Sunday, January 19, 2014

Arctic Blubber Experment

Since we are learning about the Arctic and Arctic animals we did a science experiment to go along with these studies.
Blubber Experiment
We compared how what our body experienced in frigid waters verses what Arctic animals experience with blubber.
 The red tub contained the cold Arctic water.  Those are "bergy bits and growlers" (small icebergs and floating bits of ice)  in the water.  The "blubber gloves" contained fat (shortening) called blubber in Arctic animals.
 Students put their hands, without blubber protection, in the cold ice water. After about20-30 seconds they removed them.  We observed what they looked like and discussed what it felt like.
 They each then put on a "blubber glove". It had a layer of fat, like Arctic animals, surrounding their skin.  They each repeated the above step with the protection of the blubber.  All were amazed at the difference.  Everyone could have kept their hands in the cold water much longer then before.  Once again we observed and discussed what we saw and felt after this time in the water.

 We recorded our observations on a science log sheet which students took home.  I am quite sure they totally understood how important blubber is to the Arctic animals survival.

NED Show

The class really liked the NED show!  It was about being the best you can be.
We went back to the room and wrote the acronym our poetry journal.
N-Never give up.
E-Encourage Others
D-Do your best.
We discussed we were already doing these things in our room! We have an awesome class.
Our class motto is "I think I can. I think I can. I know I can."

Practicing Time to the Hour

The class is learning to tell time on an analog clock and digital clock.  It is always more fun to practice with a partner. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Digital Talking Polar Bears

We have been working with West Virginia's Next Generation State Standards (CCSS) for informational text.  We began by researching polar bears.  The students are writing a 4 square (a format our school uses for writing) informational article.  We are using this article to make our individual polar bears talk.  Please enjoy all the interesting facts the students have learned. ( I will be adding more  as they finish their writing pieces and record their work.)
by Shelby
by Lilah
by Elisabeth
by Darius
Standards being covered include...
    write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic and provide some sense of closure. (CCSS W.1.2)
    with guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers. (CCSS W.1.6)
        participate in shared research and writing projects  (CCSSW.1.7)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Our First Genius Hour

     Our class is participating in something called the "Genius Hour".  I had run across the idea from other educators' sites I visit and felt it was something the class would benefit from.  I believe that child are naturally curious' and even by first grade signs of this wonderful trait, unfortunately, begin to wane as formal education in the classroom takes place (a very unintended consequence I might add).  I wanted time for my class to  have the opportunity for a "personalized learning time where they can question, think, learn, and explore the things they love and are curious about." 

     We just had our first go at the "Genius Hour" with the other first grade teacher and her class at our school and I think it went well for our first try.  We had some students from PHS Key Club come and help the children during this hour. 

     Previous to this, I had spent time with the class helping them "wonder." What were the things they wanted to learn more about?  I used the beginning of the year parent survey and wrote down the interests of each child their parent had indicated.  I conferred with them individually and wrote down their ideas.  We read the Kindle version on our whiteboard of the story "On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein" by Jennifer Berne.  

     It was finally the day to begin and I was anxious!  So many students with so many interests!  
Ms. Buckley and I decided to group as many students with similar interests as possible.  We needed more hands on deck so our principal, Mr. Jones, graciously agreed to host the art group.   At this point it was just time to jump in and go for it.

     Here are the interests the students are pursuing in my classroom:  crafts, dogs, tigers, polar bears, seals, trains, galaxies, cats, drawing skills with specific topics (horses, monster trucks, motorcycles, butterflies to name a few), snakes, monster trucks, math games, sloths, and zebras.

     Below are a few of the photos I snapped while all this learning was taking place.  It was so busy I didn't get very many good photos but I promise to add more as we have more "Genius Hour" days.  We are scheduled for every 2 weeks on Fridays. 
 Train Research-One of the boys has decided to make his own book of favorite trains. I believe the other boy will make his own version of a "Thomas the Train" book.
 Galaxies Research-They are going to create a wall mural on paper and add different pictures they draw as they learn about the galaxies.
 Zebra Research-She is recording some new facts she learned about zebras in her "Informational Text" journal."  She also added her own illustrations.
                                Polar Bears and Seals Research They began on the floor  with the books. They learned what the animals ate.  They decided to do some more research on the computers and went to the National Geographic website.
This is the entry this group's helper sent for their blog entry.
"I am in the group of Polar Bears and Seals. Today we took an adventure and learned about what they ate. First, we looked through the books to find any information of what types of animals or vegetation they eat. After we found what seals ate I had them draw a picture of the animal in their booklets. We then proceeded our adventure to the computers where we went to the National Geographic Website and found what polar bears ate. They were extremely shocked to see polar bears eat seals. For our evidence we started working on our book. Each student is making their own. Today I had them work on their cover. Each student was challenged to decorate it however they wanted, but they had to have either a polar bear or a seal on the front plus their names and the title Polar Bears and Seals. I hope the next time I come we can learn about where they live and a few more things."
 Tiger Research-We were very limited on tiger books.  He found one and began to record a few details in his "Informational Text" journal.  I am going to find more resources for him before our next meeting.
 Sloth Research-One of my students had seen a movie about sloths and wanted to learn more.  I could only find one book in our school library to help him.  I read the section in the book to him and he illustrated and wrote some facts down in his "Informational Text" journal.
 Crafts- 2 of my students began looking for crafts in this book.  They make a "moo horn" with help.  One moved on to begin to create a monkey.  The other began folding a boat before time ran out.  We saved the work for next time.

We have begun.  The students are excited.  The ones with limited resources want more.  I will begin looking for short videos, more books, and materials so all can dig deeper into their interests.  I am glad we just dived in and tried it out. I want to thank all my volunteers. It would not have been as successful without your help.  I look forward to our next meeting!