Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pumpkin Investigation - Making Predictions and Comparing Results

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Happy Fall Y'all!

I don't know about you but I do enjoy the crisp air in the autumn morning and the way the sunshine warms me up through the day.  When I was a kid, we dressed up in our Halloween costumes and paraded around the school before our classroom parties. In my part of the U.S. that is a tradition of days gone by.  No more Halloween parties for us. If you find yourself in the same boat then you know how hard it is to hold the attention of the kids who are consumed with the eagerness of heading home, dressing up, and going out to Trick-or-Treat! 

Back in 2010 I found myself in just that predicament with a group of 3rd grade students.  That's when the a-ha moment happened. Third graders learn about the parts of a plant. The pumpkin investigation was my solution.  With a few plastic table cloths from Dollar Tree to contain the mess and a pumpkin for each student, we got to work. The idea was simple. First we will estimate weight, height, and number of seeds in our pumpkins. Then I shared a method for calculating a more accurate estimate for the number of seeds.  You can see the explanation here. We used a calculator for that part because it involves multiplying the number of lines on a pumpkin by 16.  Then we weighed the pumpkins by first weighing each student without their pumpkin and then weighing the student again while they held their pumpkin. We subtracted the two weights to find the weight of each pumpkin.  Each student also measured the height of their pumpkin. Next we cut the pumpkin open and pulled the pulp and seeds out onto paper plates on the table cloths.  It was a warm afternoon and we were able to do all the messy stuff outside. Students counted the actual number of seeds in their pumpkin and we made a graph.  Finally we came up with an average number of seeds for the whole class. We also checked the research by dividing the actual number of seeds found in each pumpkin by 16 to see if the answer matched the number of lines on the pumpkin.  

I made a 4 door foldable recording sheet to help guide students in the process of recording information.  Some of my students needed extra support, so I made a version that included statements they could circle rather than requiring these students to write their own statements.

If you are interested in trying this project, you can save some time by purchasing my file. I've done a few things to improve the idea over the years, including the creation of separate pages for each step of the project with clear directions. This is great for projecting on a whiteboard.

My plan is to create a Google Sheets file where student data can be entered, resulting in real-time graph creation. I'd like to create one that is editable for individual classroom use and another that is form driven for global collaboration among classrooms that are using my file.  If you are interested in either of those options, please leave a comment below so that I can determine whether or not this idea is worth pursuing.

If you want the file, head on over to my store.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy 4th of July!

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Fireworks... picnics... parades... shopping???
How do you like to celebrate the 4th of July?

My family will be enjoying most of the above.

I've been a little busy over the past few years working on my doctorate but now that I have "finishEdD"
I have a lot more time to work on providing quality products for other teachers. 

I have been working on updating my calendar classroom packs for the new school year and although they are not all finished, now is a great time to make that purchase.  I update these products every year and once you have made the purchase, you can download the updated version each year.

If you've been eyeing some of my I have, Who has sets, I am giving these a fresh look too.

If you are like me, you are always on the lookout for a good teacher deal.
I hope you will stop by and grab some of the resources in my store while they are marked down.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Flipgrid Certified

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I am so excited to share the news.  I just became Flipgrid Certified!
Fantastic, you say?
Wow, that's great - you say?
What in the world does that mean - you say?

Let me tell you...

Flipgrid is this incredible tool that I was introduced to this past spring.  People are constantly asking me - "where do you find this stuff?"  Typically my answer is "Tweetchats."  If you don't participate in Tweetchats, you don't know what you are missing.  That's a whole other post though.

Flipgrid is a way to give your students a voice and an audience.  It is a way to hear what every student has to say about a topic.  It is a way to increase accountability.  It is a way to engage students with the multimedia that captures their attention outside of class.

Is it FREE? I know that is your next question.
Yes and no. Like all great tech, there is a free level and a paid level.  You can absolutely get by on the free level.  I sure have been.  If and when you become SOLD on the benefits of the tool, you might decide the upgrade is worth it.  I will probably utilize the resources of Donorschoose to seek funding to upgrade for the new school year. That is also a topic for another post.

How do I use it? - you ask...
Start by creating your admin account.  Add a grid. (you only get 1 for free but that is ok because you get unlimited topics) Add your first topic and then share out the code using whatever method you prefer (Google classroom, email, Twitter, Remind101, etc.)

Students use the code to join.  They record their response (up to 90 seconds) and snap a selfie.  That's it!

Here are a few of my brainstorm ideas for using this really awesome tool...
1. Student responses to center work - increase accountability while you meet with a small group.
2. Group storytelling.  The first person to record would start the story. The 2nd person continues from where the 1st left off and so on.  This way, students must watch each of the responses in front of theirs.  This idea takes a little more management because you do not want 2 people recording a response at the same time.  Try giving the code to 1 student on an index card or sticky note and having them hand it off to another student when they finish with it.
3. Reading response. So many possibilities here.  
4. Math talk.  Take it digital. Show the work you did on a dry erase board and walk us through your thinking.

I could go on and on and on.  In fact, I will probably dedicate several blog posts to specific Flipgrid topics throughout the coming school year.

Seriously, if you haven't already clicked the link I think it's time.
Go check out Flipgrid now!

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