Tangram Tales Residency @ Strehle Elementary Day 3 – Wednesday, January 14, 2009


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5th graders Christen (storyteller) and Ebony (fire Tangram artist) work together in "The Hodja's Bet"

5th graders Christen (storyteller) and Ebony (fire Tangram artist) work together in "The Hodja's Bet"

Friends:

Today was Day 3 at Strehle Elementary doing my Tangram Tales Story Theater arts education residency.My morning began with another teacher welcoming me back to Strehle, telling me how much both the teachers and the students love my presence at the school. It is mutual admiration because I love being at this school as much as they love having me.

It is paradoxically both tiring and exhilarating to travel from classroom to classroom, working with the students and seeing them grasp the concept of the Tangram. Today, I had my second visit with Ms. Barry’s 5th grade class so we did a full rehearsal of their story, “The Hodja’s Bet,” a folktale from Turkey, collected for me by a friend. It took some time to organize the students but we made it through the whole script (causing me to run behind for my next class). I only have one more visit with them before they have to perform their stories.

5th graders Miranda and Tyler assemble Tangram wolves in "The Hodja's Bet"

5th graders Miranda and Tyler assemble Tangram wolves in "The Hodja's Bet"

My next class was Ms. Walker’s 5th grade class. These students were a model class! They were quiet when I arrived and listened to all of my instructions intently. It was my first visit with them so they worked on a Tangram practice exercise and then we assigned roles for our Tangram Tales story theater.

5th grade teams assemble Tangram dancers - 1-14-09

5th grade teams assemble Tangram dancers - 1-14-09

I really enjoyed working with these cooperative and conscientious group of students. Thank you, students! You earn an A+ from Ms. Dianne!

From 5th grade, I moved into Kindergarten. It’s such a nice change of pace. Greeting me was smiling Ms. King. She is such an enthusiastic teacher who radiates joy. Such joy is contagious and her students really enjoyed my rousing rendition of “The Old Woman and Her Pig” Tangram Tale. After the story, the students began work manipulating Tangrams.

Ms. King's kindergarteners manipulate Tangrams - 1-14-09

Ms. King's kindergarteners manipulate Tangrams - 1-14-09

After kindergarten, I went to Ms. Glass’ 3rd grade class. Ms. Glass’ class was extra chatty and lacked focus today. I had to work hard to settle them down and organize them to rehearse their story, “The Mitten.” The student below, Jordan, is an absolute joy. He took on more than one part and is always ready to progress to the next task. He was like sunshine in the classroom. Thanks, Jordan!

3rd grader Jordan assembles Tangram fox for The Mitten

3rd grader Jordan assembles Tangram fox for The Mitten

Ms. Avist’s 1st grade class was fun. They really enjoyed the storytelling and worked intently on their Tangrams.

Ms. Avist's 1st graders working on assembling Tangrams - 1-14-09

Ms. Avist's 1st graders working on assembling Tangrams - 1-14-09

Tommy, a first grader, was very adept at putting together Tangrams. Way to go, Tommy!

1st grader Tommy assembles running girl Tangram - 1-14-09

1st grader Tommy assembles running girl Tangram - 1-14-09

I had my final visit with Ms. Hervey’s 2nd grade classroom. Today, I told the story of “Tiger’s Tale, Anansi’s Stories.” It was fun sharing a new story with them. They have this beautiful sense of curiosity and a yearning for learning that is encouraged by their teacher. Ms. Hervey is such a doll. She was so inspired by the Tangram Tales method that she gave the students extra time to work on Tangrams, providing them with more reproducibles. I showed her how to create a Tangram set without a pattern.

Wonderful Ms. Hervey learns how to cut a Tangram without a pattern - 1-14-09

Wonderful Ms. Hervey learns how to cut a Tangram without a pattern - 1-14-09

Here is Ms. Hervey’s class mastering Tangrams.

Ms. Hervey's 2nd graders from Tangram weenie dogs

Ms. Hervey's 2nd graders form Tangram weenie dogs - 1-14-09

I ended my day in Ms. Johnson’s 4th grade class. This very full class was another rambunctious group. Impulsive and talkative, the classroom sounds like a buzzing hive of bees. I had to use several of my “Settle Down” methods to quiet the students. I even had to counsel a couple of the students because of their inattentiveness and lack of respect. Despite this atmosphere, the students were genuinely interested in working with Tangrams. I saw a lot of good group work, like this:

4th graders in Ms. Johnson's class work as a team to assemble Tangram dancers - 1-14-09

4th graders in Ms. Johnson's class work as a team to assemble Tangram dancers - 1-14-09

Despite the challenges of the day, I find such joy in working with the students. Tangram Tales give me the opportunity to infuse geometry concepts with language arts. I love being able to share my unique methods with the students and look forward tomorrow!

Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne