Sunday, September 30, 2012

We Love Reflex Math!

This year, students are using a new, online tool to help enhance their fluency skills. Students are loving Reflex Math this year. Here are a few reasons why...

We Love Reflex Math! from Ashley Russell on Vimeo.

What is your favorite thing about Reflex Math? 

Friday, September 14, 2012

We have an app for that!

Our young scientists have been exploring stars and our sun.  During their explorations, they've defined stars, labeled stars by their size, brightness, color, and temperature, and learned that groups of stars can be found in distinct areas of the sky.  Did you know that our sun is our nearest star, and that it gives off light and heat energy that is used on Earth?

As teachers, we've been thrilled to watch the student's enthusiasm during this study. They've been eager to share their knowledge with peers and have asked innumerable questions. Deviating from our scheduled plans, we embraced this learning opportunity, and decided to share some apps and websites that students may want to explore more on their own.

Chase and Lexie started by sharing two apps on their iPad, Star Walk and Solar System. With Star Walk, you can hold the iPad toward the sky and it will display the constellation found in that position of the night sky. As you walk, new constellations become visible based on your location.

They also shared a Solar System app which captivated the student's attention. The interactive model of our solar system's planets orbiting the sun. This app is perfect for showing students that the Earth revolves around the sun at the same time it rotates on its axis. Our conversation then began, "Why do the planets stay in orbit around the sun?"  and set the stage for another chapter in our learning, one in which we will explore gravity.

In addition, Miss Russell and I passed our iPhones around the class so each student could explore the free app Sky Map which works much the same way that the iPad's Star Walk works.  They were enthralled as they passed the phone, and looked for constellations in our night sky.

Furthermore, we shared that they could also explore more on the website Google Sky which works much like Google Earth. We're sure that some of the kids have already been begging to log on.

As our studies continue, we will learn about telescopes, radiant energy, and gravity, too. We're eager to see where our next conversations lead, and are so fortunate to have such eager learners. We love it! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Our Laptop Computers

We are extremely fortunate to have a laptop computer cart in our classroom for student use. With the cart comes a lot of responsibility, not only for the teachers, but for the children, too. We spent today introducing our students to the rituals, routines, and expectations that come with handling the expensive learning tools.

To prepare for today, we printed students' user names and passwords on Avery labels and put them in the back cover of their planner. We also included our blog site which will be a one stop shop for all links students will access at school. In addition, we assigned students a computer partner and put computer labels on their desks.  Having this handled prior to our work today was essential.

Then, to acquaint students with their laptop, we began with a PowerPoint presentation, conversation, and demonstration on the proper way to prepare your desk, retrieve your computer from the cart, carry your computer, turn your computer on, log in, get to the blog, get to our Reflex math site, log in to Reflex, plug in headphones, turn up the sound, and finally to build an Avatar and begin using our Reflex fluency site. It sounds like a lot, we know, and it was, particularly when the technology didn't fully cooperate. However, the excitement of the students made it all worth it, and we know that with practice and patience these things will come more easily. 


After working on their laptops, the students learned how to properly log off, shut down, return their computer to the cart, and plug in the laptop to charge. Though some of them may have been overwhelmed at first, we know practice makes perfect, and using the laptop will become automatic. The computers weren't away for two minutes when they started asking if we could use them again tomorrow, that's a good sign that they'll love them as much as we do!  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Language Speed Review

Last week the students participated in a Noun and Verb speed review in groups.  Mrs.O'Leary and Ms.Lipsky read sentences and the students quickly decided if it was a noun or a verb. The students  did a great job working together, even when Mrs.O'Leary gave them a tricky word that depended on the context of the sentence. The word was cook, which was a noun in the first sentence:

The cook mixed up the ingredients.

...and a verb in the second.

I love to cook dinner each night.