Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Kids Who Code: A Successful Code-a-thon

After much hard work and preparation, the Grade 1s successfully hosted the Kids Who Code Code-a-thon last week!  The 22 kids from our class ran 6 different coding stations, featuring coding activities from Kodable, The Foos, Lightbot, Tynker, Scratch Jr. and 

We had over 140 guests, including students from other classrooms and local dignitaries.  Guest classes in attendance included Mrs. Hrymak’s Grade 3 & 4 class from Rapid City School, Mrs. Caldwell’s Kindergarten Class from Miniota School, Mrs. Gorrell’s Grade 2 class from Shoal Lake School, Mr. Smith’s Grade 8 class from Hamiota Collegiate and the Grades 2,3 and 4 classes from Hamiota Elementary.  Local dignitaries in attendance included Arther-Virden M.L.A. Mr. Doyle Piwniuk, R.M. of Hamiota Mayor Mr. Larry Oakden, Park West School Division Superintendent Mr. Tim Mendel and Park West School Division Board Chair Darren Naherniak.  A group of awesome student teachers from the Brandon University Faculty of Education volunteered to help us keep the event running smoothly!

This unique, student-led event was planned to engage students in learning coding as part of the Hour of Code™ movement.  The Hour of Code™ is considered the largest learning event in history, with more than 100 million students worldwide already completing an hour of code.  This global event is designed to spark interest in computer science since many computer science jobs go unfilled and few schools teach computer science.  I was very proud of what great coding teachers my students were for this special event - they helped so many others to learn more about coding!  Great job grade 1s!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2015 Kids Who Code: The Code-a-thon Returns!

We live in a world surrounded by technology and we know that students will need to know how to effectively use technology to succeed in their futures.  And it’s more than just a need to use technology, it’s a need to create with technology and understand how technology works.  However, only a tiny fraction of people are learning computer science.   

That’s why my class is joining the largest learning event in history: The Hour ofCode!  Hour of Code takes place during Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13th).   More than 100 million students worldwide have already tried an Hour of Code and we are excited to see that number grow.  We are putting our own twist on Hour of Code again this year.  The Grade 1s in my class are very excited to host our 2015 Kids Who Code Code-a-thon! This exciting, student-led event will take place at our school on Friday, December 11.  

The Kids Who Code Code-a-thon idea was born last year while I was working with fellow educator Mrs. Devon Caldwell.  We decided that planning a coding event with a project based learning approach would be a great way for our students to start coding.  Students are in charge of planning the event, including making the guest list, sending invitations, preparing coding activities for our guests and planning the refreshments. 

Check out the 2014 Kids Who Code Code-a-thon video here:

Read more about coding in our classroom in these posts:

Use the Kids Who Code Code-a-thon Tip Sheet to plan your own Code-a-thon event:  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Student Teaching in grade 1!

It sure has been a great five weeks here in Mrs. Obach's class! The Grade ones have taught me so many new things like coding, how to use Book Creator, and how to do Daily Five ELA and Math. I have so enjoyed my time at HES and am very sad to be leaving.

Our last book for week 6 of the Global Read Aloud was Friendshape by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Amy Krouse Rosenthal used shape characters to remind us what good friends do. There were also lots of funny jokes that we really enjoyed. After reading Friendshape we decided to create our own friendshape pictures  and write about what we felt was important for a good friend to do. We used fun paper cut-out shapes to create our pictures. We sure had a great time doing this activity!

Amy Krouse Rosenthal has certainly become a favorite other for all of us here in grade one.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Global Read Aloud: The OK Book

Our week 5 book for The Global Read Aloud was The OK Book.  We were so inspired by Amy Krouse Rosenthal's work that we wrote our own OK book with our student teacher, Miss. Barkley.  Check out our book:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Global Read Aloud: There Was Much Exclaiming

Our book for week 4 of the Global Read Aloud was ! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Our class really enjoyed this wonderful story about an exclamation mark learning that it is okay to be different.  In the story, the exclamation mark learns to exclaim all sorts of fun words and phrases.  We had a great time writing and exclaiming our own words and phrases.  Using ChatterPix, we even made the ! character do the talking!  Check out our work below:

We really enjoyed exclaiming all sorts of things and I know this will be a valuable activity to build on as we learn to be expressive Grade 1 readers!  I loved the positive message that this book shared about embracing our individuality and special talents.  Amy Krouse Rosenthal is fast becoming our favourite author with her meaningful, yet entertaining and funny books.  Check out the book trailer for !  here. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Global Read Aloud: More than Just Reading!

We kicked off the Global Read Aloud on October 5th and we've had so much fun reading and learning together since then.  The GRA is a wonderful opportunity to promote rich, deep learning while connecting and collaborating with other classrooms.  Our class is interacting with classrooms in Ohio, Illinois, Virginia and Thailand to engage in a variety of activities linked to the GRA books.

