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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Playing Chess is Fun

I am going to admit something today.  I never wanted to learn to play chess.  Then a colleague got all excited about the idea that we could both teach a chess unit and get our students together at the end for a real life game of human chess like the wizard chess game in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone".  I caved in and now I'm learning chess.  Surprisingly, I am really enjoying it.  Not surprisingly, the kids love it.  Here is a quick peek into our classroom today.  

Today was the first day that I had them calling out and writing down their moves.  Before we could do that, I thought it would be a good idea to label our life size chess board and practice calling out some moves on it.  I was being formally observed today because this year is my license renewal year.  I'm pretty sure my lesson was a big hit with the administration too.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

How Does Our Garden Grow - Day 1

The 3rd grade AIG students have just begun a math/science integrated unit thematically centered around gardening.  Our first activity was to determine the perimeter and area of each raised bed in the garden.  We measured the length and width on the outside of the beds to find perimeter and measured the inside edges to find area.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Augmented Reality Cartesian Graphing

My 3rd grade students have learned to use latitude and longitude cartesian points for graphing.  
If you want to view their work and cannot go to our International Night then download the Aurasma app and follow kaiserkids.  Then use your device and the aurasma app to see the finished product.

Disclaimer: We do not claim that the animals can really be found in these locations, although they are African Animals.

Friday, January 16, 2015

What Does the Desk Blotter of an Engineer Look Like?

What does the desk blotter of an engineer look like?  
According to my 5th grade students, it would look something like this...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Research, Writing, and Engineering

The 4th grade students were asked to choose a structure and conduct research about it.  They wrote about their selected structure and were grouped together based on their selections.  Then began the fun.  Replicating the structure together.

I wish I had thought of this but the credit goes to classroom teachers at New Century International Elementary.  Check out the final products.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


This school year has not gone as planned.  Nowhere in my plan did I leave room for thoughts of doing anything other than moving up to 5th grade with the most wonderful group of 4th grade students I had the privilege of teaching last year.  Thing is, my plan wasn't entirely within my power to control.  Sparing everyone the details, let me just say that after 6 wonderful weeks with my students I found myself moving into a new position.  We were having a great year!  The students had matured and we had fallen into step together as 5th graders.  The quality of their work was greatly improved and everything about our year was going great (in our classroom world).  Suddenly, I was faced with a decision that may not make sense based on what I have said about my students. Unfortunately, this decision couldn't be made solely on the basis of how perfect things were going with my classroom.  

The dilemna: to accept or not to accept a position working as the Academically/Intellectually Gifted Teacher at another elementary school in the district - full time.

My decision: I accepted it for a variety of reasons that I won't bore you with.

The result: I miss my students terribly.  They hold a very special place in my heart and always will.  I hope that we will maintain contact from time to time some way, some how.  That said... I absolutely love my new role! This position has renewed my teaching spirit and I am feeling very creative again.  The liberty that I am able to take integrating enrichment opportunities for students beyond the core curriculum is absolutely invigorating.  I have so many ideas that I cannot wait to share.

In the first two weeks, I have already been able to jump in and wrap up an on-going unit with the 4th grade students.  They were studying archeology and had done a number of research mini projects along with some grid work and imaginary archeological finds.  I stretched it a bit and tied it to paleontology (because I happened to have a T-Rex model fossil simulation) using some empty raised beds behind the school.  The pictures convey better than my words, so I will leave you with some photos.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer '14 Camp Digest - Day 2

Today students partnered up to work on communication and engineering design skills during a challenge that required one student to give verbal directions to the other in order to replicate a model made from K'Nex.  The partners really rose to this challenge and by the end they were asking each other questions for clarification and being very specific in their directions which resulted in successful rebuilds.

We also finished the timeline that was started yesterday and played some more Smartboard games.
The morning goes by so quickly!