2nd Grade: Squares, Squares, Squares

In 2nd grade we have been having some fun with the square.  The kids started by sharing what they know about the square in their journal.

**Click on the images to see them full size.

We also looked at a logic puzzle called How Many Squares.  The kids had to count the squares, explain their strategy.  We then counted a second time to see if we could find even more.  Most kids found 16-24 their first time around, they were surprised to discover there were many more. 

This week we also looked at the magic that can happen when we fold a square in various ways…new polygons emerge.  The 2nd graders loved learning all of this new math terminology.

The students had the opportunity to use a protractor to the angles on various squares around the room.  They discovered that all squares have 90 degree angles.  This information helped them when they worked to write a program to create a square in Hopscotch.

Some 2nd graders took their square program to a new level.  They made it like a game.  You click on their character and a fact about a square appears.

4th and 5th Grade: Hour of Code

In fourth grade we have been studying the elements of art and how those elements are used by artists.  For Hour of Code, the kids used the drawing tutorial from Code.org. They then created a spiral drawing on Scratch, following another users directions.  This allowed them to become familiar with each script in Scratch.  Next up is to use what they have learned to create their own drawing game.

Molly       Joel      Evan

In 5th grade we are learning how to add and subtract integers.  It has been a challenge learning how to deal with positive and negative numbers, so to reinforce the rules I had the kids create a game in Hopscotch using a variety of equations involving positive and negative numbers.  They are just in the beginning stages.  But it was fun to see the creative ideas they came up with.  I can’t wait to play their finished games.

3rd Grade: Hour of Code

The third graders had a great time doing Hour of Code the week of December 8th.  This is quickly becoming one of my favorite times of year! I loved seeing how several of the kids created games based on things we had been studying in class.  It is always nice to see connections being made.  The perseverance and team work was also amazing.  These third graders were happy talking through bugs and figuring out solutions.  Hour of Code reminds me that kids are incredible thinkers, inventors, and problem solvers.

2nd Grade: Snowflakes and Coding

In 2nd grade we have been working on polygons and how they connect to structures.  To help see the connection the kids explored various crystals, starting with salt, sugar, and baking soda.  They made observations about the polygons that they saw and patterns in the structure of the crystals.

We watched a Brainpop on Snowflake crystals to see the structure and how a crystal lattice is formed.  Each 2nd grader was given two hydrogens and one oxygen to build a water molecule.  We placed the water molecules together to build our own crystal lattice.

This week was also the Hour of Code, the second graders attempted to go through the Frozen tutorial on Code.org, but I am sure that every other kid in the world was attempting to use the same tutorial.  Gotta love Frozen. I wasn’t sure what would happen, but had my 2nd graders attempt to make a snowflake using Hopscotch…ON THEIR OWN.  They surprised me, of course.  Kids are amazingly uninhibited and completely willing to JUST try.

As the second graders worked on their coding, I pulled groups over to create crystal snowflakes using Borax.  It was fun seeing actual crystals growing after reading and studying about them.

1st Grade: How Do You Talk to Computers?

Wonder of the Week: How do you talk to computers?

Word of the Week: Coding

As the first graders entered the room they each received a card that had a message on it.  Each message said HELLO, but in another language.  The first graders were abuzz trying to figure out what each of their cards meant.  After all the kids entered and found their spot I greeted them in Spanish, a language we are familiar with in San Antonio.  The kids then realized that they each had the word Hello on their cards.  They were surprised to find out that there are even more than 16 languages in the world. 🙂

Next I asked the kids how they thought computers, iPads, smart phones understood what we wanted them to do.  It was fun listening to their responses.  We watched a video from Code.org and discovered that computers speak special languages and that we need to learn those languages in order to get computers to do what we want them to do.

We wrote our first program involving our classmates.  The kids had to write a code that would cause their friend to walk in a square.  It was fun to see what would happen if your code wasn’t specific enough.  The kids then applied what they learned by creating a square in Hopscotch.  When they conquered that challenge, they moved on to make multiple squares, or to even make the first letter in their name.  It was fun to see all of my coders in action.

3rd Grade: Hippocampus and Scratch

On the last day of class we looked at another important part of the brain, the hippocampus.  The 3rd graders researched it’s function and learned about the three different types of memory.  They realized that the hippocampus has a big job, and one that never ends.

