Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Understanding Differences

As part of our weekly all school class meetings on Wednesday afternoons, the classes on Team Kit Kat had a special opportunity to learn more about understanding and appreciating differences. Mrs. Vosburg, our autistic support consultant, came in to teach our classes a little bit about autism and how kids who have autism are different than us. We were really interested to learn that sometimes our friends with autism have one of their 5 senses that works differently! Maybe things sound extra loud or things that taste yummy to us taste yucky for them. We imagined that it would be really hard having things look, smell, sound, taste and feel so differently.

Mrs. Vosburg also taught us there is a 6th sense!! It is called your social sense, and this sense helps you understand people and how they are feeling even if they don't use words. She told us that our friends with autism sometimes don't have that 6th sense so they have to learn it to understand how people are feeling. We imagined that must be really hard if you can't understand how people are feeling and have to wait for them to tell you. It can make for challenging situations.

We learned a lot from Mrs. Vosburg, and she shared that she has even more to teach us! We're excited that she's willing to come in and talk with us so that we can understand and be friends with all of the kids in our classes, on our team, and in our school.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Our Promise

As I mentioned earlier this week we spent several days talking about Bear Creek's Code of Conduct and what exactly it means to us. We talked about what a code is (a promise), and we discussed that conduct is another way to say how you act. Each of us picked one of the words in our promise and drew a picture showing what it meant to us. Here are many of the ways we plan on keeping our promise this year:

The Scientific Process

You might remember reading about how we worked with Mrs. Towsen's class to learn how scientists use observations and inferences to help them learn more about the world around them. These last few days we added another step to our learning about the scientific process: making a hypothesis.

When scientists like us make a hypothesis, they tell you about the research question, what they think will happen, and why they think it will happen. This means that all hypotheses should include an if, a then, and a because. To learn more about making a hypothesis we did a really fun experiment with gummy bears! Our hypotheses started like this:

If you put a gummy bear in water and leave it there over night then....... because.....

Our class was split into 5 groups, and each group got 5 gummy bears: red, orange, green, yellow, and clear. Some of us predicted the gummy bears would grow larger, while other groups predicted the bears would disintegrate (Yep! we even used that word!) in the water. Some groups also talked about the fact that the bears would change color in addition to changing size.

It ended up being a messy, oozy experiment because our bears definitely changed in just one day. We used our senses (with the exception of taste!) to think about how the bears were different, and our teams took measurements when we could to prove our observations with data. This experiment helped us see how important observations are when we are trying to prove or disprove a hypothesis.

Check out some pictures as we collected information to find out if our hypotheses were correct!

Wow! It was easy to observe how the gummy bears changed size just by looking at them!

EWWWW! Our sense of touch told us they got very slimy!

We still tried to measure them very carefully so we had data to support our observations.

And then we recorded the results along with our observations.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Our New Class Pet

Well, technically he's not really our class pet because he never came in the room today, but Peter the Praying Mantis gave us a lot to talk about this morning when he hung out on our windows for about an hour!

We are so lucky that our school is in such a unique location that we can see all of these amazing creatures right outside our window!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Right Into the Swing of Things

We jumped right into our regular routine and got back into the swing of things now that we have a full week and no testing! Well, at least we don't have any standardized, bubble tests. Tomorrow we will all be doing our DIBELS check up, and today we took our spelling inventories. Mrs. Bair and the other teachers on our team will use this information to determine reading clinics for BEAR time and our word groups during Daily 5 time.

Our class started working on our first technology project today! We each drew a picture to show one way we can follow the Code of Conduct (did you know that Code of Conduct means promise of behavior?), and today Mrs. Bair recorded us sharing what our picture was about. Look for that video here on our blog later this week! The pictures are hanging on our cupboards to remind us about our promise.

One group brainstorming ideas for our pictures
After we finished our videos, we practice our Daily 5 and started talking about becoming professional writers although it was definitely a different start. Mrs. Bair had us try to put puzzles together, but our puzzles were missing pieces! Can you believe she would trick us like that? But she showed us how trying to put together a puzzle without all the pieces is like trying to write without all of the parts you need for a sentence. Tomorrow we're going to start learning more about those parts. This is us trying to put our puzzles together:

As if that wasn't exciting enough, we got together with Mrs. Towsen's class and continued to work on practicing our observation and inferencing skills. Did you know scientists have to use their senses and pay very close attention to details to try and figure things out? We're starting to realize that after we've spent two days working on some Mystery Boxes. Each box is wrapped, and we have no idea what's inside of it. We have to use our sight, smell, touch and hearing to figure out what we *think* is in the box. Mrs. Bair and Mrs. Towsen might reveal the contents on Thursday! Here are some pictures of us as scientists in action!

It was a busy and fun day! We can't wait to see what's in store for us tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

4-Sight Testing & Free Bear

If your child comes home tonight and tell you that we took a big test today, please don't panic! You didn't miss a homework assignment, and there was nothing to study at home. This morning we took our first 4-Sight test, a predictor test that tells us how we might expect a child to score on the PSSA. More importantly it tells us the focus areas your child needs to focus on to be successful in fourth grade. This is just one of the many measures that our team will be using to determine what skills to teach this year.

The great news is that everybody worked really hard, nobody got frustrated (which is awesome for a test like this on the 6th day of school!), and we saw some well-thought-out math strategies being used. The other great news is that after a long test we got to have our first Free Bear time today! Friends from our class tried out the foreign language club, played games in the gym, watched movies, played board games, had free choice on the computer, did crafts, and went on a nature walk around the school grounds. We all had a lot of fun, and we're excited to go next week! I am going to start using Class Dojo tomorrow so hopefully nobody will get three red marks and miss out next week!

One final note - thank you to everybody for returning your beginning of the year paperwork! The office appreciates that we all got our papers in before the due date! Please remember to bring back the blue and orange forms that were in your back to school folder. These papers will help me learn more about your child, and it also lets me know that you understand our discipline and homework policies.

Thanks again for a great first cycle! I am looking forward to MANY more!