I really like Peter Brown’s book, My Teacher Is a Monster and one night in the early hours I woke up and was mulling over how could I come up with an activity that would go along with the book. All of a sudden I thought “What is the opposite of a monster teacher?” Answer: a perfect teacher! I wanted to combine several concepts: the IB’s Approaches to Learning-Social Skills (formerly known as Transdisciplinary Skills), IB-PYP Profiles, writing practice and art work.
I read the book to the classes and it was very popular with the third grade students. Some students noticed that the teacher gradually changed from a monster to a more human form. This gave us the opportunity to make a connection with a IB concept-perspective. They decided that she didn’t really physically change, but Robert’s view of her did change.
I told the students that they would work in groups to create a “perfect” teacher.
Graphic Organizer: Brainstorming Individually
I created a graphic organizer which combined the IB-PYP Profiles and Attitudes, adjectives, verbs and activities. Each student received a copy of the graphic organizer and were instructed to brainstorm independently. I also placed thesauri on the tables and reminded them that if they needed a more interesting word they could find a synonym in these books. This is as far as we got the first week.
IB’s Approaches to Learning: Social Skills
I downloaded a PYP Transdisciplinary Skills Toolkit from Mary’s Store on Teachers Pay Teachers (free) as it had each group of skills contained on one page with student-friendly font and text. I made copies of the Social Skills and laminated them.
The second week we started by reading the Social Skills of the IB’s Approaches to Learning. I filled up my tables (which seat six) and each student had a copy of the Social Skills in front of them. They did a round robin reading of the skills and had an opportunity to discuss and ask questions.
I divided each class into small groups of three groups, adjusting for personality conflicts or behavior. After reading the Social Skills I moved the students so they were seated with their group and they began comparing the attributes of a perfect teacher. This gave them the opportunity to practice those Social Skills!
Creating “My Perfect Teacher” Begins
In week three the students finally got to what they called “fun.” I gave each group a length (about 36″) of white butcher paper and a container of crayons. I drew a head, two hands and two feet on each sheet to give them a starting point for their drawing. They were reminded of the Social Skills that were reviewed the week before to encourage a positive group experience. I told them that all of the words on their graphic organizer had to appear on their creation.
Several students said after this session that it was so “fun.” Judging by the conversation and energy in the room, it was a positive beginning.
Week Four: Completion!
I gave the students about 20-25 more minutes on their fourth visit to complete their drawings. They were having such a good time and for the most part working well in groups.