Friday, March 22, 2019

Polygons and Quadrilaterals and Cubes oh my!

Students have been working hard all week learning how to
recognize and draw shapes according to their attributes.  We started
off with students working in groups to explore how they can sort a bunch
of shapes into categories.

After some time, we discussed our findings. We built a classroom
anchor chart with things we noticed about the different shapes. While
guiding them through, we discovered polygons and non polygons.
Now that the students had mathematical language to describe
polygons (closed, flat and straight sides) they went back to their
table teams to sort the shapes.

The next day, after a quick review, students received a card with a shape
for a quiz quiz trade. They had to state if the card was a polygon or
non polygon and why.  

It was then time for a mini lesson where students identified triangles, quadrilaterals,
pentagons, hexagons, and octagons. We noticed that shapes have the same
number of sides and angles! It was fun seeing the different ways we can draw
shapes even though they drew a shape with the same number of sides and angles.

Next we took a deeper dive into quadrilaterals. We learned the attributes of
a square, rectangle, trapezoid and parallelogram! We had some great
discussions realizing that a square is a rectangle, however a rectangle is not a square!   

It was time to relate a square to a cube! We saw how we could build a 3D
shape using squares. Students were mixed together by finding a partner
with the same shape they were given. They were given toothpicks and
some modeling clay to create a cube. After they figured out to construct
the cube, they saw how the cube had 6 faces, 12 edges and 8 vertices!

Lastly, students were then able to give their partner a shape and
they figured out how to build that shape using the toothpicks and clay.

Who knew that learning about the attributes of shapes could be so much fun!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The American Revolution

During reading, fourth grade has been learning how to read history as part of our nonfiction unit. Our whole unit has been focused on the American Revolution, from the events that led to the beginning of the revolution to how the revolution ended. Students have been working in research partnerships and in larger groups. Each partnership was responsible for researching two different subtopics, one before 1775 and one after 1775.

Throughout the unit we talked extensively about looking at history from different perspectives. We focused primarily on the point of view of the patriots versus the point of view of the loyalists. Many partnerships decided to look at their events from these two sides.

Students have now taken all that they have learned and prepared a Google Slides presentation that they will share with the third graders tomorrow. We discussed what kind of information belongs on a slide and how we never want to overwhelm our learners with just words. Throughout the unit students have been very attentive and focused on their audience. They can’t wait to share all of their knowledge tomorrow!   

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Iditarod---and a Four-Legged-Friend!

You will never believe the experience we had in the First Grade Puppy Pound today!

We have been tracking the Iditarod sled race over the past couple of weeks. The Iditarod is a race that began as the solution to an epidemic. The town of Nome was hit with the illness, diphtheria in 1925. If medicine did not reach the people in Nome, Alaska in time, children would die from diphtheria. So, an idea was born. They called a meeting and decided that they would do an Alaskan dog sled relay. The medicine would be transported by each team for one leg of the trip, until it finally reached the town of Nome. The relay began, and thanks to the dedication, perseverance, and heart of the teams, the medicine reached the townspeople and many lives were saved.

Today, the race is run as a symbol of this first great race. In first grade, we follow the Iditarod and track our mushers progress along the trail. The students love seeing the progress their mushers make, and they love to see pictures, news updates or articles about the dogs on the trail.

We couldn´t have been luckier to actually see a real Siberian Husky in person today at Goodrich School. We had a presentation from Carol Preble, who has been to Alaska numerous times over the years, and has first hand experience in the race. She brought a racing sled, the supplies that are needed for the long trip, and amazing photographs that captured every leg of the trip and all of the behind the scenes footage that occurs on the trail. And most importantly, she brought a sled dog! Flint was so cute, obedient and the very best visitor! A special thanks to the Goodrich PTO for providing this opportunity for us! Check out the amazing pictures below!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Leprechaun Hunt


We have so much fun with our 6th grade buddies every week.  The past few weeks in March we have learned a bit about St. Patrick's Day, but we were most interested in leprechauns.  A few books we read have told us that leprechauns spend time making and mending shoes and guarding their pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  Well, in kindergarten we were very curious about the pot of gold!  How can we get our hands on this pot of gold?

We also learned that if a human catches a leprechaun they will exchange three wishes for their freedom.  Three wishes seemed even better than a pot of gold.  We made a rainbow craft with our buddies and listed our three wishes and our buddy's three wishes on the colors of the rainbow.  Now that we have all of our wishes planned out we just need to catch a leprechaun!

Our buddies came today with some clues that the leprechaun left for them (or that the 6th graders' wrote for us.) Together we read the clues which led us to six different locations.  In each place, there was a bucket of different colored coins red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  As we collected our colorful coins, we thought we were getting close to catching the leprechaun, but we still couldn't find him.  In the end we found that he had tricked us which is another characteristic of leprechauns!  They are very sneaky and mischievous, so while we read all the clues and were looking for him all over the school he was actually long gone.  However, he was nice enough to leave a bit of his gold.  If we found all the colors of the rainbow for his clues we each could keep a piece of gold that he left behind!

Monday, March 18, 2019

How Can We Help?

At Goodrich, each grade level is focusing on a Service Learning Project this year. Service Learning is connecting school curriculum and standards with an authentic community need. Simply put, we are trying to teach our students the importance of servicing our community, while also providing meaningful learning experiences in and out of the classroom for them.

