Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Learning & Fun!

Just like I have MANY favorite 100th day activities, I also have many favorite Valentine's activities.  I took a similar approach as I did to 100th day and made a number of Valentine's reading, writing and numeracy activities part of the students' Daily 5 choices.  We also did Candy Heart Math, one of my MOST favorite Valentine's activities.  It involves sorting, graphing, addition, grouping and comparison all using candy hearts.   

I revise my Candy Heart activities each year, so I'm sharing my latest file of Candy Heart Math student pages for anyone to download.  

We also have an annual skating party at our local rink, which was a great fun and great exercise again this year!  

Here's a fun Valentine's writing page that I created this year - click link to download.   

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Celebrating our 100th Day!

Thursday, February 13th marked our 100th day of school.  This special occasion was worth celebrating, but I wanted to do things a little differently this year.  I always have SO many fun learning activities to do on 100th day and sometimes we can't fit in everything I plan.  This year, I chose my favorite 100th day activities and made them part of our Daily 5 ELA and Math so students could pick the activities which they'd most like to do!

Some Daily 5 ELA choices for our 100th day:
  • writing about 100 (What I'd do with $100, what I'd want/not want 100 of, what I'd eat/not eat 100 of)
  • word study: I can write 100 words.  Students tried to write 100 different words!
  • drawing what we'd look like when we are 100
Some Daily 5 Math choices for our 100th day:
  • 100 Tallies Game - roll the dice and tally  until someone reaches 100 and wins
  • 100 Color by Number 
  • 100 chart - students filled in a blank 100 chart with all 100 missing numbers!
We also worked with partners to count a collection of 100.  There are many collections of items in our classroom, so our class brainstormed the options and then each team chose different items to count.  Some of the items included: counters, blocks, pennies, buttons, pattern blocks and dice.

One of my most favorite activities this year was one I'd never done with students before.  I gave each student diecuts of the numbers 1, 0 and 0 (which I'd cut with my Cricut).  Then each student had to complete the "My 100 is a ..." challenge and turn their 100 into something new.  It was a great activity for encouraging creative thinking!  Everyone had great ideas for this activity and I've photographed them all to share below!

Athlete Research: Jonathan Toews

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Skyping with an Olympic Torch Bearer

We just Skyped a torch bearer from the 2012 summer Olympics.  His name is Mr. Tait.  We found out lots of interesting things and we got to see the torch! 

This is what we learned:
  • Mr. Tait has his own torch that he carried for the London Olympics.  
  • He ran with the torch and he held the torch up high. 
  • The Olympic rings and the word "London" are on the torch.
  • There were 8000 little holes in the torch.  There was one hole for each person that carried the torch. 
  • There was 1 big hole in the torch for the gas to go in to light it.
  • The torch is made of  gold-colored aluminum. 
  • He felt very proud, happy, nervous and excited about carrying the torch.  
  • Mr. Tait was nervous because he didn't want to drop the torch or fall with it. 
  • After he ran with the torch, he didn't want to put it down because it was so special. 
We really enjoyed Skyping him.  Other classrooms should really watch the video of Mr. Tait carrying the torch or try to Skype him!

Mrs. Obach found Mr. Tait's information on the Skype in the Classroom website.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Olympics Math

We've added a new element to our Olympics project.  One of the advantages of project based learning is the way it brings together different subject areas.  We've been doing lots of reading and writing related to the Olympics, so I was excited to introduce some Olympics math today!  Thanks to my teacher friend, Mrs. Thom, we have a beautiful graph to track the medals won by our Canadian Olympic team.  We also added a page to summarize the information and add together the medals for a grand total.  We also had fun with our Olympics word problem today. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Showing Support for our Olympic Athletes!

We were all very excited when the postcards we designed arrived from the printer this week!  Students were eager to start drafting postcard messages, so we reviewed the message criteria we set with the Kindergartens and students started working on their writing.  Once students had a draft, they met with me to review, revise and edit their writing to ensure it met the criteria.  Then students wrote their final message on our beautiful postcards!  We've had a difficult time finding an address to send postcards directly to athletes, so we decided we'd use our Twitter connections to share the postcards.  We photographed each message and sent them to athletes on Twitter before mailing the actual postcard.  This way, we hope athletes will read them now even if they don't get the actual postcard until a later date.

