One of the second grade teachers had this idea last year but with all of the other projects that were done, this got left behind. So one month into the school year, it was the perfect project – making finger puppet whiteboard erasers that can be used by the students throughout the year.
It is so much fun brainstorming these projects: This particular one involved the classroom teacher, our awesome volunteers, our new instructional aide and myself: Net result, not only was I surprised at how much the students got done during the time allocated, one of the parent volunteers also left thanking me and saying she was pleasantly surprised at how well it all went and how everyone finished making the project.
The purpose: Making erasers for students’ whiteboards.
Skills: Measurement, Geometry, Cutting, sewing (fine motor skills), Creativity
The reward: The student smiles, their feeling of accomplishment and a practical product for their daily use.
Materials: Felt, scissors, markers, ruler, needle, thread or sewing machine and thread.
Background Lesson: We started the session with a Math lesson: drawing a square, measuring, talking about the units (inches), why it is a square, what happens when we fold a square across the diagonal, what happens when we fold a square longitudinally, how many triangles can we make from a square if we kept folding it into half, etc.
Activity: Students got to pick their partner to work with, got to pick their color, measure out the square and draw it on their piece of felt (we happened to have a bunch of 8 inch squares from a leftover project). They then came back to the carpet for the scissor safety minilesson.
Another MiniLesson: This one was on safety demonstrated by a student who uses the fabric scissors regularly. How we hold the scissors, how we pass it to a partner, how we carefully cut the felt and how we place them when done. They were then told that they were going to fold the square longitudinally and sew along the long edge.
Activity: The students were so careful, focussed and just awesome with their cutting, it was fantastic to see.
The students who wanted to use the sewing machines had to wait for a turn till someone could help them, during which time they could work with the robots in the Maker Studio. The ones with the hand sewing got going (they have done a fair amount of hand sewing in first grade and a couple of the students use the sewing machines regularly). Some of the students sewed along the long edge and one short edge. When the sewing was completed, some of the students decorated/wrote their names/turned them inside out.
A short, useful and highly rewarding project for all involved. As I write this, I know that other classes will be interested in doing this one.