Weekly Creative Practice: Something Fishy

This week, as I was cleaning my betta fish’s bowl, I was struck by how magnificent his colors and fins are! As I watched him swim around his small world- a round glass vase from Micheal’s- his scales glimmered in the light. I was reminded of one of my favorite children’s books from my childhood, Rainbow Fish. If you don’t know who the rainbow fish is, he is a fish with the most beautiful scales. He has scales of many colours but also metalic scales that sparkle and reflect light. Watching my little fishy intently, I realized his scales also refelcted light! Wow!

Meet my fish, Tango:

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I had a difficult time capturing the beauty of his scales and colours, however, in this photo I was able to capture the beauty of his fins. Tango is a crowntail betta so his fins are spiky and appear crown-like. My sister claims that he looks freaky, I however, think he looks majestic.

Here is a slightly better picture of his scales:

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When taking these picture I had to turn most of the lights in my room off to eliminate glare off the glass. With less lighting, his scales don’t have much to reflect so they aren’t as bright as when more lights are on. Either way, you can definitley notice the sparkle in his scales here- especially where he is blue. I think it looks as if someone took a paint brush and painted him with metalic paint! So pretty! (insert heart eyed emoji icon here*)

 


Refelction Time:

Reflecting on these past two months, I have noticed that my creative practices ussually include objects that are arts related (gazeebo, sound amplifier) or have some sort of significance to me (grandma’s jewelry box, my fishy). Another thing I have noticed is that I ussually am able to find art related aspects in every object!

Now, here is a picture of my fish when he was grumpy because this blog post is over.   😦

Until next time!

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Reading Reflection Strategy

After students have read their assigned readings, assign students to groups of four and provide each group with a piece of paper. Ask students to create 5 different spaces on the paper: 4 spaces will be for each group member to write down their personal reflections of the reading, and one space (probably in the centre) will be for the group to synthesize their reflections. After completion, have each group state their synthesis of the reading and then have a class discussion of the reading.

Benefits:

  • New perspectives from other students
  • Second chance to think about read material
  • Group work

Limitations:

  • Students may not have read the reading

Applications:

  • Collaborative ideas
  • Students can evaluate their own reflections off of peers

Adaptations: 

  • During the class previous to this class, test the student’s knowledge on that days reading to see how many students are actually participating in the assigned reading. This will hopefully ensure that all students will have read the readings for the next class.

Vocal Warm Up and Singing Rounds

To begin, first have students massage their jawlines and temples. Second, practice deeping breathing and holding breathes. Third, practice ragdoll forward bends while exhailing loudly. Next, have students walk around room while producing short vocalizations from the diaphram. Then, split class into two or three groups and have each group stand in a circle. One person in each group will then produce a noise that will then be produced by everyone in the circle single file and in order until it comes back around to the person who originally produced the noise. The original noise producer will then produce that noise one final time and then the next person in the circle will produce a new noise and the cycle will repeat. Conintue until every person has produced their own noise and go as fast as possible.

After each circle has completed their sound production activity, have all the groups stand in a circle together but in a way so that each group is still visually separate from each other. Have students particpate in a sining round.

*Ensure that you have just enough groups per line of the chosen song.

Benefits:

  • Gets voices ready for singing
  • Teamwork

Limitations:

  • Students may not be comfortable with sining

Applications:

  • Preparing  students for Christmas recitals
  • Getting students comfortable with singing and/or singing infront of classmates and teachers
  • Can be used by teachers to strengthen their vocals for all the talking they will do as teachers

Adaptations: 

  • Can be used to help memorize a song- repetetivly singing and hearing the same song
  • Can be used as a concentration tool

Story Drama

A children’s picture book will be preselected and read by the teacher before beginning the activity. It will be beneficial to the class if the book is unknown to the students. The book, The Island by Armin Greder will be used as an example throughout the following description:

Part 1: Instructed Drawing

Before starting, select an illustration from the book that has significant meaning to the book as a whole. To begin, partner students up. Explain that one partner will be the teller, while the other will be the drawer. Have all the drawers blindfold themselves and then show the tellers the chosen illustration. It is important for the drawers to not see the image. Next, walk around the room so that all the tellers get a good view of the illustration. As you walk around the room, the tellers will then begin to describe the illustration to their drawing partners. The drawers will do the best they can to draw the illustration through the description the teller is giving them. After about 3-5 minutes, they may stop in which the drawer can take his blindfold off and see both his drawing and the book’s illustration.

