Share Your #Eclipse2017 Stories on This Flipgrid

The Great Eclipse 2017 is coming on Monday August 21, 2017.  It’s going to be epic.  It’s an event we are sharing all across North America.  I made a space that we can all use to share our observations, learning, projects, stories, or really anything eclipse-related.

Before, during, and after eclipse, this Flipgrid is a space we can connect student, teacher, and family voices to share this event. Even if you aren’t in school yet, this Flipgrid can be a place you can find out what your students did while they weren’t in school.

Simply share this link with anyone and everyone.  https://flipgrid.com/f8fc0d 

If you have the most updated version of Flipgrid on your mobile device or tablet, you can also just scan this QR code to instantly go to the topic.

Scan here with Flipgrid to share your eclipse story.

I also made a Google doc that you can print and give to classrooms to scan if they have devices available.

Click to access an easy Google doc

Once you are on the topic, simply touch the + and follow the prompts to record your voice and take a selfie.  Don’t forget to tell us where you are recording from.  I hope we can all learn from one another as we experience this unique event together.  See you on the grid.

 

 

 

Skyping with Rube Goldberg’s Granddaughter: Improving the Student Voice Experience

rubeworks skype (2)Our 2nd grade is in the midst of another amazing project. They are studying simple machines, force, and motion as a part of their science curriculum.  We kicked off this unit by tinkering with a Rube Goldberg iPad app called Rubeworks.  Students worked in pairs to problem solve the many parts each Rube Goldberg puzzle. We allowed an hour for this experience and students persevered through the entire hour and supported one another.  Students continued to use this app in class.

Next, students had the opportunity to Skype with David Fox, the creator of the RubeWorks app.  He told a lot about how the app was made as well as listened to what the students loved and what they were frustrated with while using the app.

rubeworks skype (4)

In class, students read the book Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee. They used lots of tools to construct their own “roller coasters” and test them out.  This is all leading up to students designing and creating their own Rube Goldberg invention.

rubeworks skype (5)

This year, I purchased a book called The Art of Rube Goldberg. This book contains numerous pieces of Goldberg’s artwork, which was mostly selected by his granddaughter, Jennifer George.  Students have enjoyed studying these illustrations in class.  All of the puzzles in the Rubeworks game are based on pieces of artwork, so studying these images also supports students figuring out the game puzzles.

Jennifer George (1)

Using Skype in the Classroom, we scheduled a Skype with Jennifer George.  Ahead of the Skype, students spent time in class preparing questions to ask Jennifer George.  The second grade teachers and I have really been fine-tuning a process for our skype sessions, and it is proving to create some very rich experiences for our students.  Students wrote questions about Rube Goldberg based on their knowledge of him from the illustrations in the book, their experience with the app, their observations of Rube Goldberg inventions, and their own drawings of inventions.

Jennifer George (4)

During our Skype, Jennifer George told us just a bit about Rube Goldberg and herself, but she left lots of room for questions.  It’s times like these, that I’m so glad that the 2nd grade teachers have developed their Skype process.  Students had prepared questions on index cards.  The teachers quickly passed them out and we made a line of students who were ready to ask a question.  Students took turns stepping to the webcam, saying their name, and asking their question.  They awaited Jennifer’s response, and then said “thank you” before sitting back down.  Our questions really carried the Skype conversation today.  Each time a student asked a question, Jennifer commented on what a great question it was.  Students asked things like:

  • Did you aspire to be like your grandfather?
  • Do you have any of Rube Goldberg’s artwork?
  • How many drawings did Rube Goldberg make?
  • Did you ever help your grandfather draw his art?

Jennifer George (7)

Each question was met with an extended story that uncovered pieces of Jennifer George and Rube Goldberg’s life.  We even got to see a sculpture that Rube Goldberg had created.

Jennifer George (5) Jennifer George (6)

I love Skype experiences where students get to interact with the presenter.  It empowers students to be able to ask the questions that they are curious about and have their curiosities answered.  I’m so thankful for teachers that give students the space to prepare for interviewing a Skype guest.  These interview skills will only continue to improve and will be a skill that students will carry with them throughout their lives.

Jennifer George (10) Jennifer George (9)

The teachers and I all commented on how different this Skype was compared to last year’s Skype with Jennifer George.  The time to prepare, the time to think about questions that matter and connect, and the trust to allow students to lead the conversation made this a memorable experience for us all.

