Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mystery States and Skype!

Today we took part in a project called Mystery State.  I came across it while browsing through the various groups on Edmodo.  Mrs. Caren MacConnell started the project through a wiki found here.  Two days ago I gave my students the Mystery States Clues sheet to fill out (This can be accessed the wiki). They had a great time thinking of clues to stump the other class.
As we connected for our first Mystery State experience the students were really into it.  Our two classes took turns giving clues.  After about 10 minutes each class took a guess.  We correctly named North Dakota and our counterparts were able to guess our home state of Wisconsin.  More specifically the other class was located in Bismarck.
A big thanks goes out to Mr. Even for our Skype session today!  My class and I are hoping to do this again in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reading Exchange: #2

In a post on November 8th I talked about an exchange my class was going to do with a 2nd grade group in Michigan. My students read an excerpt from their favorite children's book.  The 2nd grade students then listened to the audio and created their own illustrations.  Erin Klein, author of Kleinspiration, was kind enough to make a video of her students drawings.  I am being honest when I say that my 6th grade students were grinning from ear to ear watching the video!  They though it was really neat to see how their audio had been translated.  To see for the yourself, watch the video below.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

3-2-1 Read!

Today the kids were assigned to complete a 3-2-1 during reading.  The 3-2-1 stands for the following:
3 interesting or challenging vocab words need to be defined; 2 questions that the reader may have about a particular scene or piece of dialogue; 1 prediction.  All of the previously mentioned items are recorded on post-it notes and kept in their novels.  During our next Reader's Workshop the students will form small groups and share their findings.
The 3-2-1 assignment is a great way to further engage students with their books.  Many times they just skim over challenging vocab words, or decide not to think about why an event occurs in their book.  The 3-2-1 method keeps them on task and provides opportunity for critical thinking.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reading Exchange!

Recently I contacted friend/colleague Erin Klein.  She is the author of Kleinspiration and also teaches second grade in Michigan.  I thought it would be a lot of fun to have our students collaborate in some way.  So, the two of us decided on a small reading project.  First, the students in my class created a podcast of themselves reading an excerpt from a picture book of their choice (By the way, they had more fun reading these books than any other this year!) We used Audacity to complete the podcasts.  Then, each student posted the audio to their blog.  Click here to listen in.
Mrs. Klein will now have her students listen to the podcasts and create a picture based on what they hear.  She will be discussing the concept of imagery with them.  My students and I are waiting in anticipation to see what the second grade students create!

Monday, October 10, 2011

What is that Smell?

Our latest science investigation involves decomposition.  So, in small groups the students combined soil, wood- chips, leaves, fruit, and water to a sealed 2-liter soda bottle.  As a class we discussed how to write a hypothesis and make detailed observations.  Later this week we will even give the bottles the ever scientific smell test!  I plan to run the observations through the end of the month.  The kids are excited to see how the items in the bottles begin to break down.  Several groups already have a lot of "fur" on their fruit.  Pictures to follow soon!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Egyptian Scribes

In conjunction with our unit on ancient Egypt, the students had a chance to become a scribe this week.  Yesterday, they were asked to study a list of hieroglyphs and apply them to their first and last names.  They realized that even with our fancy pens, pencils, markers, etc., this process is difficult.  I told them to image just using a quill and some home made papyrus.  Better yet, using a stick to write on a clay tablet.  All in all, they had fun writing.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What has Skype done for me lately?

This year was full of very cool experiences in our classroom.  Two of those involved the use of Skype.  The first connection occurred with a class in Gardner, KS.  You can read about it here.  For most students, this was the first experience with Skype and they loved it!
The second Skype session took place as part of research that two of my students were completing.  Both were researching Google, one for a TAG project and the other for her research paper.  We were lucky enough to be connected with a Google employee in California.  She was wonderful enough to answer all of the girls' questions.  They came away very impressed with the way Google treats its employees.
Both of these experiences were as good, or better, than anything my students learned out of a textbook.  If you have not tried Skype in your classroom, I recommend it!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Medieval Catapults and...Angry Birds?

 Thanks to my tweep @ktenkely, who also authors the iLearn Technology blog, my students participated in a lesson based on the wildly popular game Angry Birds.  As a class we are finishing up our unit on the middle ages, which fit perfectly with this activity.  Students researched designs for medieval catapults on the computer and in books from our library.  They rotated in small groups from research, to catapult building, to playing Angry Birds on the SmartBoard.  Needless to say, they had a lot of fun!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Row-boat Trip 2011!

In conjunction with our science unit on ecology we usually go on a row-boating trip in the fall.  However, this year we were unable to because of construction that was happening at the outfall. 
Thankfully, our trip was rescheduled for the spring.  We had a great time!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gaming in Space

As an assessment for Chapters 1 and 3 in our Space Unit, the students created a board game in groups of 2 or 3.  However, before each game was made, the groups had to complete their research.  This research was based on all of the information located in Chapters  1 and 3.  They were also responsible for telling me how that information was to be included in the board game.   The games were graded based on a rubric agreed upon by the  6th grade team.
The students found that it was pretty easy to create the actual board and pieces, but writing the directions was difficult.  What a great way to work on our collaboration and communication skills!  Scroll to see pictures of the all the groups and their board games.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Roman 3D Models!

As our unit on ancient Rome is coming to a close, the students have an opportunity to create 3D models.  Their models should represent structures from ancient Rome.  Each student was given the rubric ahead of time so that they were familiar with the grading criteria.  The students were also given an outline for a research portion.  We started presenting as a class today, and so far the projects have been great!  
Arch of Titus

Aqueduct of Segovia
Roman Warship
The Pantheon
The Colosseum
The Baths of Diocletian
Roman Garden
Temple of Jupiter
The Colosseum
Roman Aqueducts

Gardens of Lucullus

Friday, April 8, 2011


In our unit on Changing Earth we studied volcanoes and their affect on our environment.  As an extra credit assignment the students had an opportunity to create their own volcano.  I was glad to see that about half of the class took the initiative!  Today we took them outside and commenced with the "eruptions".  The students really enjoyed looking at the designs and effort of their classmates.