So there's a new fad in my classroom. No, it isn't Silly Bands. That was SO five minutes ago. No....the latest fad in my classroom is to make your own paper cell phone. Someone started this....I think with a bookmark. They had a laminated rectangular bookmark and I can remember watching a couple of students hold them up to their ears and talking during lunch. Cute and very entertaining. Somehow, this wasn't enough to satisfy fifth graders with an appetite for communication.
The next thing I know, students are folding paper and drawing key pads on them. They customized their phones with designs on the outside and made neat display screen pictures. Most of these phones are flip-type of phones, but I did see one today that was a flip/slider phone made out of notebook paper. It's interesting to see students pretend to text on their pretend phones to students across the room that have no idea what they are trying to say. At one point this week, I had to outlaw paper phones. Students have been more concerned with spending their pretend cell phone minutes than to pay attention to important things such as learning how to compute volume of a solid shape, as well as calculating the solid's surface area. The phones didn't go away, they just went into hiding. I'd see them messing around under their desks and I can tell when they are "texting." I know this because it's the same way I look when I'm texting under the dinner table.
Today we learned about transformations in math. For those of you who may not know the lingo....this is translation (slides), reflections (flips), and rotations (turns.) Several activities and minutes later, I see that they are starting to get glazed over. In a flash of brilliance, I had students take out a piece of notebook paper and quickly sketch out their "dream cell phone." They then cut them out, and designed the back. They used this "prototype" as a model to demonstrate their transformations. They then reflected, translated, and rotated their phone and drew pictures of what it look liked. Did they get interested? Yes. Did they finish the activity? No. Will they still be working on it tomorrow? Yes. And now I realize that instead of getting these phones out of their hands, now everyone has one. A flash of brilliance? The jury's still out....I'll keep you updated.
In the meantime, you can call me on my cell phone. If you don't get me, you won't be able to leave a voicemail. My model of paper cell phone doesn't have that feature.