Teaching Fractals in PreK with “Let It Go”

My daughter is in PreK, so the other day when I picked her up from her classroom to leave school early I saw her class busy exploring shapes at various centers in the classroom.  I saw Ms. Melissa holding up familiar objects like cans and bottles and talking about what 3-D shape these objects were.  My daughter ran up to me so excited to tell me about some new shapes that she was learned.  I was reminded how important it is for us to step into one another’s classrooms, especially when we collaborate with one another.  Taking just a moment to stop, look, and listen in a classroom can open your eyes to what students are learning and how they are learning it within a room.  I love how preK is full of curiosity and wonder.  They get excited about every new discovery and immediately start looking for that new knowledge all around them.

I also know how much PreK loves the movie Frozen.  I’ve seen them using GoNoodle to sing the song together.  They belt out the lyric “in frozen FRACTALS all around”, but they have no idea what a fractal is.  This was a perfect opportunity to weave together some informational text, video, music, vocabulary, science, and math since the teacher was already signed up for a read aloud.

We opened the lesson by watching the “Let It Go” video where the word “fractal” comes up.

We wrote the word fractal on the board and then asked ourselves what a fractal might be and how it was connected to our study of shapes.  Next, I read the book Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell.

This book explains how 3-D shapes are all around us and tells how Benoit Mandelbrot made up the word fractal to describe shapes that are made up of the same pattern.  One piece of the shape looks the same as the whole shape.  The book has photographs of things like broccoli broken into different pieces all the way down to a single piece of broccoli to show that it looks the same.  There are also pictures of Queen Anne’s lace, trees, lightning, and more.

Following this, we continued thinking about shapes in nature by reading Joyce Sidman’s Swirl by Swirl.  It was interesting to think about fractals and swirls and whether or not they were the same thing or different.  The teacher, Ms. Heather, checked out both books to take back to class to add to their explorations of shapes.  She plans to branch off of the excitement that kids had from the photographs and illustrations in both books and continue to look around outside for these patterns.  For example, the class already knows that there is a swirl shape within our playground equipment, so they plan to walk out there to take a look.

Now, when this class belts out “Let It Go”, they will have a new understanding of frozen fractals.

 

 

Observing the Day & Night Sky with Kindergarten

IMG_1377Kindergarten is working on observing the day and night sky in science, and they want to use technology to document their observations.  They are working on the following standards:

ELACCKW6 digital tools help writers write and share their stories.

ELACCKW7 writers work in groups.

SKE1 Students describe time pattterns (such as day to night and night to day) and objects in the day and night sky.

Classes came for 2 separate lessons.  During our 1st session, we used Capstone’s Pebble Go to read about day and night.

PebbleGo - Capstone Digital

Then, we read the book Sun Up, Sun Down: The Story of Day and Night by Jacqui Bailey.  During our reading of both Pebble Go and the book, students discussed the scientific reasons we have day and night.  We setup the idea of starting to “notice” things about the sky and how it changes during the day and night.

IMG_1376For our 2nd session, I opened up the blinds on our massive library windows and setup observation areas for students.  We started our time together on the floor and shared some observations we had already made at recess or at home.  We practiced saying aloud what we would write on our clipboards at the windows.  Next, the teacher paired the students together, gave them a clipboard with paper and pencil, and I placed groups in front our our windows.  The teacher, parapro, and I walked around and talked with kids about what they saw.  We encouraged them to write and sketch.  We also helped them make connections to the information that we had learned from Pebble Go and our book.  For example, the sun was blinding us in the windows on he left side of the media center but on the right side of the media center it was shady.  We remembered that the sun is at different positions in the sky throughout the day due to the Earth rotating.

Day & Night Sky Observations

At the end, we split the class in half at our 2 projection areas.  Student groups shared what they observed and we used Padlet to capture the observations.  I tweeted the link to our padlet and later in the day Margaret Powers, Mrs. Keating, and Mrs. Bolster and their students added to the wall from Pennsylvania.  It was interesting to hear about the cloud-filled sky there compared to our cloudless sky in Georgia.

Now, the Kindergarten teachers will share this link with families and encourage them to add notes to the Padlet from home.  This will allow students to make some observations of the night sky.  Please feel free to leave some comments on the Padlet about what the sky looks like where you are!