Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I found Smarty's first homework assignment of the middle school to be a clever way for the teacher to peek into her students' minds and get to know them better early in the year.
Middle School "Getting to Know You" Assignment

Design Your Own Shield

This assignment came from the teacher who will teach a fascinating subject this year to 6th graders - a combined leadership and drama class. In her first class, she explained a bit about why drama and leadership go together - both require public speaking skills and ability to reach out and engage others. I am sure that I will be sharing more about the class later on the blog, but she started the year by giving students an assignment to design their own shield. She gave them specific instructions as to what should be on their shield. I thought the assignment was somewhat similar to Design Your Flag activity that Smarty's class did in the third grade, but required higher order thinking more expected of middle school age students.
There were also specific requirements added to the assignment:
  • No duplications between responses
  • Make it colorful and neat

Smarty's Shield

It was interesting for me to read Smarty's responses for this assignment:
Q: Something you love to do (hobby).
A: Reading. (Duh! I certainly expected that)
Q: Something that you are good at but not your hobby.
A: Doing homework (true, up to now we never had problems enforcing or checking homework completion)
Q: Something you strongly believe in.
A: Spending money to get to Mars. This response really reflects Smarty's fascination with space and with  the Apollo program. She read a lot of facts about how Apollo investment paid off in real-world applications. I can't wait to see a shield wall in the classroom and read what other middle schoolers put on theirs. I wonder how many would have some sort of religious references in this section, but I predict that it will be less than 50% in our area.
Q: How would you want to be remembered by? 
A: Smarty was an enthusiastic learner. The picture is supposed to represent a brain under a microscope and a volcano experiment. I found this question to be worth an extra discussion at home and still thinking of my own response to it. I am also interested to get insights into minds of Smarty's classmates - we will probably see these shields during a back-to-school night in two weeks.

Your Turn

A Thinking Prompt for Middle School: Design Your Own Shield

How would your own shield look like?

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maryanne @ mama smiles said...

What a great get-to-know-you activity! This would make a great family activity, also.

Ticia said...

I've always found the answers to this particular type of activity interesting. I might need to ask my kids to see what they would answer right now. I also love that Smarty's showed her work and interests, so it's not super cutesy and all that, but is complete, neat, and well-done.