50s Day School Movie!

We celebrate the 50th day of school by dressing up in poodle skirts, rolled up jeans and hula hoop competitions!  I wanted to create something with each classroom to celebrate the 50th day integrating our technology throughout the entire school!

I took some time to research all the fun products that came about in the 1950s that our young students would know or care about still today! Each classroom picked the product out of a hat, we did some class research using a variety of tools and produced a short movie with our findings!

We learned about everything from PEZ dispensers and McDonald’s to Play-Doh and Frosted Flakes!  The kids loved learning about all the fun products that they still may use today  while we all learned a great new app, Puppet EDU (Shadow Puppet) to publish our research and share with our friends.

I took all the short videos, and put them together in iMovie with a 1950s soundtrack to complete the final project!  We all got to celebrate together by watching the movie our whole school worked hard to create in our classrooms on the 50th day of school!

 

What an easy and fun way to bring our school community together, and learn a little along the way!

Enjoy our school video: https://goo.gl/p3YGHD

By Lissa Blake @D60holmestech

Coding in Kindergarten IS Possible

 

Kindergarten kids coding? What? Is that possible?

A few years ago I would have said no way!  In fact, about two years ago when I got an email from the district about teaching coding, I said to myself and out loud, “Now I have to teach kids how to code?  Are you kidding me?”

But, a funny thing happened.  I tried an app and I discovered all kinds of amazing things!

I was introduced to the app Kodable.  I took it home and gave it to my own kindergartener and she was thrilled to try it!  To her it was just a really cool game!

I even Tweeted the picture above.

That next week on Monday, I introduced this program to my students and they were hooked too.

This year, my teaching partner and I had a more solid plan of attack to teach coding.

Here is what we did:

First, we showed our students two videos from the Hour of Code website (code.org).  They were highly interested when we showed the Star Wars and Frozen videos that highlighted how creators used code to program the puppets and cartoons.

We then asked the students to “code the teacher” from the door of the classroom, to the rocking chair at the rug.

When we began, they simply said, “go forward.”  That led me to walk straight to my outside door and through the door.  The class erupted in laughter.  When students were settled down, they realized they needed a more specific plan.

Together they came up with this:   Coding a Teacher

Later that day, we then did some sandbox (free exploration) playing with the apps Bee-Bots and Kodable.  Students were given the opportunity to play and practice how to use the coding apps.

We were also able to invite our local library to our school.  They have purchased Bee-Bot coding toys.  The students had to work together to code the Bee-Bots.  They also realized the importance of working together as a team to problem solve.  When students realize that they need to work together to solve their coding problems, they soon discovered that they could solve the puzzle sooner and faster.

Once students played with the toy Bee-Bots, we showed them a bit more about the apps and how they worked.  Students also realized quickly, that when they are stumped, they can ask a friend for help

When I realized that coding also teaches problem-solving skills, I was hooked on the value of it for the kindergarten level.

So, my advice to you…try it!  You will also realize the high level of critical thinking skills the students have and how truly smart they are!

Beth Hatlen

@MrsHatlenK

Are Primary Students Capable of Research?

“Can my primary students actually conduct research and write a paragraph on their findings?”

“Where do I (as a teacher) even begin?”  

“How do I guide my students?”

“Will they really be able to do this on their own?  

I was asked all of these questions when I met with a LRC teacher a couple weeks ago. She wanted to have the 1st grade students research an animal of their choice.  The project would require them conduct actual research, take notes and then write a paragraph that included a topic sentence and a wrap-up sentence.

My response…???… “YES! Of course they can.”

Let me start by saying, this teacher has wonderful ideas, welcomes collaboration and is always looking for opportunities to improve the classroom experience for her students.  For this particular project, as her Instructional Coach, we planned and discussed multiple instructional strategies that would work best for her various groups of students.  From there, we started planning her lesson using the Gradual Release Model: “I Do, We Do, You Do”.

  1. She modeled what the students were going to be asked to do: How to get to PebbleGo, select an animal, listen to the information, and how to choose a fact from what she heard/read. She wrote down a fact on a similar graphic organizer the students were going to use.
  2. In the “We Do” stage we all listened to the “Food” section of the book. Then we chose facts from the food section (shared as a whole group) and she wrote them down on the graphic organizer.
  3. The kids were asked to choose their own animal and write down a fact for each section of the book on their graphic organizer (You Do.) The students loved using PebbleGoto help them research. Several of them listened and read about other animals when they were done!

The following week we used the same model to show the students how they would use their facts to create a paragraph about their animal. We emphasized that their topic sentence had to have the name of their animal so their audience would know what they were reading about. Then the students turned their facts into a complete sentence and wrote a paragraph about their animal. They concluded with a fun fact about their animal. They were so proud of their writing and illustration…(of course) so were we!

Next year, we are planning to have the students type their story and record it in Book Creator. They will have the option to use the photographs provided or create their own. Some of the students have chosen to put their story into Book Creator already!

Interesting Read: Rapid Release of Responsibility-This model is focused on putting “You Do” FIRST then “We Do, I Do”

3/13/16

Instructional Coach Nicole Ring

@NicoleRing1