Blog author Elizabeth M. Peterson
Guest Post by Amy Mitchell
"My Third Grade class learned the multiplication tables this year and as a way to extend this learning, they learned how to draw multiplication fact stars. These stars are quite intricate and call upon the students to be exact in their work or as referred to in the Common Core State Math Standards, “precision”. I have found that these stars provide a new motivator for learning multiplication facts – if a student misses a math fact or does not do one correctly, their star will not be produced in the way the student hopes it will. I have witnessed my most reluctant students persevere and try again and again to perfect their creations. I have used the visual arts in my classroom in the development of these stars and we have also created these stars as a whole class using string so that a kinesthetic component is involved as well.
"The arts are more than just window dressing and making the classroom look pretty. There are powerful learning objectives and messages behind each artistic activity that is done. This is the place where it is acceptable for students to take risks, think outside the box and try something new that they didn’t think they could do before. It is an opportunity for students to make their thinking visible and appreciated by their peers in all new ways. It breaks down barriers between students. Even those students who are most challenged by academic expectations become truly a part of the classroom experience alongside their peers."
Via Jim Lerman