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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cannon Elementary: There's an App for That!

Cannon Elementary has its very own app! Our class downloaded the app on Friday so you will find it on your child’s iPad. This app puts amazing resources literally at your fingertips.

Within the app, there are resources for parents and scholars ranging from a current calendar of events, to contact and connecting information, to the lunch menu!

Check out the pics below for a sampling of some of the things you will find within the app.

 The Cannon app will be updated regularly so be sure to hit the refresh button (arrow, upper left) for the most up to date information.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Building Bridges in Kindergarten

Our latest engineering challenge involved building bridges. Scholars were very engaged and learned a lot about the parts of a bridge, their function and structural engineering.

We began this challenge with a literature connection. We read, The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires, the story of a gingerbread cowboy who outruns many but finds himself in trouble when he needs to cross a river and a coyote steps in to help out.

The bridge challenge was introduced using the app ChatterKid.

Based on the challenge, scholars worked on their 'Knows' and 'Need to Knows'. This list helps guide lessons as we move forward.

To help answer the questions about parts of a bridge and what makes a bridge strong, I designed an interactive Nearpod presentation. We also read books and watched a short video about bridges.

The next step was to investigate the bridge strength. We used classroom storage units as abutments and piers and paper towel as the deck of the bridge. Flat glass marbles served as weights. 
At the end of this experience, it was pretty clear that the pier plays a pretty important role in supporting the beam bridge.

Scholars couldn't wait to get started planning their own bridges. For materials, they would be using counting cubes, fettuccine and masking tape. 

Engineering partners worked together to build a bridge based on their plan.

Bridges were tested using weight placed on the bridges in increments of 10... a nice authentic reason to count by 10's:)

Most of the bridges held some weight but 2 of the bridges held 100+ weights (flat marbles).  Scholars made observations about what could have made these bridges so strong.

Once again, scholars couldn't wait to get started...they wanted to use the data we gathered to improve their bridges.

During the second bridge testing, nearly all of the bridges had additional piers and the piers were more substantial. Several engineering teams used cubes to add support to the deck of their bridge. There was much applause as bridges withstood additional weight being added.

And, one final note, as scholars left this afternoon for Spring Break, I overheard one ask another about what she was going to do over Spring Break...the reply?..."Build bridges!!"

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Math Workshop: Solid Shapes

The kindergarten math curriculum requires that scholars be able to identify, label, compare and give attributes of solid shapes. So, after spending time exploring, investigating, noticing solid shapes in the real world and practicing some pretty tricky vocabulary, scholars were asked to share their learning.

To share the learning, scholars used a digital workflow model that included three steps:

  • Gathering Information: iPad Camera App - Real objects were sorted, labeled and attributes were discussed.
  • Processing Information: Haiku Deck App - Photos were uploaded to Haiku Deck and scholars practiced saying what they knew about the shapes with partners.
  • Sharing Information: 30 Hands App - Screenshots were taken from the Haiku Deck slides and uploaded into 30 Hands. Scholars recorded to share their knowledge.
Here is a sampling of work products.

Full Disclosure: Not all scholars were successful in all parts of the digital workflow. For some, this was their first experience using some of the apps and in layering apps. However, everyone became more proficient in digital skills and what was learned in this project will be used again as scholars have other opportunities to show what they know in in all curriculum areas. 
Additionally, everyone went away with the knowledge that learning and sharing knowledge is an expectation in our classroom.  Holding the expectation that scholars will share their learning lets them know that the expectation is that they WILL learn. Creating products that integrate skills, both math and technology, raises the level of rigor.  Setting high expectations and expecting scholars to rise to increased levels of rigor allows for products like these from 5 year olds.