Yesterday I taught the teachers on my campus the new and amazing features on Explain Everything. When they saw the SAVE function they just about jumped out of their seats. As we went through all of the buttons and options they began thinking of ways to use in their classrooms. Some examples were: filming themselves working math problems correctly and using the laser pointer (shout out to all the new options) to highlight the important steps, having students work problems and record their verbal directions, and creating common craft type videos to explain the roles of people in our community (1.14(E))
I also taught teachers the relatively new app Stick Around by Tony Vincent. Many of my teachers were very excited about using this app. They had many ideas on how to use the sorting template, the larger/smaller reminded them of teaching money, others wanted to compare features of two different stories. When speaking about his new app, Tony Vincent talked about how powerful it is to have students create their own puzzles and share with classmates for reviewing before tests. Dylam Wiliam also notes the power of students creating their own assessments, in his book, Embedded Formative Assessments. After reviewing TCEA materials shared from last week, I was inspired to make Rubrics in Google Forms. Here is a rubric I made for students to evaluate their use of Stick Around.
You could hear the kids screaming with glee from Mars! Students ask me everytime I see them in the halls, "are we going to do that Hour of Code every week?" Teachers are begging for more coding apps. (I push scratch jr k-5 and hopscotch 3-5) Anyway you look at it, the people at code.org created a quality product with a varied group of activites that all my classes from Kinder to 5th gr had an amazing time. Kinder through 2nd girls squealed when they saw Elsa and Anna and the boys jumped on Angry Birds without hesitation.
Here are some photos.
CCE second graders complete a unit on oceans and marine life to finish out the year, and this year we decided to try something new! Shannon Foley, CCE librarian, learned about the gallery method of research at a conference she previously attended. This method of research involves setting up stations or individual tasks for students to go through with guiding questions and activities. Stations can be completed in any order.
We collaborated with Mrs. Foley and Gifted and Talented teacher Cara Beth McLeod to brainstorm activities and ideas aligned with 2nd grade TEKS from all subject areas. Then, we created stations covering various ocean topics and aligned with grade level TEKS such as using frequency charts, making scientific observations, and making inferences. Our goal was to give students a variety of learning experiences, including hands-on experiments, videos, and books.
Students came to the Learning Lounge every day for 5 days, and stayed for 45 minutes. The Learning Lounge was the best place to conduct this particular activity, since it has a variety of furniture that can be rearranged to accommodate different activities, and plenty of space for students to move in between stations.
Each student received a paper copy of the "Ocean Field Guide" below. It contains the directions for each station, QR codes to accompanying websites, and questions for students to answer. We checked students' work after completing each station, and students kept track of their progress on the last page.
Here's an example of a student's acrostic poem about sharks (and his super cute fish face photo!) from station #3:
And here are some photos of students working on various ocean research stations:
On Thursday and Friday, CCE students became engineers! First, we introduced the engineering design process to students. Then, 1st and 2nd graders experimented with building hoop glider airplanes to create a design that would make their hoop gilder go the greatest distance. 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders were challenged to build a water balloon launcher that would send a water balloon flying the farthest. They were given a limited amount of time and could only use the materials given to them: masking tape, wire, rubber bands, paper plates, paper clips, string, and wooden sticks.
To introduce the engineering design process to students, we used this presentation:
You can find more information on hoop gliders and how to make them here.
We had so much fun doing this, and are looking forward to more engineering activities next year!
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