Have each set of partners team up with another set of partners to discuss each other’s illustrations.

For this example, an illustration of the sea with a burning raft was used.

*This step introduces the mood of the story. Students will begin imagining what the story is about.

Part 2: Instructed Mime

Before starting, the teacher will have chosen a text or illustration from the book that she will have the students elaborate on. For this example, the text describing a man on a raft will be used. Students are to find a random spot in the room at least 5 feet from each other. The teacher will then explain to the students that they are going to act out or mime what is being said without making noise. The teacher may then begin to describe the situation from the chosen text/ illustration. First, you would tell the students that they are making a raft. You can ask them what materials might they use? How would you put these materials together? Remember, the students are not to respond verbally but through their actions. Next, you would tell the students to put their rafts in the water and begin sailing out to sea. You could ask them what activities they would do at sea? What would they eat? What happens after several days go by? Eventually you will tell them to look into the distance at an island. Ask them how they will react to this sighting.

As students mime what is being said, continue to prompt them until you feel they understand the scenario well enough to move on to the next step.

*This activity puts students into character and prepares them so that they have a feel for what the story may be about without ever reading it. Students will be encouraged to search for what comes next.

Part 3: Story Pieces

Before starting this step in the activity, photocopy several (5+) random pages from the story and post them around the classroom unordered. Assign student into several groups so that you have one group per page. Pass out sticky notes to each group and then have them walk around the room and post their reactions, thoughts, feeling , etc., towards each page’s text and illustrations. Once this activity is complete, gather students together to have a class discussion on what they think the story is about. After discussing, they may then read the actual story.

*This allows students to connect with each page individually without the knowledge of the previous plot.

Part 4: Frozen Representaions

Have students walk randomly around the room. As they walk around the room explain to them the character you would like them to represent and that when you say freeze, they will create a frozen representation of that character. For example, you could say that they will portray the man when he first reaches the island. Once students understand what they are to do, ask them freeze. After several seconds have them unfreeze and continue walking randomly around the room. They will then freeze again but this time ask them to exaggerate their representation of that character.

You could further this exercise by choosing students to represent other characters in other scenarios of the story.

* Students will further their understanding/relationship with the character(s) and strengthen their opinion towards them.

Part 5: Town Council Meeting

Choose 4-5 students to play the role of town council members. Ask the rest of the students to take on a role of a character in the book. Have the council member sit at the front of the room and create an area in the middle of the room that will be used as the “hot spot”. As the teacher, you may also get into character as the “chairperson” of the meeting. To begin the activity, you might say,” Hello fellow townspeople. As we all know, we are gathered here today to share our opinions on recent incidents that have taken place in our community and make a final decision on our choice of action.” You will explain that the “community members” have ten minutes to share their opinions with the town council members by stepping up to the “hotspot”. After ten minutes, the council members will then vote on what actions will be taken.

An example would be voting on whether the man will stay or go. Students can take on the character of either community members wishing for the man to stay, or community members wishing for the man to leave.

Following the vote, have the citizens create two parallel lines facing each other (about 5 feet apart. Have the council members walk through the lines while the citizens quietly and repeatedly state their response to the verdict.

*This allows students to fully embody the characters and fully realize their understanding/ relationship will the characters and the story its self.

Part 6: Letter to Charcter

For the final step of the activity, ask students to write a letter to the main character of the story. For this example, it would be to the man. After a couple of minutes into their writing, ask students to crumple their letters into a ball and throw them into the center of the room. Students will then pick up a random crumpled letter and read it, underlying string sentences. Next, have the students read out their underlined sentences one by one to create a new letter to the character creating a collaboration of all the letters.

Evaluation of Activity as a Whole:

Benefits:

  • Stems creativity and imagination
  • Encourages an independent and group exploration of text/ illustrations
  • Teaches creating actions from spoken narrative
  • Providing new ways of evaluating text/images
  • All students will participate throughout entire activity (there is no elimination)
  • Students have multiple opportunities to express themselves

Limitations:

  • Prompts may need to be well detailed depending on audience
  • Space
  • Time
  • Age- students may be too young to understand certain steps

Applications:

  • Introducing students to a literary source
  • Memorizing key elements in a story
  • Helping students to connect with characters on a personal level
  • Creating classroom inclusiveness
  • Preparing students for what will be read
  • Collecting and evaluating their understanding of the literary source
  • Understanding democracy

Adaptations:

  • Prompts may change
  • Any story may be used
  • In Part 3, have students go around a second time to read everyone’s responses and checkmark what they agree with to further their reactions, thoughts, feeling , etc.
  • Have students write a response to the letter they picked up as if they were the man.
  • If the teacher wishes to have a say on the vote in part 5, have only four council members so that if there is a tie, the teacher becomes the tie breaker.
  • Students may be asked to represent their true emotions or take up the emotions of the character.

 

Weekly Creative Practice: Ram’s Game

Yesturday, Brook and I went to our first Ram’s game at Mosaic Stadium! While on facebook earlier that day, I saw that the ram’s facebook page had posted about their game later that day. It was their last home game before playoffs and the weather was not too bad so we decided to go. I am glad we did! It was actually way colder than I expected it to be- or maybe it was just me, however, I was wearing about a dozen layers- but it was a great game so bearing the cold was worth it. Here is Brook and I moments before the game was about to begin:

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If you’re wondering why we look so funny, it is because the picture was taken on Snapchat and we used a “goat filter”- our way of representing team spirit for the rams I guess. As you can see we were all smiles! Though the game was a “nail biter” with both teams tying up several times throughout the game, we continued smiling and thinking positive thoughts.

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During the game, the people sitting in front of us had a pizza delivered to them. Yes, you heard that right. Pizza was delivered to a stadium during a game. I know what I’m doing the next time I go to a sports event, however, Brook and I had not planned that far in advance and left our seats to try and find a burger stand. Unfortunately, the lineups for food at the stadium went on forever so we decided to head back to our seats.

Back at our seats, the smell of pizza from the people in front of us was too much. We promised each other that when there was only 5 minutes left to the game, we would leave the stadium before the rush and go home and order our own pizza.

P.s. we did and it was great!

The Prairie Wind Blows

Have students stand in a circle with one person in the middle. The person in the middle will say one truth about themselves. Anyone in the circle with whom the truth applies to will then leave their spot in the circle, cross through the centre of the circle, and take a different spot in the circle.

Benefits:

  • Icebreaker
  • Students will learn more about their peers
  • Good exercise for getting the blood flowing

Limitations:

  • Space
  • Not suitable for students with slower mobility

Applications:

  • Can be used as a warm up in any class or as a brain break
  • Positive relationship builder- creating a bond between students

Adaptations:

  • Putting chairs on the outer circle for students to sit on will help students to visualize the empty spots.
  • Have every two students on the perimeter circle to partner up and link arms so that students will then look for someone who needs a partner rather than looking for an empty spot.

Crumbling

First, number students off 1-4 (depending on how many students) and remind students to remember their number. Have all students walk around the room with purpose and after several seconds announce one of the student’s numbers. The students who were given that number will stop, begin to shout, “I’m crumbling!” and begin to slow motion crumble to the floor. In order to save the crumbling people, three hands of the student’s whose numbers were not called must be placed on the crumbling person before they hit the ground.

Benefits:

  • Teamwork- it is vital for students to help each other
  • Awareness of surroundings- students will need to be attentive of their peers while also paying attention to their own duties.
  • Icebreaker
  • Creates trust between students

Limitations:

  • Space
  • Size of class

Applications:

  • Uniting students- creating positive relationships through teamwork within a humorous setting
  • Can be used as a grouping mechanism

Adaptations:

  • Using negative and positive numbers. Students can only save students whose numbers add with theirs to create a positive number. For example, if a negative 1 was called, then any number that is below a negative 1 would not be able to help; or if a positive 4 was called, any number that is bellow negative four would not be able to help.
  • Calling more than one number at a time- interesting to see how students react
  • Falling instead of crumbling (best used after group has established trust)

Animal Farm

Fill an envelope with small papers that have animal names on them. There should be one name per every 3-6 pieces of paper (may vary depending on size of class). On the back of each paper will be the sound that the animal on the front makes. Have students draw a piece of paper and keep it to themselves. Turn off the lights and tell them to begin creating the noise of their animal and to congregate with the other animals of their species.

