After a very successful Monster Match this year, several of my classes wanted to do a turkey match with the same idea. We called it Turkey Talk. Roxanne and I partnered our classes, and ended up with 18 classes participating! The sessions occurred Friday, today, and a few more tomorrow. We were able to use the training materials and agenda for Monster Match. Interestingly, some of our classes had done Monster Match just a month ago, but they still wanted to do it again with turkeys. Clearly this project is meeting writing and art objectives!
Here are some pictures of the turkeys from Friday:
Notice how the turkeys are easier to see and compare when they have a plain background behind them.
A funny comment: One of my classes said to their partner class in TX: “We weren’t surprised that your turkey was so big since everything in TX is bigger!”
This is what we are calling an “accidental project”. Didn’t intend on it, but it just grew! I think I’ll be making this a project for next year for sure.
This has been a Halloween themed week of videoconferences. It was our first busy week since October state testing ended. Here are the programs we enjoyed:
We had 21 classes participate in Monster Match with Region 12, and 1 class do Monster Exchange with Dallas ISD. Be sure to read more about how Region 12 runs Monster Match here, here, and here. There are other methods of doing this project – see Dallas ISD and Humble ISD‘s pages. I noticed a lot of Monster Match copycat projects in CAPspace too.
We have an 8th/9th grade art teacher that annually participates in Scary Art with Arielle at The Cleveland Museum of Art. Paintings not for the faint of heart! The class that participated this year was a drawing/painting class and the program fit well with their studies.
Dia de los Muertos
A 6th grade Spanish class (teacher was a Jazz 09 grad) had 3 classes participate in the new Dia de los Muertos program with the Cleveland Museum of Art. It’s a “special request” program not even on their listing. The presentation could have been in all Spanish, but ours students weren’t ready for that. So we had partial Spanish, mostly English. The program includes an art project making a skeleton. Students really enjoyed it and learned all about the celebration.
Boo! I’m a Bat!
A preschool class connected to the Cleveland Zoo for their Boo I’m a Bat presentation, led by an educator in a witch costume. Students learned all about bats.
Day of the Dead
Tommy Bearden invited my schools to participate with his national audiences for a Day of the Dead all day celebration. I wasn’t able to get anyone to sign up soon enough to actually present, but I have 5 high schools connected all day with Spanish classes rotating in and out watching throughout the day.
Halloween Slime Time
Finally, I have a first grade class that every year participates in Halloween Slime Time on the states of matter with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. This is a great program with hands-on experiments for each pair of students. Highly interactive and visually appealing!
I’ve been thinking the last couple of months about professional development on videoconferencing. I had a nice line-up of face to face, online, and via videoconferencing workshops this fall for my schools. But since our 3 year RUS grant is over, the pressure is off to meet the PD requirements of the grant. That factor, plus the uncertainty of budgets, MEAP test stress, etc., means that I have little to no registrations for my fall professional development sessions.
So, how are my teachers continuing to learn and improve their VC practice? By doing actual videoconferences! I’ve noticed that I have several new teachers signing up for programs this year. They don’t seem to feel the need for any official / formal professional development on how to use videoconferencing in the curriculum. They are learning as they go!
As I’ve watched the Monster Match sessions this week, I have realized that carefully and well-designed VC projects can provide professional development for teachers. What are they learning in Monster Match?
How to effectively compare similarities and differences with venn diagrams
How to zoom the camera in on their monster
What a wiki is and how to use it (pasting their descriptions)
How VC can help students learn about different areas (like TX students asking our students about the color of the leaves to supplement their seasons unit)
How to prepare questions for their partner class
So I’ve been thinking about this more. What if we deliberately designed mass projects like Monster Match and others to teach teachers how to teach 21st Century Skills, specific instructional strategies like Marzano’s research based strategies, specific effective methods for meeting state standards, thinking skills (i.e. Linda’s projects) etc. Obviously we can’t do all PD this way, but could we make a bigger dent in that direction by carefully designing our projects to meet curriculum and professional development goals? What do you think?
Today is our first day of MoNSteR MaTcH 2009 with Region 12. I have 22 classes participating this year. The H1N1 virus has already made us reschedule two of the conferences, but we’re rolling with the punches!
This year, Roxanne added a Venn Diagram procedure for comparing similarities and differences between the classes. I’ve noticed that the schools are also muting to consider the differences, which gets more students thinking about what is the same and different. The quality and length of comparing is much higher this year as well. I think this addition has strengthened the thinking/learning quality of Monster Match.
Here are some of the pairs from the connections today. These pairs are done by two fourth grade classes:
These pairs are done by two fifth grade classes:
One of the classes created a little decorated paper curtain to hold in front of their monster until it was time to reveal:
These last pictures are from a 1st grade / 2nd grade pair.
What a great day of learning and sharing! Three more days of Monster Matches to go!