Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sharing research, practicing time

Students started sharing their short research projects about animals. As of now, everyone who has finished his/her Haiku Deck has it posted on this blog. Soon, everyone will learn how to post them to Kidblog. We will continue sharing projects next week. This is a choice (to share in front of the class). I know not everyone is comfortable with this format. I never would have been willing to share in front of the class in first grade! I think these students are very brave!

We have spent time in the past few days practicing telling time to the five-minute interval. Telling time is still a developing skill for most students! If you have an analog (non-digital) clock or watch at home, please help your child practice. Students have learned to check the hour hand first (we call it the short hand and/or the hour hand) to determine the hour. I call this the "easy part." The "hard part" is figure out the minutes. So, we might see that they hour hand is past the 2, but not yet to the 3. We say, "It's 2-something" and then we figure out the minutes by counting by fives until we get to where the minute hand (long hand) is. We haven't started telling time to the one-minute interval...that's coming soon!

In the photos below, students are a "human clock"!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More research to share (Haiku Deck)

If you missed yesterday's post about our slideshows created on the app Haiku Deck, check it out here.

Here are more "decks" created by students today! If your child's is not here, don't worry--there will be more coming tomorrow (those students are almost finished).

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Monday, March 24, 2014

Haiku Deck

Students learned how to use a new app today--Haiku Deck. It is both a web-based tool and an iPad app. We used it on iPad. Students have researched about one animal via digital and print resources. Today, everyone narrowed their findings down to three facts they wanted to share. They then used Haiku Deck to create a four-slide presentation to share some of what they learned. Since students were sharing iPads (and this was their first time using the app), most did not finish. A few did, and I've posted them below. I am so incredibly impressed with their work! They will post their slideshows to their Kidblogs soon!

More to come tomorrow!

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Friday, March 21, 2014

Research--our own topics!

Students were THRILLED to choose their own topics for short research projects! We started with the topic of sharks as a class. Yesterday students decided which animal they'd like to learn more about. We are working our way toward having even more freedom in topic choice, but we're doing this is small steps. Everyone was able to visit Mrs. Flanagan and Mrs. Lamphier in the library to get a few books on their topic, and in the afternoon students used these and some online resources to start their research! I am absolutely amazed at the engagement shown by everyone to reading and writing for the purpose of learning. Wow! Next week students will learn a new app to share what they've learned. 

We are also working on comparing and contrasting different types of nonfiction books--informational texts and literary/narrative nonfiction. Here are examples of books we've compared and contrasted. Ask your child to explain how these books are alike and different! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hooray for an awesome reading challenge!

Mr. Antonicci came and read to our class and Mrs. Hughes' class to celebrate the extraordinary amount of reading our classes did on the February reading challenge. Congratulations to all those who participated in this challenge. Keep up the great reading!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Just a couple more...

Here are a couple of photos I shared on Twitter last week (follow our class @Sorenson1st on Twitter, if your a Twitter user). I thought I should post them here too.

Our thinking partners help us share, plan, and revise our thinking in all subject areas. These two are talking about writing ideas during our current research unit.

We have been studying 2-D and 3-D shapes in math. Can your child tell you what makes a shape a polygon? We will learn about symmetry next. Encourage your child to look for symmetry in the world around us. It's everywhere!

St. Patrick's Day and Homework Note

St. Patrick's Day
Though it was a busy day of learning, we did manage to sneak in some "just for fun" activities today. One was the doing of a slightly mischievous leprechaun who left a note (see below) and 24 green coins scattered about the room for us to discover when we got to school today. 

Willie left his hat behind too, so we used it for our greeting today ("Top o' the morning to you!"). 

