I’m puttering around this post trying to figure out how to describe what became, this Spring, a phenomenon in my classroom. It’s quite near indescribable, but it’s also amazing and worth sharing.
Where to begin…?
On a Tuesday I “threw a snap” to one of my students. It’s something I used to do with my friends growing up. It makes little sense in the real world, but every once in awhile I have a student that identifies with it. In this game you pretend to throw, bounce, dribble, and catch a pretend object. Each time the pretend object is caught, or thrown, or bounced, you make a snapping noise. I found a game called snapball on Urban Dictionary. Maybe they explain it better? Or this YouTube Video.
Anyhoo, two of my turkey-butts became enthralled with it and threw snaps at each other for the rest of the day. Their little fingers were all red from snapping all day.
Then I was out sick for day, and I came back to brand-new, highly-developed game called “Snaps.” Fifteen to twenty of my twenty-five students are throwing snaps at each other in their spare time. They are creating “designer snaps” on paper, and then “snapping” them into play through a complicated induction snap.
For the rest of the school year, the kiddos created snaps on paper, inducted them into play, and “tossed” them back and forth throughout the day.
Here is the original page of snaps form that day. These were later revised and entered into a “Snap Notebook” (revision!!! of a sort). Below are the following snaps (left to right):
Row 1: Rasta Snap, Cracked Window Snap, Dr. Pepper Snap, Bacteria Snap 1, Bacteria Snap 2, Plaid Snap, Ribbon Snap, Smart Snap, Iron Man Snap, Row 2: Crying Tree Snap, Star Trek Snap, Boss Snap, Asterisk Snap, Yellow Snap, Rainbow Snap, Quest Snap, Ninja Snap (?), Teeth SnapRow 3: Tiger Snap, Firework Snap (?), Pizza Snap, Boss Snap #2, Striped Snap, Abstract Snap, Church Snap, Cat Snap, Two-tone Snap
True, it became distracting at times. Truer still, it was a wonderful learning opportunity that completely tickled my fancy. When I sat back and looked at it from a different perspective (a la Monopoly with my favorite San Diego Area Writing Project Fellows), I found ways to incorporate all different things into what the muffin-heads were already highly motivated to do:
- learning, discussion and practice using implicit and explicit rules
- Naming, grouping, and defining snaps
- using Google Hangouts to share our snaps with a fellow teacher in a neighboring district (so much fun that was!)
- using planning tools and the classroom Ipod Touches to design an app to share our snaps
- understanding and dealing with our disappointment when time and technology interrupted our app-making plans
- art (drawing snaps takes effort!)
- imagination and creativity
- fine motor skills and gross motor skills
- PE (we had a rousing game of snaps outside one day–we were all exhausted)
So… that is the Snap phenomenon. It tickles my heart and my brain. My turkey butts are amazing!