By: Desiree McConnell
In our Lower School classes a few weeks ago we read Super Hair-o and the Barber of Doom by: John Rocco. A very cute, entertaining book that shares the adventures a little boy who thinks his super powers come from his hair. After reading and discussing the book students were asked to draw a picture of themselves as super heroes and tell their super power. As the week went by and I watched students working, their reaction to the activities, their responses to the book, and questions the students have asked. I made some observations. Despite all the technology we have and the push for more technology integration in schools and classroom kids still find joy in the following simple things:
1.) Checking Out Physical Books
Even though many of my students have iPads and Kindles at home they still love checking out books and are always very sad when they can’t. Students particularly enjoy getting picture books and will sit and share them with a friend, many times reading them to each other.
2.) Being Read to
My students thoroughly enjoy being read to. It doesn’t matter how old they get they enjoy hearing stories. In my 15+ years of teaching I can’t ever recall a student being upset that I was going to be reading to them. In fact, some of the best memories of student’s time in my class are of the books I read to them.
My students love bookmarks. I can’t say that they really use them, but they enjoy getting them. In fact, even if they don’t check out a book they make sure to take a bookmark. Perhaps it is the fact that it is something free that they can take. I am not sure of the appeal. We do make an effort to have interesting bookmarks, but many times the same ones are available for weeks on end and the excitement for them never ceases to dissipate.
4.) Coloring/Free Drawing
Kids enjoy using crayons, markers, and colored pencils to draw and create. The cheers that I hear from students when I tell them they can free draw, color, or illustrate something makes me smile. Perhaps it is due to the fact that so often these days they don’t get to do these activities as much or without defined perameters.
All of this has helped me to see that no matter the amount of technology, money in the bank, or facilities that the kids have they still enjoy the simple things. We need to remember this as people and educators. Using and providing expensive gadgets isn’t what is important. Providing students with tasks and experiences they enjoy IS.
Three cheers for low-tech fun activities! Although my students seem to prefer markers over colored pencils & crayons (and have the markered-up fingers and cheeks to show it) they love hearing a story and doing a creative activity related to the book. Story stretchers can be simple, easy, & FUN!
I agree with all you’ve said. At first I worried that the Kindle/Nook students would quit checking books out, but once the novelty of their electronic book fades they start checking out from the library again. Our school is very environmentally motivated, so I make our bookmarks out of old magazine covers, cracker boxes, mail advertisements…really anything that is a bit stiff and is interesting or pretty. Since the bookmarks are all different and unique, the students love looking through them to choose. I always cut away any advertisements!