Friday, February 17, 2017

WWII Studies and integrating the Japanese Language!

During the second part of the third quarter, I teach students about WWII and specifically about the Japanese internment camps during Readers Workshop. Today, to honor the Japanese culture, students worked on an activity to learn some Japanese words!

First they received a list of words and their meanings. I.e. Hai - Yes, hata - flag 

Next, they gathered the supplies needed to make the cards: cardstock paper, scrapbooking paper, scissors, glue, crayons, markers and colored pencils

Students cut the cardstock paper into smaller rectangles and then cut the scrapbook paper slightly bigger to fold over and glue to the back of the cardstock card in order to make them look like "playing cards". Within their groups, the kids divided up the work among each other. Some students were creating cards with written words and others were drawing pictures on the cards.

By the end of the activity, each group had a set of cards to play Memory by matching the picture with the correct Japanese word. 

I knew that 8th graders were planning to visit our classroom today (my first class I had when I arrived to this school!). I thought it would be a fun idea to have my 5th graders and 8th graders play the game together! They ended up playing a few rounds! When I walked around the room and asked for them to tell me the Japanese words they know, I was surprised at how many they had already learned! It turned out to be a really wonderful afternoon! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

5th Grade Takes Washington, DC!

We had another very successful 3 days, 2 nights trip to our nation's capital! I changed some things up from last year (my first year ever taking on this adventure!) and everyone had an amazing time!!

I replaced the Spy Museum with an activity and tour of the Newseum which teaches kids about the media. This museum was great because during the 4th quarter, students will be writing and reporting our G.H. Owl Newscast!

Reading from a teleprompter 

Even the teacher can have fun, right?!

Civil Rights Expo - they were locked up for protesting!

An old WORKING typewriter! This was great because we had just finished the book "Stella by Starlight" which takes place in the 1930's and the main character describes, in detail, what it was like to write on a typewriter. 

I added in a visit from a Secret Service Agent. He joined us at the Quaker house on Capitol Hill (which was where we were staying), and told us all about his job. He facilitated a great activity which involved counterfeit money. At the end, he surprised three kids with Challenge Coins and everyone got an SSA pin!

Afterwards, everyone went to sleep to rest up for the long and exciting day ahead. First stop: Arlington Cemetery! 

JFK Memorial 

Reflection Writing 

A little collage action - they loved that this soldier was protecting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 

Next stop, was the White House and then onto the Holocaust Museum

Last thing on the agenda for the day was a Night Bike Tour of the memorials. Even though it was FREEZING outside and everyone was pretty much reminding me of that every 5 minutes (haha!), when I later asked about their favorite activity, this was at the top! Such a neat experience and we were so lucky to have gotten a chance to do it! 

In front of the Washington Monument 

As soon as everyone got back to the house, we all were ready to crash! For our last day, we took part in a Service Learning project which involved making breakfast and serving it to the poor and homeless. Priority Task: Sit and talk with the people we were there to serve. This was my favorite part of the trip because I got a chance to see how moving it was for my students. The results of this project continues to show up in the classroom, whether students are responding to a quote in Morning Meeting or discussing something from a book or part of our history lessons, I can see threads of what they learned from serving those who are less fortunate in life. 

Afterwards, the students had a chance to talk to Rob, the man who started this breakfast. He told us that it all began because someone asked him for a cup of coffee. 

This picture says it all

Friday, December 16, 2016

4th Annual "State" Fair!

The fourth year already!? This year, like the ones past, went so well!! Because it has been a few years now, I can say there are some patterns/successes that will ultimately come with this project:

1. Students become Experts:  Since their work is meaningful to them, the students become knowledgeable about their state of study and are the experts of that state

2. Students find their work to be Relevant: Since students are immersed in the work in Reading, Writing, Math and even in Art, they make a connection with their state and the information becomes relevant to them

3. Students become Public Speakers: Because the students are experts in their state and put forth meaningful, independent effort in the part of their science experiment (completed at home with a syllabus), they are able to speak eloquently and specifically to the information they are presenting 

4. Student work is Original: Because one of their tasks was to create an experiment that relates to their state of study, their experiments are original 

5. Students feel Independently Successful: Because students are tasked with completing a science experiment at home, starting a month before the due date, they come in with their project feeling proud of themselves! They know they did this all on their own with support in keeping up with deadlines and work, but ultimately, it was all on their shoulders

Overall, it is a success each year! I am so very proud of every single one of my students!

Utah: Does salt affect the bouncy of an object? 

Arizona: Do certain liquids work better to clean a penny?

Maryland: Does the smell of Old Bay spice affect taste?

Maine: Do shrimp, squid or mullet catch more fish?

Nevada: Does the amount of water affect how a cactus will grow?

New York: Does the structure of a bridge affect the amount of weight it can hold?

Vermont: Which rocks are the easiest to break?

New Mexico: Does the climate and soil affect the growth of tulips?

Hawaii: Which is harder, a rock or a coconut?

Idaho: Which is the best conductor of electricity; potato, apple or orange?

South Carolina: Does the flow of water affect power?

Washington: Does different kind of water affect how onions will grow?

Florida: Does saran wrap preserve an unpeeled orange?

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