a Teaching Assistant has been asked to work on a rolling programme over one school week period with groups of 10 year oldd pupils.The task is a practical project to design and make a costume to wear on the schools dress up as a book character day. The school has a good collection of fabrics and second hand clothes as well as a wide variety of art and craft materials including a limited supply of some costly materials. there are 30 pupils in the class some of whom have a reputation for being lively and difficult to manage all need to have a costume by end of the week. They have one week to plan for this activity.
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Considering the active nature of the students, what if you used some of the above mentioned steps, but you let the students be more active in the process. You could treat this as a cooperative learning activity, and each student could have an assigned role. The importance of having a role to fulfill might settle them down some.
Great ideas! I'd suggest something different to keep those "difficult to manage" students engaged in the process. How about having them help design their costumes (after enlisting some great parent volunteers, of course). Let them create a top and a bottom and 3 (or however many) accessories, and footwear, and hairstyle...or whatever else seems appropriate to the supplies you have and the project they're doing. This buys you some time but it also helps them get a vision fo what is appropriate for the character they're creating. Then, of course, you can have them write an explanation and justification of their choices. Unless you're able to display all the pieces and parts from which they can choose, you'll have to explain that they will probably not get every part of what they envision, but perhaps you can commit to several elements. Sounds like fun!
Since this is a "difficult to manage" group of students, I would first go over rules with them. Costumes are very costly and time consuming to construct. It is important that they understand how important it is to be respectful and careful. Once that is established, it would be a good idea to find out specific sizes of students so that the costumes can be prepared. This can be done by recording the sizes that each student will need. The children will certainly want to choose their own costumes but it may be a better idea to choose the costumes for them. This way there will be no arguments.
A suggestion would be:
- Record the height and sizes of each child the first day
- Categorize the costumes by story and classify them by size that same first day.
- SECOND DAY-Talk to the children and explain to them that each of them will receive a costume, but that it will be a surprise (that way the kids won't fight for the costumes)- Give the kids a number or a color, and match those colors or numbers to the costumes.
- THIRD DAY- Fit the costumes, and let the children wear them after they are fitted so they can get in character and feel good about their costume. Have a round table discussion asking them how their costume makes them feel special.
- FOURTH DAY- Clean and prepare the costumes and have the children rehearse a monologue in which they represent the character in first person.
- FIFTH DAY- Rehearse with costumes, add/take away what is needed.
You would still have enough time for last minute changes, absent/sick students, or to collect more material.
PS: The so-called "lively" kids always respond to being kept busy. Keep them busy by having them help you or help others with materials, cleaning up, drawing, or even reading fun books while the adults work. Coloring sheets and word searches are a hit too.
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