Tuesday, September 8, 2015

{REPOST}: Silly Sculptures: 10 minutes = laughter, joy, and re-engagement.

My seniors are stressed.  Some for good reasons:  choosing between college admittances, touring campuses for final decisions, and solidifying rooming situations.  Others are attending Saturday school to make up credits so they can graduation.  All are victim to “Spring fever” and their detachment process towards high school is in full effect:  although healthy, every senior teacher knows the challenges of engaging 12th graders in spring.  

So, this week we stole 10 minutes of precious instructional minutes and built a silly sculpture. For 10 minutes, we were not worried about grades, graduation, or the future.  We were just allowed to be creative and, most importantly, laugh.  

In “Silly Sculpture” the kids are challenged to create a sculpture that symbolizes the team. The trick is, they are only allowed to use items found on them or in their backpack, binder, or purses.  This activity is three-fold:  you learn about your classmates by the items they carry (and how!), you see which kids emerge as leaders and which as followers, and finally they have to talk to each other to create one piece of art
  1. Place kids in groups of 3-6 kids each
  2. Have groups squish desks together so there are no spaces or gaps in between.  This is their platform.
  3. Have everyone empty out their “stuff” on to the desks.  This may be the most entertaining part of all.  The stories that come with the items have the kids cracking up.  One girl had a small plastic walrus in her purse...seriously!
  4. Now give the kids 9 minutes on the timer to create their sculpture, decide what all of the items stand for and nominate one spokesperson per group to guide the class through their piece of art.
  5. Once sculpture is made, direct the groups to discuss WHY their sculpture represents their group.  Spokesperson may want to jot down notes.
  6. Spokesperson for each group stands and delivers an explanation of why their sculpture represents their group.

Some memorable explanations today:
  • Glasses for us to see the future clearly
  • asthma inhaler so we may breathe in life
  • earbuds to represent listening to each other
  • money shows we crave security
  • even a tampon to represent equality between the sexes!

I would say the entire process took about 16-17 minutes (you do need to go from group to group to “keep them moving”), but after we completed it, I had such a productive remainder of my two hour block.  The kids were energized, connected, feeling positive, and rewarded me with a strong productive writers’ workshop session.

The most important aspect of the day:  we laughed.  We all just laughed, and I for one needed that.

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