I recently read a post on Teaching in Cute Shoes by Cynthia Alaniz about how she paired up word clouds with a QR code. Today my students and I tried it too. Each student used Tagxedo to create a word cloud about a recent chapter book they read. Then we created a QR code with the answer using GoQR.Me. They posted both on their Kidblogs. So you can look at the word cloud and try to guess what book they read. Then use a scanner app to scan the QR code and see if you are correct. Visit our Kidblog to see all of their posts and take a guess.
Here is a sample that I made. Can you guess what book I read?
This week we did an experiment where we flew loop planes. First we created our planes from the original design and then tested them outside to see if they could fly across our 15 ft channel.
Next we did a new plane that was an original design. Watch this photo peach to see what our new planes looked like.
Flying Loop Planes on PhotoPeach
Then we went outside to test those for a flight that was at least 15 feet. We found that our original design worked best. Out of 26 students, 19 got the first plane to go 15 feet but only 6 students got their second plane to go that far. One reason seemed to be the weight of the plane. Too much tape and too many parts made the planes too heavy to fly. One newly designed plane flew 27 feet and another flew 24 feet.
This year my students and I have been reading different Flat Stanley books as a part of the Common Core Standard to compare themes, settings and plots from stories written by the same author about the same characters. Because we were having so much fun with it, we decided to mail out our own Flat Friends to different state and countries to learn more about them. The Flat Friends were mailed out today to 12 different states and 14 different countries some of which include Denmark, Lebanon, Ireland, New Zealand, England, Australia and more! The hosting families and schools will spend time with our Flat Friends and then mail us back some info and pictures. We are excited to hear about how much fun our Flat Friends have in these different places. We have created a wiki to track our friends and share our learning and photos. You can visit that here – http://stanleysis.wikispaces.com/
Today we had a fantastic time Skyping with our Blogging Buddies from Ecton Brook Primary School in England. We learned that their school has 300 students just like ours does! They eat lunch in the dinner hall while we eat in our cafeteria. They mentioned eating biscuits and flapjacks which we would call muffins and pancakes. They told us about their PE classes (what we call Gym) which includes swimming! They have something called Sports Day which sounds like our Field Day where everyone competes in sports games and some students win ribbons. We showed them photos of a big snow storm we had 2 years ago. They told us about how they had enough snow to get off from school one day this year which is unusual for them. We explained how we get off because of snow for a few days each winter, which is fun for us.
We each talked about our favorite professional sports teams like American football, baseball and basketball for us while they talked about England football (soccer), rugby and netball.
We also found that we had many things in common like favorite singers (Taylor Swift and One Direction), books we read (Harry Potter and Danny the Champion of the World), TV shows (Good Luck Charlie), and Movies (James Bond).
It was fun to hear about their after school activities and their experience with having the summer Olympics in their country last year. It was a great learning experience and we hope to do it again sometime!
Now that the new year has started, we are back into the Skyping groove! This time around we are trying a new kind of Mystery Skype. The children only ask questions that can be answered with a Yes or a No to guess the location of the other classroom. Here are some examples:
Are you east of the Mississippi River?
Do you border an ocean?
Are you in the western part of the United States?
This kind of Skype gets the kids thinking and keeps them on their toes! They all need to work together so we can be the first to figure out the location. Each child has a different job to do during the call.
1. Asking the questions to help us guess
2. Answering the questions about our state
3. Mappers used dry erase maps to help us narrow down the location
4. We used the netbooks to do research about populations and any other questions we had to look up
5. Some students were looking at physical maps in our textbook and at an atlas.
6. Scribes wrote down all of the clues we had gathered so far
7. Runners relayed questions from the different groups to the students asking. For today’s Skype, we used the netbooks and a website called “Today’s Meet” which allowed the children to message the questions to the students asking.
Skype with Mississippi
Skype with Colorado
We still like to share famous people, famous places, sports and other spontaneous questions during each Skype so we can learn more about that state and practice our listening and speaking skills too.
Today we had a great Skype session with author and illustrator, Mike Artell. We talked about some of the books he wrote and how he has to do research for them too. For Backyard Bloodsuckers, he spent time at the largest bug museum in the world – The Insectarium in Louisiana. We listened as he read to us from Petite Rouge in his funny Cajun accent. The highlight of the day was learning how to draw – cartoon style. We drew a horse and he gave us some tips on how to personalize your cartoon words. At the end of the session we asked him a few questions. We learned that his favorite thing to draw is animals and the hardest thing to draw for him is realistic art. Please check out our photos and short video clip below called “Fun letters.” To learn more about Mr. Artell go to MikeArtell.com.