fact about these quiz bowlers is that nine of the 12 are also members of the varsity soccer team.) Here are some photos.