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Project Based Learning

Five for Friday – April 28

Math, Project Based Learning

Wow! Where did the month of April go? Summer will be here before we know it! I’m linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday. Here’s what we were up to this week…

We started our next PBL this week.  For this PBL, students research important figures in history – George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks.
This week students found out who they were researching and started brainstorming questions about their person.
We also got started on research this week.  Students use books, online text, and videos to research. This kiddo decided to organize her information using a tree map! Can’t wait to see where this project takes us!
Oh my goodness! I would love to speak to whoever created these “fidget spinners” and ask them what they were thinking. Since spring break, these things have been coming into my classroom and multiplying every day! And, I love when I tell the students no they can’t have them, that they tell me it helps me focus. I call baloney on that. They only thing it’s done is distract that child and the children near them.  I just don’t get it!  Rant over… lol

This week we started reviewing for our upcoming standardized testing. I broke our math standards down into categories and we’re focusing on a different area each day. For place value, students completed Place Value Around the Room. I’m changing up the way we review the material each day to make it a little more fun.  Check out my blog post on my Place Value Reviewhere

Last Friday we had our big Earth Day celebration at school and yesterday we had Field Day. Here are the cute shirts the staff and students got.  We had five different activities and the grade level classes competed against each other.
My school celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week this week. How cute is this basket! It was filled with all kinds of teaching goodies!
Peanut Butter M&M’s are my favorite candy, but what’s funnier is my student with the peanut allergy was the one who brought me these.  Cracked me up!

And how adorable is this! I love this memento from my class.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Summer is almost here!

International Week Recap

Project Based Learning, Social Studies

Our school had our very first International Week last week and I’m going to share with you some of the events and things my kids were a part of.  It was a wonderful week and full of many cultural experiences!

Class Presentations:

Each class in the lower school (K-4) had a different country. The class researched the country and came up with a presentation for the other classes to see during International Week. Some classes did group or partnership presentations and the younger guys did whole class presentations. It was amazing! Everyone worked really hard and the kids learned a lot and had fun while doing it!

Below is our passport.  As kids went to the different classes, they received a sticker for their passport and filled out the page inside for each country. Things on the page included – capital, currency, culture, language, etc.

Passport to Dance:
I unfortunately can’t post any pictures of this, but it was super cute! Each class got to learn dances from a different culture.  My kids got to learn South American dances. They had the cutest ponchos and skirts to wear. They learned 3-4 dances and did a great job!
Holland Presentation:
Our country to share with the school was Holland. A few weeks ago I posted a picture of my class interviewing my dad via Facetime.  My dad was born in Holland and immigrated to the US when he was 8. The kids had a great time interviewing him and learning more about the country.  We also picked Holland because one of our students (she moved over Christmas break) had been to Holland and her parents were from Holland.
We spent many, many days researching and many, many, many, many days preparing our presentations. I cannot tell you how proud I was! The kids knew their stuff and were so excited to share their presentations. It was quite a long day.  They had 4 different 40 minute blocks of presentations.  Each block was then split in two where each class (we have 2 classes per grade) would come in and visit the kid’s stations. They were exhausted by the end of the day!
Below are some of our posters and presentation materials…
To hear a few of the presentations – check out the videos I posted on my Facebook page…here.
Here’s a Holland poster that some of the older art students made for our class.
Holland Government and History
Kid’s Lives in Holland
Dutch Food – they even had stroopwafel at this station for people to sample! 
Famous Residents of Holland
A book about Holland’s Famous Landmarks and Symbols
Holland’s Currency and Language
Holland’s Culture- the cow clogs were a hit!
A Keynote on Holland’s Geography
As you can see from the presentations, my kids had different ways of sharing the information they learned. That was totally up to them. Once they had researched their topic, they got to pick how they wanted to present it with their partner. We did have a lot of posters, but I loved the addition of  Keynote and student-made book.
Parent Presentations:
Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of this, but the culminating event of the week, was parent presentations on Friday. We have many parents who are from many different countries. They came in to share their culture and food (the kids favorite part) with us in stations set-up in the cafeteria. Sweden, Syria, Germany, Italy, and Mexico were just a few of the countries represented.
All in all it was an amazing week -but, boy were the kids and I tired by the end!
Comment below – does your school do a week like this? What all does it include?

Five for Friday – January 13

Math, Project Based Learning

Friday the 13th! We’ll see how today goes!  And a full moon… And a rainy day… And it’s been ridiculously windy! This will be interesting!
I’m linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching to show what we’ve been up to this week for another Five for Friday

Our school is celebrating our first International Week in about a week and half. Each class has a country to study and then present what they’ve learned to the other classes. I chose/my class chose Holland, which works out really well since my dad was born in Holland.  He was born there and immigrated to America when he was 8.  This week we got to interview him using Facetime. It was so cute. The kids were writing notes, asking questions, etc. And, my dad did a great job his first time using Facetime. I also created a kid friendly website for the kids to research on.  It is in the first picture above.

