06/06/2021 / Education

The Golden Ticket

While some schools have called it a wrap for the 2020-21 school year, many of us are still doing the “Just get me through June” shuffle. With the summer countdown already being chanted across classrooms, it is still necessary to come up with a way to have some structure while providing ways to offer a lighter learning day. 
Why not offer the “Golden Ticket” used throughout the year? Provide student choice! Give students the opportunity to take the lead and create their own learning. What does this look like? In my class the students were very excited to brainstorm what they might accomplish, start to finish, over a two week period. Here is what my kids came up with: 

Cupcake Recipe- One group of students decided to research and read through cupcake recipes (informational reading). This included finding out what needs to go into a cupcake in order for it to rise (science), and a great discussion about the difference between baking soda and baking powder. Then they discussed the differences in temperature settings, cook times, and measurements (math), and what they would need to create their own unique cupcake recipe. The group has divided up jobs for a marketing plan that is to include the cost of ingredients, along with what the cupcakes can sell for to make a profit. They are creating an ingredient listing and directions on how to make the cupcakes. A few students are working on creating a unique frosting and researching different types of frosting from cream cheese to Confectioners sugar. Finally, two students will be making the cupcakes and frosting at home recording their “how to” that will be uploaded into our Google Classroom. 

Passion Podcast- One group of students has decided to create a podcast on “The Life Of a Fifth Grade Student” to be able to leave for next year's incoming fifth grade students (use of educational technology, writing process, review, listening and speaking skills), Each student is taking on a subject area and then developing a list of questions. The students will act as interviewer or guest to create four episodes. This is actually a great legacy gift! 

Book Club Playhouse- One group of students are really showing their performing arts skills in this very unique take on a book club. Instead of simply reading and discussing, the students are each taking on a character in the story and “play acting” as they read their parts (inferencing, story elements, voice, character traits). The really interesting part of this group is that they are reading each chapter together first to discuss what is happening and the characters. Along with the discussion, they are using Sketch Notes to help create a “storyboard” like script. Finally, they are recording their group’s second reading to upload into our Google Classroom for the class to enjoy (creative use of the writing process, listening and speaking skills, educational technology, Sketch Noting) 

I am so impressed with how my students have embraced this opportunity. Each day is so exciting and they can’t wait to get to work. This is what project based learning truly is- students engaged in creating something that they are so passionate about. I can’t wait to see the final products. Hey, who knows, one day I may see one of my cupcake kids on “Shark Tank”, have a student become a news reporter or announcer, or act on the big screen. All of this excitement from offering the “Golden Ticket” known as student choice. 

Subscribe to Kathleen's Newsletter

Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox

Kathleen Palmieri

Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher, a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Learning Facilitator, and a fifth grade educator in upstate New York. She reviews professional texts and is an educator researcher and writer. As a writer with a passion for pedagogy, Kathleen's focus is on education practices, and strategies, as well as her own experiences as an educator. Educator well being is a priority, thus the name "Mindful Teaching Moments". Mindfulness along with knowledge is important. She has presented at math conferences, writing workshops, actively collaborates in literacy projects, and networks globally.