Mrs. Lucier and I spread a little Irish cheer this afternoon with special treats for the class. Mrs. Lucier's pot o' gold was healthy and fun to look at, don't you agree? My white chocolate dipped pretzels were festive and green. Put them together and that's the luck of the Irish shining down on our class, I'd say! :-)

Our Skype call with a class in Manchester, United Kingdom did not happen as planned, but we did get to say hello to the class and hear their nice accents. They are having unseasonably warm weather, which made us a bit envious! They go to St. Patrick's School, so that was a neat coincidence on St. Patrick's Day. We should have Skyped with a class in Ireland too and made it a three-call day. ;-) We will do a Mystery Number Skype with the class we met today soon.

Homework Note:
Due to the two snow days last week, we did not spend enough time on last week's SWR lesson. Therefore, there is no new spelling list for this week. Math homework was sent home today. As always, please have your child read with you every night. Thanks for all you do!

Research with a Shark Expert!

We were so fortunate to have had an opportunity to learn from marine biologist Jillian Morris of Sharks4Kids this afternoon. We had been looking forward to her visit (via Skype) for quite a while. It was fun to learn that Jillian grew up in Maine--not far from us at all. Now, she lives in the Bahamas.

We did a lot of research to get ready for our lesson with Jillian, which many of you know from past posts on this blog. Students are hard at work at documenting their learning through digital artifacts (notes/pictures taken on the iPad, video reflections, and posts on KidBlog). They are also creating a book all about sharks during writing/reading workshop time--we've started to refer to it as "research/inquiry time." These books should be done by the end of the week. 

Our study of sharks has introduced students to many important skills that will serve them well as learners for many years--asking and seeking answers to questions, providing evidence for their thinking, navigating many types of texts (printed and digital), accessing information online in a safe and responsible way, and sharing what they've learned in multiple ways. Included in our study was the use of digital collaboration tools. Students have become quite savvy with Skype and Kidblog this year for sharing and collaboration, but there are so many more great tools out there. Through our study, I introduced the online pinboard and the use of Google Sheets (the spreadsheet app in Google Drive). This time, I was the one to model the use of these tools, documenting students' ideas. Next time around, they will be helping to create content with these tools in "real time." Very exciting!

I shared students' initial wonders about sharks in an earlier blog post. We looked that Lino It board today and moved questions/wonders we'd answered in our research to another board. The board below shows questions we'd already answered about sharks before today's Skype call.

Questions/Wonders we had but we've answered through our research:
View the live link here.

The sticky notes left are the questions we did not feel we answered in our research, and we decided we would try to ask Jillian some of these questions during our Skype, if time allowed. Otherwise, we would find answers another time.

Questions/Wonders we did not answer through our research:
View the live link here.

Students then used Chromebooks and iPads to work alone or with their thinking partner to peruse the Sharks4Kids website. I wanted students to have a better idea of what someone like Jillian does in her job to try to build more background knowledge and curiosity before our call a bit later. 

Students took about 10-15 minutes researching and exploring the website, and then we met together on the carpet. This is the document we created in Google Sheets (well, this time I created it and added the content, but students came up with the questions!). 

View the live link here.

Finally, it was time to Skype! Our lesson/Q&A session with Jillian was amazing! I took many more pictures, but unfortunately I did not save them in a place I have access to at the moment. I promise to post more tomorrow. Be sure to ask your child why protecting sharks is important or about any other interesting information he/she learned today. It turns out we're pretty good with our shark knowledge, but learning about the job of a marine biologist/scuba diver/shark advocate was pretty new! :-)
I will be making a donation on behalf of the class to support this awesome organization. If you'd like to join me, you can do so using the following link: Thanks, Jillian, for a great lesson today!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Video Reflections

Students learned how to create reflection videos to record their thinking about things they've learned. Since we've been studying sharks, students practiced sharing their thinking about this topic. Many students have shared their videos on their Kidblogs. Some decided to write their reflections instead, and some ran into technical difficulties with the video uploading, which we are working on fixing. Students have now been introduced to several ways to record their learning/thinking--notes on paper, digital note-taking, and video recording. Next up--screen casting using iPad apps. They will publish their shark nonfiction books using a screen casting app, and these will be posted to their blogs. Tomorrow is Wonder Wednesday once again, and students will start to brainstorm a Genius Hour inquiry topic/questions. I'm so excited--much more information to come!

