February 25, 2017

Pitfall!

As part of Morning Message (it's really evolved into more of a "morning meeting" by this time of year), we talk about all kinds of good stuff. I've tried to set it up so that it kind of resembles a morning news program: a little bit of everything, including the weather! 

This helps to reinforce important skills from earlier in the year and build on new ones. I love that students can see the connections from what we learned back in September and what we're doing now.  

Through Morning Message, we've covered most of our probability unit in Math (normally, we'd teach this in May/June) along with many aspects of our Social Studies unit. 

Morning Message is usually about 20-30 minutes long and each little segment can take from 30 seconds to 5 or so minutes, which (and here I go beating the drum again for why I like my students at school on time) is why if you miss a minute or two, you miss a lot.  

This week, we were talking once again about adding plusses and comments to our writing.  I wrapped up the week by telling students about my favourite video game as a child: Atari's Pitfall.  Telling you that it's my favourite game doesn't really tell you much.  But adding many extra details really helps readers to develop an overall understanding about the game and why I loved it as a 10 year old.  
The information in bold is all my "plus" information. 

Students were really interested in what that red and white wall was about
near the bottom left of the screen.  

This little segment of our Morning Message really generated a lot of questions and it was a super-fun start to the day.  I explained to the kids that this *is* what good writing should do: spark conversation. The kids wanted to know all kinds of things about the game: 
  • Did you ever complete the game and get all the treasures?
  • What's up with the wall at the bottom of the screen?
  • Was there a girl Pitfall character?
  • Do they still make the game?
  • Where can I play this game? 
  • What other game systems did you have?
  • What other games did you play?
  • Why were your toys so much cooler than ours? (←ha ha! They didn't really ask that)

Who would have thought our most lively conversation of the week would be about this 30 year old video game, but that's how things in teaching so often go! Sure we had bubble-gum Math the other day with ACTUAL bubble gum, but that didn't even come close to the enthusiastic conversation we had on Friday morning!  

If you'd like to pop in one morning to see Morning Message in action, please do so! Just give me a heads up the day before and I'll put the coffee on! It's not a lights and laser show or anything like that, and I'm not riding a unicycle while juggling chainsaws, but over the years, it's evolved into not only something I'm really proud of as a teacher, but a meaningful, purposeful way to start the day.  

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