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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Five for Friday... a day late, feeling rich in learning, even if I am a dollar short

Time to link up with Doodlebugs for Five for Friday! Sorry folks, it just ain't happenin' on Friday yet. Maybe, someday, this calendar year..... *sigh* Some nights the Punky and I don't get home until bedtime (hers). I usually grade papers, edit/update plans and work on school stuff for a couple more hours when we get home.
Here is a glimpse at our week. Friday I forgot my phone (aka... picture and video taking device) and we missed some documentation of some great learning!

1. Our dragon story. We started a story last week and then had a guest teacher on Friday, so we finished and edited this week. Our original title, Hungry Dragons, didn't match our final product. So we brainstormed new names and changed the title.

We finished, revised, edited, and then read the story aloud while we video taped it. BUT.... my Photobooth and iPhoto skills are not that great. I forgot my phone on the day that we took the video. Anywho.... I am going to get some tech training from the 5th-8th grade class in the near future!!

2. This little learner went to Dallas on vacation last week. He missed some school. I asked him to keep a journal and report back to us. He brought a flashdrive with photos and gave an oral report.  It was awesome. He is working on hard on his presenting skills (speaking and listen standards in action folks....).

3. The marshmallow project. It all started with this same little learner. He was reading in a book about disasters. It showed a marshmallow model of a building structure that would be earthquake resistant. He wrote a persuasive paper about why we should build marshmallow towers.

After he did his part, I did mine and planned Marshmallow activities this week. I started with a story about Marshmallow Toes, by Melisa Clemens. I downloaded it on my kindle. I planned to watch it on the computer and project it onto the screen, but.... no internet access.  I say flexibility is the key to teaching and learning. 

Next I planned a little math.... here is what the 4th graders worked on:

First to do the math, then to build the building. Kinder and First made shapes. First 2D and then 3D. Then they connected the cubes to make a tube. They tried to turn it into a tower, but it did not want to but turned and lifted. Second and Third grade students were asked to figure out how many marshmallows and toothpicks they would need for a tower 12 stories tall if the bottom layer contained 9 marshmallows. 

making the 9X9 grids

before making squares and cubes, these little learners counted and graphed colored marshmallows

Trying to turn their structure to make it into a tower.

4th grade teamwork

"it's not staying together Ms. Horn!"

Kinder and First grade: final product

Finally, What went right? What went wrong? What will we do differently next time? 

 4. Ms. Ronni read Junie B. Jones: 1st Grader (at last) to students.  We are in love with Junie B. Jones. She gets into so much trouble, which leads to great character development conversations as well as comic relief.

We had to have a the sad conversation that no, there will not a Second Grade series of Junie B. We will miss you Barbara Park, Junie's antics touched our lives (and continue to do so).

5. Looking ahead. We will start our peanut butter project on Tuesday (teacher collab day Monday, no students). We ended the day on Friday looking ahead and brainstorming. Did I lead them a lot this time? Yes. Did they come up with great questions? Yes. They will continue to dig deeper and deeper as we explore what Project Based Learning is all about. How do we reseach? What is important information? Here we go.... I can't wait to see what this week brings.

How is the beginning of your year? What do you love? What do you wish was different? What routines are you establishing? What are your favorite read alouds? Comments are my favorite kind of love.


  1. Favorite read alouds - Just wrote about how I read Amos and Boris to my graduate students. They loved it. I love reading that book!
    I really loved your debrief after the marshmallow project! It's so important for kids to reflect - that always brings us to bigger understandings and is so important!
    Have a great week next week!
    BigTime Literacy

    1. Thanks Michelle! The debrief process is also important for me, it is a great assessment of understanding tool.