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Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Kids in Black" on Black Out Day

Today at CCES was black out day- a day where all the kids wore black for Kindergarten because they're learning their colors. It was also a day where we used no worksheets, technology, or electricity in our classrooms! Sounds like a challenge, doesn't it?

Since our classroom is "STUDIO 214", I wanted to put a little spin on our black-out day and make it into a movie theme. So instead of doing "Men in Black", we did "Kids in Black" and we were detectives trying to solve math, reading, and science mysteries. Check out our movie poster!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friction Experiment

Elijah helped us test three levels of friction using this friction board. We discussed what happened on our roadways when our tires are worn out and it rains and what happens when we have new tires and it rains. The block on the far right was the area with the least amount of friction. Elijah did a great job!

Missoula Play @ CCES

Students at CCES were given a treat on Thursday of this week when the workers of the Missoula Performance Company came and performed some skits for us. They discussed Aesop's Fables and picked students from the audience to come join them on stage. There were talking monkeys and trees! It was really funny and a great experience for all of us!


21st Century has purchased two classroom sets of iPods to use in our classrooms during and after school. We are using these tools to research, record video footage, and practice new concepts by downloading apps for our students. We are so excited about having these at CCES! This picture was taken in the class I'm teaching after school during 21st Century.

Student Work

We are very fortunate to have a document in our classroom that is connected to our projector. We use this resource every single day to model work and display student work. Recently, students were given a problem solving question that included multiple steps. Students volunteered to come share how they arrived at their answers. There were several students who shared with us that day! They were the teachers for that lesson!

Formative Assessment- White Boards

Throughout times throughout each week, we use dry-erase markers boards to practice new material in class. It is an easy way for me to quickly see how has mastered a given concept and who needs extra practice later on during the day.

The Water Cycle Bag

We have been studying the water cycle and have had this ziplock bag hanging in our window watching what happens as heat is added or taken away. Condensation is formed inside the bag and runs down the sides (precipitation) and then accumulates with the water in the bottom of the bag. We have also noticed a drop in the water in the bag, which means evaporation is taken place as well. It is awesome to watch the stages of the water cycle come to life!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Clickers- Assessment Tool

We used our clickers for the first time this week and for some students, it was their first time ever!The clicker system is a quick way for me to check student learning throughout our lessons. A question is posted on the smart board and students can choose their answer by using their "clicker" which is like a remote. I receive automatic feedback and reports and can use that information to see where each student is with their learning. I can create my own quizzes and even use it with Brain Pop! I LOVE clickers!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Math Centers

Hands-on learning is a fun, interactive way to review or discover new content in class. This week we used some math centers to review concepts on place value and using Base 10 blocks to represent numbers. Students used the playing cards by working with partners and taking turns drawing a card from their stack. They had to place their card in the place (up to millions) that would create the largest number possible. The other station was using the Base 10 blocks to model numbers in standard form and then writing it in word and expanded form as well, which is confusing for some students when all the forms are together.

Ongoing Service Learning Project

This is our third year with this service learning project- collecting coke tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. I am so excited about this project, because this year we decided to take it school wide! We are collecting these tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House organization, which provides families food and shelter while their child is receiving treatment at a nearby children's hospital, such as Kosair's Children's Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. My family experienced this when our son was born and I was so thankful to have a place to stay while he was getting treatment. Thank you for your help and support throughout the school year as we try to collect the most tabs thus far!

In just a few days, we have already collected two boxes full!

Venn Diagram- Physical and Chemical Changes

A great way to compare and contrast any topic is by using a Venn Diagram. This week, we were finishing our tasks on physical and chemical changes, thankfully we didn't set off any fire alarms, and we wrapped up the lesson by comparing the two types of changes. There was some great discussion happening in Studio 214!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

August Student of the Month

Our August Students of the Month were Lauren and Isaiah! Student of the month is earned by not having any strikes, completing all assigned tasks in class and any at home, working hard, and being a good role model to others by showing kindness. Congratulations and keep up the good work fourth graders!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Spelling City

Don't forget, you can access all our spelling words and complete fun, online games with our words each week at http://www.spellingcity.com/ Just enter in my name (Andrea Parson) and find the spelling list that matches this week's spelling list. (The title at the top of your spelling list paper copy is the same title listed at the spelling city website.) I hope you enjoy practicing your spelling words!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Studio 214- Our Three Words

Studio 214 (our class as we are calling ourselves) created a movie during the first few weeks of school, using Windows Movie Maker, called "Our Three Words". Students were given the opportunity to think about what they love about our class and school, take those ideas, and express them in only three words. It was amazing to see what some of them came up with! This idea was inspired from ABC's Good Morning America and a teacher's blog from Scholastic that I follow. It also reminds me of a recent KY Bluegrass Book, "No Talking" by Andrew Clements.

Through the filming of this project, you will notice two clips with different fish for our classroom pet. I am sad to say that the day after we filmed the first clip, we lost Daisy and her friend. Thanks to some helpful parents, we quickly received a new class pet, Regis the Beta fish! Some students volunteered to do more than one project- I think they love the camera...

I hope you enjoy their creativity- it was a lot of fun!

Mind Map

At the end of each day, we review and reflect on what we have learned. We draw images and just write the main topics on a large sheet of paper that is hanging on our classroom door and it is called a "Mind Map". I got this idea from a blog that I follow that I just absolutely love! (My husband says I'm obsessed with it... lol I tell him I'm not- I just check it a couple of times a day!) For visual students, it is a great visual representation of things we have learned and it's a quick way to jog their memories.

Here is this week's "Mind Map"- dont' laugh at my illustrations...

Georgia Pen Pals!

We have pen pals that we are corresponding with this year! They live all the way in Hephzibah, Georgia (outside of Augusta)! We wrote our first letters to them this week and attached a picture of ourselves with our letter. We cannot wait to get our first letter back from them!

Last year, our class did this project and it was so interesting to learn about students in another state. The teacher of their class, Mrs. Tomekia Darrisaw, I met last summer while attending the Mickelson Exxon Mobil Teacher's Academy in New York. That trip was amazing- I learned so many new things and met a lot of great educators from across the United States!

This year long project ties right in to our Core Standards in learning the parts of friendly letters. We'll keep you posted on our project throughout the school year!

Edible Atoms

This week in science, we have been learning about the states of matter and how particles move during each of those states. During that process we took a look at a few websites and discuss how atoms are formed. We created some "Edible Atoms" to make a model of how the atom core is formed and the different charges. We ate a few neutrons, protons, and electrons along the way!