Thursday, April 25, 2013

The World Would Be More Awesome If...

To say that my students are obsessed with Kid President would be an understatement!  Because this week has been our state tests (the CRTs), I had them watch his pep talk.  They begged to watch the other videos he has, and I told them if they did their best during the tests, we could check them out in the afternoon.  When we watched the video below, I stumbled upon a writing assignment!  Gotta love that - best part? They WANTED to write!  Even better!

Here is the video we watched:

On the video, Kid President asks:

He originally asked the question on Facebook, and here was one of the responses he shared:

My students asked if they could respond as well.  I told them that if it was ok with their parents they could follow Kid President on Twitter or Facebook - a few said they would and a few said they weren't allowed to.  One of my gems asked, "Couldn't we just write about it?"  Love when they give themselves an assignment!

I made this quick brainstorm template on the Smart Board:
Then it was time for some turn and talk with their partners to fill in some ideas of what would make the World more awesome.  I listened in and had a few volunteers write their thoughts on the board.

Here was our final product:

Then I turned the students loose to brainstorm independently in their notebooks.  Here are a few brainstorms.  I love how they used a variety of graphic organizers to brainstorm.

We will use our brainstorms to compose an essay and also a tweet similar to the Facebook responses shown in the video - it will be a great way to work on summarizing!  I will show you their final work next week.

Have you used Kid President in the classroom yet?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Why We Shouldn't Waste Water - FREEBIES

We have been working on a unit our unit for Common Core Standard RI.3.3 - Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
We had previously compared the amount of water and land on the Earth.

Today we learned why we shouldn't waste water even though there is so much of it on the Earth.

I started by asking the kiddos to name all of the ways that they used water.  I had them come up to the SmartBoard to write their answers (for some reason writing on the SmartBoard has been a great motivator).

Here were some of their ideas (please forgive their misspelling - I wanted to get through this part without correcting them).

Then I had them look at the inflatable globe to remind me how much of the Earth was covered with water.  I asked them, "If there is so much water on the Earth, why do we always talk about saving water?" I used the inflatable globe as a discussion monitor.  They couldn't talk unless they were holding the globe which I threw to them if they raised their hand.

After we discussed their ideas (which included because water costs so much - in our town it does), I asked them to make a prediction about how much water on the Earth is drinkable. 

They wrote their predictions on index cards.

Then we talked about how much it really was.  They were surprised to see that we really have a small amount - just a drop really!

 Then I had them write a paragraph comparing their original prediction to the results from our model.

 I will be putting this unit together in a complete unit, but, for now, here is the lesson plan from today including how to model the amount of water on the Earth. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Learning About Money

I always joke about my kiddos "hijacking" my lessons when they take us on a learning journey of their own, but secretly I love it, because the lessons are always richer, and they are always engaged.  It is real world learning at its best.  It happened again this week when one of my kiddos asked if he could share some foreign coins with the class that his uncle had given him. Of course, I said ok, and away we went.
We started passing the coins around and the students began making observations about where they were from and what they looked like.  One of them remarked that one of them looked like a Mexican peso.

This coin was from Uruguay.  They noticed that one of the coins was made in 1975  - I told them the coin was as old as their teacher because I too was made in 1975!  They were pretty impressed with that.  Then one of the students pulled out his ipod and I couldn't take it away because he was researching Chinese coins to see what they looked like.

Another student noticed that their was a French coin called a Franc.  He said, "Mrs. Malloy, my cousin told me that they use Euros in France, why is this a Franc?"  I told him that they did use Euros, but it was only just recently.  In Europe they decided to adopt currency that could be used in several countries because they are very close together.  I told them that it might be like having to trade money when we went from Nevada (where we live) to California (only 50 miles from here).  I couldn't remember the exact year that they started using Euros so we researched it.

As we read the article, some of them said, 1995, some said 1999, and some said 2002.  What a great tie-in with state testing coming up - let's do some close reading to figure out who is right.

We found out that the Euro was named in 1985.  It was introduced in 1999.  In 2002 it surpassed the US dollar in value.  A super fun day of learning!

We wrapped it up by playing my Missing Money Problem Solving Center.

I wish the kids would take over lesson planning sometimes! LOL!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Comparing Water and Land on the Earth

Today we started our unit for Common Core Standard RI.3.3 - Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

I decided to create a unit that revolved around Earth Day since that is coming up soon.

We started with a scientific and mathematical exploration of how much land and water there is on the Earth.  To simulate this, I threw an inflatable globe for the students to catch.  They had to tell me where their thumbs landed, on the land or on water.

A student then kept a tally of the results on our new Smart Board.  (YES! I am super exicted - we just got it two weeks ago, so I no longer have Smart Board envy!).

After a few rounds, I had them make predictions about how many times it would land on each if we threw it 100 times. I needed to remind a few that their totals needed to equal 100 - a fun little mini-math lesson! We continued on and finished with the results below:
I let them look at the globe and answer how close their predictions were, and why they thought we came up with the results that we did. 

Here were some responses:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Wanna Iguana - Lessons in Opinion, Persuasion, and Point of View

We have been working on Common Core Standard 3.RL.6 - Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.  While we are doing this, we are also working on writing opinion and persuasive writing pieces.  Last week we read I Wanna Iguana.

As we read the story we talked about the two characters in the story and their points of view.  Alex, the little boy, is trying to convince his mom to let him keep his friend's iguana, while mom is not sure that he is up to the responsibility of a new pet.

Afterwards I asked the students to pick a side.  Should Alex's mother let him get an iguana?

Here are a few of their responses:

We already had experience writing persuasive letters asking for a class pet, but I really wanted them to focus on using details from the text.  

Have you been working on point of view?  What resources are you using?


Monday, April 1, 2013

April Currently

Is it really April already??? This year is just flying!  In honor of April, I am linking up with Farley's Currently. Aren't they so adorable?  She really does an amazing job with them.

II love getting a glimpse into everyone else's life too!  Head on over to link up!
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