Friday was one of those fun, engaging, awesome days of learning. It was play-based, rigorous, and had my operating room of 1st grader doctors begging for more. Today I wanted to share with you more about Contraction Surgery – a morning filled with hands-on contraction fun!
Setting the Stage
Like Compound Construction, part of creating a learning experience means going all-in. Primary grades are special because our littles still believe in the power of magic and they believe in us. So, if we say we are operating on contractions – they say “Let’s Scrub Up!” For our day of operation, we had a guest teacher named “Dr. W”. I borrowed scrubs from a teammate’s family, a stethoscope from a local education cooperative, and snagged a grade-level set of gloves and masks. (You could definitely have the gloves and masks donated from a local doctor or dentist office but I had just requested some for another activity. I’ve included Amazon affiliate links to the materials I purchased.)
Typically, I would start a hands-on experience at the beginning of the day and have everything all set up, but Friday was an alliterative schedule day. So, we started our morning with a normal Daily 5 block and then, during planning, I set-up. Since I already had all of the patient records and patients ready to go, the set-up took me a total of 20 minutes!
Each operating room was covered in white bulletin board paper (or white table cloth), a surgical mask (Amazon affiliate link), surgical gloves (Amazon affiliate link), glue sticks, knives (scissors), patient records, patients, and a tray of apostrophes (bandaids).
What Our Morning Looked Like
After hearing their task, we did a quick contractions review and Moby and Annie. The 4 minute Brain Pop Jr. was the perfect way to review and practice how to form contractions. During the video, we stopped and added possible patients to our class anchor chart.
Then, it was time to save lives! My doctors were ready and speedily got to work. Gloves and masks were put on, and it was time to repair those broken contractions. Although many doctors worked by themselves, several doctors decided to work in operating teams. Each person at the table had 7-8 different patients: it worked really well and my 1st grade doctors were exposed to MANY different contractions!
The trickiest part of the surgeries was learning how to operate on ‘not’ contraction, realizing that only the ‘o’ needed to be removed from the contraction and figuring out how to do that with gloves on – ha! #firstgradeproblems
Throughout the surgeries we realized we need to work quickly and efficiently. We heard our patient’s heartbeats in the background and it was STRESSFUL! So many times, I heard “Work faster doctors! The heart beat is slowing now. We’re losing them!” come from my 1st graders mouths. They were eating from the palm of my hand!
Being Real – How Much Did it Cost?
The surgery was a blast and a perfect way to channel our “it’s-about-to-be-Spring-Break” excitement into learning! It took a full 90 minutes, but my 1st grade doctors could have easily worked another 30-40 minutes. They were completely into it!
Have you done surgery in the classroom before? If you have, what were you learning and how did it go? If not, are you ready to step outside of your traditional reading block for a day? Contraction Surgery is a perfect way to engage and excite your learners with hands-on learning! It’s fun, simple, and makes a HUGE impression.
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