Now, to understand the hugeness of this you need to know that every week we have an awards ceremony. Every Friday our school hands out the following awards to deserving classes:
"Golden Tippy Toes" award (spray painted baby shoes) for being quiet in the hallway.
"Sparkling Spatula" award (silver spatula with gems glued on) for politest breakfast/lunch line.
"Calm Cafeteria" award (small trophy) for quietest class while eating lunch.
"Library Award" for best behaved class in the library each week.
"Golden Dustpan" award (gold spray painted dustpan) for the cleanest classroom each week.
Now you also have to realize that I am highly competitive and I LOVE to win. And, I'm used to winning - last year we won some type of award nearly every week. So imagine the disappointment this year when we have not won a single award. Nada, zip, zilch. And friends, being totally honest here, we didn't deserve any awards for the first month or so. But now, we are pretty good (barring last week since the whole full moon/Halloween deal through us off our game a bit). So each week we wait expectantly and then paste on "good sports smiles" when other classes win.
And, also being totally honest, I think it's rigged. I mean, I've seen these other classes in the hallways and in the cafeteria! C'mon now! But I just smile and tell my kids, "It's alright, we'll try again next week!" and then institute in-class rewards like putting up a link for every compliment we receive - when our chain drapes across our shelves we'll have a party :)
So on Friday we went down to the awards ceremony and my kiddos waited with baited breath through all of the awards. Yep, you guessed it. Nada, zip, zilch. As we sighed in disappointment and prepared to go back to our room, someone called out "What about the Red Ribbon Week Door Display Contest?"
And guess what? WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No seriously, this is better than all those other awards put together! Because see, this was my kids' door - almost entirely from start to finish - I just helped out a little. Here's what we did:
We started with a bubble map - I wrote down all of the ideas for doors - the only criteria I gave was that it had to be specific to our classroom or something we've studied. The topics ranged from Mo Willem's pigeon to pumpkins, spiders, candy corn and math. When I had filled our Smartboard with all of the ideas and said we would have to narrow it down to one idea, one of my sweeties called out "Can we make a graph and vote?" Well of course we did!
So we voted and Spiders won by a landslide - they really enjoyed my Colorful Spiders unit and even my squeamish kiddos are kinds/sorta spider fans now lol. We discussed how we would turn "Spiders" into a Red Ribbon Door Display - that took another bubble map. Eventually we settled on taping black butcher paper to the door and making construction paper spiders. We got out our dry erase boards and went over the characteristics of a spider. 8 legs, 2 body parts, 8 eyes. We discussed that we needed spiders of all shapes and sizes but that if we made them too small they wouldn't show up very well so they needed to be at least the size of our palms. Each kiddo drew a spider on their dry erase board, drawing and erasing, erasing and drawing until they were satisfied with the result.
Then I let them at the paper and markers. At that point I removed myself from the whole process. If they came to ask a question, I turned it around on them
"Is my spider big enough?"
"Look at your palm and tell me."
"Can I use scissors?"
"Do you need to?"
"Yes, to cut out the legs."
"Alright then, that's your answer isn't it?"
"How many colors can I use?"
"How many colors do you want to use?"
And so on. At this point I realized that a lot of my kiddos are used to cookie-cutter type crafts and needing to have theirs look exactly the same as an example. We are going to have to get used to relying on our own judgement and creating our own projects!
Some of them grabbed our non-fiction spider books to copy things like the hourglass on a black widow, other just went with their own design. While they did that, I made a simple web design on the butcher paper with glue and then solicited their opinion on which color glitter to use.
So, from start to finish, they had almost 100% control and input! I was so proud of our result because it was unique and special. Are you ready to see pictures??
Super cute, right?! So proud of them for this - our reward is free popcorn sometime this week - and really, what award could be better than popcorn?!