Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lucky Charms Graphing

Another wonderful year of participating in the St. Patrick's Day LUcky Charms graphing project hosted by Projects by Jen.

We worked hard to find out how many marshmallows were in a box of Lucky Charms. We made predictions and shared them with a Mrs. DeGroot's class (@mrsdegrootclass) class in Iowa via our Twitter feed. We then began sorting, counting, and graphing our results. When we finished we added up the total for each of the marshmallow shapes and were quite surprised by our results. Our original job was to find out if there were more hats (clovers) than any other marshmallow in the box. We not only found that to be true, but were surprised at how few we had of some of the other shapes that were in a our box. (We had an XL Sam's Club sized box)

These were our results from our box
of Lucky Charms
Later in the afternoon, we participated in a Google Hangout with Mrs. DeGroot's class to share and compare our results with theirs. Mrs. DeGroot was not able to find the same size box as we had so she bought 2 small boxes to equal the same size as our box. Would you believe that they had more marshmallows in almost every single category and that they had 200 more marshmallows all together?? We had a pretty interesting discussion after our Google Hangout about why this might be. 

We also thought we should write to General Mills to tell them about our results and ask them why the same size boxes (technically) would have such a discrepency in the number of marshmallows. My class decided that they want to buy their Lucky Charms in Iowa from now on. 
Mrs. DeGroot tweeted about our
Google Hangout call on Twitter

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Padlet Boards and Guided Reading- Easy Peasy

Sorry I have been missing for a few weeks, tons of things going on here that have kept me away from blogging. I'll write more about that another time though.

Last year, I wrote about the website Padlet  (for those old enough to remember, Padlet is the old Wallwisher site) and how we utilized this site during our study of organisms (you can read the post here). Since then I've branched out and utilized this wonderful tool in many different ways, both in the classroom and professionally.
This site can easily and seamlessly embed into so many facets of your curriculum. Currently I am using it with my higher guided reading groups as a way to monitor understanding through questioning. My kiddos are loving it! I find that it empowers my kiddos as it gives each of them a chance to express themselves.

Padlet is EXTREMELY easy to use and you can easily have a board up and running within 10 minutes the first time you try. (I've use it enough now that I can easily get a board up and running with minutes) If you've never used Padlet before, I have a Padlet board with tutorials, tips, and classroom ideas located here. Feel free to check it out. I'll be blogging in more detail about it soon, but this will get you started.

QR code in front cover of books
Back to Padlet and guided reading groups. So here's how I am using it and managing it with my groups. Once your board is created, Padlet gives you a url (which you can customize) as well embed codes and even a QR code. I simply printed off the QR codes and taped them to the inside cover of my books so I can use it year after year (you can clear the sticky notes off your Padlet board without having to recreate the board) I also added the url in case families don't have a QR reader. To give parents another option I also added the url to my classroom blog on my reading groups page (great way to get families to the blog as well as empowering my kiddos once again to navigate on their own- they handle all of these way independently. Amazing! If you'd like check it our for yourself, click here

Student adding his question to our Padlet
When our group meets, my kiddos bring along their iPads and either scan the QR code or access it through our classroom blog which have saved as an icon on our iPads (again, easy access!) This literally takes them 30 seconds or less. We start our group time by looking at the Padlet and talking about any new questions that were posted or any information that I have added. We then read and discuss 2-4 pages of the next chapter together and also add any questions that they have. After our group time, they have the option to go and find a quiet spot to continue reading and posting their questions if they'd like, otherwise, their homework is to finish the chapter(s) at home and if it's ok with mom and dad, to add their questions to the Padlet from home. I sent a note to parents about the site, how we were using it and directions on how to access it ahead of time. I also told parents that if they were not comfortable having their child access from home, that I totally understood (I mean, we are 1st graders) and that their child would not be penalized. They still have opportunity to use it with me here at school. 
Our current Padlet board for Mummies in the Morning
Here's the BEST PART though... as they post their questions, I can post examples of vocab that they are unsure of or leave them with another thought to ponder. In the example above, one of my boys was wondering what hieroglyphs were so I was able to embed a picture to show him. In or previous book, they wondered what a whinny was. Again, I was able to go out and find an audio clip and post it to the board so they could experience it first hand. This was so much more valuable than me simply saying it's a sound that a horse makes. Horses make lots of different sounds... which one would be in their mind? On that note, it is great for ELL students as it gives them direct experiences, visual and auditory, with vocabulary and concepts.

Using Padlet has really brought this group to life. In a typical group situation we still would have talked and shared our questions, but some kiddos wouldn't have had the opportunity to share due to time limitations, shyness or other group members monopolizing the time. ;-)  Using Padlet has empowered all my students to share and has given them the voice that they possibly didn't have before. I has been a wonderful tool!  Another perk... this past week I was gone on a tech visit to Minnesota. My students were really bummed but when I told them that their group would still meet and that I would be checking in from MN they were totally WOWed. I was able to read their questions and post my own responses. 

Whew! That was a long post! Congrats if you've made it this far! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.  Have some other ways that YOU'VE used Padlet in your class? Please post below so we can all learn from each other.