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Friday, March 29, 2013

And the name for the new fish is....

Scholars are learning about the needs of living things in Science class. Mrs. Inigo set up a fish tank with a small beta fish so scholars could make observations about how the fish meets its needs. Needless to say, the kids were very excited to have a 'class pet'. They couldn't wait to name the fish! I decided to take advantage of their high level of engagement to design a lesson around taking a survey, graphing results and interpreting data. After narrowing down the names to the 5 most popular, we took a survey to determine the top choice. Scholars then created graphs to illustrate the information and we spent some time interpreting the data. The concept of how many more and how many fewer is tricky for first graders so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to revisit this concept using a real world problem!
We used the app Doodle Buddy to create the graphs. Check them out and find out the name of the fish!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Napping House Problem

During Math Workshop, I read The Napping House, by Audrey Wood. I asked the kids to figure out how many characters were in the bed? They were quick to list and count the characters looking for more of a challenge. I then asked how many feet were in the bed. Scholars thought that would be easy so I added a spider to the problem. This made them think. After a quick lesson on the difference between an insect and an arachnid, scholars were off to work their brains.
As I planned this problem, I was confident that scholars would be able to handle the counting involved. What I really wanted to see was how they would organize the information. Here is a sampling of their work.

At first, Thomas was attempting to count the number of feet in his head. When this proved unsuccessful, he decided to use a chart where he listed each character and then used tally marks to total the number of feet.

This chart labels each character and marks for each foot. The numbers along the right side demonstrate a growing understanding of how charts and graphs work.

Gracie's graph lists each character along the left and numbers along the bottom. This graph makes the information easy to see and analyze.

Jacky grouped the characters and their feet into manageable bits so she could add the number of feet.

When presented with the problem, Kate reported that the answer would have to be 'in the 20's'. This comment demonstrates a strong sense of number. It also shows that Kate is thinking about 'reasonableness', a math skill that will serve her well!
Kate first solved the problem without the spider using pictures. Then she attempted a graph to  show the information including the spider. This work shows a growing understanding of the components of a graph.

Janette created a very well organized chart where she listed the characters and used tally marks to count the number of feet. The idea of a spider having 8 legs was new for her as evidenced by her illustration of an 8 legged spider.

Monday, March 18, 2013

How does your garden grow?

Cannon Elementary received grants from the GCISD Education Foundation and Action for Healthy Kids which funded our new outdoor gardens!!! Thank you Education Foundation AND The Action for Healthy Kids organization!

Our class planted radishes today! I was worried that the kids wouldn't know what a radish was and had maybe never tasted one before, so to build background knowledge, we played a game of 20 questions. I placed a radish in 'the mystery bag' and scholars asked questions to determine the attributes of the mystery object. As they asked questions and phrased the new information in the form of an attribute, it was recorded on Padlet. After 20 questions, Austin was able to tell the class that it was a radish!
Use a QR code reader to check out our work on Padlet.

Scholars then tasted radishes - at least the brave ones did. We then went out to the garden to work the soil, plant the seeds and water.

 Now we wait....

Monday, March 11, 2013

Telling Time Podcasts

In first grade, scholars are introduced to clocks and the skill of telling time to the hour and half hour. They were very excited about this new measurement concept and emailed me photos of all sorts of different clocks they found outside school.

At the end of the unit, scholars created podcasts  to demonstrate their learning.

Engineering Challenge: Playground Equipment

For the past few weeks, scholars have been involved in the engineering design process. They have been imagining, planning, building and testing a piece of playground equipment built from recycled materials. Their design had to be freestanding, show movement, be transportable, had to withstand the wind test (blow-dryer), have no loose parts and had to match their plan.
The first step was imagining the possibilities. We visited our own playground and looked at lots of pictures of other playgrounds. This led to an investigation of simple machines. The kids noticed that many pieces of playground equipment are comprised of simple machines. We watched a video created by a playground simple machines expert. Watch it here:
Scholars investigated the construction and uses of simple machines using classroom engineering tools like K-Nex, Legos, Straws and Connectors and Erector Sets.

The next step was planning. Scholars chose their piece of equipment and met with their team to investigate the materials and make a plan.

 Then building... Scholars worked and reworked their designs using a rubric to guide their work.
 Then testing... each group tested their design to see if it would be freestanding, show movement, be transportable, withstand the wind test (blow-dryer) and have no loose parts. This stage of the design process is a foavorite for this class. They love sharing their work and getting feedback from their peers including suggestions for improvement.

The next step is improving the design. Armed with critical data from the testing process and suggestions for improvement, these scholars are ready to dive back in.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Celebrating World Read Aloud Day

Our class decided to 'read it forward' in celebration of World Read Aloud Day today. Each scholar chose a favorite book that had been read aloud to him/her either in kindergarten or in first grade. They reread the books, read them with partners and wrote a summary of the story. These kids love to read!!

To learn more about World Read Aloud Day visit:  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Reading Workshop: Making Text to Text Connections

During Reading Workshop this week, scholars have been learning about making text to text connections. This skill involves comparing two books to determine if they have a similar idea or theme. Scholars were asked to choose books that had a similar big idea. They had to determine the big idea and give evidence from each book. They they uploaded pictures of the books and recorded their thinking in an app called Pic Collage. Check out some of their work below.