Here's a sample of what we've been up to:

Making Connections
We shared our personal connections to the text Chopsticks on a digital Padlet bulletin board.  Check out our ideas at the 2KG blog.  It was interesting to read how other students connected to the text and their ideas even inspired more connections from our class.

Vocabulary Building & Word Study
We loved our first book, Chopsticks, and reread it MANY times.  We used our Daily 5/CAFE literacy strategy "Tune in to Interesting Words" to learn new vocabulary and created a Mindmeister web of words to share with our partner classrooms.

Inspired by the students in 2KG class in Thailand, we studied compound words and shared our list with our partner classrooms. 

Data Collection & Graphing
We completed the 2KG online survey for Duck! Rabbit! They found out that more students thought it was a rabbit. 

We also graphed our class opinions for Duck, Rabbit and shared with our partner classrooms.  

In preparation for a Skype discussion with Ms. Loverde's class, we collected data and graphed our favourite book so far.  When we met on Skype, each class shared their results and we found that both classes like It's Not Fair the best.  Then, students from both classrooms took turns sharing which book they liked the best and why.  We had a lot in common - many of us liked the same parts of books or enjoyed the books for similar reasons. 

Skype Story time - a cross-classroom read aloud!
Sadly, our copy of It's Not Fair is STILL backordered.  Thankfully, we have awesome partner classrooms willing to help us out.  Mrs. Grodek and her class in Brooklyn, Ohio read the story with us on Skype earlier this week and also recorded it for us to enjoy.

I can hardly believe that we are halfway through the Global Read Aloud!  We have had so many great learning experiences so far and we are really enjoying this special author study! 

Friday, October 9, 2015

We are Thankful

It is hard to believe that we are already well into October and thinking about our Thanksgiving weekend.  Thinking about the upcoming holiday reminds me of all I have to be thankful for!  Sitting in my classroom after a busy week, I am grateful that I found a career that I am so passionate about.   I am glad that we have the opportunity to learn and teach in this wonderful, safe country.  I'm thankful for the family, friends and community who support me.   I could share a much longer list, but I think I'll head home for the weekend and just enjoy the many things I'm grateful for this year.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Here's a few things that our class is thinking as we start off our Thanksgiving weekend:

I am thankful for friends. - M.
I'm thankful for school and my mom and dad. They helped to put my bunk bed back together. - C.
I am thankful for the earth. - B.
I am thankful for art. - A.
I am thankful for my mom. - J.
I am thankful for people that help out. - A.
I'm thankful for my dad. - K.
I'm thankful for my dad. - B.
I am thankful for my horses. - Mrs. O.
I am thankful for my stuffy. - S.
I am thankful for my puppy. - C.
I am thankful for my dog. -B.
I am thankful for my kittens. - A.
I am thankful for my little sisters. - L.
I am thankful for my daddy. - C.
I am thankful for candy! - M.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kids Who Code: Kodable

If you've been following our blog, you know that we've started coding in Grade 1!  We have successfully been using a fun, kid-friendly tool called Kodable. 

Today, we took some time to reflect and share our ideas about Kodable.  We are sending this information on to the Kodable organization so they know what our class thinks about their coding tool!  

Coding is very fun and I like getting to higher levels - B.
I like to play Kodable with a friend. - J.
I don't like when the fuzz gets stuck. Then we have to try again. - B
I really like when it is on the last arrow, then I've done it all right.  I did it. - J.
I did like that the levels were hard enough for me.  - A.
I like the hard levels because I smash into the bugs in the dirt. - C.
I like when I unlock levels.  - C.
I love hard levels because they are fun.  - L.
I like unlocking new fuzzes.  The special commands are hard.  - R.
I like checking the path by tracing it with my finger. - A.
Is there going to be a Kodable 2 or an update for Kodable? - A.
I've unlocked Ruby Fuzz and Shadow Fuzz at home! - A.
I like to play the game Kodable because it helps me get better at coding and it is fun.  - M.
I like when I don't get it right because I can always try again. - K.

I was very impressed with the thoughtful and honest responses from my students.  We will be trying out some new coding tools in the upcoming weeks, but I am sure Kodable will remain a class favourite!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Kids Who Code: We've Started Coding!

Our class has started exploring coding!   This is the basic information about coding that I sent home to families last week.  Read on to find out more about coding!
What is coding?
According to Code Conquest, "Coding is what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites. Your browser, your OS, the apps on your phone, Facebook ... they’re all made with code." 

Coding is what many of us call "computer science" or "computer programming" and, in the simplest terms, coding is how we give computers directions/instructions. 

