Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Motorcycles and Philanthropy

This week our class was surprised by yet another Mystery Speaker. This week's speaker combined a passion for Harley Davidson with a desire to help others in a unique combination of hobby and philanthropy. The speaker, and his small motorcycle crew, shared special memories from their lives as motorcycle riders and talked about the importance of responsibility and safety that comes with owning a "bike". Then, one of the riders shared the connection they all had to Toys For Tots.  All of the riders participate in an annual motorcycle ride that collects tons of toys for Chicagoland children that aren't fortunate enough to get toys as gifts during the holiday season. 

A big thanks to this week's Mystery Speaker for taking the time to visit our school and share some experiences and information about his life.  We have only one Mystery Speaker left for this school year! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

One Room Schoolhouse

Recently, our class took a trip to The Grove in Glenview, Illinois.  The bus ride was like traveling through time because when students exited the bus, they were whisked back to Illinois life in 1862.  The morning was spent in a one room school house learning the way prairie children did; reciting their ABCs, writing with quills and being disciplined by the schoolmarm.  The afternoon was spend learning the tools and trade of building a prairie home and managing chores on the homestead.  It was a fantastic trip full of learning experiences and Illinois History.  Click the links below to read some student reflections from the day and watch the video clip from the one room schoolhouse.   

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Final Month

As we continue to get taunted by the sunshine and warm weather days, the countdown to summer continues.  With the turn of a new month, some student projects come to an end and others begin.  Poetry packets were a great success and children were all given an opportunity to share one of their favorites with the class during our mini "poetry-slam."  Children were also able to celebrate the completion of another final project when the announcement was made about our Global Virtual Classroom website.  Click here to see the announcement or click the "GVC" tab at the top of the blog to find out more.  It was definitely a great learning experience!

Another great learning experience came from our most recent Mystery Speaker.  He spoke about his career as an engineer and the process of building a structure.  He used good analogies about things familiar to fourth graders to connect planning, designing and construction of a modern building; like one of his most recent projects at Argonne National Laboratory.  Check out a time-lapse video of the work siteAfter the presentation students were prompted to write about the planning process of something they have done in their life.  It was surprising to me how many of them wrote about projects they had to develop for school, such as student businesses and performances.  A big Thank You to our Mystery Speaker for taking time out of his work schedule to share experiences and knowledge with our fourth graders! 

A "Mystery Speaker" guides students through the process of constructing a building from scratch.