Thursday, November 21, 2013

Animal Reports

Today we had an exciting adventure in class!  Our school has recently acquired an iPad cart of 30 ipads.  We will have this cart in our room for one hour once every week.  Today was our first day with the cart.

We have been working on animals and their environment in science.  The students worked with a partner to complete a graphic organizer about an animal that they chose.  From here, we had them use the app Educreations to create a mini-presentation.
Again, today was a "trial run", but I still think they produced excellent work!

This one starts about 14 seconds into the video.

Before we start a new unit, students take a guess at what our academic vocabulary words mean.  The majority of the class guessed that a food web was "spider food" before this unit!  We have learned many things since then!  Students move their own post-it note to show if they have confirmed their hypothesis, or if they no longer believe their original idea.  They can also post questions that they are still wondering, and we will try to solve their questions before the unit is complete.

Students read nonfiction text to create their report with partners

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Student-led Book Clubs

Students chose which book club they would like to be a part of.  Right now, Horrible Harry is the most popular club.  Because of Winn Dixie also received rave reviews from our class.

Before they meet, students must read at least half of the book.  They create a journal entry with: parts of the book that were interesting to them, questions they have, and how they would change the book if they were the author.  These journal entries are the basis for our book club discussions.  By using of hand signals, students keep the current topic going until it is exhausted.  At this point, they can signal they have a new topic to discuss.  After the teacher models these discussions with the class, the students take charge!  

Book clubs for kids are just like the adult versions.  They gather together to laugh, discuss their favorite books, and have a great time.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Scratch: Computer Coding for Kids

In this project, students were challenged to redesign the arrow control keys and spacebar on a computer keyboard.  They had to come up with a specific group to market their product to.
We actually created prototypes out of playdough, and connected it to the computer using a Makey Makey interface.  The result: a real working computer keyboard made from Playdough!

Students were very thoughtful in this project.  Many groups targeted people with physical disabilities or special needs.  They designed large, well-placed keys with accessibility in mind.

The Scratch aspect is actually teaching students the building blocks of computer coding.  Developed by MIT, it allows kids to give direction to their own project.  Students created a project on Scratch that was then controlled by their Playdough keyboard prototypes.

Click here to go to the Scratch Website