Why teach coding? 
Personally, I feel that coding helps students develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.  Coding also provides opportunities for practicing math, reading and art/design.  Although my students are still very young, coding is also important in MANY jobs!  I think it is great that young learners can try out coding in a kid-friendly, fun situation before they get older and are intimidated by the idea of “computer science”. 

How are we learning to code?
Since there is a strong movement to include coding in schools, there are a number of kid-friendly coding tools now available.  At this point, our class is using a fun tool called Kodable to learn about giving coding directions.  Kodable is available as a free iOS app or you can play/download it online at  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Global Read Aloud: Chopsticks & Meeting 2KG

Today our Global Read Aloud books by Amy Krouse Rosenthal arrived!  We were so excited to see our set of books for this reading project. 

Right away, we decided to read aloud this week's featured book, Chopsticks.  Our class thought it was funny and we enjoyed the beautiful illustrations.

We also met another GRA partner classroom today!  The 2KG class in Bangkok, Thailand sent us a video to say hello.  Using Bing Maps, we added their city to our map and looked at how far away they are from us! 

We were also surprised to learn that at 11AM this morning in Canada it was already 11PM in Thailand.  In order to share our ideas and learn with our new friends, we will have to use messages and videos rather than live video calls.  We started by sharing ideas on this Padlet board created by 2KG teachers Ms. Jennifer Baccon & Ms. Kathryn Grossi.  Their focus question for us was "How did you connect to this book?"  Many students in our class could relate to being separated from a special person (just like the Chopsticks decide to spend time apart in the book).

We are looking forward to learning more about the 2KG class and sharing our ideas about our read aloud books!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Global Read Aloud: Kickoff Day!

The Global Read Aloud starts today and our class is a part of this awesome project!  This collaborative project was started by a teacher in the United States, Mrs. Pernille Ripp.  Her idea was to use books to connect people all over the world.  This year, over 500,000 participants will be reading and learning together, sharing author studies and books selected for the 2015 Global Read Aloud! 

The Global Read Aloud (GRA) author we are studying is Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Using technology such as Skype and Twitter, we will work together with other classrooms to learn and share.  This is a great opportunity to develop our skills in so many areas.  Not only will we be building our literacy skills, but we will also practice skilled communication, learn about other communities and people, explore digital citizenship and more!

Today, we kicked off with our very first Skype in the Classroom call!  We met Mrs. Grodek's first grade class from Brooklyn, Ohio and had the chance to ask them some questions.  It was exciting to meet our first GRA partners! We found out about their community and we noticed some similarities and differences between our communities.  Our class practiced active listening when Mrs. Grodek's students answered our questions. 

Before the call, we decided on some Skype rules for our class: 

Then, we used Bing maps to find out where Brooklyn is and how far it is from our school!  
 It was a great Skype call and a great kickoff to the GRA!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Kids Who Code: We are Learning to Code!

We are learning to code in our Grade 1 classroom.  We are hoping to get SO good at coding that we can teach other people to code. 

Our class watched this video about coding today:

Here is what we learned:
  • people all over the world are learning to code
  • there are still people all over the world who don't know how to code
  • ANYONE can learn to code if they try
  • Hour of Code is when people can sign up to try coding at
  • Coding week is December 7 until December 13th

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Time for Patterns

Mrs. Obach's smart Grade 1 learned about patterns in math.  We can make patterns, translate patterns and find patterns. We can teach you about patterns in this video.  Our class can take pictures of patterns.  This is our first time making a video to show what we learned and this is also our first class blog post!  We hope you like our video!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Our Special Guest

Local Author/Illustrator Dianne Conrad visited our classroom last week as part of our bookmaking project!  She is writing and illustrating her first children's book called "Dama Grows"  She brought one of the paintings for the book with her and her sketchbook.  We got to ask to ask her TONS of questions and we saw her website Then, she gave us some tips while we worked on the artwork for our greenscreening project.  We were so glad to have a special visitor in our classroom and we hope to buy her book when it's ready!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Six Little Chickens & The Big, Bad Coyotes

One of our big projects this year was making books.  Our class wrote a fractured fairy tale and then we decided to turn the story into a play script.  Next, we wanted to act it out using our script.  We filmed our play using a green screen and the DoInk app to put in the backgrounds from our story.  You can read our story here or watch the video

Mixbook - Create stunning photo books, cards and calendars! | Design your own photo book with Mixbook's easy online editor.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Our class has been learning about poetry.  We have been reading and writing poetry.  Here are some of our shared writing poems:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Kids Who Code: Robotics with Bolts & Mini

Thanks to inspiration from watching the movie Big Hero 6 and from seeing some interesting robotics posts from Edtech Baton teachers, I decided to order our class a robotics kit this spring!  Since we have learned to code this year as part of the Kids Who Code project, I thought that programming a robot would be a great way to continue developing our skills in the final weeks of our school year.

