Today I welcome guest blogger Holli Weaver. When she told me about this activity I just knew it needed to be shared, so I’m thrilled that she was willing to step in to the guest-blogger role. So, with thanks, here’s Holli.
During a unit on Earth Science, my third graders engaged in a creative project that proved to be enjoyable and engaging. Actually, it rocked! Our class created a Rock Fashion Show. Students worked in pairs to research a rock of their choosing. They were guided by a rubric that included things like: two properties of the rock, where it is found, and what it is used for. The rubric also included language arts expectations. Students worked on writing in complete sentences and making sure the information presented sounded like a fashion show, not just a written report.
As students progressed with their research, I modeled what it would look like and sound like. The students were excited to see their teacher act silly, but they also noticed that it looked like a lot of fun. To support their writing I created a handout of nouns, verbs, and adjectives called Words That Will Make Your Writing Rock. Students worked to incorporate these words to create fashion-show-like voice for their writing. For example, Trevor and Ellie introduced their favorite rock this way:
Let’s give a big hand for the rock that makes countertops, building, and more. Bum, diddy, bum –Gregory Granite!
Gregory Granite comes in many different colors, like while with dark blue, black, brown, orange, pink and gray spots. Gregory Granite’s texture is bumpy and rough. Gregory Granite can be found in Central California and Joshua Tree National Park. Granite comes from the Latin root word meaning grain. Gregory is made out of quartz, feldspar, mica, and horneblende.
Gregory Granite is the state stone of North Carolina. Did you know that New Hampshire has been given the nickname of the Granite State? Don’t forget this mineral is very expensive, stylish and strong. Thank you very much!
Finally, students created costumes using the information they had about their rocks and their own creativity.
I was amazed at the creativity, engagement, and depth of learning that attached itself to the core curriculum as student learning progressed. Students became experts on their own rock and were so excited to share what they learned. Each day when they entered the classroom they would ask me if we were going to work on our fashion show. It was pretty cool!
Our celebration of learning took place with two presentations. Our first audience was our first grade reading buddies. Before the show began we played Queen’s, “We Will Rock You.” That really built the excitement. We also had background music for the fashion show. Our second presentation was held at our monthly assembly. The students presented for the third and fourth graders at our school. The Fashion Show was well received by both groups.
I will not lie–this project was a lot of work. But it was so worth it because even my students who struggle daily with learning were successful. I was so proud of the students for the effort and creativity they displayed. In many ways this creative project reinforces the concept of meeting the needs of all learners. It helped me realize that when students enjoy their learning—they own it!
What an awesome idea! I have read Barry Lane’s example multiple times and it’s on my list of things to try with my students. How wonderful it is to be reminded that all of our students deserve to feel successful. Thanks Holli for sharing. Sounds like your students work was just as creative as you! Kudos to you Mrs. Weaver and your class!
This is a wonderful project Holli and I betting your students won’t forget what they learned. Not only is this a fun and creative learning opportunity, you probably hit a ton of common core standards. Great job!
Thanks for your kind words – as a teacher I cannot express how I was brimming over when the celebration took place. I was never more proud of this group than when I saw them working together. It was meaningful for them but also for me as their teacher.
Wow! What a great way to integrate reading, writing, and science. I bet the kids didn’t even know they were learning standards! It sounds like the kids really enjoyed the presentation too! It’s amazing what kids will do when the purpose and audience of their work is clear! Thank you or sharing your smart work!!
I really enjoyed reading about this activity. What a great way to make learning fun, active, and memorable. The student writing samples were amazing. Because you made writing so fun for the kids, it looks like they were able to produce higher quality, voice filled writing. Activities like these inspire lifelong learners. Great job Holli and thank you for sharing your thinking.