Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Seed Project 2012

My class participated in The Pumpkin Seed Project 2012.  This is the second Projects by Jen we have been involved in. We did the Oreo Project last month. These projects are fun because they require a lot of hands-on activity and the teacher can create lessons around the project to fit the curriculum and the needs of the students.

The O.R.E.O. Project – which stands for Our Really Exciting Online Project – is hosted by Jen Wagner, a teacher in Southern California. This will be her 14th year of hosting this project. Since 1999, students from every state in the US, almost every Canadian province, and several other countries have participated in this project and submitted their results online to share with each other.

Following a set of rules, each student has 2 chances to stack as many Oreos as they can. After every participant recorded their stack counts, we took everyone’s highest count and averaged them together for ONE CLASS AVERAGE. We submitted this class average and became part of a word-wide average

Besides stacking Oreos, we timed how long it took to lick the cream center out of the middle of the Oreo. Our fastest time was 1 minute 11 seconds. After making a class graph, the students created word problems about graph. We also used our communication skills by sharing the experience with another class via Skype.  

The Pumpkin Seed Project uses estimating, skip counting, sensory, fine motor, and critical thinking skills. The students estimated how many seeds are in a 5 pound pumpkin. After estimating the number of seeds, they dug out all of the seeds and counted them.  We used a sheet of paper with circles drawn on them. They placed ten seeds in each circle, which made it easy to count the seeds by 10's.  We made a class graph and then created questions and statements about the graph. We also used descriptive writing to describe how the inside of the pumpkin felt.

We submitted our results to Jen and became part of a country-wide pumpkin seed count!

Pumpkin Seed Project 2012 on PhotoPeach

For more information and a list of projects for 2012-13 please visit Projects by Jen

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Great Books for October

Tonight during #2ndchat Twitter Chat, some of the participants recommended their favorite books for this time of year.

Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott 
(recommended by @GeorgetteNairn)

The Widow's Broom by Chris Van Allsburg 
(recommended by @missmac100)

Shake Dem Halloween Bones by W. Nikola-Lisa 

Velcome by Kevin O'Malley

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat by Lucille Colandro 

What are your favorite books for October?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Special Visit from and Author and an Illustrator

On Monday, Susan Steven Crummel and Janet Stevens visited our school. These sisters are award-winning authors of popular books such as Cook-a-Doodle-Doo, And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, My Big Dog, and The Little Red Pen (check out my Shelfari on the right side-bar for more titles).
They were so fun and engaging! A lot of students got to go up front and pretend to be book characters. Other students performed Reader's Theater scripts of Shoe Town and Tumbleweed Stew.  A reporter from the Fort Worth Star Telegram was there too. The story was in the newspaper with a quote from The Frugal Teacher! Click HERE to read the story.
The visit was funded with a Target Arts, Culture, and Design Grant  our school received in August. Every student in the school (Pre-k-4th) attended 1 of 3 sessions. The sisters were great performers and kept even the youngest audience members engaged. Their goal is to encourage and inspire students to write their own stories and create artwork: The more you practice, the better you get!  Mrs. Crummel also stressed important writing skills like organization, character development, details, plot, conflict, and resolution. As a result of their day-long visit we now have a common school-wide language to use with our students when teaching writing or making connections in reading. We also have 3 beautiful new pieces of original Janet Stevens artwork to adorn the walls of our library!  For more information visit Mrs. Crummel's website.
Mrs. Crummel was my 9th grade geometry teacher. She was also one of my favorite teachers.
Janet Steven creates the artwork for the books. The bears she drew for us will be framed and placed in the library. She encouraged our students to use the bears as inspiration for a story.
Some of the 2nd grade students got to act out The Little Red Pen by wearing silly hats and saying some of the dialogue. 
This student pretended to be Mr. Mutt from Help Me, Mr. Mutt!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book Review - Tale of a Baseball Dream

Tale of a Baseball Dream by Jerry Pearlman is a great read-aloud for elementary age students. I can't wait to read it to my 2nd graders while the World Series is taking place later this month! 

Summary: Tale of a Baseball Dream is the fictitious inspirational story of Dusty Hunter, a young boy who loved to play baseball. Dusty had an incredibly strong desire to become a great baseball player, even though he was undersized, and faced many challenges and disappointments. The story evolves to entwine Dusty's life, with "The Legend of Bubba 'The Brute' Brugosee," who was considered many decades earlier, as "The Greatest Baseball Hero of All Time!" Truly an exciting baseball story for the dreamer in everyone!

A Quick Read: I started reading this book on a Saturday morning and read it off and on throughout the day. I was finished by evening.  This will make a great read aloud over the course of a week.

The Plan: 
  • Read the book to my students over the course of a week (it has 88 pages, so I will read about 20 pages per day)
  • Students will keep track of the characters, setting, and main ideas in their writing journals
  • Students will summarize each reading and pose any questions they may have from the daily reading.
  • Students will post interesting words on our Daily 5 Cafe Menu.
  • Students will generate discussion and questions about the story on their Kidblogs.
  • Students will use a Think, Tac, Toe to select and create products to show what they have they have learned. 
Teachable Moments and Big Ideas:
  • Hard work = Success
  • The more you practice, the better you get
  • Don't give up
  • Little things make a big difference

Vocabulary Words:
pop up
Think, Tac, Toe
Tale of a Baseball Dream by Jerry Pearlman

For the plans and the Think, Tac, Toe please click HERE.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Life Cycle of a Snowman 2012

Last year I created a snowman for my classroom and it was a huge success! This year I made 2 snowmen for our entire 2nd grade. All of the students enjoyed watching their snowman change throughout the day. I put the full instructions and the recording page on a Google Document. 
For full instructions and the recording sheet click HERE.
First, I filled balloons with water and froze them.
Lay a plate on top to create a flat surface
Next, after they were frozen, I stacked them. The biggest on the bottom, medium in the middle, and the smallest on top. I used some salt to help the ice stick together. Finally, I added some cut out felt pieces for the eyes, nose, mouth and buttons!
Using salt helps melt the ice a little and create a rough surface for adhesion.

The 3 States of Matter

In the morning, the students named the snowman and predicted what would happen to it by the end of the day. Throughout the day we watched as the snowman changed from solid to liquid as the ice melted.
Our snowman's head fell off while we were at lunch . We also measured the water throughout the day and saw how the  water rose as the snowman melted.
At the end of the day, I put the remains of our snowman in a electric skillet and turned it into a gas!
Using an electric skillet allowed the snowman to melt more quickly. Once the water in the pan came to a boil we were able to see the gas as evaporation occurred!
The students recorded what they saw and drew pictures in the morning, after lunch, and at the end of the day. It was a fun way to learn about the 3 states of matter. There were  many opportunities to talk about how the atoms were staying still or moving in each state. This song by They Might Be Giants is an excellent visual for this concept. We also added hand and body motions. 
We ended our day by discussing how we could use this information in every day situations and we created a question.

**Check out this awesome sequencing activity page 
created by Lauren Lynes!