Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Countdown

Do you count down the days in your classroom? Or count them "up"? We do.  Every day a fish goes into a big giant fishbowl on the wall. We change colors after every ten.  And every now and then we have a special celebration.  We have always celebrated on the 100th day. Bringing collections of 100 items, drawing portraits of ourselves as 100 year olds, all the normal 100th day activities. Last year, I ran across a unit celebrating the 50th day of school fifties style, and it was so much fun, that this year we celebrated the eighties as well.  On day 87 to be exact.  I happen to be an expert on the eighties.:) I found a 300 page unit on TPT, all aligned with Common Core, devoted to the eighties. It was like, totally radical:)

 I recently watched a clip of a news anchor from 1982.  She was talking about how one day in the near future the public would be reading the morning news from our own PCs. It is astounding to me how fast technology has evolved and continues to do so. And kids today are so savvy when it comes to their devices, from gaming to texting, music listening and video viewing... So when I brought in my Atari and my Merlin (anyone else remember that??), plus Pac Man, Frogger, and Donkey Kong, for our "museum", along with Cabbage Patch dolls, Member's Only jacket and Gasoline jeans, they were just in awe. As in we had an AWESOME day.  Because we talked about music, listened to cassette tapes, danced to Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Duran Duran and watched a couple of videos from when MTV actually played music! We talked about how telephones have changed, compared the boom box to ipods, did  Rubik's cube activities, did some surveys and graphs, created a nonfiction book, and ate neon cupcakes. We even did a little moonwalking:)

 Our literacy small groups were centered around eighties themed words...we divided syllables, worked on parts of speech, punctuation, verb tense and more. The entire unit, for those who are interested, can be found here: Totally 80's

 Did I mention that we danced?? A lot? Which was great indoor exercise because it happened to be freezing cold outside, and cupcakes plus kids trapped indoors are not always a good combination.

 Aww...look what we found in the Cabbage Patch:)
See the shirt with all the zippers?  I want you to know that I rocked that sweatshirt in high school. I bought it on a school trip in London..1985. It was my absolute favorite shirt of all time, and I always knew I would need it again someday:) (Yes, I realize it is tacky. As is the Swatch that I thought was ultra styling back in the day.) Swatches, big hair, Aquanet, skinny jeans, leg warmers, neon sweaters, jelly shoes, the metal bands that stuck around and the one hit wonders, the bazillions of cassette tapes (anyone else remember those Columbia music clubs??:), plastic jewelry, mullets, arcades, Sun In, tanning oil, and NO cell phones. Best decade ever. I miss it and I am glad to be able to teach that little bit of history to my firsties, firsthand. Such nostalgia...

And even further back....I should have posted much longer ago, because I have field trip photos, gingerbread projects, and sooo much more.  I hope to do much better about keeping up to date from here out.  Here is the class on the fiftieth day of school: Again, they were amazed at the record player. But the quote of the day was "Mrs. Raby, do you have one of those players that plays the big rectangular DVDs?"

 Record players, poodle skirts, phones with rotary dials (ohmiword...I brought one in to show and they cannot keep their hands off it.  They love to dial their phone numbers.) black and white tv, Leave it to Beaver, hula hoops, soda floats, bubble gum, Elvis, they did love fifties day too.
 The greasers...

If any teachers are interested in the unit we used, I recommend. It, as with Totally 80's, had way more activities than can be done in a day, and is great fun. Next year, for each unit, I plan to take at least a week to explore the activities in more depth. Here is the link for the 50th day unit:  Cruisin' through the first 50 days of school.

     The kids asked me why we didn't do the 60's and 70's too, and then they said "What do we call these years? You know, 2014...What will we call it one day? And will there even be school as we know it when we have grandkids?" I'd say those are excellent questions.