“Girls and boys, we are going to trick your families” I say, matter-of-factly.
“Oh yeah!” they say, and I’m excited about the fun we will have.
“We are going to make Chicka Chicka trees with our shapes, but we’re making a glyph—that’s a way to show information. Our information will be all about you, only we won’t put our names on our work. Your families will have to guess which coconut tree is yours!” I explain.
I show on the document camera how I use 4 brown… and I wait to call on a student to say “Squares” to build a tree trunk.
Next I show how I use 4 shapes with 3 sides, and I wait again to call on a student to provide the word “Triangles” for the top of my coconut tree.
“You are going to use squares and triangles to make your trees right now!” and students get busy. Some of their trees are hilarious!
After trees are built, I explain that we will use stickers in another shape—a round shape—until a student supplies “circle” to show information about ourselves.
“You must listen very carefully,” I say very quietly. “This is where it gets tricky.”
We go through the legend on the glyph, passing out circle stickers as appropriate. Yes, some kids really want stickers and think they need one each time a sticker is distributed. As we go through the legend, this decreases significantly.
I guide this process a bit, intervening with a question when a student named Juan insists he has 9 letters, for instance. I get to be selective with my sticker distribution!
“Okay, so see some one of a kind coconut trees!” I state.
Students take turns showing their trees. Even the kiddos who have the most abstract renderings of trees seem to have pride and almost joy. This is a good thing, I think to myself.
Students share their favorite part. I don’t take it personally when kiddo after kiddo says they love using stickers. They are 5, after all!