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Friday, August 29, 2014

Class Pet

I decided a few months ago that our class needed a class pet. After some investigating, I decided on a tortoise. Tortoises are interesting creatures and relatively easy to care for. Additionally, and importantly, there is not an issue with allergies to pet fur. I was lucky to receive a grant from The Pet Care Trust for Pets in the Classroom to cover most of the cost.


As you might guess, on the first day of school, the most interesting thing in the classroom was the tortoise!


Recognizing this high level of interest, I decided it would be a great time to do some meaningful research. The kids had lots of ideas and questions and were eager to get started! We began with a RAN chart (Reading and Analyzing Non-fiction Text).


Scholars shared what they thought they knew about tortoises and also questions they had and I recorded. I created a Symbaloo webmix to help them search the web for information and answers to their questions. The webmix included pictures, written information and videos. The class was very engaged in learning about tortoises.


We also invited Dr. Capps, DVM to come to school to share her expertise and answer some of the tough questions. She was great! She confirmed some of what the kids already knew and answered lots of questions. 


Once all the important information was gathered, I asked scholars to write about what they learned in their STEM notebooks. I used a Tree Map to help them organize the important information and they were quick to get to work.


The tortoise is a boy and eats strawberries and other red stuff.
Finally, it was time to name the tortoise! After brainstorming a LOT of ideas, Tweeter (a Google Form) was used for voting and gathering the data about the name. 



And (I feel like we need a drumroll here), the Tortoise's name is...GIBBLES! Speedy and Ninja took a very close second and third place.

All in all, as first weeks of school go, this was a good one:) Lot's of fun, lots of learning and kids who can't wait to see what's in store for them next week.






Monday, August 25, 2014

The 1st Day of 1st Grade

Today was an exciting day! The kids were all eager to be back and they were excited to share summer stories. It was a busy day and here are two of the highlights.

We have a new class pet! We took it out of its terrarium to make some observations and consider some questions we might have in order to care for our new pet. The biggest questions were...Is it a boy or a girl? and What's the difference between a tortoise and a turtle - is this a tortoise or a turtle? We will be doing research throughout the week and we have a 'pet expert' scheduled to come in for a visit on Friday morning.



We also had a mini engineering challenge today. Our school wide theme this year is 'Superheroes - What's your superpower?'.
So, with that in mind, the challenge went something like this...
Superheroes can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Can you and your partner work together to build the tallest building using only 25 Keva blocks? A secondary challenge was issued where each partner was only allowed to use one hand!
This activity was followed by a class discussion on teamwork, overcoming challenges and perseverance.


Those are just two of today's highlights! Check back soon for more 1st grade investigations and discoveries!