Mrs. Schmidt's Classroom Blog

Third Grade Classroom Blog

Global Collaborations in our Classroom

March 23, 2014 by · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Photo attribution Fredrik Alpstedt

Photo attribution: Fredrik Alpstedt

 

My students and I love making connections with other students around the world.  Our big focus this year in Social Studies is community.   By taking part in these global project, the children are able to share information about our community and country with other students and to learn more about theirs first hand.  Here is a quick overview of 3 projects that we are currently working on.

The first one is called the Edmodo Pen Pal Project and it is one that I designed and lead.  We use a social network called Edmodo which allows teachers to create a private group that is closed to the public.  Within that group, the children are put into smaller sub-groups and each week they chat about an assigned topic with their team members to learn more about them.  We are currently doing this project with 3 other schools located in Washington State, Minnesota, and South Africa.  Some of the topics we discuss include school life, favorite books, favorite games, foods, holidays, weather, etc.  This is a fun way for the students to work on the Common Core Standard for Listening and Speaking which focuses on effectively engaging in collaborative discussions with diverse partners on age appropriate topics, building on others ideas and expressing their own clearly.  At the end of the project, the children will create an “Eye Opening” digital display to share what they have learned from this experience.

We love using our Kidblogs to connect with other students and the Student Blogging Challenge is the prefect way to do that.  This challenge runs twice a year (starting in September and March) and lasts for 10 weeks.  Each week Miss W, a retired teacher from Tasmania, will give the students 8-10 different choices of blog posts that they can write around a specific topic.  These posts help them learn to be better bloggers and to connect with other students.  There are over 1,000 students registered at the present time from USA, Canada, Russia, Australia and China.  Teachers volunteer to mentor the children which means they will leave comments a few times to guide the children in this process.  The children are also encouraged to visit the blogs of other students in the challenge to leave comments and start conversations to foster learning.  Last week our challenge was to write a post listing great places to visit in our state or country.  My students chose a topic and then used Power Point to create a slide with a few facts and photos of those places.  We saved the slide as a photo and then turned it into an online jigsaw puzzle using Jigsaw Planet  Here’s a link to those puzzles if you’d like to try them.  Jigsaw Puzzles about State and Country   Not only did we have fun and learn more about the places in our area, we also talked about Creative Commons and how we can’t just take photos off of the internet and call them our own.  Mrs. Yollis in California did a great experiment with her students that helped us learn more about why Creative Commons is so important.  You can view that here:  Creative Commons Video  If the children wanted to use photos from the  internet for this project, they used FlickrCC and gave attribution by listing the name of the person who took those photos on their blog.

Our last and longest global project is the Flat Connections project called “A Week in the Life.”  In this project, we are connected with about 300 students from USA, China, Nepal, Thailand, and India.  Students will be working in small groups on Edmodo to discuss one of these topics: school, leisure, language, clothing, environment, food, celebrations, housing, and transportation.  The children will discuss and then take photos and video about that one topic to share with their group members from the other schools.  They will collaborate to create one final digital project in VoiceThread showing images and facts about this topic and how it plays out around the world.  All teams will upload their VoiceThreads to a project wiki (link in the beginning of this paragraph) so it can be viewed by all members of the project.

All of these global projects help my students and I learn first hand about the world around us.  Places like South Africa, China, and India that were once just dots on a map, are now real people that they talk to and learn about.  The children love seeing both our similarities and differences.  These projects also help the children learn to respect and appreciate the customs, cultures and opinions of others.

Tellagami Book Reviews

February 27, 2014 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Our third graders recently wrote a book review using the Tellagami app.  They created an avatar on the app, took a photo of the book for the background and recorded their voice for the review.  I embedded the final projects into the Padlet.  Special thanks to library specialist, Shannon Miller, for the idea.

