Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Digital Literacy & Internet Safety

Share your ideas on our Padlet Wall below…

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 12, 2013- Friday's Fabulous First Graders!

Don't forget about this Wednesday's PAGS (Parents of Academically Gifted Students) Event, (I've got my ice cream scoop ready!)

This week, we have two guest bloggers.  Harper helped record what we did during our math problem solving lesson and Sydney shared her thoughts about our creative problem solving activity.  I appreciate their contributions!

We began with our math problem solving work.  

"Today we worked on learning strategies.  It was hard to keep up when we were counting in our head.  We made a table and a list.  The list worked best."
-Harper, 1st Grade

We discussed problem solving strategies we use regularly such as using objects and drawing a picture.  
Then I explained I needed to figure out how many pencils, ink pens and markers I had in the containers on my desk.  They tried using their fingers to keep track, but as I called out, "Ink pen, ink pen, pencil, marker, marker, marker, pencil, pencil..." they quickly lost count.   The students talked about other strategies to help them keep track so they could determine how many I had of each.  They tried the strategy of drawing pictures, but it was quickly ruled out as it was too slow.  They also tried making a table, but tables were new to the students and some recorded two or more items in the same cell.  This messed up their totals, but using a table was still better than the other strategies they tried. 

They finally settled on making an organized list.  With the three headings on their paper, they started again.  This time the tally marks or "X's" had each student with a perfect count.  This was definitely an appropriate strategy for solving a problem like this.  The students finished their math time working independently in our SAGE Math program. 
In the computer lab, the students worked on typing information about themselves for our SAGE Profile.  They shared about their outside interests and activities as well as academic strengths and weaknesses.  This will help me get to know each of them as a learner and as an individual.
 We also worked independently in our Exploratory Centers.  We are learning some interesting facts about insects, horses, seashells, armadillos and two and three dimensional shapes and figures.  Most of the students have finished their knowledge level task and are currently working on the comprehension worksheet to show their understanding of the topic.  Ask your child about his/her current Exploratory work.
We ended our day by discussing our K/1st grade academic vocabulary:
  • Brainstorming- a tool we use to generate our ideas
  • Fluency-  the ability to generate many ideas
  • Flexibility- the ability to adapt, change direction and approach a problem in a new way
  • Originality- the ability to think of unique ideas
  • Elaboration- the ability to add lots of details to our ideas, writing and drawings

The students then finished their creative problem solving "Squiggles."   They had to create four very different cohesive pictures or scenes that incorporated the squiggle marks they were given.  In this task, we focused on their flexibility of thought and elaboration skills.

"Today we did a squiggle for creative problem solving.  We learned to add details to our pictures.  I liked my first picture the best.  Harper and Noah liked their third picture best and Delaney and Jamie liked their last picture the most.  It was hard and fun too!"
-Sydney, 1st Grade

They are a hard working, very creative group!   Have a great week!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday's 1st Graders Are in Full Swing!

Woo Hoo!  I now have everyone's paperwork, and most importantly, their media release.  Thank you parents for helping me get these important "nuts and bolts" in place.

The boys and girls are settling in well.  This will be a two week, blog post mashup....

On our first SAGE day, the boys and girls spent some time getting to know each other a little better.  By the end of a fun game of "Would you rather...." we knew we all had some things in common.  

We also read a beautiful book, Willoughby & the Lion.  A golden lion grants Willoughby 10 wishes. The lion hopes Willoughby makes the greatest wish of all....  We then looked at some folklore about wishes such as wishbones, coins in fountains, eyelashes, dandelions etc.  

After that we each wrote four wishes of our own and made a very special wish project that will be on display at our Open House on Thursday, October 3rd between 5:30-7:00 PM here in our SAGE classroom.

In the afternoon, the students took some time to look through the Exploratory Centers to find at least three they might be interested in starting.  
This week, they completed their Exploratory contract and were able to begin the Knowledge and in some cases Comprehension Level tasks.  They each made a podcast to tell you something special they learned during their Exploratory time.

 We ended our first day discussing ways we can communicate.  Besides blogging as a class, we will also be sharing our learning on Twitter.  Each of the students designed a bird of their own and posted their first "tweet" outside of our classroom on our bulletin board.
You can follow us @KochSAGE on Twitter.

Today, the students worked in the computer lab to begin filling in their SAGE Profile.  This is a document that will help me get to know them better by telling me about their  activities and interests outside of school, as well as talents, academic strengths and weaknesses and learning topics of interest.
This afternoon, the students had a few wonderful moments of frustration during our independent math problem solving work.  I use the word "wonderful", because I want them to begin paying attention to those moments when they don't know the answer.  Times when they feel frustrated and have to ask for some help.  I want them to begin to recognize these as moments to celebrate.  New challenges are precious moments of learning- not something to fear or shy away from but rather times to dig deep and know when they come home, they will have new learning to share with you.
Later, we will have opportunities for more affective discussions where I hope they will learn empathy as they begin to recognize this is how most students feel every single day.  

In the short run, it will be a little uncomfortable and I can't say that I don't expect a few tears.  That is okay too.  I want them to feel it now and learn to understand from where these feelings are coming.  Learning to feel frustration and to be able to stay in the moment because they have the confidence to know they will succeed is the essence of perseverance.

It is going to be a great school year!  Don't hesitate to call of email me if you or your child have any questions or concerns.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Can't Wait to See You!

SAGE will begin on Friday, August 30.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Grade Spelunkers Exploring Caves

Today, the boys and girls had an opportunity to learn and practice using Padlet.com, an online site for collaboratively sharing their ideas.  Some of them had a chance over the snow days to watch the screencast tutorial, http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cInOVKVoQS.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sharing Our Learning Through Technology

After your child has a chance to view the screencast tutorial on Padlet  http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cInOVKVoQS, have him/her come back to our Padlet wall here, on our E Day blog.  The students will be able to explore caves on a virtual website and then share their thoughts and learning below on our wall.

Tour the virtual cave. This is my very favorite caves website.  There are many pictures of the different types of caves.  Click on the dark pink links to see them.  Be sure and enter the "Solution Cave."  Solution cave is another name for limestone caves.

Be safe, stay warm and enjoy your snow day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It May Be Cold Outside, But It Is Burning Hot in Our Classroom!

This week the boys and girls settled into class quickly and were ready to work hard!  We started our day by meeting our newest Quirkle, Hallie Heat.  From Hallie and her friends, we learned that dark colored clothing captures the sun's heat, while light colored clothing reflects the heat.  We also learned that heat rises and cold falls.  Ask your child to share their Quirkles science log, to tell you about their hypothesis and about our experiment shown below.

After our hot and cold water experiment, we conducted two more using a candle and balloons.  You can watch them in the video below.

After recess and lunch, we worked on our individual Exploratory tasks.  The new students each chose a center, filled out their Exploratory contract and began the knowledge level task (reading and watching a video) to learn more about their center topic.  The rest of the students continued working on their projects. Ask your child about his/her current center and task.

In the computer lab, the boys and girls continued to explore Microsoft Power Point.  After getting our new students set up with a presentation, we all learned to insert a shape, resize it and move it around the slide.  The students also learned to format the shape's fill color.

Understanding the basic tools and functions of this program will transfer in the application of other Microsoft products and web based slide show applications.  Power Point is a good slide show program, but it is also great for digital story telling, book reports, posters, and even holiday cards.  Primary students soak up the functions with minimal instruction.  When my own children lost their "computer gaming privileges" for one offense or another, they would always say, "But can we still do Power Point?"

If you have Power Point available on a home computer, consider allowing your child to practice.

Another busy, but fun day!  Have a great week!