Saturday, June 23, 2012

Internet Safety

In my quest to become better about teaching my firsties about internet safety, I came across the following article, How to Teach Internet Safety to Younger Elementary Students. The author has a nice lesson plan included and also references a BrainPop video on internet safety

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Skype projects-part 2

Who says collaboration can't happen across states? As I've mentioned before, my class had several wonderful Skype partners this year, but Mrs. Christian and I definitely found a special relationship (are you blushing yet my friend??) From all of our collaborations came an opportunity for Mrs. C to present at a technology conference for her district on the topic of Skype. Needless to say, I will be joining her on this adventure to talk about our collaborations. Unfortunately, I do not have a plane ticket to Texas (can't say I didn't try) and so I will be joining her via Skype tomorrow morning. I am very excited to share our very special adventure with those that attend and hope that it will spark the imaginations of others to venture out and find a global connection.

I blogged last time about a Skype project that I recently did with our high school pre-calc class. Today I'd like to tell you a bit about the project... warning... this will likely turn into a novel. Skype Money Match is what we called our project and this is how it worked. The objective of this project was to give my students additional practice creating money amounts using coins.

First, each of my 1st grade students received a money bag with the following coins... 1 quarter, 4 nickels, 2 dimes, and 4 pennies. Prior to our Skype call I wrote down several amounts that could be made with the coins that we had. 

The rules of the game were simple...  both groups were told the amount of money they needed to make. My students used their coins to create the amount in any way they could. A correct answer earned them a small Starburst candy. The high school math students also had to create the amount, however, they did not have coins to use nor did they know which coins or how many of each coin we had.  After my students were done creating the amount, one of the high school students share with us how they chose to create the amount. For each 1st grader that made it the same way, the high school student earned a small Starburst candy. I have 15 children in my class so the high school students had the potential of earning 15 pieces. My kiddos caught on quickly and soon realized that when making 25cents, a quarter would be too easy for our buddies to figure out and so they began to get more and more creative with how they built their amounts. This was a great way to get my students to challenge themselves. Our buddies also began to rise to the challenge and after several amounts began to realize that they needed to be more creative with the way they were putting their amounts together as well. As an added incentive, our buddy teacher, Mr. J, showed us his large bucket of Starburst candies and told us that whatever his students didn't win, he would send over to us. In the end we outsmarted our buddies and ended up getting a large bowl of additional candies which we then used as part of our fraction lesson for the day. 
Overall it was a wonderful experience that totally met the objective that I had for my kiddos and created a wonderful global learning experience for both groups of students. 
Want to know more? Feel free to contact me for specifics.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Skype Projects

What a great year of Skype'ing (not sure if that's a word, but for the purpose of this post it's going to be)  My class has been very fortunate this year to have made several contacts throughout the year. Our main contact was with Mrs. Christian's 1st grade class in Texas. I still giggle at the way our meeting came to be through a connection from this blog (Mrs. C- I'm so glad that you sent that original email!) From that initial contact a friendship grew and a Skype opportunity arose. Our classes Skype'd on the average once every week or every other week. We shared what we were learning, read our writing to each other and even attempted to hatch chicks via Skype. We even sent a couple of projects via Snail Mail. It was a wonderful experience and one which my kiddos and I thoroughly enjoyed. It was amazing how fast my kiddos could move if they heard the Skype tones ringing!

Another opportunity arose from a student in my class whose dad is a math teacher at our high school. She wanted to Skype with her dad but I wanted to be sure we had a purpose to our contact. Her dad contacted me about a problem-based learning unit he was doing with his pre-calc class and asked if we would like to be a part of it. Our job was to measure the length, width, and height the box in centimeters and then to report our information via Skype to his class. It was a great way for us to practice our measuring skills and to make the initial contact. Notice I said initial, from here, everything spiraled into a 4th quarter friendship. My student wrote a thank you to her dad's class, in turn a few of his kids wrote back to her which then turned into his whole class wanting to write to my class. Needless to say our one-time only Skype session turned into so much more. Our classes were writing letters back and forth to each other, we got to meet each other in person and do math together, and Mr. J and I were working to figure out new ways to connect our classes via Skype. Two of the projects we came up with were: Skype Money Match and Polygon Pictionary. The Money Match game was thought up after his students walked down to meet us in person (our schools are just a few blocks away from each other) and on their way back they (all juniors and seniors) were discussing what their buddies were good at and what they felt they needed more help with. 
Seeing as it's getting late, I will write about the projects and how they worked in my next post tomorrow night.