Here are some photos of today's work with creating video reflections...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

First Graders are Amazing!

I've shown you some of the amazing digital notes students have taken via the iPad, and I have promised to have students share their All About Sharks books electronically (and they will), but I just had to give everyone a sneak peek at the amazing work being done during this shark study. On Friday, students transferred their knowledge about shark pups (our focus of research on Thursday afternoon) into a page for their All About books. It's amazing how much they remembered and were able to include in their text and illustrations. This is the power of discussion, sharing, and note-taking--it helps us remember what we've learned! Friday afternoon's focus was using videos as a source of information. Students watched short video clips about great white sharks and whale sharks and took notes about the information they learned to help them write a chapter in their books on Monday.

Here are two students with their pages about shark pups for their All About Sharks books:

These are examples of some of the notes students took on Friday afternoon after watching the videos about whale sharks and great white sharks. We have been taking turns using iPads/clipboards and paper for note-taking. Both are awesome tools. Many students have published their digital notes on their Kidblogs. 

For Mrs. Bright's Class

Hello, Mrs. Bright's Class!

We absolutely loved watching your video on Friday. Some of us shared our reflections about the book Lulu and the Brontosaurus for this video, and we left comments on your Kidblog posts. Thank you for all of the comments on our blog! We are going to read Lulu Walks the Dog next. Are you?

I (Mrs. Sorenson) made a big GOOF when producing this video. I thought it had been published, so I deleted our original video clips to save space on my iPad. Then I realized the iMovie video had not uploaded  to YouTube correctly! Thankfully, I can still play it on my iPad with the iMovie app. So I took a video of it with my iPhone and uploaded it to YouTube. I hope everyone can hear our thoughts...everyone in my house is sleeping (except me!) so it's pretty quiet in the background here.

We are looking forward to our Skype call with you on Monday afternoon!

Mrs. Sorenson and the class

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Research in 1st grade--SHARKS!

I am so energized by the enthusiasm students have shown about our study of sharks this week! Wow! They are so eager to learn, which making teaching about and researching sharks so much better. Learning to wonder about things and ask questions is an important life skill, which is also related to the Common Core State Standards. Learning how to seek answers for our questions involves research, and this is a skill that requires instruction and practice to develop. This week started on a Wednesday for students, which was a perfect time start "Wonder Wednesday," which will be a new part of our routine. This time I chose the topic--sharks--and students came up with things they wondered about sharks. Here's our initial work:

Students each wrote one or two wonders/questions on a sticky note after discussing their thinking with a partner. When we gathered together, I helped guide the class towards seeing themes in our wonders which would help us focus our research into topics. These topics became our Table of Contents for our 'All About Sharks' books. The sticky notes are a great way to generate student thinking, but I prefer to store information like this electronically, so I transferred our sticky notes to an iPad app called Lino It:

As you can see, students had great questions/wonders! I am excited to try an online version of this app called Padlet in which students will be able to post their own thoughts, wonders, questions, etc. to an online bulletin board in real time. Great collaboration potential!

Today, we began to research one of our wonders--what are sharks' bodies like and do they need special parts to swim well, catch predators, etc. Amazing! I cannot wait to show you the great book pages students wrote. Wow! They will be electronically publishing these newest books when they are done. Trust me--it will be worth the wait. :-) For now, here are some of the digital notes they took yesterday and today via Doodle Buddy for iPad. Students are learning that researchers take notes to help them remember what they learn...

 I think their note-taking is phenomenal, and even more impressive are the conversations I am hearing between students about their knowledge of sharks. No matter the topic, I hope to help instill a sense of wonder and empowerment to find ways to answer our questions through research. So far, so good. :-)

More to come, very soon! And check your child's Kidblog--many students have posted some shark information from our research. Be sure to leave comments!