Today, I told fifth graders in my tech class that their homeroom teacher (Ms. Flynn) decided she wanted to be greedy. Normally very kind and happy, Ms. Flynn had changed overnight into a mean, grumpy tyrant. She was going to start taking Flynn Bucks (her positive reward system) away from the students. She was going to force her fifth graders to feed all of the 4th graders daily, and the 5th graders would need to share their desks and supplies with those 4th graders. 5th graders would no longer be able to play on the entire schoolyard; they would only get a small fraction of the yard for recess. When the 5th graders go home in the afternoon and evening, they would still have to live by Ms. Flynn’s rules. Money as they knew it would no longer be available for buying items; 5th graders had to use Flynn Bucks only. All foods that taste good and yummy would now have an extra Flynn Buck charge, and half of the students’ income of Flynn Bucks would go back to Ms. Flynn, to help pay to enforce her rules.
I told the students that they could use any type of media they’ve ever used in the tech lab. With their creations, they needed to spread the word, to do something to stop Ms. Flynn’s tyranny. Some kids chose to write documents about why it was unfair. A few created journals to voice their opinions and frustration with Ms. Flynn’s new system. Other students chose to make presentations on Prezi. One amazing student created a Google Form and sent it to all his classmates, making it a petition-type form to vent student grievances about the new rules. Some students used Kidspiration to draw and write about the awful new rules. Words like taxation, rebellion, boycott, and protest were being used, without my prompting.
At the end of the session with 5th grade, I asked them what this scenario resembled from their recent curriculum. Students brought up some connections to their social studies classes. I told them that they’d be learning more in Ms. Flynn’s class about conditions in the colonies that lead to the Revolutionary War. The students completed the explore portion of the lesson with me, and Ms. Flynn was going to pick up the rest (flip and apply). Now, they’ll have some background experiences – some strong feelings, especially – to go with their future colonial rebellion lesson.
Stamp Act by Gardner from history.org