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Redesigned Habitat for the Hermies

The students’ latest creation is on Earth Cam. Check out their redesign engineering project – they made a playground and cross-over system for the hermies. I hope I used enough tape on the cross-over when I sealed it today! Watch for possible escapees this weekend at http://www.myearthcam.com/tajames

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A Typical Day

During most days, we have rotations called Daily 5.  During Daily 5, I am working with one or more students on reading, spelling/phonics, comprehension, or language skills.  The students are working independently or with partners to increase their skills in these areas.  The room might look chaotic or like playtime but the students are working hard to improve in their reading and language arts abilities.  They read to self (at desks, on the floor, or in laundry baskets), read to others, work on words (with tiles, lists, play dough, or stamps), write in journals, and work on our class Chromebooks.  There are many learning opportunities in our room.  Learning is hard work but at least we can have fun while working hard!

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P.E. Time

Have you ever wondered what our students do during inside P.E.?  Here is a sneak-peak into their P.E. time!  They had chariot races combined with capture the flag(s).  Each group had to travel down the cafeteria chariot style, taking turns being the rider and the “power”.  At the other end of the cafeteria were 6 flags that had to be captured.  As you can see, the students had a great time being active, learning to work cooperatively during competition, and developing strength in their arms and legs.  The racing teams were moving so quickly that I was a little worried about taking pictures!  Most teams laughed and adjusted their course to avoid the camera wielding teacher in their lanes (thank goodness!).

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Bodies, Bodies Everywhere

In our day, we have the “basics”. Reading, writing, and arithmetic (math). However, that does not mean we do worksheets or drill and kill practice every day. Here are some photos that show the students learning about measurement. They had to outline a partner on butcher paper, cut the bodies out, and then use standard (U.S.) and metric measurements to find the length of parts on our bodies such as arms, wrists, feet, etc. This learning experience took us 3 days to complete. At the end, the students walked around like in musical chairs until I called stop. They then check the measurements on the nearest body. We discussed finding and gave everyone the opportunity to remeasure their “self”. Our bodies are currently on display in the round-a-bout near the library and our hallway.

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December is Here

We cannot believe that December is already here!  The school year is traveling quickly towards summer but we have so much to do.  As I sit and read with the students, I am amazed at their growth in reading, math, and personal responsibility!  We will continue to work on all areas of academics as we add STEM, Project Based Learning, Maker Labs, and Skyping into the mix.  Here’s to an excellent end for 2016 and getting ready to welcome 2017 into our lives!

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What Do Nutrition Labs Do?

Today we were taken on a tour of NExT Labs in Toronto, Ontario.  we were part of 20 schools, 6 countries, on 3 continents that joined this tour.   We learned how researchers study the human body, about nutritional analysis, and using different equipment to find out information.   The team we met was made up of 1 gentleman and 5 ladies starting at age 19!  Two of the researchers, one 19 and the other 20, are working in the lab as part of their degrees in medical research and sports medicine.

Our students asked great questions which were answered by the researchers.   One study they just completed supported French fries as beneficial to child reading; it helps memory over other carbs they tested including rice, pasta, and bread!  Who knew there was a reason to eat fries!

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Monticello and Feet

Skype is such an amazing tool and, through Skype “field trips”, we learn more than we can from a book.   now to be fair to the class, they read about Thomas Jefferson and Monticello on Monday so they were prepared for our tour guides and, oh boy, did they impress or presenters!

During the Skype, students answered questions about Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, and even about the Preamble to the Constitution.  They were also able to ask our presenters questions during the Skype-a-Thon.  We had Miss Gibby’s and Ms. Jensen’s class with us and everyone did a great job!

Tomorrow, we invited the other classes back for a multiple site Skype with NExT Labs in Toronto, Ontario .   NExT Labs focuses on childhood health and nutrition.   They are running studies about weight gain, screen time and food choices, and how exercise helps or bodies.

Our afternoon consisted of measuring during math and starting our brainstorming for our newest writing project.   layer this week, we will be tracing our bodies to measure in millimeters, centimeters, inches, and feet.  First we had to learn how to properly outline something by holding our pencils at a 90° angle.   The students practiced by measuring they hands and feet, learning the names we call our fingers and toes, and then using millimeters, centimeters, and inches to document our samples.  It’s funny to watch them work throughout the day;  their expressions when I asked them to remove a shoe and sock was hilarious!

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Back After Gobbling Turkey

Today, after we all came in and realized we left the room in a mess last Tuesday, we got to work putting things straight.   Our first day back from break was pretty uneventful (thank goodness)!  The day went smoothly even though we ran 5 minutes late to everything except lunch – we have our priorities straight and stomachs make great timers!  Mrs  Johnson even brought the students back to class after PE while I was helping another teacher.   She was impressed with the students;  how fast they got right to work, knew procedures, and how great they were at following school rules!   way to go, Longhorns!

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Tom the Turkey

On Tuesday, the students completed their first Breakout EDU event.  Tom the Turkey was given a presidential pardon but, to keep it safe, the president locked it in a box and left clues for Tom to get into the box.   Since Tom can’t read our do math, he needed the students help to get the pardon.   He had 45 minutes to get it or the pardon would  not be valid!

The students needed to use cooperation, communication, problem solving skills, addition, comprehension, and map reading skills to help Tom.   They were able to open 3 of the 5 locks in the 45 minutes!   The students were so excited even though they didn’t save Room the Turkey; asking when they could try again! Happy Thanksgiving (sorry, Tom)!

 

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The Native American Journey

The students were given the challenge to pick a master artist from around the world to learn about and create similar styled artwork. During our investigation, we were looking at Dali, Paul Cezanne, and Andy Warhol, and other’s artwork for the hallway bulletin board.  They saw some masks and said they wanted to learn about Native American artwork so they have been researching area tribes and nations to learn about weaving, dream catchers, rock art, hide paintings, and the meaning of different symbols.  During this time, they also learned about tools many tribes use to survive an create.  Their favorite tool that they learned to use was the mortar and pestle!

This type of STEM is called Project Based Learning. The students choose what they learn about, do the research, and make decisions regarding the products they work on to demonstrate their understanding.   My students were reading online articles written at a higher level because they were interested in it, developing fine motor skills, working on communication skills, applying math concepts to their learning, and understanding another culture.  If you have a few minutes, stop by the display and check it out!

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