My version, which my brothers taught me, is basically a fancy jumping jack, but why not mix things up?
So, for the second round of 10:00 Flex Time, we lined up seamlessly, marched out Marine-like to our designated safe place, and promptly disintegrated into a roiling swarm of nine-year-olds.
Once back in our circles, we learned the art of the burpee–do a jumping jack, then, back at starting position, bend at the knees with hands on the ground, shift to a push-up position, return to knees-bent, and back to standing/starting position. Repeat process.
The kids needed a step-by-step demonstration, followed by a slo-mo demo, and then they partnered up to practice.
[No surprise, they loved the name. Not quite sure how this will be translated at the family dinner table.]
Once they got the hang of it, I had them do a set of three. Still confusion reigned, and I just shrugged and giggled at a group of two dozen kids in various stages of contortion. Hey, they were moving, right? And laughing. And getting fresh air…
All under the gaze of an unexpected visitor.
Double-yikes. [Would she be at all impressed that there is an actual World Burpee Day? I could only hope.]
A first step was to NOT call it ‘morning break’. I’m going with “10:00 Flex Time”. My thinking: Renaming it helps the ‘Why does Room 36 get morning break and we don’t?’ objection. I like the multiple meanings, as we’ll be flexing our brains and our muscles, while also being flexible with our time.
Because I wanted this first foray to go smoothly, I took them through each step ahead of time. [Someone calls it ‘journifying’.]
We walked out in two parallel lines. We formed two circles. After a quick review of a proper jumping jack, we did three sets of ten. As we did the jumping jacks, we counted by multiples of four. [Always fun to hear the inevitable confusion of numbers as they get higher…Note to self–a little review of ‘The Fours’ would be a good idea.]
I limited our flex time to just that. I wanted the basic steps to sink in. The kids will eventually ask why we’re always located behind the classroom. While we might be heard, we won’t be seen. No need to call attention our way any sooner than necessary. [With each day, I’m liking this whole ‘exiled to the boondocks’ more and more.]
All these photos were taken. Now what do I do with them? Beth Carson, and her charming new sidekick, Sanjay, to the rescue.
Paraphrase time: [I’m leaving out eye-rolls, deep sighs, beads of sweat forming on my scalp, full-on blushes]
Beth: Ms. Page, when can we see the other kids’ photos?
Me: Hmm…let me think about that. [A lame ‘dodge’ on my part.]
Beth: Aren’t they on a computer?
Me: Tell me more. [Always good to model curiosity, right?]
Beth [turning to Sanjay, then back to me]: Can we help?
Me: Tell me even more.
Sanjay: Can we look in the cameras’ boxes?
Me: Of course you can.
Beth: We think there are cables we can use to transfer the photos to a computer.
Me: I will love you forever.
I launched into the photo scavenger hunt and I ended up with photos of kids’ nostrils [my fault: I included ‘take a picture of a dark place’ in my scavenger hunt. So, I’m a rookie, sue me.]
Other scavenger hunt items:
— a four-sided figure
— something that shows an acute angle
— something that contains at least four colors
— something that is moving
— something affected by the wind
— something smaller than your thumbnail
— something taller than you
— something you might include in a story you would consider writing
Lots of fun and the kids were all over the playground–little bands of four chasing after and barking suggestions at the one with the camera. A few near-collisions between the groups. No casualties, including the cameras.
Not easy to rein them in. They seemed deaf to the rather forceful blowing of the whistle.
I enjoyed using the camera myself to complete the scavenger hunt and to document the kids at work.
I think Mrs. Nix had wandered to the nearest wing of classrooms, but I was too busy with my budding photographers to redirect.
All in all, tech is paying off. But I won’t hold my breath. This is me, after all.
So out of the blue I decided to launch into a new creativity challenge for the kids.
It was near the end of the day and they really were dragging.
I reached into my bag of tricks [i.e. my ever-growing library of ideas] and out came, 30 Circles. Normally, I would have given out a sheet of 30 Circles to each kid, but I didn’t want to take the time to print out that many copies.
So, there I went again—one copy for five kids, each taking turns.
And off we went…
They had ten minutes to create a new object out of each of the circles. I showed them how I turned one of the circles into a happy face. Not very original, but that was the point. I didn’t want them thinking plain and boring and obvious.
The challenge? Within ten minutes, complete all 30 circles.
I assured them they weren’t expected to reach that goal, so their more realistic challenge was to complete at least 20. What’s the reward? they asked. I honestly didn’t have one. There was a brief awkward moment…as if they weren’t used to doing something just to, well, ‘do something’.
Then we all shrugged, and I set the timer. [New tech skill! I used and projected on the whiteboard an online timer. Watch out, world! I could be dangerous with all this knowledge and such a reckless (relatively :-] It’s me, after all.) attitude.
I started the timer and played the William Tell Overture on a CD. [I know, I know, old technology.]
I noticed kids waiting their turn either looking around the classroom for ideas [Fine with me! It cranked up their observational skills!] or sketching out ideas on a piece of scratch paper so they would be ready to quickly contribute and move it along to the next teammate.
Four groups reached 20 and for the two that didn’t, I made a big deal over their originality. [One group merged five circles to make Olympic rings and the other created kaleidoscopic images as well as an image of a house as viewed through a camera’s viewfinder.]