Benefits:

  • Helps students ability to replicate animal noises
  • Navigating in the dark- trust

Limitations:

  • Language barriers
  • Some students may need the lights on for fear or other reasons
  • A location where light can be almost completely eliminated is necessary (If students can see where the noises are coming from then the exercise loses meaning)
  • Space

Applications:

  • Can be used as a grouping mechanism
  • Can be used to warm up students vocals

Adaptations:

  • When learning another language, instead of using English names and sounds, use that of the other language to aid in the memorization, spelling, and pronunciation of animal sounds.
  • An interesting idea would be to use sounds of none living things such as a creaky door or plates breaking. This would be a fun exercise to see the diversity in how students interpret noises.

Weekly Creative Practice: Grandma’s Jewelry​ Box

I live with my Grandparents and lately, my Grandma has been going through and organizing some of her things from when she was younger. The other day, while I was eating supper, she brought out my Great Grandma’s (her mom) old jewelry boxes that had been in storage up until now. I have a passion for things that are old and that tell a story so I completely consumed by these jewelry boxes! Below is the top compartment of my Great Grandma’s jewelry box filled with her clip on earrings, pins and brooches, and some hat-pins:

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My Grandma said that if I wanted we could take some of the clip-on earrings to a jeweler and have them made into real earrings! I am also thinking about turning some of the pins into pendants for necklaces. Below is the bottom compartment:

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In the bottom were some necklaces, a huge pair of feather earrings, and a very fancy magnifying glass. The earrings are quite different from any earrings I have ever seen:

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The pearly base is what attaches to the earlobe-wich seems normal-, but unlike today’s earrings where the feathers would dangle down your neck, the feathers on this pair point upwards completely covering your ear! The magnifying glass is also something to be noted:

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My Grandma said that women would where fancy magnifying glasses such as this one as necklaces so that they would always be able to read without having to carry around a “regular, ugly” magnifying glass where ever they went. Though I personally wouldn’t use it as a magnifying glass, I would totally wear it as a necklace!

Here is an image of my Great Grandmother’s jewelry box along with one of her old perfume bottles:

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I have noticed that the things I notice and blog about usually have some sort of meaning or story behind them. I wonder what I will notice next…

Picture Book Dramas

To begin this exercise, divide the class into however many groups so that each group has at least 3-4 members and assign each group a drama related activity/ exercise such as: tableau sequence, reader’s theater, poetry representation, or narrative representation. Next, assign each group a children’s book. Allow time for everyone to read their books amongst their groups. Then, have each group incorporate their book’s text into their activity/ exercise:

Tableau Sequence:

Have students create and perform a sequence of silent tableaus to portray the narrative of their story.

Reader’s Theatre:

Have students perform their story using dramatic vocalizations. Memorization is not required. Students will vocally tell their story while using small gestures and maybe simple props.

Poetic Representation:

Have students create and perform a poem using the text from their story.

Narrative Skit:

Have students act out the story as one student narrates.

 

 

Benefits:

  • Gives a literary understanding of their book
  • Teaches physical/visual representations
  • Encourages/ teaches group work and the combining of ideas to create a well thought through final project.
  • Influences reading skills
  • Bringing text to life
  • encourages creativity
  • teamwork

Limitations:

  • Time
  • Space
  • Students may not understand their activities/ exercises

Applications:

  • Can be used to enhance student’s understanding of children’s books.
  • Can teach students how to present a narrative in a different way with or without loosing the narratives main themes.
  • Students will need to be creative and work together.
  • Students can understand the role of the narrative
  • Is great for both auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners
  • Strengthening students familiarity with the literary element
  • Understanding poetry/ rhymes

Adaptations:

  • Can be used in an English class or literature class to teach students about children’s books.
  • Could be incorporated into any subject area depending on the chosen literary source.
  • Can be used to learn script writing.
  • Could be used to teach students the importance of both illustrations and text in picture books.
  • Provide students with texts that don’t have illustrations so that they have to further their creativity when depicting the narrative (when illustrations are included, students may copy those pictures rather than create their own scenes).
  • Poetry Slam
  • (For Narrative Skit) students can perform the actions while the teacher reads the story.