Friday, February 28, 2014

Penguins, Morocco, HEB and GEMS

Comparing height, weight, looking at characteristics, describing habitats and adaptations, is all part of the first grade penguin unit at our school. Last year during a Wordless Wednesday linky. I posted pictures of the great learning going on during this unit. 
This year, I shared with the teachers these fun Penguin cams! I have enjoyed watching these fun and playful little creatures. I've listed a few penguin cams below. These are great for writing observations about animal behaviors.

Click on the picture for a free penguin observation journal. Students can do a daily check-in to see see the behavior of the penguins. It might help to create a penguin vocabulary anchor chart with words that describe their behavior to help young students write their observations.

A third grade teacher at our school was in the Peace Corp. She is still active in the organizations, so she was able to organize a Skype session all the way to Morocco! Students began researching the land of Morocco and it's traditions. The 3 cute girls, on their own, created a poster to share with the Peace Corp. worker. Prior to the actual Skype session, I helped the class practice their Skyping skills! They did a great job. It was very interesting to learn about the Moroccan land, culture and traditions. 

Another great GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) after school session. Based on feedback from last year, the girls wanted more math related activities. This session was on symmetry in the natural world. We looked at symmetry in nature and architecture. Then, we created name symmetry monsters. Super creative girls!

Our district is a finalist for the HEB Excellence in Education Award. I was honored to be part of the district panel who were interviewed by the HEB judging committee. May is the big award ceremony where they announce the winner!  Fingers crossed!

Alamo Heights Independent School District, a finalist in the 2014 large school district category, is the heart of its community. The district strives to educate and empower every student to excel academically and as a confident, compassionate citizen.

This morning, one of my former teammates, Nancy, posted the graphic below on Facebook. It could not have come at a better time. This has been some week! 
This graphic is now sitting on my camera roll!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

OLE, Mystery Skype, & QR Codes

Update on our school outdoor learning environment!
This has been a vision of mine for 4 years!
It is literally, coming to life! The different areas are taking shape! It has exceeded all my expectations and I can't wait for the students to start using this space.  There are 4 major zones. Desert, mountain, tropical and grasslands. Each area has plants that are found in that particular region.

Yesterday, I introduced a kinder class to QR codes! Kindergarten Smorgasboard has a wonderful product in his TPT store that I purchased to use for modeling QR codes in kinder classrooms. This particular lesson had students scan the QR code, analyze the ten frame and write the number that was represented by the picture. The task cards had a dog theme so I brought in two of my daughter's stuffed doggies! As each group finished a task card, they moved the card to the other pile and had the puppy sit on it to "guard" the card! These kinders were very engaged in their task!

To highlight the Olympics, I created QR codes that had winter Olympics trivia. I posted them down our main hallway for all to enjoy! It's been fun watching different grade levels out there testing their Olympic trivia knowledge!

Today, was sooo fun! About a month ago, I helped one of our second grade teachers sign up for a Mystery Skype session . . .  a class in Florida. (If you aren't familiar with Mystery Skype . . . it's where 2 classes connect using Skype...the students don't know the location of either class and must ask yes/no questions to determine the location.)
Today was the big meet! Prior to the meeting, I Skyped in with the second graders and quizzed them on their geography skills. I was so impressed! Today, was amazing to watch these 2nd graders dig into the atlas to answer each geography question from the class in Florida.

Stephanie set up the Rules, Roles and Reflections prior to her class Skype meeting.
Her class had so much fun, they are ready to Skype with another class!
If you are interested in doing a mystery Skype with her class, leave me a comment with your name, grade and email! We will contact you and help get it set up!
If you are an upper grade (3-5) class and want to Mystery Skype, I have tons of teachers that would love to connect globally! :) Let's connect!
If you are a Spanish speaking class and would like to Skype, let me know! We are a Spanish Immersion/ Dual language school!

Last item . . . For Random Acts of Kindness Week, my daughter created these to hang around the school. She put 5 down each hallway, some in the teachers' lounge and a few down the main hallway. They were a huge hit. Most were gone by lunch time! (She also wanted me to share that the font used is one she created!)

Happy Thursday!