CLICK HERE OPEN OUR BOOK REVIEW PADLET

Padlet

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Catholic Schools Week 2014

February 3, 2014 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Catholic Schools Week 2014 on PhotoPeach

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Mystery Skype with Indiana

January 29, 2014 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Today we had the privilege of Skyping with a third grade from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Carmel, Indiana.  Their computer teacher, Mrs. Barks, and I connected on the Catholic Schools Week Mystery Skype site.  Instead of doing the 20 questions type of Skype, we decided to use a set of 10 questions that I formulated that give more facts about the state.  Some of them included weather, crops, location in the USA, famous people and places in the state, nicknames, state symbols, etc.  The children worked in pairs to ask and answer the questions during the Skype so that every student had a chance to talk to the other class.  The OLMC students only had 10 minutes before the Skype to prepare their answers.  We were very impressed with how well they did!    Before we started the sharing, we all stood up to say a prayer together.  How wonderful it was to pray together across the states!

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Here are some of the things we learned:

  1. Their town has 79,000 people compared to only 2,500 in Yardley.  But our state has twice as many people as their state.
  2. Both of us have singers that were born in our state.  Taylor Swift in PA and Michael Jackson in IN.  We also both grown corn and produce milk.
  3. Their state nickname is the Crossroads of America and the Hoosier State.
  4. The Indy 500 takes place in their state.
  5. They have also experienced very cold weather and snow this winter.  They sometimes experience tornadoes.
  6. They have over 600 students in their school compared to only 300 in ours.

At the end of the call, we asked some questions about books that we like to read and we also talked about our uniforms and our weather experiences.  We had a fun time and hope we can connect with them again!

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We were planning to share some of the things that we do during Catholic Schools Week but we ran out of time.  Maybe the OLMC students could leave us a comment telling us?  We’d love to hear from other Catholic Schools too!

At our school we had an Olympic theme for Catholic Schools Week.  Each classroom created an anthem and a flag and we shared them at an Opening Ceremony and Prayer Service.  All week long the students earned points for their room by doing good deeds, winning competitions, keeping their lunch table neat, etc.  At the end of the week we will add up the points and award medals to the winning homerooms.  We made cards and gift baskets for our bus drivers, fire fighters, police and the armed forces.  We also created Birthday Boxes.  We get large cake boxes from a local bakery and fill them with all the things someone might need to celebrate a birthday party: cake mix, candles, frosting, sprinkles, hats, plates, cups, napkins, party favors, a book, a toy, etc.  The boxes are decorated by the children and donated to a local food pantry to be given out to those who might not have the means to buy party supplies for their child.   Our week ends with an annual Talent Show which is always a fun night.

Birthday Boxes

Birthday Boxes

Please leave us a comment to share how your school celebrates Catholic Schools Week!

 

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Mystery Skype with New Mexico

November 19, 2013 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Yesterday we had a great time doing a Mystery Skype with Mrs. Maestas and her 2nd graders from the Manzano Day School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  To make it even more exciting, Mrs. Maestas had a local TV crew there filming us for a piece they are doing on Global Connections!  We answered our usual 10 questions to give clues.  We were very impressed with how well behaved and how well spoken those 2nd graders were!  We learned that their school has about 500 students from PreK- 5th grade with about 4 of each grade level.  They live in an urban area and have about 5,000 people in their city.  Crops that they grow include apples, squash and pumpkins.  Famous people from their state are John Denver and Demi Moore.  We enjoyed hearing about the Balloon Festival that takes place in their state each year and we looked it up to see photos after the Skype.  We also thought it was neat that they see coyote, snakes and road runners in the wild.  We did more research and looked up photos of road runners afterwards too.  We had a fun time during our Skype and we look forward to seeing the news clip!

New Mexico 1

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Skype with our Global Read Aloud Buddies in Canada

November 19, 2013 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

For the past 2 months, we have been taking part in the Global Read Aloud.  We read the book, Marty McGuire by Kate Messner and used Edmodo to have discussions about each chapter with 2 other classrooms who were also reading it.  It was a great experience!  We even had our question answered by author Kate Messner in her video Q and A.

Last week we Skyped with one of those classes, Mrs. Gosfield’s Grade 3/4 from Duchess, Canada.  Each student came forward to talk to the other class.  Some shared their favorite parts of the book.  Some of them included when Marty fell in the mud trying to catch the frog, when Veronica Grace ran off screaming because she saw the live frog, when Sparky the raccoon threw nuts at mom’s head, and when Marty kissed the live frog!!  The other students shared information about our country and our local area.

