Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Enjoy the show! - Part 2

Keeping the momentum of a socio-dramatic play area has been at the forefront of my thinking since the co-creation of our classroom airport two years ago (click "Airplane and Airport Inquiry" under "Categories" to read posts pertaining to this incredible inquiry). I often find that these learning spaces within the classroom change the most frequently as students' interests and experiences change quite rapidly from week to week, month to month.  



When looking at the high interest and level of engagement within our current dramatic play inquiry of our classroom's movie theatre, I couldn't help but wonder if it was an appropriate time to seek out a real-world excursion to support our students' interest in movie theatres. For me, field trips are an opportunity to take the learning outside the walls of our classroom, provide a real-world context and experience that students may not be exposed too previously. Furthermore, field trips provide students with the opportunities to verify their understandings and wonderings, and most importantly, drive their thinking and learning forward when back in the classroom. In my experiences and speaking from previous years, my old partner Heidi Theis and I used field trips at various points in our inquiries; 1) to meet the "experts" as a way of supporting our inquiry question and give us a new "spark" when back in the classroom to further explore or, 2) to act as a celebration of our learning and seeing firsthand what is was we've been learning about in action (e.g. visiting an airport and sitting in the cockpit). I feel both opportunities give students an authentic experience that is meaningful when purposefully planned and well thought-out.


Image from Google Images
To support "Room 109 Movies," we began discussing with students who has in fact been to a real-life movie theatre and who might not yet have had that experience. To me, this was a perfect entry point to see if an excursion would be meaningful for my students at this time and for the purpose of driving our students' interests further. I'm happy to announce that we have an exciting field trip booked with the Roxy Theatre in Uxbridge, Ontario whereby students will get a firsthand look into how a movie theatre operates, how popcorn is made, where they play the movies from (projection room) and the different roles movie theatres need in order to work. We will not be seeing a movie, but rather focusing on the inner workings of this type of entertainment our students and families enjoy with hopes that it will allow us to dive deeper into our role-playing, understanding and knowledge within the walls of our classroom.


Image from: http://roxytheatres.com/gallery/listpics.asp
To share this exciting news with our class, I wanted to showcase images of the Roxy Theatre and that of a movie theatre our students might have more familiar with (e.g. a more commercialized and modern SilverCity) and see what they notice and perhaps draw some comparisons. The special thing about the Roxy Theatre, is that it has that "old-time flare" of what movies theatres used to look like and I anticipated students being quite shocked with its outside appearance. 



Here is what they had to say:

What do you see? What do you think this is?

A.O.: "A movie theatre!"
E.R.: "I agree with A.O. - it is a movie theatre because I know movie theatres look big like that."
C.M.: "I think it's a movie theatre too because I see pictures of movies."

What makes you think that? 

A.O.: "Because it looks like one!"
E.R.: "Movie theatres are big places."
C.M.: "Movie theatres always have pictures of movies outside."

What clues from the picture are you using to help you?



A.O.: "Because it has two movie posters there that you can watch on the outside."
C.L.: "There's a sign called "The Roxy" and I think  that's the name of the place." 
O.S.: "I see people lining up and coming in."
M.K.: "I see words on top and numbers."
E.E.: "I see lots of lights."
I.C.: "I see traffic lights and roads - maybe it's on a street?"

I wonder what the people are doing that are lining up?

A.O.: "I think they're going to buy tickets because you need tickets in order to go to the movies."

Lets check the next picture and hear what you're thinking. 
(Students were shown a more close-up image of the "ticket booth" from the Roxy Theatre)


Image from: http://roxytheatres.com/gallery/listpics.asp

D.C.: "I see a radio inside there. I think it's for talking."
I.M.: "They had to go there to get inside to watch the movies."
E.E.: "I think that's where they get the tickets from because it has that radio thing."
C.L.: "It says 'TICKETS' so it has to be where they get the tickets from."
E.R.: "This reminds me of our ticket agents and our tickets in our movie theatre. Maybe this is where they go if someone forgets their ticket."

If we're thinking this is a movie theatre...what do we think this is? (Students were then shown a side-by-side image of the two movie theatres)




E.E.: "They're really different. They have different colours."
E.B.: "That blue one is small and the other one is really big. I've been there before and it's big inside."
A.O.: "That's the SilverCity in Newmarket - I've been there before too. I saw Big Hero Six there!"


After our discussion, I revealed that we will be visiting the Roxy Theatre and that it is a really old theatre but I've yet to disclose what we will see inside the theatre. It was obvious from their reactions that our students are VERY excited to be seeing firsthand how movie theatre's operate! 


Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Enjoy the show!

Over the last few weeks, our socio-dramatic play area in our classroom has undergone a transformation from a very successful bakery to a movie theatre! The reason I wanted to highlight this on the blog was because it has truly allowed for our students to build on their imagination through play, incorporate rich and meaningful learning opportunities for both literacy and mathematics, and lastly, "spark" our students' ownership over their learning space! It is truly inspiring to witness our youngest learners so eager and excited to take charge in their learning and, as an educator, it couldn't feel more rewarding to support them throughout the process!


Here are some highlights from our transformation; all of which have been led by students' interests and ideas and supported by us as a teaching team:

After brainstorming ideas for our dramatic play area, students then voted on the one they wanted! 
Movie Theatre was a clear win! Students enjoyed analyzing our collected data and even made a list of students who had yet to vote due to their absence! It was wonderful to watch them take such pride on ensuring the decision-making process was inclusive of all students!
Students began brainstorming as a team what our movie theatre needs and what sorts of materials we will need to create! A list of movies that they wanted to have playing in our theatre was also co-created!
After posing this question to students: 
"What special jobs does our movie theatre need?" 
students came up with the following:
1. Ticket Agent
2. Ticket Taker
3. Popcorn and Drink Maker
4. Customer
5. Poster Maker
Afterwards, we brainstormed what materials we could use that were already in our classroom that could help our movie theatre feel more "real"! Our students' imagination continues to amaze us as they thought of 
some of the following materials:
- small cups and large cups
- variety of cubes (linking cubes and wooden cubes)
- baking trays
- tissue for the napkins
- clipboards

A special thank you to Jennifer Tompkins, an FDK Teacher at Bond Lake Public School, for inspiring us to use linking cubes for our popcorn! Our students have easily named the "yellow" ones as buttery popcorn and the "white" ones as plain popcorn!
Students have truly taken on the various roles throughout our movie theatre! Their dialogue, exchanging of ideas, teamwork and oral language skills have really helped make our theatre come to life!
So much so, that it has officially been named "Room 109 Movies!" and has a list of "rules" that we follow based on our prior knowledge!


 As part of showcasing each movie at our theatre, we really make it official by watching a short clip of the "featured" movie using our classroom's tech cart! This has really made our theatre feel real since once the clip is over, students practice leaving the theatre and tidy up as a team before 
the start of the next movie! 


Since our movie theatre was becoming so busy and popular in our classroom, we problem-solved as a team and came up with the solution that the movie space has room for only 6 chairs! In doing so, one SK decided that by keeping track of who has bought tickets (using tally marks), we can tell people when the show is "SOLD OUT!" - how awesome is that! Whoever is the "Ticket Agent" now has this responsibility added to their job! Moreover, our "Popcorn and Drink Maker" is in charge of reading each ticket order and choosing the correct size container (small or large) which has given us the opportunity to begin to explore mass and capacity!

We hope that this transformation leaves you feeling inspired to think about the ways you integrate literacy and mathematics into your dramatic play areas of your classroom! 
We hope you enjoyed the show!