Thursday, October 27, 2011

Family Movie Night

Have you heard about Family Movie Night? It's tonight, on the field and the movie begins at 6:30pm. Gates open at 5:30pm. The movie being shown is Mr. Poppers Penguins (rated PG).
My class worked closely with Mrs. Arn's 4th grade class to fully produce two commercials for the PTO. Roles included scriptwriting, acting, directing, editing and finalizing the production. The students did a terrific job!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Prime Pumpkin Prediction - Part 2

After estimating and measuring circumference, weight and vertical lines of our pumpkins, along with pondering a few writing prompts and answering some critical thinking questions about pumpkins, the REAL fun began!
Students predicted the amount of seeds in their pumpkin and then predicted whether the size of the pumpkin determined seed totals.
Then we dug in! Students worked in partners or small groups determining the best way to count the seeds. Some chose to group the seeds into fives or tens, others counted by ones as they went along. Still others waited until every seed was scooped and then determined a method.
You might be surprised to hear how many seeds the average pumpkin contains. And regarding small pumpkins having fewer seeds than large pumpkins - what do you think? Ask your 2nd grader!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Math

Thanks So Much To Everyone Who Sent In A Pumpkin!
Today we began participating in some pumpkin math activities. There are so many math possibilities when it comes to pumpkins!
Using yarn, students measured the circumference of their pumpkin. Then they measured the yarn using a ruler. 
Each student estimated the circumference first, and then figured out the difference between their estimate and the actual circumference.
Each student also estimated the weight of their pumpkin, then weighed themself and then got on the scale holding the pumpkin to figure out its actual weight. A few of the pumpkins were so heavy it was challenging to hold for more than a few moments!
Our activities today also consisted of predicting and counting the vertical lines on a pumpkin and some creative writing. Some of the math vocabulary covered today during this lesson includes: circumference, distance, difference, estimate, vertical, subtraction and decimal. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Khan Academy

Although it has been around for several years, I really only learned about the Khan Academy this past summer. I've taken several courses to learn how to use it effectively and started implementing it in the classroom this week.
Students are able to login using their pvLearners account (because it is a Google Apps for Education Account) and have added me as a coach. The Khan Academy is an amazing resource that is going to make differentiation in (and out of) the classroom easier, and allow students more freedom to work at their own pace. After a few days of using it, I am VERY excited!
There is lots of information available regarding the Khan Academy, and I do not feel like I can possibly cram it all into one blog post. Ask your kids about it, try it out for yourself and take a peek at them using it in the classroom.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The Founder of WoodQuest - Mrs. Woodard!
Yesterday in class Mrs. Woodard stopped by and explained WoodQuest to my class. She is integrating this inquiry based learning project into Social Studies but as it is cross-curricular, students will be working on it in my classroom at times, too. Some information was sent home yesterday but here is a little more.
The Goal of WoodQuest is to earn "Woodbucks" through a variety of activities. Students will be grouped in "communities" (Jeffersonville, Washingtown, Franklinburg and Jackson City) and are expected to work with their team as well as individually. There are lots of individual activities available on the Choice Board and students are encouraged to choose activities to fit their individual interest and learning styles. The choices include projects like creating timelines, slideshows, posters and reports. Most, if not all of WoodQuest will take place in the classroom but students are certainly not discouraged from working on projects at home for extra "Woodbucks".

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

School Book Fair

My class is scheduled to visit the school book fair tomorrow during the school day. We had an opportunity to browse yesterday. The book fair will be running until October 27 and families are parents are welcome to stop by. More information can be found here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Innovative Ideas with Legos

I challenged my class to come up with an innovative creation made out of Legos, which we could use in the classroom. First they brainstormed and made a list of possibilities on an iPad app. Then out of those ideas we decided which ones were realistic based on time, space and available Legos. The next step was for students to write about what their idea was, write what would be useful about their creation and to draw a color picture of it. The final step of course, was to actually build their creation and try it out.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October Scholastic Book Orders

Online Ordering Information
Web address:
Class Activation Code: GK9BF

Hi Everyone,

October Scholastic book orders were sent home today. Here is a reminder for the online ordering instructions:
Go to and log in using your user name and password.

If it’s your first time ordering online, use the Class Activation Code shown above to get started
  • SIGN UP at On the parent page, click the “Register” button in the “First Time Here?” section. Register for your own user name and password. When prompted, enter the one-time Class Activation Code shown above. This code ensures that your order is sent to me.
  • SELECT the books you’d like to order—choose from thousands of titles—many more than in our monthly flyers.
  • SEND your order to me online by the due date and your child’s books will be delivered directly to my classroom.
If you are interested in ordering, please submit your order by Friday, October 14. Please let me know if you have any questions! 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Google SketchUp

Before the Google Geo Teacher Institute I knew very little about Google SketchUp. I downloaded it at some point a while back but didn't quite grasp it so I put it on a back burner. After an intensive breakout session earlier this week, I feel like I have a MUCH better understanding of SketchUp and am eager to use it in the classroom. It incorporates math, geospatial reasoning, geography, chromatography and many other educational concepts. 

My session was taught by Allyson McDuffie, the manager of the SketchUp for Education Program at Google. She kept things moving very fast and inundated us with tons of relevant information.

Here is just a little bit of what I learned:
This is "Susan."
Susan Willard is a Google Engineer who worked on the original Google Sketchup. Each time a new version of SketchUp comes out a new model is included to give designers a relative sense of scale. She’s the first female to be the default SketchUp model! Version 8 is out now. 
The "push/pull tool" is designed to expand or decrease the volume of geometry in models.
SketchUp is primary a “click and release” program, generally it does NOT require clicks and drags. The push/pull tool is what SketchUp is known for and it is a patented tool.
My doghouse - complete with a roller coaster and of course, a mini schnauzer.
We spent time in class building a doghouse, which was mainly for practice using the tools, and then we learned how to model a real building that actually exists. It was challenging to learn a program as complex as Google SketchUp in a single day but I walked away realizing that like Scratch, SketchUp has a low bar but a very high ceiling. It is easy to begin using and there are many basic functions, but users can take SketchUp to many levels and go very deep.