Thursday, March 19, 2015

Persuasive Writing in 3rd Grade

Students in Mrs. Goldstein’s class were challenged with a (fictitious) situation to stimulate a conversation, and writing piece, to voice their opinion.  “Which Specialist class should NOT be cut from the curriculum?”  Boy, did these children have the answers!  We all have opinions, but usually they don’t have any real research or evidence behind them.  But not in Mrs. Goldstein’s class.  They worked hard on their research to find factual information to back up their opinion.

A lot of preparation went in to this writing process.  The teacher used several mentor texts to teach the writing traits – voice, focus, organization, writing with details, idioms, and conjunctions.

Students decided on the Specialist that they were going to “save” and formed groups for each one.  They brainstormed together to create a persuasive chart.

Persuasive Charts for each Specialist: Library, Art, Music, Gym, and Computers.

Research began to find factual details for their opinion.  Mrs. Goldstein and Miss Fawson found some great websites that included facts that would support keeping our Specialists in the curriculum.  Students investigated the websites and found great facts to support their opinion.

Students gathered three facts off of the websites to support their opinion. The teachers also had hard copies of each website just in case students wanted to use them. 

They recorded their work on a graphic organizer and then wrote a letter to the principal to support their Specialist.

 I used the app “Green Screen” by Do Ink to create a video for the traits of writing –  Factual Information, Explicit Topic Sentence, and Voice.  Check out the video below.

Check out our Twitter tweet for “Voice”.  We were re-tweeted by Green Screen by Do Ink for using their app.  We were also chosen as a ‘favorite’ for a couple of people. 


Massachusetts and Common Core Standards for ELA
W.3.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.  Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
W.3.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.3.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

Animal Adaptations

Essential Question:  How do physical and behavioral traits help animals survive?

The students in Mrs. Kennedy's 2nd grade class had a blast with their animal adaptations unit! The students loved being able to look at pictures, watch videos, and learn facts about real animals that they are interested in. They integrated technology into this lesson to make the lessons come to life.

Using the website, "National Geographic for Kids," students found information on their chosen animal.  Click below to access the website.

To make accessing the website easier, students learned how to scan a QR Code that links to the website.  Students uses the app, "QRafter" to scan the QR Codes.  To practice scanning the codes, we used an activity created by "QR Queens" on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Each QR Code linked to a video or song about the adaptations that penguins have.  

Click here for the activity.  

Penguin Fun with QR Codes

Students used their iPad to scan the QR Code for their animal research.  This code connected to the “National Geographic for Kids” website.  

Research for this Animal Adaptations project was done on the iPad. Students found their animal and used a brainstorming sheet to record information for the following – Description, Habitat, Diet, and Adaptations.     

Recorded information

Digital Learning Day, March 13, 2015

Our project was recorded with the program "Digital Learning Day" on March 13.  Here is a tweet that we posted on Twitter to announce our project.

Massachusetts Standards for Science

 2.6. Adaptations of Living Things:  Give examples of how inherited characteristics may change over time as adaptations to changes in the environment that enable organisms to survive, e.g., shape of beak or feet, placement of eyes on head, length of neck, shape of teeth, color.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Using Edmodo's Snapshot to practice Common Core Math

Essential Question:  How can I use technology as a tool to show what I've learned?

The students in 6th grade math had a chance to practice some Common Core Math questions using the “Snapshot” feature in Edmodo.  Snapshot allows teachers to quickly create quizzes aligned to Common Core Standards and gauge where students are.

In these lessons, students worked on the standards for "Expressions and Equations".  The teacher made the Snapshot on her Edmodo account and assigned it to her students.  

To introduce the assignment, the teacher projected the questions on her board.  The students answered the questions, showing their work, on white boards. Then, students took turns in front of the class to share their answers and explain their mathematical reasoning.  

Students can access the Snapshot from their teacher on their Edmodo account.  They can work on the questions any time they are on the computer.  Once they finish, their teacher will receive their score and be able to assist them with the content that they need help with.

To learn more about Snapshot from Edmodo, click on the picture below:

Massachusetts and Common Core Standards for Math
6.EE.A.1Write and evaluate numerical expressions involving whole-number exponents.

6.EE.A.2.1 Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.  Write expressions that record operations with numbers and with letters standing for numbers. For example, express the calculation “Subtract y from 5” as 5 – y.

6.EE.A.3  Apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic to algebraic expressions.