I think that this year's events for Teen TECH Week (TTW) were more successful than any other year. Not sure why, but I tried to simplify which made my life easier. Since the kids seemed to enjoy the daily activities, I am thinking that my plan worked. I designed one lunch time activity each day, and I sent out a research riddle by email each day.
One of our TTW traditions is to show the animated shorts that are nominated for an Academy Award. I started this a few years ago because TTW fell about the same time as the awards, so there is always some buzz in the media about the shorts. This is an easy activity to plan, and all I need is the movies and popcorn. I usually start the week off with the movie.
On the second day of TTW, the students put on their engineering hats to design towers made from marshmallows and toothpicks. I was really hoping that the students would be inspired by the books that I had available, but none of the books enticed them. I am sorry about that because I think that design-wise the students structures may have stood up better if they had followed patterns used by real architects and engineers. It was a whole lot of fun for everyone who participated, and it is important sometimes to just play, so I am not complaining.
I decided to take Wednesday and make it an anti-tech day. I invited my friend, Whitney Stewart, to school to teach the students about mindfulness. Taking their time to smell, taste, and eat chocolate chips seemed to be the highlight of this exercise. When students visiting the library the next day could be heard saying, "let's go to the back of the library and meditate," I knew that Whitney's visit had impressed them.
Possibly the most popular activity of the week was our photography event. I am not sure how I came up with this idea because I found out about it in the fall and had been saving it for TTW. The students found books with heads or hands on the cover and filled themselves in with the rest of the body. It is harder to explain than show you. You can see some examples below. This was so easy and fast, but the kids really got into it. The only drawback was that I had to catch them quick with my camera because they were using their own cameras to grab shots, and I wanted to record each and every book cover for the library.
On the last day, we played Game of Phones. It was a game I created, and I blogged about it here with detailed instructions. When I tweeted about it, I heard from someone who has created a card game by the same name. Their game is slightly different from mine, but the idea is similar. The kids had a blast with this game, and I am glad it was played on Friday because I needed two days off to recuperate.
The research riddles that we play is also a TTW tradition. You can find pictures from the day and the riddles all on the library website here.