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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Telling Time...and a Little App Smashing

First grade standards require that scholars tell time to the hour and the half hour. After handing out some small clock manipulatives and asking some questions, this pre-assessment quickly showed some of my students could tell time to the hour but some were reading 4 O'clock as 12:20 or 12:4 or 4:12. There were a variety of misconceptions related to telling time to the half hour. Many scholars were unsure which number was the hour when the hour hand stood between the two numbers...not sure which hand was which or which number was actually the hour. 
So, step some clocks and learn the components and functions of an analog clock. Using hula-hoops, cubes and Post-it notes made this activity super engaging. 

We used the hula-hoop clock and the clock manipulatives to support learning as we practiced telling time and recording time. We played I Have Who Has a lot. The kids love the game and they became pretty fluent at reading an analog clock. I got my game for from TPT for $2.00. 

I integrated several good literature pieces. (I try to read aloud as much as possible in all content areas.) Scholars used their clock manipulative to show the times outlined in the stories.
Thitles included: 
  • The Very Grouchy Lady bug
  • Telling Time With Big Momma Cat
  • Bats Around the Clock
  • It's All About time
  • The Clock Struck One
  • Telling Time With Puppies and Kittens
There are also several free telling time apps that help give immediate, corrective feedback.

As a final task, scholars created a project using some app smashing. They were instructed to choose four times in their day when they had scheduled events (ex: 7:00-get up, 5:30-eat dinner and so on). They needed to choose 2 'o'clocks' and '2 __:30's'. They chose a clock app, set the clocks and took screen shots. Then, they uploaded those four photos to the PicCollage app and saved. After that, they used that photo in the Write About app where they wrote sentences about what they did at those times of day and read the writing using the recording feature.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Measurement in 1st Grade

The math measurement standard for first graders requires students to:

'use units to describe length and illustrate that the length of an object is the number of same-size units of length that, when laid end to end with no gaps or overlaps, reach from one end of the object to the other'.

As I began to design lessons to support this standard, I tried to design work that would be integrated with other curriculum areas: Science and Engineering.

The first lesson involved building ramps and tracks then measuring how far a toy car traveled on a smooth surface (hallway tile) compared to a rough surface (classroom carpet). Scholars estimated, measured and subtracted to find the difference. They also collected data on length traveled using different ramp heights. I observed that, for the most part, scholars were able to successfully measure with like units, from end to end, with no gaps. We also had a great conversation about forces, friction and momentum.

So, I decided to issue a contraption building challenge with some measurement constraints. My class LOVES building challenges! I used Keva Blocks, wooden building blocks, Tinker Toys, K-Nex, Joinks, and these sphere and rod building materials I found in our campus STEM lab.

Here are some of the contraptions scholars built:

Here are some of the Popplets created to record learning:

Designing engaging work for scholars is challenging and definitely requires more of a time commitment but the payoff is total student engagement in a concept that might otherwise be a bit dull.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Solving a Real Problem through the Engineering Design Process: An Integrated STEM Unit

Scholars really enjoyed creating bird feeders for our school garden this week. I think they did a fabulous job!

One of my favorite examples: The Tiki Hut Bird Feeder #creativity

Building bird feeders was a student generated project. I few weeks ago, scholars created 'binoculars' to use for bird watching in our garden. 

We were learning about the attributes of spring in Science we thought we'd make some observations. We went to the garden for some birdwatching. We counted a total of 5 birds and I'm pretty sure we counted one of them twice! #nobirds!

As the kids began to talk about 'why' there were no birds, the conversation turned to 'how can we attract more birds'. They asked if we could make some bird feeders, "kinda like the special projects that all the First Ladies have"...we'd just finished a Social Studies unit on who in our past exemplifies good citizenship with a focus on the contributions of First Ladies over the years.

And so began the process of creating bird feeders.

Identifying the Problem:
The challenge:

The Knows and Need to Knows:

In order to begin answering these questions, I created a Nearpod presentation to help scholars IMAGINE the possibilities.
Below are a few screenshots from the presentation.

Additionally, I created a Symbaloo to be used on classroom laptops to help scholars research birds and how to attract them to a garden.

Armed with new knowledge and plenty of ideas, scholars moved into the planning stage.

Design & Improve:
I shared a checklist to help guide these young engineers through the work of designing and improving. 
Scholars gathered their own materials and began the work of building bird feeders. I have no pictures of this process as I was quite busy at the "hot and sharp" table...My job was to provide 2 services: hot gluing and X-ACTO knife cutting. #fulldisclosure
Here are the final products!

Weather permitting, these beautiful creations will be hung in out school garden on Monday, when birds will surely come from near and far to feed!