Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Newsletter -January 2015

It is hard for me to believe that this school year is already half way over and we have been very busy with several activities.
In December we participated with 91,755,200 others from around the world in the Hour of Code. This is a program put on by Code.org and serves as an introduction to computer programing. The students loved these activities and will be continued with other coding activities throughout the rest of the year.

We also worked really hard to complete and share our biography reports on our inventors. These projects are now hanging on the wall outside our classroom. To help students get a better grasp of when each inventor lived, what else was happening in the world and a bit of their inventors impact on society we have created a timeline, which is hanging just above these projects. Please feel free to stop by and check them out. Another activity we participated in while projects were being presented was a thinking routine entitled,”Step Inside”. This routine consists of the following four questions to guide student to think deeper about what was presented. These questions were written about and discussed.

What did this person see, notice or observe?
What did this person understand, know or believe?
What did this person care deeply about?
What did this person wonder about?

A fourth grader after participating in “Step Inside” for the first time said,”Before I was looking at what he did, but now I am really seeing who he truly is."

During the third quarter our fourth and fifth graders will begin using the Challenge Based Learning (C.B.L.) Framework to guide our invention process. I for one am looking so forward to seeing what problems they will choose to solve with their inventions. The primary students will be participating in a CBL challenge entitled “Germs Make Us Sick”. They be exploring the topic through research and science experiments. From there students will work together to build a campaign to prevent the spread of these germs. 

Also, starting in February the fifth grade students will be working with students in Iowa on Virtual Literacy Circles. We will be reading and exploring literature together using video conferencing and other online tools. This is a project that Gina Hill, an educator from Iowa and I created and participated in during the spring of  2011 with much success. Personally, I can not wait to get started.

 As a reminder, I have an open door policy and if you have any questions and/or concerns please contact through email snyderf@manateeschools.net.