Two postcards from our class were chosen by Olympic Lens to be featured on their Olympics website of photos!  It was so exciting to see my students' work shared with an even wider audience since they worked so hard on the postcard design, message writing and athlete research!

Postcards featured on Olympic Lens can be viewed here:

I'll keep adding more postcard photos here as well:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Olympics Project: Researching Athletes

 We've made some exciting connections with athletes through social media, which has led to further Olympics inquiry.  Once we'd learned about pairs skaters Paige & Rudi, hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser and skeleton racer Mellisa Hollingsworth, we were excited to find out about other athletes.  Our class decided that our Olympics project should include research to learn more about Canadian athletes.  Students helped me design a simple template for organizing our athlete research and we got started!

Different groups of students were interested in different sports, so we split into interest groups for our research.  Some students wanted to research another hockey player and they were quick to decide on Sidney Crosby as the topic for their inquiry.  Other students were really interested in biathlon, but they had to do some research to find out who the Canadian biathlon athletes were.  A third group was really interested in learning about other figure skaters, since Rudi and Paige were SO interesting!  With teacher/educational assistant/volunteer support, students began researching online and working together to record their understandings.  I'm looking forward to posting their work once their first athlete research projects are ready! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Olympics: Connecting with Athletes

Another important part of our Olympics inquiry has been learning about Canadian Olympic athletes.  Students were really excited to hear that locally-trained figure skaters, Paige Lawrence & Rudi Swiegers, would be going to the Olympics.  This was our first athlete connection in this Olympics inquiry, so we spent some time "getting to know" these athletes.  We checked out their Twitter account, watched videos of their qualifying performances and found out as much as we could about them.  Students requested that we send them questions on Twitter and we were thrilled when Rudi & Paige replied!  The students now refer to Rudi & Paige on a first-name basis and ask me daily "Can we watch some videos of Rudi and Paige?" or "Can we send Rudi and Paige a Tweet?"   The power of social media to connect us to others is incredible!  Since we're such big fans of Rudi & Paige, I've started watching for newspaper articles, videos and online material that relates to their Olympic journey and I've been saving them on my Olympics Diigo list to share with my class!

We've also made connections with some other athletes.  Mr. Obach (my husband and fellow teacher) sent us a link on Twitter that explained Hayley Wickenheiser would carry the Canadian flag at the Olympics.  Students really understood that carrying the flag would be a special job and my students were excited to find her on Twitter and send a Tweet congratulating her!  Mrs. Caldwell and the Oak Lake Kindergartens had made connections of their own with athlete Mellissa Hollingsworth and Tweeted us a video interview to watch. We are really excited to continue learning about Olympic athletes!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Olympics Postcard Designs

We have continued to work with our friends in Oak Lake Kindergarten and our families at home to learn about the Olympics.  Many students have made guest blog posts sharing their home research and we have also done some posts together as a class.  Students worked in small groups to build knowledge of the Olympic sports and recorded their new understandings using research organizers

While we were on a Skype call discussing our project with the Kindergartens, students had the neat idea to send something to Olympic athletes.  They suggested the ideas of sending pictures and messages, so we decided to make postcards with pictures on the front and messages on the back.  We set criteria for our work so that we'd know what our goals were, then we got to work designing our postcards.   The Kindergartens had used Autocollage before, so they thought it would work well for designing the front of our postcards.   We used our art work photos to make cool collages.  Then we had to design the back of our postcards to meet our criteria.  We wanted :room to write, a spot for a stamp, space for an address and a QR code linked to the Little Hands Extended blog so people could find out more about our project!

Watching our collages come together in Autocollage was a lot of fun!  Making room for everything on the back of our postcards was tricky, but we managed to make it work.  We even had to do some problem solving and re-designing when Mrs. Caldwell pointed out that our original design had the QR code in the spot that the post office would use.  We made changes and our final product looks great, we can't wait for the printed postcards to arrive!