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Showing posts from 2014

Research, Writing, and Engineering

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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.


AIG and STEM

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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 Gif…

Summer '14 Camp Digest - Day 2

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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!

Summer '14 Camp Digest - Day 1

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Today was the first day of summer camp for my students.  This year I am offering 3 weeks for students who were in my homeroom.  I limited it to that group because I am looping up to 5th grade with them and want to offer extra support as we prepare to tackle another year.

Each day will be a little different from the others, but there will always be a bit of every subject woven throughout the morning.  For instance, today we began with a team work engineering challenge.  The 5 students who attended camp today worked together to try to build a house of cards.  They found this to be a bit trickier than they had expected.  After many attempts, they were able to figure out a few ways that would work for awhile but none of the housed stayed standing for long.  We'll try this again and see if they get better with practice.

Our 2nd challenge today was a red solo cup challenge.  I found this idea on Pinterest and was really pleased with they way that the kids worked together to line up 3 so…

Differentiating Spelling Lists

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Returning to a self-contained classroom of 24 fourth graders brought plenty of challenges.  How to differentiate for varying levels of spelling proficiency was one of the first things I needed to tackle.  Locating spelling lists at different levels was the first task.
There are actually a number of resources available.
K12Reader had a list that suited my needs.  This link is for 4th grade but there are lists available for other grade levels as well.  This was great because I had students who needed both easier and more difficult lists.
http://www.k12reader.com/fourth-grade-spelling-words/
These lists were easy to download and then add to my class Edmodo library.
Edmodo is an awesome learning platform.  With it, I created 3 groups the spelling sleuths, guru's, and spotlight.  Every week I attach the appropriate list and send a link for students to copy their words.
At first I used a simple voice recorder app with my cell phone to record the words and loaded the files to Edmodo for stu…

Edmodo Adds Snapshot Tool

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Yesterday I noticed a new message from Edmodo.  Did you see it too?  I am one of those people you might characterize as an early adopter so you can probably figure that I immediately tested it out.  Within minutes and I do mean only a few minutes, I had created 2 snapshots: One for reading and One for math.  I had it assigned to my 4th grade class and this morning we gave it a go.  The tool has earned an initial 4 star rating in my book.

  Pros: quick, easy, aligned to common core, immediate creation of reports that guide instruction by identifying student mastery levels while also offering individualized data screen where you can select a student and review the questions they answered  -- truly impressive sets of questions that are randomized to avoid cheating
Cons: some students got "bumped" out or claimed the screen froze (not sure what user error might have caused that or bug in the system even)  -  even so, easy enough work around... close the tab and reopen the snapsho…