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!