Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ancient Egyptian Board Games

As part of their unit on Ancient Egypt, each 6th grade classroom creates a board game. The game is based on the knowledge gained, and is designed to show what they have learned. Students are given the opportunities to play the games of their classmates. Below are pictures of games in action.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Non Fiction Reading and Backchanneling

As you know, students don't always read as much as they should, especially when it comes to nonfiction. So,  currently all students have at least one nonfiction book in their possession for analysis. The books range from "How to..", biographies, diaries, and books about puppies (of course). The objective of this unit is to help students recognize and use the graphic and text features within nonfiction to help them better understand the topic.
Today we took it a step further and investigated current events articles. All articles were searched on reputable sites like Scholastic and Time for Kids. Students were give certain criteria to look for and report on after reading. Additionally, we also incorporated TodaysMeet into our learning. If you are unfamiliar with back channeling click here to learn more about it.  Below is a screenshot of some of the interesting ideas the students came across and felt the need to share. Ignore the error message. I created this screenshot after my "room" had expired.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Symbiotic Relationship...Theater?

As our Ecology unit winds down students spent some time learning about symbiotic relationships. To show me, and the rest of the class what they learned, each group created a skit. All groups did a great job of keeping to the facts and incorporating some humor. Below are pics from their performances.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Recently I set up the students with Kidblog accounts. If you are unfamiliar with Kidblog, click here. What I love about Kidblog is that it can be completely moderated by the teacher. This means that nothing will appear on their blogs, posts or comments, without my approval. Most recently we posted on our favorite novels for the year. You can read those here. Below are pictures of students commenting on blog posts from a class in Kamrar, IA. Those posts can be read here. Students had a lot of fun reading their reviews and commenting on them. We were even able to pull up Google Earth and see where the students are located!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Visit from ABC

Today, our class got a visit from ABC (Anti-Bullying Committee), which consists of several high students. They came to our class to spread the word about working through any issues concerning bullying. Ask your student to summarize their presentation. Hopefully this visit today will make sure they think before they act, or on the reverse, stick up for themselves and others. The kids who visited today from PHS did an outstanding job!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Reading and Responding

As of late the students have been responding to the novels that they are reading. Each reading class starts with a mini-lesson and then we apply that knowledge to our novels. Some sample lessons that we have talked about lately are: Scene Snapshot, Conflict, Antagonist, and Character Flaw.
The students have done a terrific job in their responses! Most of the time they are asked to provide two pieces of evidence from their novel to back up their thinking. Additionally, they are give time with a reading "buddy" to share and discuss their thoughts. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Writing Celebration

Today we had our writing celebration for our Personal Narrative unit. The students have been working on these writing pieces for the last 6 weeks, so they were very excited to get feedback from their peers. We rotated around the room as the students had a chance to read writing pieces from other pods/tables. To take care of snacks/drinks I used SignUpGenius. You can read more about that here on my Tech for Teachers blog. Below are pics of the students hard at work:)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Let's Go Clubbin'

This year in 4th through 6th grades we have implemented math and reading clubs. The clubs are designed to strengthen the students abilities in reading and math. Students were placed in their club based on areas of need. Data from the previous year was used when making those decisions. Students will not likely remain in a particular club for an entire year, but be able to experience different learning environments.What a great opportunity for teachers and students who may not have otherwise interacted to meet and grow together as learners. Below is a picture of students in action in my classroom. They were sharing their results after researching and learning how math is deeply rooted in the sport of baseball.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Google This, Google That

This year has gotten off to an incredibly fast start. In addition to new curriculum, the students are still learning how to use their laptops. Along with that, grades 5 and 6 are piloting Google Apps. These will take the place of the Microsoft suite (Power Point, Word, etc.). Earlier in the year students attended a "bootcamp" in which they learned how to properly use their laptop, and instruction on how to navigate and use their Google Drive.

At home you may notice that students are now working almost exclusively online in regards to their homework. We are still working through some bugs about logging in outside of the school day, but that confusion should disappear shortly.

I just want to say that the students have done a wonderful job so far using their laptops. It is a lot of responsibility, but most have handled it with ease. If you are unsure what Google Apps are, clickhere. For an introduction to Google Drive, click here.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Restoration and Rowboating

Each year the 6th grade classes have the opportunity to complete a restoration project along the Pewaukee River. This year's class cleaned up the area around the new trail near Oakton Ave. and did planting/brush clearing near the outfall behind the Chocolate Factory.
The 6th grade should be proud of the work they did! Here are some pictures of the restoration and the rowboat trip that followed.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ted Talks...What Adults Can Learn From Kids

As I continue to try and find unique ways for the students to respond through writing, I stumbled across an old Ted Talk today. It was by Adora Svitak, and the topic was "What adults can learn from kids". At the time Adora was only 12 years old! My students were amazed at her speaking ability. Their job was to then respond to that same question on their blog, after watching the video. You can read their responses here. Hopefully Adora inspired them to think "outside of the box" and do great things!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Earth, Moon, and Sun...Dance?

Today we wrapped up chapter 2 in our space science unit. Our project based assessment was related to the movement of the Earth and moon, and their effect on seasons, equinoxes, solstices, and tides. The students' assignment was to create a skit that included a series of movements or dances to explain the aforementioned concepts.  They did a great job and had a lot of fun performing. One group even performed a rap!


A Knight to Remember

Today we were lucky enough to attend a presentation called "A Knight to Remember". Mr. Tuzzio does a wonderful job of engaging the students with factual information, as well as humor and terrific artifacts. To learn more about his presentation click here.  Please ask your son or daughter to share what they learned.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Character Interview

Recently the students used their iPods to conduct an interview of a character from their novel. Voice Memo is a simple app that iPods come with, was what we used to create the audio recording. These memos were then sent to me via email. The requirements included 5-10 thought provoking questions, and that the answers must be given in the voice of their character (they had a lot of fun with this!). Since we cannot really know what a character sounds like, students were able to infer using clues about the character's personality. Unfortunately audio cannot easily be embedded into Blogger, so I used Posterous to embed the audio. Here is the link to the recordings. Or, scan the QR code below to take you directly to the interviews. The students would love comments!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Poetry and QR Codes

Throughout the month of April we have been writing, reading, and interpreting poetry.  Lately I have tried to find a way to incorporate the use of QR codes in the classroom, and finally did so.  If you are unsure what a QR code is read here, to find out how to use them in the classroom read here and here.
Today the students used their iphones, itouch, or android device to read poems written by their classmates.  It all started last week when we spent a day discussing how to interpret poetry, and how difficult that can be.  After working as a class, students individually wrote poetic riddles.  These riddles were then turned into QR codes using Kaywa code generator.  The process of turning a poem into a code took less than 10 minutes!  Once all of the codes were created they were placed around the outside wall of our cafeteria.
Students then got in to groups of 2-3 and began to scan the codes.  Poems began popping up on devices.  The students had a lot of fun trying to guess the answer to each riddle.

Space Science and Board Games

As promised here are the pictures of the students and their board games.  These pictures refer back to a post from April 16th.  Directions for the assignment and a rubric are included in that post. Students have a great time with this assignment every year.