Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What is #MysterySkype?

If you haven't tried Mystery Skype with your class you have got to do it! I have only done it a few times with my class but they love it! Before we started I looked around on the Internet to get ideas of how teachers organize this. I also wanted everyone to feel included so I looked for roles for the students. I found roles for my students so I thought I'd share them with you. I didn't save the link (which I can't believe) so I'll describe the roles for you.

Researcher- Does the research using laptop to answer/ask questions
Greeter- Greets the other class and welcomes them to Mystery Skype
Sharer- Shares something interesting about our school without giving away our location
Questioner- Asks the questions
Questioner's Assistant- Runs between the researchers and the questioners
Photographer- Takes pictures
Videographer- Videos
Data Enterer- Enters answers on our Google doc
Closer- Wraps up the Skype call and says thank you
Signer- Holds up signs that say "Your Turn" or "Our Turn"
Task Master- Helps monitor everyone to make sure we stay on task
Linker- Adds links to the Google doc
Google Doc Cleaner-Upper- Makes sure the information added to the Google doc is accurate
Question Focuser- Helps to make sure the questions aren't too narrow

We have been using the yes/no answer format for our Mystery Skype sessions, Each class takes turns asking yes/no questions to help determine where the other class is located. We take turns asking one question at a time.

The next time we do Mystery Skype I'm planning to distribute the iPad minis around the room so everyone can research and help answer questions. I hope this will help with the few students I have who are off task during our session.

We are also still working on how to work the Google Doc. I created a Google account for my class and set it up on all the iPad minis. That way everyone can access the Skype file we are using for the day. Right now we are still trying to figure out how to link the information we use and organize what we learn.

I must say that this whole experience has been a great learning opportunity for myself and my students. I'm amazed every time they all put their heads together to try to determine where the other class is. When we first started talking about doing this they said I wasn't allowed to talk during the Mystery Skype because they said my accent would give us away. So from the start they have done everything. I just make the call and step back and they do it all.

Do you want to schedule a Mystery Skype with us? Let me know and maybe we can set up something. I've been doing Mystery Skype with my homeroom class. However, my 2nd class wants to start doing this too so I'm looking for classrooms who are willing to Skype with either class. If you do Mystery Skype and have tips and hints to share please feel free to do so!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Week 21- Stomach Model Lab & Dividing Fractions

This week we finished up our unit on the digestive system. The kids made a stomach model. We used 1/2 of a banana and a few crackers and mushed them up in a bag. 

Then they added water with a couple of drops of food coloring. 

What resulted was our model of the stomach and the way it breaks down food for our body.

I think they were a little grossed out!

This is my favorite video for the digestive system. It shows all the yucky details and the kids love it!

We also played a math game to practice multiplying and dividing fractions.  Each group got a stack of fraction cards, a 10 sided and 4 sided dice. 

Roll the green dice- if the number is even you multiply, if it is odd you divide.
Roll the black dice to get your numbers. If you roll 1- whole number, 2-mixed number, 3 or 4- fraction. To create your mixed number roll the green dice and draw a fraction card. Create your whole number by rolling green dice. Draw a card for a fraction.  

I love seeing the groups working together to solve the math problems. 

Each group divided into 2 teams and played against each other. Everyone had to work out the problems they created because they had to check each other's answers. 

STUDENTS: What did you learn about the digestive system that you didn't already know before our unit? 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Week 20- Leaders and Digestion

I can't believe I forgot to post on the blog last week! Oh no! I guess I was so excited about going to the concert that I never even thought about it. I had tons to do before heading to Atlanta last weekend.

Janna Korak, a former MES student, came to talk to the 5th graders about becoming a leader. We love when former students come back to talk to us and share the life lessons they have learned.

This week the Kindergarten students were preparing to share their leadership notebooks with their parents during student lead conference.

The 5th graders met them in the lunchroom and the K students practiced sharing their notebooks. 

It was great getting to watch them build relationships and also we had several siblings share notebooks. My 5th graders were so tickled to get to make connections with the younger students. 

We have been learning about the digestive system so this week we did a few hands on labs. One was called esophastraws. We used straws (esophagus) and seeds (food) to show how food moves through the esophagus. 

We also did an activity where we chewed crackers for one minute and wrote words that described the taste and feel of the cracker at 15 second increments. 

I also wanted to share the fact that most of the pictures on the blog this week were taken by the photography committee in my classroom. We have been having Wednesday Morning Meetings all year and my students made a wish box. They put ideas and suggestions in the box for us to review on Wednesday. When students make a suggestion I have them share their vision with the class and we create committees. We have our committee meetings on Thursday morning. 

One suggestion was the photography committee. They use the iPad minis to take pictures of things going on so I will have pictures to post on the blog. I'm so excited to see what all my committees develop. We have several committees- Random Acts of Kindness, Classroom Council, Activities, Science, Photography... I know I'm leaving some off the list but these are the ones I can think of right now. 

I'm so proud of the leadership skills my students have developed. If you plant the seed they will take your idea and do it 10 times better than you ever imagined. Each of them takes ownership of our classroom and we are always working to improve. 

STUDENTS: Share something your committee is working on. Make sure to tell us which committee you are a part of. Not on a committee? Share your favorite digestive system activity so far. Why was it your favorite?