"A Swisstastic Journey of Me and My Students"

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Books to start the 2017-18 school year!

Books to Begin the School Year

Teachers, including me, spend the summer reading books that will begin great discussions between my students and me about beginning of the year topics. 
Disclaimer:  although I have read all these books I borrowed many of the comments below from an amazing blog I follow of Jennifer Reed.  She is also a librarian and does a great job summarizing these books.  "Why reinvent the wheel"...thanks Ms. Reed.  

Hopes and Dreams
These books are not only fabulous read alouds, they also provided an opportunity to think about and talk about what students looked forward to learning and doing in the school year.
6th grade...A Voyage in the Clouds

3rd grade....Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

Kindergarten...Little Tree

4-5th graders...Beekle

1-2nd graders...This is Sadie

Rules and Routines  
These books led to thinking about the rules that would guide our interactions with each other and routines that would help ensure a safe and productive learning space for all.
They All Saw a Cat

If You Plant a Seed

My Teacher is a Monster



Monday, January 23, 2017

Sixth Mazes coming along!

Image result for hexbug  Image result for sphero

So as part of the Hour of Code our 6th graders created mazes.  The challenge here is to:

1.)  Work in a group to design a maze in Google Drawing
2.)  Build that maze out of cardboard and craft sticks
3.)  Time a hexbug through your maze
4.)  Time a sphero that you are driving through your maze
5.)  Code the sphero to make it through your maze

6.)  Throughout the project we will record times of the hexbugs and spheros so our maze buddies at our partner school, Wilson, can compare their results.  

This project takes a long time when I only see the kids once a week so it will be interesting to reflect on it and see if the amount of time was worthwhile compared to the benefits of the project.  So far kids have been very engaged and excited about their work.

Here is a video of the kids performing trial runs on their mazes.  Listen to the problem solving discussion they are having while they are building.  This is they type of discussion teachers love to hear.  They are learning and having fun at the same time.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 in Summit Media Center

So a NEW YEAR is here and we are starting our MAKERSPACES.  I love watching the students use their creative juices and discuss what their possibilities are with the makerspaces.  This year I am approaching this with a more planned strategy.  I have presented the 5th graders with six possibilities they are:
Image result for makey makey

Image result for littlebits
Finch Robots
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Green Screen
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3D Pen
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Students spend one class watching videos of their choice on the various topics presented and then at the end of the class I have them sign up for whichever topic they would like to investigate further.  I strongly encourage them to not sign up for their first choice until they have explored at least two topics.  This has forced them to really think about their choice more than just diving in without any exploration.  In fact no one is allowed to sign up for any topic until the end of class when I give them the clue.  So far this approach seems to be working better than last year!