Monday, March 28, 2016

Google Hangout from Fuller Meadow to Howe Manning

Mrs. Kennedy's class at Fuller Meadow School got to "Hangout" today with Mrs. Hobey's class at Howe Manning with the help of Google Hangouts.

Students in both classes had fun today trying to guess a three-digit number.  By asking Yes or No questions of each other, students could hone in on the "Mystery" number that each class chose.

The first and essential part of any video connections is to be respectful and use good manners when addressing each other.  Students introduced themselves by their first name, asked their question, then when it was time to answer, they were attentive and respectful.

Here's a peek at our lesson today...

Massachusetts and Common Core Standards for Math

2.NBT.A.1 Understand that the three digits of a three-digit number represent amounts of hundreds, tens, and ones; e.g., 706 equals 7 hundreds, 0 tens, and 6 ones. 

SL.2.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Power of the Penny

Second graders have found a secret power that they have inside of them with a little help from Abraham Lincoln (and Elaina Redmond).  My cousin Elaina Redmond is the author of The Power of the Penny.  This is an incredible book and I just had to share it with our students.

Click the picture to learn more about the book.

Here is some information about the book -

"The first half of the book shares character building, Abraham Lincoln, the vision of the Founding Fathers, liberty, faith, making a difference, and hope by examining a penny. The second half shares the Penny Practice, includes 8 themes and activity boxes. Themes teach making choices, self reliance, financial literacy, civics, philanthropy, kindness, and honesty.
Spiderman/Superman artist Scott Stewart's vibrant illustrations shine with electricity and beauty.
"The Power of The Penny" is a book to grow up with and read year and year again.
Written for ages 5-12 and readers of all ages who love Abraham Lincoln and the United States of America.
                                                                                                                                                                                            - "The Power of the Penny" will ignite a new generation of heroes modeled after Abraham Lincoln. After reading this book, you will never see the penny the same way again!" 

I joined each 2nd grade class and read The Power of the Penny to them.  I gave each student a  penny and had them investigate some of it's features - the words "Liberty" and "E Pluribus Unum" as well as Abraham Lincoln, the Founding Fathers, honesty and being a hero.  

Throughout the book, we learned how the penny doesn't only represent money, but is a symbol for freedom, equality, and strength.  There are several "Penny Practices" that students can participate in. The students were so excited to discuss how they can be a "hero" and what choices they can make today that will build them into their best self.  We created a Padlet (online bulletin board) to share our Penny Practices, ideas, and questions for the author.  Feel free to add to it below.  Just double click on the board to type.

On Thursday we all gathered in the cafeteria and met the author.  Well, she was in Los Angeles, California, but through the technological power of Skype, we spent some time with Elaina.  She was amazing!  She told us about her book, what it was about, why she wrote the book, etc.  She inspired us because she said that when she was 8 years old she had the opportunity to cheat.  Then, she read about Abraham Lincoln and was inspired by him because she learned that his nickname was "Honest Abe" and the reasons he was called that.  Elaina realized that it feels better to be honest than to cheat.  Students had a chance to ask her questions as well.   She gave us a new task to write to the president about a cause that means something to us.  She wants us to feel inspired to use our civic right to have our voices heard.  

We tied this lesson into our "Coin Wars" challenge at our school.  Our PTO works so hard to bring in amazing enrichment opportunities for our students.  This month they are asking students to bring in coins to donate so they can bring in a special program.  The kids are excited to make a difference in our classes and our school.

Click HERE to learn more about our PTO and how you can help.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Connecting with an expert using Skype

First graders in Mrs. Scharffenberg's class have been learning about birds in their "Backyard Science" unit.  They set up some bird feeders outside of their classroom windows and observe the visiting birds everyday.  Students have also learned about characteristics and behaviors of birds.  They make bird treat with different types of seeds and proteins to see learn about eating habits and adaptations of the birds.  Habitats and nesting have also been discussed as the students investigate different nests in their classroom.

Exploring nests 

To make this "Backyard Science" unit more authentic, Mrs. Scharffenberg scheduled a Skype session with an expert on birds.  Lisa Hutchingson from Mass Audubon joined this class to answer questions that the students had about birds.  The students took turns asking Ms. Hutchingson questions such as: What is "Anting"?, How many birds are in the world? What are her favorite birds? Why do we not see as many birds at our feeder as we used to?  We even stumped her with a question about how many Jays there are in North America.

Check out the video from our Skype session:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Celebrating "Read Across America Day" in 2nd Grade

In every classroom at Fuller Meadow School, students celebrated "Read Across America Day".  In 2nd grade classes teamed together to watch live streaming video on Discovery Education.  Students discussed what inspires you to write, what the elements of a story are, and how you can become a better reader.

Here is the description:

"#CelebrateWithDE and join FableVision and Discovery Education for a live read aloud of the book Going Places from award-winning authors and illustrators Peter H. and Paul A. Reynolds. Live streaming from the FableVision Studios we will go behind-the-scenes as they reveal their newest projects, share their creative process, and answer student questions."

Essential Questions asked during the broadcast and answered by the students after were:

Where do writers and artists get their ideas?
What inspires people to write and make art?
How does collaboration expand the creative process?
How is creativity part of everyday life?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Skyping in 2nd Grade

Fuller Meadow 2nd Graders have been meeting some new friends.

Skype is a way of connecting with other classes through a video feed on line.  Two classrooms arrange to call each other on Skype with the goal of guessing the location of the other classroom by asking strategic questions.  It's a great way to learn geography, languages, history, science...even mathematics.  Mystery Skype is a way of connecting with other classes by making it a game.

In Mrs. Kennedy's class, students visited Hoover, Alabama for a "Mystery Number" Skype with a three-digit number.  Each class alternates in questioning the other class and asks Yes or No questions.  For a Mystery Number Skype, students ask each other questions to determine the numeral for each place value.  They start with the hundred's place, then the ten's place, and finally the one's place.  Questions included mathematical vocabulary such as greater than and less than, odd and even, more or less.

Mrs. Kennedy's 2nd grade class participating in a "Mystery Number" Skype

In Mrs. Mulligan's class, students "traveled" to Indiana for a Mystery Skype.  Students were organized into different groups.  The "Greeters" introduced their class and teacher to the other class.  The "Questioners" stood up and asked the other class Yes or No questions that included questions like "Are you west of the Mississippi River?"  After the question is asked, all students use their US map to cross off the states that are eliminated by the question that was answered.  If the students have additional questions, the "Researchers" have resources such as iPads and a larger map to do more investigation. They share their findings with the class.  The Researchers also share facts about their own state to the other class after the activity is done.  After this is complete, the "Closers" say a final goodbye and both classes wave cheerfully.  All of the students were very organized and enthusiastic.

Check out the video below to witness their journey.

Mystery Skype Mrs. Mulligan's Class from Dierdre Baker on Vimeo.