This year in 2nd grade, the students as a team decided they want to learn more about people with disabilities, and help educate others. While I can't tell you what our end project is yet (we will share once it is complete!), we have provided many learning experiences thus far that our students have taken part in to help them understand the importance of the topic.

Through a variety of different activities and experiences, students have come to the conclusion that they want to educate other people in our community about the importance of understanding people who are different than you, and also advocate for those who have different needs than us. We were lucky enough to have two guest speakers to answer any questions that our students had, and help set them on a path of discovery.

Our first guest speaker was Ms. Pelc, another teacher at Goodrich. Ms. Pelc was kind enough to come into our class and explain her disability to our students. We learned that some things are difficult for her, but we also learned how and when we can step in to help. Students asked AMAZING and thoughtful questions, which was incredible to see. They are truly interested and care for Ms. Pelc, and it has been great to see their greater awareness of others throughout the school day.

Our second guest speaker was Miss Lee. She is a teacher at another school in our district, and she was kind enough to Skype with our 2nd graders to answer questions about her classroom. She teaches students with learning differences, and based on everything our 2nd graders have learned so far, they had many questions for Miss Lee about how she helps her students learn. We were so impressed by the thoughtful and in-depth questions and suggestions that our students brought up, and we look forward to sharing our next steps with you!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

March Madness- Vocab. Edition

As teachers, we are always looking for engaging ways for students to be aware of the words they read and hear in order to build their vocabulary. If they come across an unfamiliar word, they need strategies to figure out the meaning. One way that students can figure out the meaning of unknown words is by looking at word parts such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots.

March Madness in 6th grade is focusing on prefixes and suffixes. Each week students are assigned a new word part. They meet with the teacher so they are clear on the meaning, then throughout the week, their task is to find as many words as they can that contain that prefix or suffix. The word can be in the reading as well as seen or heard around them. Once they come across a word, they must define it and be ready to share it on our board. The next week they receive a new word part to learn and search for.

The goal is that students become aware that these word parts are all around them and can be used as clues when tackling unknown words.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Music for a Day...

My teaching partner (Sarah) and I got to co-teach music for a day!
We both have student teachers so we were able to leave them in
charge and come in and check on them throughout the day.
What is even more hilarious, is that neither one of us can
carry a tune and we are both really loud. Not a great combination
for music teachers!
The music teacher left amazing plans otherwise we would have
playing Name that Tune compliments of ITunes.
It started with the kinders. Three 25 minutes classes in a row, back to back,
no break, no bathroom, no coffee. Thank goodness there were 2 of us.
The music teacher provided a sing- a -long cd. I caught myself singing along
to some of my favorites!
I got to teach my first grade class which they thought was funny.
They had to play a musical memory game which I was quite
impressed how they knew about the woodwinds and brass instruments.

Since it is Friday, they play Freeze Dance Friday. Sarah and I wanted to join in the fun, so we had a first grader run the music and another one video us
dancing with the class. Well, when the music stopped, I could not
keep my balance, and I fell and obviously was out. The whole class
reminded me of that!

Then we ended the day with two 5th grade classes which were former
1st graders. They let us sing the kindergarten hello song to
them–and we still got it wrong. The 5th graders were good
sports and let us be silly
with them as most were our former students.
Our student teachers got valuable time in the classroom, even though
we were a door away, Sarah and I got to connect with former students
and hang out with each other and we gained a new respect
and are in awe of our wonderful music teacher!
I wonder where what our next assignment will be?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Hands-On Learning

Last week we began our math unit on geometry.  In the coming weeks, the students will work with two- and three-dimensional figures.  They will build on their understanding of area and volume.

To begin the unit, the students explored the concept of volume and learned that it is measured by cubic units.  I began by building rectangular prisms using centimeter cubes. The students were able to count the cubes to determine the volume of the figure.  They also understood the relationship between the area of the base layer and the volume of the figure. The number of layers, or height of the figure, did not change the base of the rectangular prism, just the volume.

The students then expanded their understanding by building their own rectangular prisms.  
Pairs of students were given a set of task cards that asked them to build different prisms based on provided characteristics. Both partners built a rectangular prism based on the given attributes, but the students quickly realized that there could be more than one correct answer. This activity prompted great discussions among the students. Students realized that given dimensions lead to one correct prism, but that a given volume led to multiple figures with different dimensions.

At the end of this activity students were able to identify the formulas used to figure out volume.  It was much more meaningful for students to identify the relationship themselves, rather than having it given to them.  Things don’t always go exactly as planned, but this did, and it proved to be a great learning opportunity for the students!

Sunday, March 10, 2019



Third graders have been practicing various math computation skills throughout the year. We have even introduced the use of parentheses and basic order of operations. We have practiced problems on paper, using our whiteboards, and on the computer with a variety of websites. This year, with the help of Mrs. Sayre, third grade students were able to work together to solve problems and then determine how to break the code and unlock a series of locks on their locked box.

After solving each math problems, students had to work with their group to try and figure out each code. Some problems had to be put into sequential order, while some used a decoder to determine the lock combination.

Working with small groups gave each child the opportunity to be heard, as well as helped to develop important social skills such as taking turns, allowing others to attempt to find a solution, and knowing when to help or when to let your teammate struggle. The students were all able to breakout and earned a small prize once the box was opened! Success for everyone!