I love math stations. We finally got back into them this week and the kids are loving this particular one. They get to use the Dive Into Shapes Kit (from Scholastic Bonus Catalog) to make all kinds of cool 2D and 3D shapes.
We’ve continued our study of multiplication this week and learned our last two strategies (repeated addition and skip counting). To introduce skip counting (which I know the kids knew, but I wanted to make a strong connection between it and multiplication), I used the CGI strategy choral counting. The students helped me count by 4’s. We went slow enough I could write, which also gave my kiddos needing more time, time to think.  
Then, I asked them to look at what we came up with and see what they noticed. Most kids noticed that it went up by 4’s and down by 20’s. Some kid’s noticed that the pattern went 4, 8, 2, 6, 0 in the ones spot. Another student noticed that they were all even numbers. All great observations!
Next, I started writing the multiplication problems above. But, instead of just writing them I explained it like 1 group of 4 is 4, 2 groups of 4 is 8, etc and the kids joined in and helped me out. Then, one of my kiddos made the connection that skip counting is just like repeated addition, which is just like multiplication!!! HOORAY! Fireworks should’ve gone off…just kidding. But it was one of those teaching moments that you remember and I feel most have a strong understanding of the different strategies and concept of multiplication.
Here’s a little student funny for you. Our phonics sounds last week were OR and ORE.  Students had to create words with those sound spellings.  I had a very interesting one! I’m hoping she was going for pouring???

Anyone else also in full-blown organization mode? Something about the new year and gift cards and buying new organization bins made me want to clean out our pantry. Here is the after picture. The containers and organization make my OCD heart happy!
Have a lovely 3 day weekend!

Five for Friday – February 12

Project Based Learning
Happy almost Valentine’s Day and almost 3 day weekend! I’m hopeful to survive the Valentine’s Party at 2pm today.  Should be a fun one! We’re playing Minute to Win It Games with Valentine’s candy.
I’m linking up for another Five for Friday.  Link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching here.  Here’s what we’ve been up to this week….
This week our study of measurement has taken us to finding the area of shapes.  To start off, we found the area of rectangles and squares using Cheeze-It’s.  Much more fun than just counting grid squares :-).  We did that too, but I love starting with a fun hands-on activity! Gets them engaged from the get go. This is from the Common Core Classes’ Cover Up Activities on TPT.
We also begun our next PBL Project. For this project, we are studying important historical figures and how they have contributed to the world. Students were able to choose between George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks.  Each group has a bucket full of books, articles, and websites (on the iPads) and folders with planning packets.  Excited to see where this project takes us! I love doing project based learning. Best way to teach social studies in my opinion in addition to other curricular areas.
So I’m not sure who was more excited about this project…me or the kids. I found this awesome area activity from Blair Turner. It’s called Dream House project. I couldn’t wait to make my sample of my dream house and then find the area of all of the rooms.  The kids are loving creating their “dream” house that fits their passions! I’ll show the finished projects next week!

So I’m sort of the queen of wearing flip flops. Now, I’ve not been proclaimed queen, but I am well-known for always wearing flip flops. As we know, flip flops do not last forever. Yesterday was the day for a pair to go to a better place. And of course the flip flop broke at about 8:10. School starts a 8.  Not the best way to start the day. Luckily I had unused socks that I have in my room for white board erasers, so that saved my feet until I could run home on my break.  I received this little note from one of my kids during writing station. They were all very concerned.  One even offered to make me a new shoe out of cotton balls! Gotta love kids! 

So this one is not a picture, but a link to a letter I saw on Facebook. I’m sure most of you have seen this, but it’s always good reminder and validates the many things that teachers deal with. It’s a letter written by a teacher to parents, letting them know that they do in fact see and worry about everything that goes on in the classroom, but we still can’t discuss it or explain it or share it with parents. It details the worry and the struggles that teachers go through trying to reach each child and especially those kids that are more difficult to reach. This letter really strikes a cord with me as I’ve had kids like this, but I had an especially tough year a few years ago where many of the situations mentioned were happening in my room.  I felt like no matter what I did, it was never enough and I literally worried about these kids every minute of every day to the point of making myself sick from stress. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is take a minute to read it or re-read it and know that we are doing the best we can in a very difficult job.  And, what we do matters!
Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday! Happy 3 day weekend!

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