So... I'd like to officially introduce our new class robots, Bolts and Mini:

Bolts & Mini came from and they were made by Wonder Workshop

Getting robots has been a lot like getting a class pet, which was something we have talked about (and wished for) A LOT in our class!  So when we got our robots, we had a lot of fun with our new "pets".  We  discussed names, submitted our favourites and voted on the best robot names.  It has been hugely exciting for us to work with the robots and extend our coding skills.  As a class, we have discussed appropriate use and we are learning to take turns working with the robots.  In addition to developing our problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills, programming Bolts and Mini will help us to meet important science outcomes related to position and motion.  I'm sure we will learn a lot as we explore robotics in Grade 2!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Kids Who Code: Scratch Jr. Tutorials

The Kids Who Code project continues in our classroom.  My grade 2s have become proficient coders using a number of student-friendly coding tools.  We wanted to help others learn to use Scratch Jr., especially our Kids Who Code partner classrooms - Mrs. Lowe's Class & Mrs. Caldwell's class.  Since these students are in Kindergarten, my students tried to pick coding activities that would help them learn about numbers, letters and colours.  Students chose the learning activities they would like to design tutorials for and they used Book Creator to develop their instructions.  Here are the finished products: 

How to Change the Background Color
by Wyat & Peyton

PDF instructions:

How to Create a Picture using Scratch Jr. 
by Addison, Sev & Martin

PDF Instructions:

How to Code a Character to Count - Recording
by Haily, Connor & Charlie

PDF instructions:

How to Code a Character to Count - Speech Bubble
by Kylynn

PDF instructions:

How to Code a Character to say a favourite colour - Recording
by Landon & Jaxen

PDF instructions:

How to Code a Character to say the Alphabet - Recording
by Kayleigh, Madison & Sarah

PDF instructions:

How to Code a Character to say the Alphabet -Speech Bubble
by Camryn

PDF Instructions:

Friday, May 8, 2015

Riding the Wave 2015 Conference day 2

After presenting about the Kids Who Code project with Mrs. Caldwell this morning, I attended two sessions.  

Global Read Aloud #GRA15
Presented by:  Jennifer Young

The project is a global reading collaboration which brings classrooms around the world together to focus on common texts.  Educators nominate books and they are short listed for a final vote.  There are different book choices for each age group. The 2015 read aloud starts October 5 and I am excited to join this interesting book study collaboration!

For more information:

Kids Can Code
Presenter: Meagan Chopek

It was great to hear from another Manitoban early years teacher who is also teaching coding!  Meagan shared a lot of great ideas for "unplugged" activities and for using Kodable, Tynker and Scratch Jr. in the classroom.  Her blog is 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Riding the Wave Conference 2015

 I am attending the Riding the Wave of Change conference in Gimli, Manitoba.  It has been an inspiring and productive day of professional learning. 

We kicked off the conference with an engaging keynote from Richard Byrne,a teacher and notable edublogger at

Richard shared many good points about teaching students in a hyper-connected world.  This quote that he shared really resonated with me:

Richard also shared some tools that can be useful in the classroom: 
Run a backchannel or chat room with
Contribute local wildlife photos to
Learn and practice vocabulary with this student-developed tool

I also attended a great presentation by Darren Kuropatwa today.  There were several parts of his presentation that made me think deeply about our connected world and how we can use technology to empower people and make a positive contribution. 

Some important points that resonated with me:

"Citizenship isn’t just what we should NOT DO.  It’s thinking about how we can make a positive contribution." 
 - Darren Kuropatwa

  • The internet does not forget.  For example, websites like document the history of the web.  That means that even websites which are now taken down can be viewed.  
    • The internet can empower you.
    • Choose what you share in the digital world.  What are you good at?  How can you help a problem?  How can you share your passion in a positive way?   How can you make a difference?  
  • Here are some examples of people sharing their passions and talents
      • Sean Quigley - sharing his musical talents "Little Drummer Boy"
      • Maria Aragaon - sharing her musical talents performing Born This Way (Cover) by Lady Gaga
Darren shared two powerful videos that got me thinking:

Can we autocorrect humanity?    You do have a choice (about how and when you use technology and about what kind of citizen you are in this world).  "You need not delete your social networks or destroy your cell phones, the message is simple, be balanced, be mindful, be present, be here. :)" -Prince Ea

The Kindness Boomerang watch how one act of kindness can lead to another.  This video definitely made me feel happy and it made me appreciate the kind, supportive students, families and community members that I'm fortunate to work with!

I also checked out a variety of cool (and useful!) tools in Lori Emilson's session today: