Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Global Cardboard Challenge - Days 1 and 2

As a media coordinator at a large elementary school I have plenty of willing participants who love to do anything creative. With about 560 K-5 students it was a struggle to find the best way to implement the global cardboard challenge.

I did not mind doing an event that included families, but I really wanted all of our students to be able to participate. Doing a special event in the gym on one day and inviting each grade level for an hour or so seemed a bit much.  One group has more than 100 students. I finally settled on using my regular media classes to fit in the global cardboard challenge.  I will see about two-thirds of the school this week and I will catch the rest of the students next week.

Our art and music teachers rotate back and forth between two schools.  The art teacher is a wonderful friend and we have enjoyed 17 years of working together. She welcomed me to use her art room.

I prepped the space by putting out the MakeDo tools and screws, lots of tape (masking and invisible), glue, scissors, lids, corks, popsicle sticks, brads, paper clips, cardboard tubes (Thanks, Mrs. Dowell!), and anything else I could find.  As I emptied out the boxes of paperclips and other small items I found myself realizing the tiny boxes are a great size for creating. Our local bargain store had a great deal on construction paper and poster board. I needed lots of cardboard so off to the cardboard bin I went.  :)

I had previously shared part of the Caine's Arcade video with all of the classes. We have spent time reading books such as A Box Can Be Many Things and It's Not a Box. I also prepared a slideshow of ideas for students. We were off! 

The first three groups went exceedingly well. Students acted like it was Christmas and I was not surprised when they were very engaged. Volcanoes, robots, Minecraft men, games, airplanes, miniature objects, animals...  It was going even better than I had hoped.

My original plan was for other students to keep adding to the creations. How on earth would I have space for all of the projects?  Furthermore, many of our students ride the bus home, so I knew it would be nearly impossible for them to take their creations home. I also did not want to hunt down 500 boxes.  

Day 2 came and I realized the students all want to start with a fresh box.  Back to the cardboard bin I will go tomorrow morning.

Here are some of the issues I have encountered. It is nothing major, but just something to consider for next year or if someone else does the GCC.   

Our K/1st classes are split so instead of one fifty minute block like 2nd-5th, they have two 25 minute blocks. One boy cried because by the time he started building it was time to go.  He will get to come back tomorrow, but I know that a longer block of time would have been better for him. I was a bit apprehensive about giving Kindergarteners the big boxes (and we were short on supplies) so they used tagboard. I was impressed with their ingenuity.  Several made 3-D designs even with my mediocre directions.

Students wanted to paint and we simply did not have enough time.

One student asked me to help him make a crown. It was near the end of the day, but the next thing I knew I was helping make twenty-plus crowns. Whew!  I am still not sure how to handle that one.

Another issue - I am already running low on glue and tape.  I am sure the art teacher would have reminded students to use just a bit of glue and just enough tape to get the job done. I sometimes forget that some children have simply not had lots of experience with using supplies like that.  Thank goodness for art teachers, elementary schools, and Global Cardboard Challenges.  I should have asked local stores for donations, but it will be okay.  There is still time!

So several growing moments for me with this project, but there have been countless shining moments. 
  • The time when a first grader brought me a book she wrote about aliens and robots (to go along with her creation)
  • The biggest hugs because the kids simply LOVE doing this. They seem so appreciative.
  • Witnessing the creativity that this has unleashed
  • Hearing about what the kids are building at home
  • The team-building that has happened
I really love that everyone is on a level playing field.  It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, a good reader or not quite yet, outgoing or introverted.... everyone is finding success in this activity.
Honestly, I know that when this is over I will look back and say that this has been the most meaningful activity that I have ever done with students.

Two days down, six days to go! 

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