Tuesday, February 7, 2012

i scream you scream we all scream for...

For Christmas my father gave me an ice cream maker. This may have been the greatest Christmas gift ever- sort of like the whole 'give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day or teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a life time' parable but with much better tasting food. After some successful attempts at making ice cream at home I decided it was time to attempt it at school. And of course, if we're going to do something fun at school we're going to make it as academic as possible.

We made the ice cream on Thursday morning and then waited and waited for it to be ready (waiting is HARD when you are 5 and 6).  The evil teacher that I am made them wait until after lunch to taste it- we put it in the freezer to get it as cold as possible. When we were finally ready to eat it I gave everyone two small dixie cups- one of our homemade ice cream and one of a store bought ice cream (store brand of course- I wasn't about to compare our hard work with Edy's or Bryers). We took everyone's opinions on what was best and graphed it to work on our graphing skills. We've been desperately trying to understand the concept of more and fewer and graphs about how we go home just don't really hold anyone's interest. 

After we'd graphed our class' opinions we put our ice cream on a cart and took our taste-test on the road. We visited the office where we asked the principals to participate in our taste-test. We weren't just working on our math skills- my kids are also working on speaking in full sentences, making eye contact, asking questions and listening for responses- so I figured surveying teachers was a great chance to keep working on these skills. Of course, asking children to walk down the hallway with an ice cream cart is a bit like leading a hurricane across the ocean. We destroyed just about everything in our path with our excitement and energy- but it was worth it.

Rock Star practically stormed into my principal's office and demanded that she try the ice cream. Rock Star can be shy and timid around strangers but the ice cream brought out the best in her. Her shyness seemed to disappear and she led the taste test. Other children used full sentences to talk to teachers and came out with expressions I'd never heard them use ("Step right this way").  Rock Star also counted to 12 when she was tallying up the graph (grant it what she was counting was 9 but still, I'd never heard her rote count past 5- I had NO IDEA she could count to 12. She'd been hiding it from us all this time- what else is she hiding?)  I heard my kids explain their thinking about reading the graph in ways they hadn't before and we had a few great teachable moments where we got to go over concepts like hot and cold- concepts some of my children have trouble with.

It was chaotic but fun and I was taking data like crazy. Now we're working on sequencing the steps of what we did to make ice cream and using full sentences to retell our adventure. Next we'll try to get it down on paper so that we have our own how-to books. 

I love class activities that lend themselves so nicely to academics- evil cackle laugh- oh, my pretties, you think we're having fun but little do you know how much you're learning....  


magpie said...

An ice cream maker seems to be a wonderful gift idea.
I have heard from 3 people now that would never have bought one and yet they don't know how they'd cope without it.

jwg said...

So much fun! When you're ready to move to the next level there are recipes out there for ice cream in a bag where each kid makes their own. Lots of science and sensory stuff involved.

Teacher Tales said...

Ahhhhhhhh. I love it. What an amazing idea. Thinking outside of the box. That's what I need to learn to do. :) thanks for sharing.

A think tank focused on creative solutions for future problem solvers -tree