Friday, December 14, 2012

The "Giving" Season

No matter what profession you have, the last few weeks of work before Christmas can be a tough time to concentrate.  But, working as a teacher means trying to force a classroom full of sugar-soaked kids to pay attention and stay focused on the lesson. 

If you're not a teacher, you don't understand. Period.

You can try to say that your own kids are crazy at this time of year, but those are your kids. You can duct tape them to a chair if you have to.  (OK, probably not a wise move, but parents have more options for dealing with a rambunctious child than teachers do).

I have always been a big believer in keeping the kids working and focused until the last minute of class.  My focus always involved a test over our economics unit. 

But this year I wanted a different kind of work.

I decided that I was in the giving mood.  Or lack of giving...

Meaning, I didn't feel like "giving" a test to my 8th graders on their last day of school before the break.

(That's what is great about being the teacher.  I can make those kinds of fun decisions.)

Instead I decided to bring back one of my all time favorite activities/assignments that I had to cut the last few years due to testing.  (More on that later...)

I love political cartoons!  I love teaching kids about political cartoons.  I used to do so much with them, and I want to get back to that.  Using humor to teach is a very powerful weapon!  My assignment involves learning about different types of political cartoons and then requiring the students to create one of their own.  I put the student cartoons on display and they ALWAYS turn out great!  I've even done contests where other teachers vote on their favorites and give out prizes.

The kids enjoy it, I enjoy it, and parents enjoy seeing them at conferences in the spring (I do leave them on display for a really long time...).

Stay tuned after the New Year for pictures of some of my favorites!

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