Saturday, September 29, 2012

You Never Know Where Learning Will Lead

Don't be surprised if your child asks for a pogo stick!

This week following a lesson on asking questions the students began practicing finding the MAIN IDEA and supporting details.  The worksheet being used had information about a gentleman who climbed up and down Mt. Fuji on his pogo stick.  Imagine the stamina and strength it would take to accomplish this feat! As the students continued reading they became fascinated by Ashrita Furman, the man who holds over a hundred other records in the Guinness Book of Records.

The students started asking lots of great questions.  Why did he decide to break the records?  How many records did he break? Where is he from?  Why did climbing Mt. Fuji on a pogo stick bring inner peace? (the paragraph mentioned it brought Ashrita inner peace)  What is inner peace?  Is he still alive?

Not realizing the interest this would spark, we decided to take a few moments to research this unusual record-breaker.  His website, which you can reach it by clicking HERE, has all kind of fun and amazing information.  It also includes the video below:

Students each wrote a letter to Ashrita in their writing journal.  They asked their questions about his records while also telling him about the records they would like break.  One student wants to be the first to eat the most gummy bears in 5 minutes while another wants to pass a football non-stop and still another wants to write continuously in cursive.

One never knows where the learning will take us.  The key is to take those teachable moments and follow where it leads!

Advice on "How to get started" by Ashrita Furman himself can be found on this page of his website: How to Get in the Guinness Book.

Please share in the comment section the record you would like to break!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mystery State Skype Preparation

Is your state located West of the Mississippi?  Are there any bodies of water that border your state? These are just a couple of the questions that students are preparing to ask this coming week!  In preparation for our Mystery State Skype calls the students were involved in several 'map' activities this past week.

One activity required students to fill in a giant map of the USA with state names and capital cities.  The term "Political Map" was introduced and explained.  Other types of maps will be discussed throughout the year.  Click HERE to learn about different types of maps.

With a partner students were given a list of questions (see some of them below) which required a YES/NO answer.  They chose their own "Mystery State" and answered the questions based on THAT state.  The next step is to have the class ask these questions to see if they can narrow down the correct state.  These will be the questions that will be guiding our Mystery Skypes.

This week the students will research the bordering states, bodies of water, climate, landforms, resources, major cities, attractions, famous people and animals about Massachusetts.  These will be used in other Mystery Skype calls.  
We are hoping to take a trip around the United States (and beyond) and learn about the different states in the process.  We will compare and contrast the regions and states of the USA and more.  We will be making connections with classrooms far and wide and thereby 'flattening' our classroom walls. 

Ask your child which state they decided to choose!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Building Stamina - Read to Self

2, 4, 5, 7, 9... Nine Minutes. The students have been working hard every day to build their "stamina" during Read to Self time. By Friday the class reached nine minutes! I am so proud of their efforts. The goal for our class is to be able to be independent readers and to sustain their reading attention for 20-30 minutes.

The children understand that building stamina in reading is similar to running a marathon.
You wouldn't just start by running 26.2 miles - you would gradually work your way up to it. This is what we are doing. There is a sense of urgency to become independent.

One of the most important aspects of Read to Self time is that the students are reading books of interest to them. They also know that choosing a "Just Right" book is key in being able to read for extended periods of time. Students were giving the analogy: "If the Shoe Fits..." Ask your child about the "shoe lesson" that was presented in class.

Check out this presentation below that was shared in class last week that goes along with finding a book that is JUST RIGHT.

Expectations for the upcoming week are high, and we hope to reach the 15 minute mark in Reading.
This week we will also begin building stamina in writing! Becoming independent learners is a priority in Room 310!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Math Skype!

Only four days into the new school year and already the students in Room 310 are Global Learners! Today, we connected with a group of 3rd graders from the Jack Stuart School in Alberta, Canada. Their teacher, Mr. Wilson, wanted his students to have some real world Data to analyze.

The 3rd Grade students created a poll: What is your Favorite Animal? Choices were given: Lion, Tiger, Monkey and Parrot. Each student in room 310 was able to share their favorite. The totals were tallied and from our class 1 student chose Lion, 6 chose Tiger, 9 Monkey and 3 parrot. Their job will be to create a bar graph which will be shared via student blogs.

After the math portion our classes exchanged information about our schools. We learned that we are very similar even though we are many, many, many miles apart. Did you know that in Canada the temperature is measured in degrees Celsius?

The students in both classrooms were great representatives of their communities and look forward to future connections!

Can you remember something else we learned from our new friends in Canada?