Monday, January 26, 2015

App Smashing on the 100th Day of School

We celebrated the 100th day of school with App Smashing!
We started with the AgingBooth iPad app and took pictures of ourselves. 
We used the AgingBooth app to transform our current image into what we image we might look like at 100 years old. 
The results were pretty funny!
After saving our elderly images to the camera roll, students then moved on to the PicCollage app. They imported their AgingBooth image (this is where the SMASH comes in) to create a cool poster of themselves at age 100.
When the collage was completed, students then imported that image into their Google drive. They made the link to the image public, took that public link and went to to shorten it and create a QR Code. They took the QR Code image and inserted it on a Google slide, with instructions to scan.
 Finally, we took turns scanning all the QR Codes to see what our friends 
will look like in 90+ years. 
App Smashing projects are a lot of fun because they really allow students to be creative and reduces the limitations of just a single app. The use of multiple apps is a higher order thinking skill because students must follow quite a few directions and complete many steps before they are able to finalize their project. 
Importing a piece of the project from the iPad to a computer, adds another challenging layer and it is amazing to watch how easily students are able to switch back and forth between devices and apply so many skills to one project. 
My class had a great time with this project and I heard more than one student say they were going to save the image and check back when they were 100 to see how accurate AgingBooth is. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Learning Multiplication Facts

Since the start of 2015, we have been working fervently to learn and memorize the multiplication facts, zero through ten. 

In class, we realized there were really only twenty-one facts that we need to know, so we created a video about those facts.
Then we made flashcards of those twenty-one facts and quizzed each other because once we know those, we know ALL of them!
Students had a good time creating their own multiplication themed board game. When they were finished, they played the game with their classmates. 
We decided that the nines were one of the more complicated tables to learn, so we learned a few tricks about the nines. Ask your child to show you the finger trick we learned in class. 
Did you know the digits of the product of a nine factor will add up to nine? For example, 9x3=27 and 2+7=9 and 5x9=45 and 4+5=9! This works on the nines tables one through ten. 
We also determined that the sevens table was a difficult one too, so we created "cootie catchers" to practice the sevens. 
Spending time online doing math drills and playing multiplication games has helped cement these facts in our brains, too! We do a good deal of higher level, multi-step math in class and if students don't have a solid grasp of the multiplication tables, they face unnecessary challenges. These facts are information students will need to know for the rest of their academic career (at the minimum) and once they are memorized, it makes the rest of math quite a bit easier. The best way to memorize these facts is to practice, practice, practice! Flashcards,, practice tests and multiplication games are great ways to practice.
On the first day we took the test, not a single student was able to answer 100 questions correctly in three minutes or less. Just a few weeks later, eleven of our twenty-two students have finished the test scoring 100% in three-minutes or less, and are now working on much more advanced math during the daily drill. We will be drilling for another month or so, so keep practicing! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.

For the past two weeks, we have been learning a lot about Martin Luther King Jr! Each student created a basic timeline of his life, and some students worked in small groups to create a more detailed timeline
We also did a MLK webquest, completed some writing prompts about MLK, read some short stories about his life and legacy and finally, took a post assessment to demonstrate what we had learned. 
Students made some wonderful connections and asked many higher level thinking questions about MLK. Nearly every student finished a Google presentation about his life as well. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Student Created Gifts

Students are always excited to give a family member a gift but it can be tricky to find something that is feasible to create in a classroom, everyone can use and doesn't break the bank. This year my class decorated mugs to give as holiday gifts and they came out great!
Every student got a white mug and decorated the mug however they chose using Sharpie markers.
Students could choose any person to receive their mug and any occasion to celebrate. Many students chose Christmas or Hanukkah, but one student chose her mom's birthday and another decided it would be a "just because" gift. 
After the mugs were decorated I brought them home and baked them at 400 degrees for an hour to set the ink.
The finished mugs were lovely and students were so excited to wrap their gifts and present it to the recipient! 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Candy Cane Chemistry

Shortly before Winter Break we did a couple experiments with candy canes. We wondered what would happen if we soaked a candy cane in water. We also decided to test and see what would happen if we soaked a candy cane in vegetable oil. Students formed a hypothesis and then we tested our theories.
This is what the candy canes looked like when we dropped them in the oil and water.
This is what the candy cane looked like after just a few minutes in water! The colors faded very quickly. By the next day when we observed the candy canes again, the candy cane in water had completely disappeared! However, the candy cane in oil did not change even one tiny bit.
We learned that water is often called a universal solvent because many substances dissolve in it. However, no one substance can dissolve every solute. A general rule in chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” This rule means that a solvent will dissolve substances that have similar molecular structures. Sugar dissolves in water but it does not dissolve in oil or other liquids.