|My Sisters complain when I don't post pictures. . .|
I've been reading Ron Clark's books this summer. I just finished The Excellent 11, and I read The Essential 55 (finally) in early June. I am currently reading The End of Molasses Classes.
The Excellent 11 talked about how he has his students work on memorizing things because, in today's world, with calculators and the internet at our fingertips, students aren't learning how to memorize.
It makes sense, think about it, how many phone numbers do you currently know by heart? (The only ones I can recite, aside from my own cell, are my old phone numbers from when I was a kid and my Best Friend's growing up, neither are attached to either of us!) He teaches his students The Star-Spangled Banner (and it's history and the expected deportment one should have during it), he teaches them all the presidents in order (which helps their understanding of history by giving them a basis to start from, for example: What big war happened during FDR's presidency? or Who was President when you were born?) and among other things. When his students have memorized something they have to recite it in front of the class without a mistake. There is usually a reward for doing so.
In the case of memorizing the presidents, he divides the class into groups and assigns a pre-recruited faculty member to each group (like the gym teacher, principal, another teacher, librarian, or school secretary). Of the first time he did this, Ron says,
"If every person on the team could say the presidents in order by the end of the month, that team would get a free pizza party. The pressure was on! Students were quizzing each other, stopping their faculty member in the hallway, supporting one another, calling one another on the phone, and putting forth much effort to learn the presidents. It was wonderful, fun, and exciting! As different students finally learned them all, they would recite them with pride, holding their heads high and smiling from ear to ear."So, my plan is to have Monthly Mental Monday Mornings (or (M^2)^2 for short - which is also a nod toward my parents - both of their initials being M.M.)
Monthly Mental Monday Mornings will include: (one thing from each category)
Skills involved: Verbal, Social, Mental, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Math, Public Speaking
Pop Quiz - teacher verbally gives a problem and the students write the answer on a balloon and hold it up for me to see, after a certain number of problems, students who got all the questions correct get to pop their balloons - by sitting on them!
Math Ball - I have a giant inflatable soccer ball with numbers written on it, the ball gets tossed from one player to another, when you catch the ball you have to add/subtract/multiply/divide the numbers under your thumbs. You can also purchase them.
Skills involved: Verbal, Social, Mental, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Spelling, Public Speaking
Traditional Spelling Bee
Pop Quiz - teacher verbally gives a word and the students write the correct spelling on a balloon and hold it up for me to see, after a certain number of words, students who got all the words correct get to pop their balloons - by sitting on them!
Recitations - Students will have all month to memorize specific works and then recite them in class
Skills involved: Verbal, Social, Mental, Confidence, Public Speaking
The Star-Spangled Banner
The Preamble to the Constitution
A Poem! (Each letter/character in "A Poem!" is a different link!)
A famous quote
an entire Dr. Suess book
Spontaneous! - ("Surprise" activities)
Skills involved: Creativity, Verbal, Life, Social, Mental, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Public Speaking
Cooking Activity (which uses mental math!)
Storytelling (story starters, story cubes, etc.)
Random Show & Tell - students blindly pull an object out of a paper bag and have to immediately present as if it is a beloved Show & Tell object (examples: a spatula, a piece of fruit, an old shoe, a drinking straw, a baby sock, an old Happy Meal toy, a game piece, a baby doll, a random piece of packing material, a slide whistle, a fake spider, a tiara, a rubber chicken, etc.)
Pop Quizzes - games involving balloons and popping them. Two examples:
One game that will never be played in my classroom is Silent Ball.
I think Silent Ball was created by lazy teachers. There are many more valid and educational games for children to play! Even games where speaking is not allowed, or where gross motor skills are being practiced.
For those who do not know Silent Ball, here is how it was always played in my classrooms when I was a student:
Players silently sit on top of their desks and toss a foam/nerf ball around.
Players must sit properly in their seat if they
Reasons I don't like Silent ball: