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I wish…. for more classes like this!

by Chad Dike, Teaching Artist at Widen Elementary School
As we entered the classroom we knew something was wrong.  We had been expecting a birthday party for our friend Horace, the elephant, his 12th to be exact. And what we found was a disaster. The chocolate mousse was merely a smear in the bottom of the bowl, the cheese sandwiches were missing the cheese, and the cookies were only crumbs on a plate. Someone had stolen the feast! But who?  It was up to us, a rag-tag group of 2nd graders to solve the mystery.  Was it Oliver the Pig? (clearly pigs eat a lot) Maybe Eric the Zebra? Or could it be , Kilroy the Mouse? The class set to work, dusting for finger prints and looking for clues.  The first was a note in code, left by the thief. The code could only be broken if you used the thief’s name. But how do we figure that out?!?! An especially sly detective noticed that the cheese was missing. Another detective discovered that the word ‘mousse,’ which was missing from their feast, looked a lot like ‘mouse.’ And then the mouse tracks on the back of the note told us the answer. KILROY!

 

This was my class last Thursday. The students became detectives to solve a crime and used cameras, magnifying glasses, and even some finger prints to find clues. I had a blast, the students had fun, and we used the 4 C’s to do it–critical thinking was imperative to solve the mystery, courageous allies worked together, creative artists went into role as detectives and a few confident leaders stepped up to the plate and took initiative.

 

When tasked with writing the last blog of the semester I felt the need to go back and look at my first blog post “I can’t believe I get paid to do this.”  After four months and over 100 lesson plans, that sentiment still holds true. My wish is for another semester full of creativity, discovery and fun!

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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