After their research, I had the kids fold a piece of paper vertically.  I asked them to draw half of a face with as much detail as possible. After enrichment, finishing our Zoom projects, enjoying a working lunch, and creating a Pong game in Scratch I had the kids flip their paper over and try to create the other half of the face from memory.  It was, of course, quite humorous and an example of the hippocampus at work.  When the kids were done creating the other half of their face, they used PicCollage to take a picture and label (and define) the three types of memory.  Once done, the kids imported their image into fotobabble and recorded an analogy for the hippocampus.

And you can test out some of their Pong games the 3rd graders created on Scratch.

3rd Grade: Jumping into Coding

In 3rd grade we are diving into the world of coding as part of our unit, becoming a systems thinker.  Last week we watched a Brainpop on computer programming and learned some of the language of the discipline.  One of the things that I wanted for the kids to understand is that programming involves patience, a willingness to revise (or iterate) their code when it has a bug, and to learn the importance of testing their code often.  To help the students understand this I had them write code to help a partner get from one corner of our room to the other.  It was a great experience for the students and for me.  Here is a video of them at work.

Today the kids had a chance to start testing out how to write code on the computer.  We used a program called Scratch, created by students from MIT. In this program students use blocks to write code.  Over the next few weeks we will learn how to make games, keep score, and many other things.  Today was about becoming familiar with the scripts, adding sprites and backgrounds.  Here are a couple of examples.

3rd Grade: Holiday Fun

While I hope that GT is always a good combination of fun and learning, today probably leaned more heavily on the FUN side.  I guess that is the way things should be sometimes. 🙂

We did start our morning with some HOE (algebra) just to keep us honest, but then we jumped into coloring.  Yes, you heard me. COLORING!  Now I have to tell you that the kids thought I had gone a little loopy to allow them to ‘just color’.  They wanted to know what else we were going to do with this holiday coloring sheet.  They all exclaimed, “This is just not like you!”.  I am going to take that as a compliment.

What I didn’t tell them is that they were going to bring their pictures to life with an app called ColAR Mix.  Once they were done coloring, I handed them the iPads and let them see the magic.  They were amazed.  Lots of gasps of excitement.

After our fun with Augmented Reality, the 3rd graders tried their hand at creating games using coding and an app called Hopscotch.  If you have been reading my blog, you have seen Hopscotch mentioned every day this week.  It is just so much fun!  Here are some videos of their thinking, problems, and game ideas.

One more thing…Two of my 3rd graders started a program using Scratch and they finished it up throughout the week.  Here is there finished (or finished for now) program.

4th Grade: The MI Classroom and Coding

We started the day by using SCAMPER to rethink some holiday related items: flying reindeer, snowmen, and Santa’s sleigh.  It is always fun to see the kids using their creative side.

After a little SCAMPER fun we discussed whether or not we consistently encourage and support all of the multiple intelligences in our classrooms. Most of the kids agreed that Linguistic and Mathematical intelligence are two of the most valued intelligences in schools today.  They also mentioned behaviors that interfere with using some of the intelligences.  Many of the 4th graders noted that ‘sitting still’ is an expectation in class, but that is in conflict with what a bodily-kinesthetic learner needs.  That students that are told to work on their own or told to be quiet, may have a high interpersonal intelligence and need to be social in order to learn.  With this discussion we started to think about ways we could design our classroom that met the needs of all of the intelligences.  The fourth graders are using Google Draw to design their classrooms.  We are not done, but enjoy a sneak peak at two classrooms below.

In the afternoon the kids continued to finish up their MI centers and then we managed to sneak in some more coding time. 🙂 I think we are becoming obsessed, but I am just amazed at what these kids are capable of doing. Especially considering some of them had never heard of coding before last week.  Enjoy some of their holiday games and scenes below.

By Augie and Matheus

By Rylee

By Aubrey

5th Grade: Some Holiday Fun

The 5th graders started their day with a little Holiday SCAMPER fun.  They considered ways they could build a snowman without snow, what other jobs flying reindeer might hold, and adapting Santa’s sleigh for other environments. Enjoy some of their work below.

We also read some more of The Giver.  We are really getting to some interesting parts, with lots to think about.  It was hard to put it down.

We spent time on our Genius Hour projects and some of the kids are getting close to being ready to present! 

And, we are loving coding, so spent some time trying to create holiday games and scenes using Hopscotch.  Once again, I was amazed at what the kids were able to dream up and create. They weren’t able to finish, but enjoy their work thus far. I loved watching the collaboration and problem solving involved.  They really worked with each other to solve problems and improve plans.  I loved seeing how Miguel, Liam, and Nick kept making modifications and improvements to their game, including Power Ups and Bonuses.  Some of the kids figured out how to have YOU WIN or GAME OVER pop up on their game. Pretty cool!