Friday, December 19, 2014

Oh What Fun!

Yesterday we embarked on our annual gingerbread house decorating party! Okay, they were actually graham cracker houses but it was still lots of fun! Thanks again to everyone who sent in supplies and joined our festive celebration. Thanks also for my wonderful and generous gifts! I loved all of them! Watch the video below for a little glimpse into the festivities. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Field Trip to Phoenix Courts

Every great field trip always starts with an exciting bus ride! Students were wowed by the tall buildings of downtown Phoenix and enjoyed the trip. 
First stop was "The Old Courthouse" and everyone had to go through a metal detector.
We spent a good deal of time in Judge Barton's courtroom and she gave us lots of information about the history of The Old Courthouse. She pointed out the lack of technology and even how some technology was impossible to incorporate because the building was built so long ago. She very patiently answered many of our questions, too! 
 Next, we headed across the street to the much more modern, South Court Tower. We took a combination of escalators and elevators all the way up to a courtroom on the 8th floor.
When we arrived, the person in charge of technology for the entire building gave a presentation about the technology used in the building including assistive technology (which several students got to test), microphones, projectors, and document cameras. This was very different than The Old Courthouse!
Next, students took a seat in the jury box and we heard two different mock trials.
First, Goldilocks took the stand and tried to convince us she was not guilty of breaking and entering and burglary in the home of the three bears.
The interrogation was pretty intense, and unfortunately, Goldilocks was quickly found guilty.
Next, Gretel of Hansel and Gretel took the stand. She explained to us how her poor brother had been captured and caged by an evil witch and she feared for her life! 
After a brief deliberation, the jury found Gretel not guilty and she was free to go! 
Thanks so much to our wonderful parent volunteers for all your help with this field trip and a HUGE thanks to Mr. Vingelli for all his hard work coordinating and setting everything up! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Learning New Vocabulary With PicCollage

On Friday we competed in our first of three WordMasters Challenge meets of the 2014-15 school year. The WordMasters Challenge is a vocabulary competition based on completing analogies. Analogies involve higher order thinking skills which is based on logic and reason. We have been working on analogies and higher level thinking all year.
To prepare for the meet, students took up to three vocabulary words expected to be part of the WordMasters Challenge, looked up the meanings of the words and created a PicCollage using an iPad to demonstrate the meanings of their words. Students then presented their vocabulary words to the class and we discussed possible analogies and relationships for these words.
PicCollage is a fun, free iPad app that allows students to easily create beautiful photo collages. This app is easy to use and has lots of options to add text, stickers, different backgrounds, rotates photos, etc. 
Students really enjoyed becoming an expert on their new vocabulary words and sharing the information with the rest of the class. Our first WordMasters meet was very successful and the top five scorers were announced at the end of the day. This is a cumulative competition so scores from our next two meets will be added to the scores from this week to determine our final winners at the end of the year.