Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy makes her way up the East Coast, many people are preparing for a serious storm.  While there are those excited by the prospect of high winds and torrential rain, others, like elementary students, may be nervous and confused about what to expect.  As always, providing information may alleviate their fears.

Perhaps you can review these resources with your child tomorrow as they have the day off from school.

NASA Science Files for Kids: An interactive site that describes Hurricane Structure, Formation and Movement. 

Saffir-Simpson Scale: This NASA site explains the rating scale used for hurricanes.  Hurricanes are rated on a scale of 1-5.  A category 1 hurricane is less intense than a category 5.

Hurricane Names: Learn how hurricanes are named and find a list of names that have been or will be used.   Is your name here?


Discovery Channel Video:  This video explains how hurricanes form and describes some of the damage caused by them.

Hurricane Minute: A series of video clips from the Weather Channel Kids that are each one minute in length.  The content is more suitable for older children.

KidsKnowIt Network: This short video pairs animation with words to explain how hurricanes work. (Although there are ads on the side of the site this might work for younger students).

Video Explaining How Hurricanes Work and How they Get their Name
         (Two commercials are embedded in this video)


Family Education:  This site gives clear directions on how to prepare for a hurricane. This is more for parents to use with their children.

Ready America: This site is also for use with your children.

FEMA: A site that helps kids plan a 'disaster kit' and family 'disaster plan' and more.


The Weather Channel Kids Look up the weather in your location using your zip code, play weather related games and more.  This site offers all kinds of different resources for kids and teachers.

FEMA for Kids:  This site has information on hurricanes and other disasters.  It has pages to show how to prepare for emergencies, how to protect your home and pets and more.

Weather Wiz for Kids Learn all about the wonderful world of weather through this site designed especially for kids (teacher & parent resources as well.)

Kidstorm:  Provides links and information about storms. For kids, parents & teachers.

Weather Coloring Books: This site has coloring books in PDF form to help kids understand severe weather.   (Should probably be used with parent as there is a lot of information.)     

National Weather Service: Here you will find the National Hurricane Center with all kinds of information. 
StormPulse:  Track Atlantic & Pacific Hurricanes, other storms and more.

Hurricane Resources:  A collection of sites compiled by @Cybraryman1

Putting the power in kids' hands by helping them learn about natural phenomena like hurricanes will hopefully ease their fears through understanding and at the same time create an interest in their world.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Authors, Oreos & Google Hangout!

What's better than lunch in the classroom?  Lunch in the classroom with J.K. Rowling - author of the Harry Potter books!  On Thursday we were treated to a LIVE webcast hosted by Scholastic, Inc. featuring the famous author.  Live from Edinburgh, Scotland she read her favorite part of the first Harry Potter book and spoke about her love of writing.  She shared the new site Pottermore. which is a place to explore Harry Potter in a new way.

The following day we were delighted to host Debbie Miller, a favorite author from Alaska.  In preparation for her visit the fourth grade students read and discussed "The Great Serum Race" about the 1925 diphtheria outbreak in Nome.  At the end of her visit she shared slides from her trip to Australia which inspired her new book, Australia Journey.

Before all this we had our first Mystery Location Call using Google+ Hangout (instead of Skype). After many yes/no questions had been asked an answered we discovered that our Mystery State was New Jersey with Mr. Krakower's class. It is our hope to collaborate on other projects with this class.

Another highlight of the week included the O.R.E.O. Project (Our Really Exciting Online Project).  The challenge across the nation was to see how many oreos could be stacked before toppling.  Specific rules included using regular not double stuffed oreos, bracing the oreos against anything was not allowed and once a cookie was placed on the stack that was it - adjusting or shifting the stack was not allowed. At the end, we tabulated the highest number of each stack and found the average number.  This involved adding and dividing.  Then we sent our data in to the project coordinator.  The graph shows the results of all the participants.

Looking forward to another wonderful week of learning!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

German Exchange Students Visit

An opportunity that couldn't be passed up presented itself this morning.  It seems that Walpole High School is hosting three exchange students from Germany who happened to be visiting Boyden School this morning.  They were good enough to come to our classroom and spend some time with us.

When they entered our classroom we were preparing for our Mystery Skype call. They sat right down with the to help and guide the students as they worked to guess the state.  (Kansas has now been added to our growing list of Mystery States!).

Towards the end of the day the three visiting students, Daniel, Maren & Esther, returned to Room 310.  They were given a list of color, number, food and sport words and asked to teach the students the German translation.  All of the students Americans and Germans enjoyed the experience.  It was an engaging and heartwarming activity.

The fourth graders were so interested and curious about what life is like in Germany.  The high school students in turn were patient and thoughtful with their answers. Esther shared with her group that today just happens to be German Reunification Day (which is like our Independence Day). She explained about the Berlin Wall and how it was removed. 

This type of learning doesn't happen everyday and so when an occasion such as this arises we need to capitalize on it.  All of these kids will remember this day for many years to come! So happy to be a part of this Global learning!

Did your child come home with stories about learning an new language? Were they able to tell you any words? Please leave a note in the comment section.