At the beginning of the year, I saw a sweet layout of a literacy activity….in the form of a sandwich. Each part of the sandwich had something to do with the task: the bun, the lettuce, the tomatoes, the meat, the sauce, the plate…and I love it. But I am not a literacy teacher.
However, as anyone can tell you from my Scrumptious Rubric Reference to my Extensive but Easy Rubric from my days as a middle school teacher – I love a good response from the kids regarding their learning for any given activity.
So I took that sandwich idea and I brought it down to the elementary level. And I made it so ambiguous that you could really use it in any content area or any classroom level.
To start the day involved with students: I talk to them about how I grade. I grade my projects on a scale of 1 to 4 to reflect Standards Referenced Grading. 4 is Above and Beyond, 3 is Proficient, 2 is Below Proficient, 1 is Struggling and 0 is Incomplete/No Evidence. I state that more often than not, 85% of students are at a 3 for any project we do with the other 15% being at a 2 or 4. Our goal should always be a 4 but it’s hard to go above and beyond when we only have once change at a project. This is where my response time comes in. If we participate in this response and share our learning – and what we’d change (this is key), then we could easily hit a 4.
We started the day with a discussion – we discussed our overall student goals for the Claude Monet Lily Project. We wanted to learn about Claude Monet, experience Impressionist style painting, Problem Solve using multiple materials, etc. These are displayed in the room during the class so that served as a reminder.
Next, I had time for table talk. Students discussed what else came to mind when they were working – what else did they learn, what did they like, what would they change. Learning doesn’t have to be about Monet or the Impressionist style – but more so, ourselves as artists! Say this a lot and they start to have deeper conversations. After 2-3 minutes of quick chatting, have one group present the findings of their table. This creates a foundation for presenting in the classroom. A simple sentence or two is all you need. Whatever students say, write on the board and repeat. This assures that all students have heard it at least once – and then the bullet points on the board help for the final steps.
For this project, we had a lot of great responses including these main themes:
– We learned that we don’t need to be perfect, that showing the impression of what we want to paint can be art too.
– We learned that we may not be a patient person and this project caused us to try harder with all the different materials.
– We learned that when Ms. J says “not a lot, just a dot” with glue, she has a really good point.
– We liked how colorful this project was.
– We liked how we turned something 2D into something 3D.
– We would change how many pedals we created (good point for next time).
– We would change the size of my leaves because they are huge.
– we really enjoyed using more that one material – it kept it interesting, we did something different every day.
After the “presentations”, I hand out their sandwich form. The top bun includes “3 Things I Learned” which now they have lots of ideas in their head from the classroom discussion and table talk. The meat of the sandwich includes “2 Things I Liked”. And the smaller, bottom bun includes “1 Thing I Changed.” Every teacher has a different philosophy but I simply require complete thoughts, not sentences and creative spelling when we aren’t sure. As long as I know what they are thinking, I’m happy with what they give me.
Some students ran out of time they had plenty to write down. Some students wanted to put things besides what was talked about and that’s great! When a student is finished with their sandwich, they check for their name and use the table caddies to color their sandwich in however they want. Just not too dark so I can still read. This activity, if you stay energetic with the kids can last until about 10 minutes of the end of class at which point you can choose to let them continue coloring or do a gallery walk around the flowers. Since our lilies displayed as a collaborative piece – we did both, a quick gallery walk and then finished coloring our sandwiches. This was a huge success!
If you would like a PDF of my sandwich response, steal it here.