Friday, April 17, 2015

Scratch and coding!

Solana is teaching me Scratch! She's been creating and collaborating on Scratch this year, and it keeps coming up as a recommended site for students to start learn coding. I had told myself I was going to follow Cornelius Minor's advice to sit with a student for at least a few minutes a week and ask that student to teach you something new. (Yes, I'm part of the Cornelius Minor fan club!)

Of course that was back at the TCRWP Reunion in October...somehow my once a week goal didn't get off the ground for a while. More on SMART goals to come! Here's my project: once you get started, it's hard to stop. Now I understand why I have to drag her off of it! I know it's not that impressive, but can't you see the great potential for creating with students while also addressing learning to code?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I love the way Expeditionary Learning distinguishes fieldwork from field trips. "Branching out" is one of my favorite videos highlighting an "expedition." This is what authentic learning looks like!
Fieldwork and Experts: The Branching Out Expedition at King Middle School from Expeditionary Learning on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Learning about migration

We recently visited the Liberty Science Center and saw "Flight of the Butterflies" in the center's amazing dome theater. The film dramatizes the story of how the path of the Monarch butterflies was discovered, capturing both the excitement of scientific discovery as well as giving the audience a close look at the incredible journey of the Monarch. At home, we had been noticing the Canadian geese heading north. It was a perfect time to order "Winged Migration" from Netflix. We enjoyed both the humorous as well as gorgeous images of the  migration of birds all over the world. Solana says, "Sometimes the birds, especially the storks, look like they're dancing. They jut their necks out like pigeons." A great accompaniment to this film is the award-winning picture book North: the Amazing Story of Arctic Migration with its gorgeous illustrations of "the greatest journey on earth."

The Talking Unicorn

Hi, my name is Solana and I just made a voki that I really like that I want to share with other people like you, because you're on this site, obviously, if you're reading this. My voki is a talking unicorn whose name is (what else?) The Talking Unicorn. I hope you enjoy The Talking Unicorn!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Reading Like a Historian

I used to be the one researching picture books for Solana, but on the last Scholastic books order that came in, Solana circled some great books that I hadn't read yet. In the content areas, we're always talking about ways of getting students to read like a scientist or a historian. Those Rebels, John and Tom is one of the books Solana found that is a great way to introduce students to reading like a historian. While contrasting the lives and ideas of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the author uses quotations from primary sources which are listed along with an author's note at the end of the book. The illustrations really bring the historical concepts alive. I'm always excited when I can relate children's books to books in the adult world, and I pointed out to Solana that this book is very similar to a book that I just finished reading called American Sphinx: the Character of Thomas Jefferson