Happy July Everyone!
So… what does an educator that has been out of the classroom for a year JUMP at the opportunity to do…why, teach SUMMER SCHOOL, of course! Yes, you heard me right. I was given the opportunity to teach a summer enrichment program for upcoming 5th graders and I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. The gig is a dream! I thought, not only can I get back into the classroom to do what I LOVE (teach!), but I also get to mentor 2 student teachers. I thought I can put all of this professional development that I have had the luxury of receiving to the test! I’m 4 weeks in, and do not regret the decision.
So first things first, I had to go back into my ‘bag of tricks’ to determine what intro activities I would plan for these students. Now, mind you, it’s not all day. The program runs from 8-12 and it’s the students’ summer-all very important things to take into consideration when planning. The other factor when planning has been ‘what is essential for me to demonstrate to these teacher candidates’? The entire program is only 5 weeks with the goal that by the end of our time together, they can be deemed ‘intern ready’ and begin applying for teaching jobs. So I was definitely feeling the pressure of creating the perfect balance of fun (for the kids) and meaningful content (for the student teachers).
Because the program was in a completely different district and I no longer have access to what used to be endless supply of materials, I was also limited in that area. This 5 weeks was definitely going to sharpen my own instructional planning skills and force me to stick to activities that get the job done in the most inexpensive way possible. Pretty much every teacher’s goal anyway, right?
One activity that made the cut was one I found on Pinterest a couple of years ago. It’s pinned on my “Beginning of the Year” board, if you need to reference it. It’s pretty self explanatory. I purchased my giant bag of M&Ms from Costco, projected the picture above on the doc cam, gave each group one hard copy for reference (for any students with vision issues or simply those that like it in-hand), and distributed each group a cup of candies.
There you have it! A quick and easy way to get the students talking and, of course, eating –after they shared. We modeled what quality conversations look like and sound like prior to the start of the activity. I find this method a better way to model collaborative, productive, and respectful conversations. Rather than explain to the students how to talk with a long, drawn out syllabus, actually let them speak and then model, praise, and correct things that you see.