Canada 1

Canada 2

Their school has over 400 students and it goes from Grades K-12 (compared to our school having 300 from K-8).  The town of Duchess has only 992 people and they live in a rural area so a lot of them live on farms.  We told them that our town of Yardley has about 2,500 people and we live in the suburbs.  We saw a photo of their flag and they told us it had a maple leaf on it which is the symbol of their country.

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They have a Prime Minster instead of a President and his name is Stephen Harper.  We also enjoyed learning a little bit about Queen Elizabeth.  Her favorite color is blue!  Their money is much more colorful than ours and it is made of plastic.

Canada 4We had a wonderful time meeting our new friends face to face and we hope to work with them on other projects later on in the year!

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Our First Mystery Skype of the Year

November 14, 2013 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

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Last week we had our first Mystery Skype of the year and the children and I were very excited!  We were Skyping with Mrs. Klose’s 5th grade class from Decatur, Texas which is outside of Dallas.  A few years ago, I formulated 10 questions that each class asks and answers to give clues so the other classroom can take a guess.  We try to give enough clues to help them guess without making it too easy.  I also like to give all of my students “on screen time” during every Skype to keep them involved.  So they work in pairs to gather the answers to each question.  Then for every Skype one student will ask the question and the other classroom answers.  After that, a student from the other class asks us the same question and my partner student answers.  The first 9 questions give clues like weather info, animals you see in the wild in your area, crops, population, state symbols, one bordering state and any bordering bodies of water, famous people and places from your state, etc.  Question number 10 gives school info (like name, number of students, grade level) and is shared after we guess the state.  So 20 of my students get to talk when we go through the 10 questions.  My last 3 students usually ask spontaneous question at the end if we have time – what are your favorite books to read, what subjects do you learn, etc.  When we finish a Skype, we journal in our Skype copybook to keep track of what we learned from each experience.  We also color that state in on our US map.  Here are the question that we ask.

Mystery Skype Questions

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From Mrs. Klose’s class, we learned that they have armadillo, rattlesnakes, raccoon and deer in their wild!  Their state nickname is the Friendly State and the mocking bird is their state bird.  Crops grown in Texas include cotton, soybeans and wheat.  Famous places include a Six Flag amusement park (which we also have nearby) and the River Walk.  We were both able to guess the state on our first try which was pretty good!  We had a great time today and we are ready for more Mystery Skypes!

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Hands on Science – Oobleck

October 1, 2013 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

This week in class we learned about the States of Matter and about how to use our senses to describe the properties of Matter.  Then we made Oobleck to try out this skill.  Check out this video to see how much fun we had.

Our Really Exciting Online Stacking Project 2013

September 22, 2013 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Once again I took part in the O.R.E.O. Project from Projects by Jen. The children had to stack the cookies as high as they could before they fell down. Once cookies were placed, they could not be moved. Each child had two tries. We wrote down our highest scores and calculated a class average. That average will be entered into the project so we can compare it with classrooms around the world. After the project, we discussed the different strategies that the children used when stacking: Being careful not to bump the desk, some of them used only one hand for cookie placement but others used two hands, being quiet so their partner could concentrate, trying to create a straight stack, using whole cookies without any cracks or breaks, etc. We tried to Skype with a class from Arizona to talk to them about it, but they had technical difficulties. We are looking forward to a rescheduled date so we can compare our results with theirs. Watch this video to see us in action!

Our Really Exciting Online Stacking Project 2013 on PhotoPeach

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International Peace Day

September 22, 2013 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

This year our school celebrated International Peace Day by taking part in the Peace Crane Project.  Each student decorated a piece of paper with a message of peace and then we folded them into cranes.  The older children helped the younger children fold in the morning.  In the afternoon, we all gathered around our Peace Pole for a prayer service.  We then collected the cranes to mail to our partner school – the Cowandilla Primary School in Australia. We are also sharing our experience with other schools on the Cranes 4 Peace Blog.

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