Saturday, November 2, 2013

Trick - or - Tweets

With Halloween this week, the past few days have been quite a treat! With my first week finished, I am so thankful to my students for being so patient and helpful. I have to give them a lot of credit, they really helped make the week go by smoothly as they kept me on track with their daily routines. Amidst the Halloween excitement, we had a very busy week of learning! 

Our vertebrate models are still standing!
In science, we started our environmental unit with a focus on animals and their classification. To introduce our discussion on classification, we put on our biologist thinking caps and classified the students in our classroom. Students had to start with a broad attribute (like gender), and then become more and more specific to divide the class into specific subtopics. We started by grouping by gender, then working our way to students with glasses, and students without glasses, and our last category was by eye color. On Tuesday, students were challenged to do an inquiry-based task where they had to work with their team to classify an assortment of fifteen animals into separate groups. . They focused on physical attributes like fur color, legs and no legs, fur or scales, etc. Some groups looked beyond physical aspects and classified the animals based on their habitat - this provided an assortment of perspectives for our classification chart! On Thursday, we learned more about how scientists classify animals into two broad categories of vertebrates and invertebrates, and then become more specific within their animal groups based on physical attributes. In celebration of Halloween, we even were able to look at x-rays of animals and then build model vertebrates and invertebrates to learn about the role our backbone plays in supporting our bodies. Students LOVED looking at the x-rays! 
We cleared up some misconceptions about fish, snakes, and frogs
having backbones, and discussed why they need these backbones for support. 
Another highlight of the week was that our Twitter feed is up and running! I set this up on the outside of our door so any passersby can always "follow" what we're doing in our classroom! We spent part of our time during Explore (a time we are so fortunate to have built into our schedule that is dedicated to remedial instruction and extension activities). I taught them the jargon of Twitter (one of our language arts words this week) and in a quick "Twitter 101" session. We learned about how our "tweets" communicate our thoughtful opinions on subject, and how a single tweet can be no longer than 140 characters. Since then, they can't stop asking if they can tweet about our learning! I love their excitement, and how they are being held accountable for their learning. (They still need a little work on their use of creative hashtags, though.) Our first opportunity to tweet was to answer our essential question in language arts this week, which was "How do movies show facts and opinions?" Some students used specific examples to respond, and others provided summative statements of their learning. On Friday morning, we tweeted about Halloween as they created a simile statement to describe their evening, and then had to provide a fact to support their opinion statement. I have some truly creative thinkers! Check out what they had to say. 
My favorite is "My Halloween was as awesome as Kennywood" 

Looking ahead at next week...
Tomorrow marks my very first open house! I can barely contain my excitement, as I can't wait to meet the parents of my wonderful kiddos. 

Have a wonderful day!

Miss S.

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