Last month my class competed in The Noetic Learning Math Contest, which is an advanced, biannual, national math competition for elementary students. The goal of the competition is to encourage students to be interested in math, developing problem solving skills and inspire young learners to excel in math!
We have been studying foreign languages at school! For many years, the most consistent parent feedback I received was that the self-contained programneeded to offer a foreign language. We have come up to a solution to that concern by allowing students to use the Rosetta Stone software online.
All students enrolled in this program for the 2013-14 school year will have access until July 30, 2014. We intend to use Rosetta for approximately for 30-minutes a day, three times a week. Students are encouraged, but not required to access the program at home. This is not part of their grade nor will it appear on their report card, but rather a valuable learning opportunity.
To log in at home, students can access the classroom portal here:
Students all know his or her username and password.
Fairly recently Rosetta unveiled a free iPad app. The link to the app can be found here. After it is downloaded, students should go to the classroom portal using a browser (we have found Safari works best for this app) and log in. Then click on "Launch Rosetta Stone" and the app will open, with the student logged in and ready to learn!
Students in my class recently scanned a series of QR Codes, to learn about QR Codes! We used iPads and the i-nigma app to learn all about QR Codes including what they are, their history, different ways to use them, and how to create our own!
We will continue to use QR Codes in the classroom all year and now that students have learned to create them, you will start to see it as an option for homework.
In Science class, we created human energy circuits using Steve Spangler's cool, interactive Energy Stick.
The students had a great time learning about electrodes, circuits, energy and electricity experimenting with the energy sticks. The energy sticks brought our science lesson to life and the students were able to correctly explain what we had done at the end of the period. Watch the video below to see a snippet of this investigation in action!
Last week the class had a great time at the school Harvest Festival. Special thanks to all the parents who helped out and/or donated. During the festival students created caramel apples, wrote an acrostic poem, participated in a pumpkin relay race, listened to some stories, created a turkey craft and just generally had a ton of fun!
Watch this video to see what the Harvest Festival was like.
As part of our spider unit, we created models of spider egg sacs.
Female spiders lay up to 3,000 eggs in each egg sac! We also learned that female spiders protect these precious silken sacs by attaching them to their webs or hiding them in their nests. The class enjoyed learning about the life cycle of a spider, and loved this messy, hands on project.
Yesterday each student weighed the pumpkin they are working with this week.
We realized we couldn't just put the pumpkin on the bathroom scale I brought in from home. (We tried! It didn't work.) So we brainstormed as a class to figure out how we could determine the weight of each pumpkin.
Using problem solving strategies, we figured out if we weighed ourselves, and then weighed ourselves holding the pumpkin, we could subtract our weight from our weight holding a pumpkin and get the weight of the pumpkin.
We have been using pumpkins to learn some valuable math skills!
First we learned what the word circumference meant and brainstormed different ways to measure the circumference of a pumpkin. Several students thought using a ruler would work so we tried that. It did not work. One student suggested using a cloth measuring tape, which was a wonderful idea except that we did not have any measuring tapes.
We finally realized we could use a piece of string and wrap it around the thickest part of the pumpkin. Then we used our rulers to measure the string. We also estimated, counted and measured the vertical lines on our pumpkins. We compared the number of lines of larger pumpkins and smaller pumpkins. This week we will continue pumpkin math by weighing our pumpkins and figuring out their radius.
We have been learning about chemical reactions and states of matter in science class! We did an experiment to see if we could blow up a balloon without using our breath. It turned out that we could! We added sodium bicarbonate to acetic acid in a plastic bottle with a balloon on top and caused a chemical reaction.
That reaction produced Carbon Dioxide which escaped out of the plastic bottle and into the balloon. The students really enjoyed this experiment and learned quite a bit about chemical reactions, chemical symbols and gasses. Watch the video we created to see what else we learned!
After a reading comprehension, a class discussion and singing a catchy song about phases of the moon, students worked with a partner or small group to replicate each phase of the moon using an Oreo cookie.
Once they had created a model of each phase, they had to put them in order and label them. We followed up with a brief post-assessment.
Click here to read an article explaining how and why we will be using coding this year and how I have integrated it into the curriculum in the past. We started using Scratch a few weeks ago and will soon delve into Tynker.
At a technology camp I attended this summer, I was introduced to an app called "1 Second Everyday" and I was very intrigued. I decided to record (at least) one second every day for the first month of school. Click below to get a glimpse into each day of our day at school during the first month.
For the past two weeks we have been learning about mean, median and mode in math class. We decided to participate in Jennifer Wagner's O.R.E.O. 2013 Project. Each student got two attempts to stack Oreo cookies and compared their results.
We then figured out the mean, median and mode of the results of the entire class and compared this data with other classes around the country. Watch the clip below to see what we learned during this exciting project!
Each year on September 15 (or the 16th if the 15th happens to be on a weekend) educators worldwide celebrate Dot Day to encourage creativity and unleash potential. Inspired by Peter H. Reynolds' classic book The Dot, students are encouraged to "make their mark."
In the past my class has celebrated International Dot Day in a more traditional way, by drawing dots. This year, I stumbled upon the colAR App and decided to take our dots into the 21st century!
I simply printed out the Dot Day pages, students decorated the blank dot and with our buddy class, we used the colAr app on iPads to make our festive dots come to life!
This technology is called Augmented Reality and really needs to be experienced to be fully understood. The students enjoyed watching their creations come alive, and I am looking forward to bringing Augmented Reality into the classroom in new and innovative ways.
We have been blogging! We started out learning about cyber safety and some of the "rules" of blogging. The presentation I shared with the class can be viewed here.
After learning about blogging, every student logged into his or her very own blog through kidblog.org and started writing. Kidblog.org is an amazing tool because it includes all the wonderful features of blogging sites like Blogger and Word Press, but makes teacher management and safety very easy. It is incredible that 1st and 2nd grade students are using the same tools as adult bloggers and getting this excellent writing experience, while still remaining safe online.
Safety has been such a focus of this unit that some of the students decided to create a video about cyber safety. Click below to see their work!