Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April Showers

It certainly has been a month full of rain... and sleet, and drizzle, and hail... and, yes, some snow.  But one great thing about learning is that it is not dependent upon the weather.  Actually, extreme weather conditions allow for some very unique, and often timely, learning opportunities.  It does however hamper our outdoor recess time, which is a necessity during these spring days!

The classroom has been swirling with poetry this month.  As April is National Poetry Month, all fourth graders have been working on creating an individual poetry booklet.  Each booklet will have eight unique, original poems and two poems from professional poets.  Students have been sharing poems with each other aloud in class and in written form on Edmodo.  If you would like to see a collection of class poems, ask your child to log into Edmodo and share some with you.  The cumulative assessment for the poetry unit will be a published poetry booklet due at the end of the month.  

In conjunction with our poetry unit, we just finished reading Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.  It was a short novel told from the perspective of a student learning and growing as a young poet.  Much of the discussion spurred from the book was focused on interpreting poems and reactions of students to the development of the main character as a poet.  Check out the neat little book trailer here. 

Our most recent shake-up to the traditional walls of school learning was a trip to Argonne National LaboratoryThis was a fantastic field trip full of opportunities for children to not only see first hand demonstrations of applications for liquid nitrogen, such as superconductivityStudents were able to construct the colors of the visible spectrum through the testing of items in a photospectrometer.  Below you will see a clip of students pedaling on an energy bicycle designed.  The bike was an opportunity for students to experience the amount of energy required to illuminate different kinds of light bulbs and a hair dryer. The kids  had excellent behavior and enjoyed the trip tremendously! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

GVC - The Final Product

After a week of rest and relaxation our first day back was chalk full of energy and conversations about all the great things students did with time away from school.  It was great to see many of them staying "connected" through Edmodo.  With families traveling and others keeping busy, or just taking it easy in Oak Park, everyone had an opportunity to communicate with each other via our online learning community.  Most of the conversations were about entertainment things like movies and TV shows while others were offering detailed comments about unique experiences.  It is really amazing how quickly fourth graders can learn to harness an online tool for keeping in touch.

Staying in the "connected" world, our Global Virtual Classroom project and contest has come to an end.  If you thought fourth graders communicating together online was impressive, have a look at the website they created with students from Shumway Elementary School in Chandler, Arizona.  The theme for our research and web design was Numbers.  Students from both classrooms investigated the world around them to learn about the overwhelming presence and significance of numbers.  Both groups of students worked very hard and should be commended for their efforts.  Please visit our webpage to see the final product.  A big THANK YOU to our partners in Arizona for their collaboration!