I finally got around to trying this Mother’s Day idea this year – with a bit of green screen magic mixed in. My GT first graders have been researching different countries, so they each made a Mother’s Day video for their moms incorporating some of their research. After talking about perspective, and what they thought their moms would like to see in each country, they selected some highlights from their library books. Then they made short videos “congratulating” their moms on winning trips to their respective countries. We used some Creative Commons images and videos from Pixabay and Discovery Ed to create their final “Winning” montages. You can click on the link below to see an example. (Note: The video quality is a bit off because the young lady was wearing a bluish-green shirt that day – a little difficult to balance with our green screen program without making her a talking head!)
Most of my 2nd graders finished up their Mother’s Day Cards yesterday. You may remember that I posted the idea of asking the students to design floorplans for Dream Homes for their moms. I wasn’t sure exactly how they would be presented when I wrote that post, so this is the design we ended up with. It is basically two pieces of cardstock folded “hamburger” style. For the inside one, we cut a tab to make a pop-up card. The pop-up was the design for the outside of the home. The top flap of this card was glued to the inside of the top flap of the other card. Then we glued the floor plans to the back of the inside card and the inside of the back card.
Okay, that sounds confusing. Maybe pics will help? Here are examples of 2 different student cards (Student 1 chose to make up her own haiku after learning about them earlier this year!):
Since my 2nd graders are studying structures right now, it seems only right that they should design one of their own. With Mother’s Day coming up, I thought I could make their designs seem more relevant if they had a “client” in mind. I keep talking about the importance of empathy in Design Thinking, and they seem to have a difficult time empathizing with fictional characters, so I chose someone they might know a bit more.
We started by brainstorming things that their moms like. One hand immediately went up. “Facebook,” the student declared. LOL, I thought, hoping this wasn’t about to become one of those situations where the students volunteered more information than needed to be shared in a public school setting… My own daughter would probably respond, “Playing Sudoku on her iPad while she watches ‘Call the Midwife.'”
Fortunately, the rest of the responses were pretty standard. “Peace and quiet” seemed pretty popular, as did “sleep” and “me.” Some of the students suggested they also put things that their moms don’t like, such as shoes on the floor, to help them with their later designs.
After the students brainstormed decent lists, I showed them an example of a house floorplan. We talked about what unique rooms we could add to customize a house for their mom. “For example, you might like basketball so an indoor basketball court would be in your dream home. But what would be in your mom’s?”
The floorplans are just rough drafts at the moment, but you can see a couple of examples below. I’m still debating what the final product will look like. Draw the outside of the house and do a green screen video? Make a card with the house facade on the outside and the floorplan on the inside? I think the moms will get a kick out of what their children think they value no matter what the medium of delivery, but I’d be happy to take any of your suggestions in the comments below!
By the way, if you would like some other ideas for Mother’s Day activities, here is my post from last year.
My 4th grade GT students study masterpieces each year. The story of the Faberge Eggs, annually created for the last Russian czar’s mother and wife, fascinates all of us – especially when considered in the context of the tragedy that later befell the family. I use this piece of history to discuss empathy – how Faberge displayed it with every detail of his intricate creations, and how the Romanovs’ lack of this important trait resulted in their demise.
Usually, my students create their own Faberge Eggs, and then design “surprises” to go inside a partner’s egg. They interview their partners and play different games with them to learn more about them. Then they have a week to make a design that will be particularly meaningful for the other person.
I have cried over some of the incredibly creative ideas that some students come up with for this project. One year, a student created a military medal for a student who had a soldier parent fighting overseas. There have been poems, clay objects, a message in a bottle, flags, snowglobes, and so many other little presents. The students scored each other on how meaningful the gifts were – and many of them made up for themselves in thought what they might have lacked in skill.
This year, egg designing season rolled around a bit later than usual. Since Mothers Day is just around the corner, I decided to have the students decorate their papier mache eggs for their mothers rather than their peers. They also created 3d printed surprises to put in each egg.
As generally happens when I try something new, there were some successes and some failures. Without the interviews and other activities we did in previous years, some of the “surprises” seemed to be less deep than in the past. (This could also be because of the 3d printing limitation.) Next year, I think we will need to do a few activities to help the students understand their mothers as people rather than just parents, and I will open the project back up to any hand-made surprise instead of only 3d printed ones.
Here is a link to some other Mothers Day activities in case you are interested.
Some of this year’s Faberge Eggs and “surprises” (in between paint coats)
I know that the readers of this blog live in many countries, so I try to write posts that might be applicable no matter where you are. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, to learn that many nations celebrate Mother’s Day in May, as does the United States. Here are some lesson ideas to consider that will simultaneously honor mothers as students learn something new.
- GT Frames for Mothers (original idea from @jtrayers)
- She Wears Many Hats (advanced students can use multiple meanings and think metaphorically)
- Mother’s Day Trip (I am considering doing this with my 1st graders, who just researched different countries. It would be funny to make the video sound like the mom just won a roundtrip vacation to the country on a game show or in a sweepstakes!)
- Mother’s Day Shopping Spree – Speaking of winning things, a fun math/writing lesson could be to have students “shop” for their mothers online with a budget. They would have to make sure they stay within budget as well as justify each gift they would purchase. I would use one store site (such as Target.com) that offers many types of items, or curate some ahead of time for younger students. Mothers may enjoy seeing what their children would buy for them if money were no (or, almost no) object!
- Paper Circuit Greeting Cards (more examples here)
We were a week late finishing our 2nd grade GT Mother’s Day project due to a few scheduling conflicts. However, we did get done with our “She Wears Many Hats” booklets, and I wanted to share some of the completed pages by my students. We worked hard on brainstorming different types of hats and then trying to bridge from concrete to abstract thinking. For example, for the construction worker hat, students were tempted to say, “because she helps me build with Legos.” I gave them examples of how people can build, or make things stronger, in other ways, and they ran with it. I almost forgot to take pictures, so I only have a few different student works that I caught before they took them home!
“An Open Letter to Moms” is a Kid President video that would be perfect to show your students right before they work on their Mother’s Day gifts. In fact, you could even have your students make a video themselves 🙂