Sunday, February 17, 2013

Waldo, Attendance Gnome, and Wilma

This is Waldo and Wilma. They are married. I know. I helped to plan the wedding.

Someone at our school district office had the great idea of using Waldo, a garden gnome, as a monthly Traveling Attendance Gnome. Whichever school in our district would have the honor of hosting Waldo for the month at their school.

My school is competitive. As soon as our students got Waldo in our building, they liked having him around. I immediately had the idea of getting a female garden gnome, just for our school. I knew the students wouldn't like when they lost Waldo. They would still have Wilma...... and they could fall in love eventually..... and get married. So, I went to Hobby Lobby and this is the gnome that I thought Waldo would fall for.

It's working. We have Waldo a lot. We have great attendance and we all probably agree that attendance is connected to learning. Your school might want to consider a spin off this idea!

This is a shot of the wedding. Our music teacher played wedding music at the keyboard while the students filed into the gym. Some of them even dressed for a wedding! Whole classrooms made gnome hats to wear. The kindergarten girls were flower girls and dropped flower petals as they came in. We'd had invitations sent out to parents. Our district director of pupil personnel walked Waldo into position near the REAL minister, who is the dad of our music teacher. I was honored to walk Wilma up to the stage. I also helped by painting gold rings on them.

You might also notice the attention to details in their attire. I bought stick-on glittered black felt at Hobby Lobby and somehow made him a tux.  I would hate to admit what I cut up (from my costume closet) to save money while I made her a beautiful wedding dress with lace, and a 14-foot train. It was worth it - they looked beautiful for our students.

You might also notice that Wilma had on a different colored dress and hat in the first pic that when I first picked her up at the store. I paint her a new dress on now and then - we don't want Waldo to get bored......

 When he is at another school (not often...) he's been known to send her a Valentine, or call her on the phone during our morning newscast. We try to keep attendance in the minds of our students!

The different schools have made some amazing spectacles when Waldo changes schools - but that's another blog post!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Foam Frames for Matilda

        Aren't those frames beautiful? Colorful? You know, I almost threw them in the garbage can!

A while back, I was cutting out foam base-ten blocks on the Ellison machine because the yellow plastic ones are so noisy. The 9 x 12 inch foam pieces had already been cut into 4 equal pieces ready to go into the machine for units, rods, etc. But, the outer part was just sitting there waiting to be thrown away..... so I got to thinking how they could surely be used for something.... and I put them into a Walmart bag and stored them in my classroom.

Then, I had a student group reading Matilda, by Roald Dahl. They were writing a limerick about one of their favorite characters, and sketching a small illustration. that's when I thought about the bag of foam leftovers - they were in the shape of little frames!

So, the students took a few minutes to try different frames over the top of their sketches. They chose colors they thought looked good. They glued the frame onto the paper and when it was dry, cut off the paper that was sticking out around the edges.

Then they chose where on the limerick to place their framed illustration. They loved the finished products and they didn't cost anything! We put them in the hallway to share with everyone at school.