Saturday, July 6, 2013

Math is Everywhere FAIR

In the last post I discussed the Math Is Everywhere Project in detail including directions, rubric, blog instructions, and a video montage of the students' projects. I introduced the project with about three weeks left in the year and the culminating event occurred on the second to last day of school. Also, during the last few weeks of school, thanks to Twitter, I decided to try to schedule as many Skype in the Classroom calls as I could. I was able to arrange a group Skype call with a 5th grade class in Australia and a 4th grade class in Japan. Although it occurred on the same night, I'll write about this call in a later post.

*Again, I'd like to give credit to Todd Nesloney for this post that inspired me to go through with this project. 

Here's the Agenda that I used for the event:

Each student's project was numbered and I split the students into two groups (odd and even.) The odd-numbered students presented first while the parents and the even numbered students walked around to view the projects. After 20 minutes of presenting, it was the even numbered students' turn to present. 

I had several parents tell me how proud they were of their child, and that they couldn't believe how confident they seemed presenting in front of total strangers. This project challenged all levels of learners. The gifted students went way above expectations and the students who are typically on grade level, produced work at a higher level than normal. However, the students who surprised me the most were the students who typically struggle. They produced some of the most interesting topics and best mathematical reasonings. The fact that there were very little parameters helped these students. (Find three ways math is connected to a topic you're passionate about!)

One of the most memorable moments for me came when a student who typically struggles in the classroom and had great difficulty turning in homework, not only completed a project, but he begged his grandma to bring him to the fair. I couldn't believe my eyes when he walked in! He was in the odd-numbered group and presented first. When the time came for him to stop presenting, he decided to keep going! I'm pretty sure he was the only student who presented for the entire 40 minutes. I remember one comment he said vividly: "This is awesome. People love my project!" I know I wasn't the only one in tears. His grandma didn't view any other projects. Instead, she stood off to the side the entire time watching him, beaming with tears in her eyes.....

I could tell a success story about each of my students, and honestly during the event I realized something pretty bittersweet. As proud as I was of the students, I realized that they blew me out of the water on nearly the LAST day of school. I know that I tried my best to challenge my students but this event proves that I should raise the bar even higher throughout the school year! 

Here are just a few pictures from the event:

Lots of love for Batman!

Love the 'nerd look' and computer :)

Basketball board with 3D court (Hoops)

Having fun with friends!

Here's a better look at the Starry Night Board (The student's mom confirmed that she did actually paint the board herself!)
Soccer Board
Soccer Goal that went with the board above!

Voting / Awards
Before the students presented, we explained the voting procedures. There were three categories: Best Visual Presentation, Best Oral Presentation and Best Math Connection. Every person in attendance got four votes (one for each category and a wild card vote.) And yes, the students were allowed to vote for themselves!

I decided to reveal the winners during our 'Blooper Awards' presentation on the very last day of school, but some students suggested that we reveal the winner during the fair. I think we'll do this next year so the parents will know the winners. 

Also, all students who came to the fair, got a certificate with a 'seal' on it. The students who didn't attend got their certificate minus the seal the next day of school. Every student completed a project, but 39 out of the 52 students attended the fair. I didn't make it mandatory but the students were highly encouraged to come. 

Time with Friends and Family
When asked what the students enjoyed the most about the fair, many of the students said they liked to share their work with their friends and family. The fact that this event was the day before the last day of school, I used it as a way to recap the entire year. After the students got their certificates, we told funny stories and watched videos of important events during the year. The fair portion of the event lasted 90 minutes and if we wouldn't have had the  Skype call I know the students wouldn't have wanted it to end. Before organizing the Skype call, I thought about having an 'after party' social time for students who wanted to stay and mingle with each other. I was going to set up some yard games for the families and play music. 

Like I said above, I'll post more about the Skype call later, but here's a teaser. The call with Japan & Australia was supposed to end at 8:40p.m., but right before the call I had a random request on Skype that kept four students, their families, my teaching partner and myself there until 9:15p.m.. Even then when I left the building, I didn't want the night to end....

Lesson 14: It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. - Albert Einstein

This project was so easy, yet it brought out such a creative side of so many of the students! Because of the success of the Math is Everywhere Fair, I would love to have a Science Fair....and a Social Studies Fair....and a Literacy Fair.....I don't want to go overboard, but it was a blast. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below or contact me on Twitter: @ArinKress

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment