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Thursday, April 30, 2009

We Caught an EGG!

A couple of weeks ago, we were contacted to "catch an egg" by a group of third graders from Saltsburg, PA. It was a cross country egg toss and the objective was:
"To design and construct a protective structure within a cardboard box that will prevent damage to an egg or eggs which will be mailed to another classroom. An egg without any visible cracks or damage is scored as a success."
Each group had to construct a case for an egg and mail it. Then my students had to open the package, LIVE on Skype. Click here for the rules. We received the package at 1:19pm today and Skyped at 2 pm. The box was very carefully wrapped with warnings on it such as "FRAGILE" and "OPEN WITH CARE." The 3rd graders stuffed the box with broken popsicle sticks, cut up straws, and twine. They also created a paper box inside, placed it in a ziploc bag, and secured it with rubber bands. We couldn't wait to open it! Sadly, the egg was cracked, but it was a good try Saltsburg Elementary!

We blame it on the postman! Better luck next time. My students were very empathetic and we were all genuinely upset! However, we are starting to write children's books and now we found a class to send them to for review. It's all about CONNECTIONS.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Counting Down

In our Environmental Law project we were looking for graohs and we came across chartle today and decided to test it out. Our favorite so far is the "Googlemeter"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Make Earth Day Everyday

This is our team mural; we created it in Science class.
Check out this link to great Earth Day Pictures by the Boston Globe

Our classes used to create a wall of usable tips for "going green."

We are also completing a group project using Google Presentations. Each group is researching one environmental act or amendment and will present their findings at the end of the week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Drawing Tools in Google Docs

Google Docs released new drawing tools and my students were quick to incorporate them into their writing. We recently went on an overnight class trip to the School of Conservation @ Stokes State Forest. When we came back the students wrote stories about their trip from the point of view of an object (living or dead) from Stokes.
Here is a link to one student example: Rainbow Bridge by Michelle K.
Here is a second example by Madeline A. from the point of view of a deer.

FUN = New Math + Connections

We needed a break from our current unit, "Forbidden Foods" so when I came across Craig Damrauer's site, New Math, I thought what better way for a language arts teacher to incorporate math and equations in the classroom? Before we even looked at the site, we reviewed the components of equations and I asked the students for some examples of equations. I got everything from:
1+1=2, butter+fly = butterfly, and 2x=18. Then I told the students we were going to do some "New Math" and they groaned. At first they didn't get Mr. Damrauer's newest equation- "March+Optimism=April." However, after discussing what optimism means and how horrible the weather was here in Sparta in March, they GOT it and begged for more. Some they were able to get right away, others they really needed to analyze. Check out Mr. Damraurer's other equations to see for yourself. Next, my 6th graders wrote their own and put them up on the Smartboard. Here are some of our best equations:
time*love = relationship
evil + annoying = little brother
school = learning-fun
hotwheels^5 = race car
black eye = fist + face
log cabin = lincoln logs^5
fish tank^2 = aquarium
dog = human-opinions
school=jail-life sentence
sarcasm= saying it-not meaning it
words + thoughts + memories = lyrics
|+|+|+|= square
cupcake-frosting= muffin
15 minutes + lizard = Geico
me + you = never
nerves+urge= game time
disaster = money/economy
After class, I decided to email Mr. Damrauer the equations and guess what? He loved them and wants more.
I only did this with 2 classes, can't wait to see what my other 3 classes do. Will post more equations tomorrow, but I have to admit my favorite one by Mike V. in Section 2 was "Connections = Mrs. Hartman+Fun"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

History's Unsolved Mysteries

Big Foot, NJ Devil, Mothman, Vampires OH MY! We recently finished our research unit on History's Unsolved Mysteries. Each student created a Google Site on their topic and embedded their research paper using Google Docs. Some students even went crazy and embedded surevys and presentations about their topics using Google Forms and Presentation. We also found some very interesting Gadgets to add to our sites such as creepy crawly spiders and maps.
Here are some example sites:

Robert the Haunted Doll

Have fun exploring!