About three weeks ago, I intro'd this project to my class. Typically, I've had students write letters to the incoming 4th graders (or in this case, 5th graders) giving them the in's and out's of that grade. Since I've (sort of) looped with this group of kids for the past two years, I wanted to do something different. Also, I gave them that same assignment a year ago and I'm not a big fan of repeating lessons with no adjusted purpose.
Enter my brilliant idea. I told the class that their end of year project would be creating a book, "How to Survive Mr. Arakaki's Class". That way, I can keep them every year, no matter what grade I'm teaching. Also, they'd be working in groups (maximum of three) or in pairs or flying solo. They'd create an expository text based on their experiences in my classroom over the past two years.
It was an awesome idea and the kids took it to the next level. Naturally, they created covers and title pages and drew pictures to go along with their writing, but then they started incorporating the non-fiction text features that we've studied this year. A table of contents. An index. A glossary of terms that Mr. A uses on a regular basis. (At the start of the year, I say "rubbish" when I'm referring to trash/garbage, but no one really knows what I'm talking about) Maps and diagrams of the classroom layout. They included all sorts of things.
The project was successful in allowing the students to create their own books in whatever pairings/groups they wanted and utilizing their non-fiction expository writing skills to explain information. They also had a lot of fun coming up with ideas.
Here is one of the pages that I found on my laptop from one of the groups.
Things That Annoy Mr.Arakaki
Save it for P.E
2. Unicorn dances, Unicorn marches, Unicorn discos
It is on May 10. Celebrators: Jack, Piccone, Ririe
3. Kids who are cocky
Like when you think you all that like some people.
4. When the interactive board does not work
Whatever you do, don’t press the red button (I’m talking to you Ririe)
5. When kids just mess around
Like people that don’t pay attention, but get attention.
6. People who like to talk loud
Those that only have one volume (Piccone, Ririe)
7.The writers of this book
(Jack, Ririe, Piccone)
8. Tapping attention wanters
I really appreciated all my students' creativity. Hopefully I'll have time to share other sections from the other books. I do want to share a bunch of them on here.
How to Get on Mr. A’s Good Side
Truthfully, the best way to get on his good side is to be yourself. If you act like someone else you probably won't get on his good side. You also don’t want to be any of the things on the 'Things that Annoy Mr. Arakaki' list. Don’t cuss, like @#%&! You need to pay attention to Mr. A when he is giving directions. Don’t act like you're all that. Knowing him will also help. If you follow all these rules you most likely get on his good side.
(added even later)
Things that Annoy Mr. Arakaki
1. Tapping - It is annoying to Mr.Arakaki and if you ever feel like tapping you should tap on your leg.
2. Talking While He’s Talking - That really disturbs him and it also distracts your classmates.
3. Fighting with friends/classmates - It makes him very sad to see classmates fight, so when you guys go to 5th grade, please don’t make him sad.
4. Don’t cuss - He really dislikes that. If you have something to say, think what it is before you say it.
It's amazing to me that they know so much about who I am as a person.