Here are a few things we did with pumpkins this year…
Growing seeds inside a pumpkin! Cut open the top and fill with soil. Water and watch them grow, it really does work. Make sure the pumpkin gets A LOT of sun. I also made a few small cuts on the bottom for water to drain. You might notice there is a grasshopper in the picture. That is because we put one of the pumpkins inside our terrarium. We are very curious to see if he eats the leaves or not. I love the wonder and excitement the terrarium brings to my room. We also have crickets, worms, snails and beetles in there currently. Special thanks to my teammates Carole and Jen for letting me include a pic of their pumpkin. Crazy how many plants are growing in it!
Giant pumpkin. We had a parent donate this 100 pound pumpkin! It was a prop for home living for several weeks and then we took it outside cut it open. We are also going to watch and see what happens to the pumpkin over time. Next year I am going to visit some of the pumpkin patches and stores to see if they would donate any leftover pumpkins for us to observe. All you need is a small patch of dirt or garden area.
And of course the kids explored pumpkins themselves! Read more about that project here.
Find them HERE
Web games for counting, patterns, sorting, matching and number ID!
This is an assignment from my Masters course with TAMU commerce.
Describing student work that you might design using blogs. Use the TPACK Model to identify each aspect of the work.
For the past two years I have used Blogger as a classroom blog in my Kindergarten class. You can read about the purpose of the class blog HERE and see example posts HERE. This year I am taking the next step and will let my kids have individual blogs with KidBlog. My first goal is to have each child share their daily journal on the blog once a week. As the kids become proficient in blogging I hope to expand the opportunities they have including blogging about other content areas. The main purpose of the individual blogs in terms of content will be growth in their writing and vocabulary. We will focus on sight words, writing conventions, vocabulary words and other writing skills. I plan to let the kids decide what to write about and how they want to share their information (constructivist pedagogy) because giving kids as much autonomy as possible is important for the success of the initiative. Current blogging sites offer a lot of accordances on how the kids will be able to “blog” in my classroom. They can type a post as is traditional or they can upload a picture of a journal page, record audio, use apps to create video or embed books for various apps and websites. The flexibility in what the kids can post will an important part of the autonomy of the project in my classroom. As I look past the initial goal of having kids use the blog for their writing journal I hope to move towards allowing the kids to blog any time they feel motivated to share their learning. In addition, the blog could be used for the kids to make connections with students that have similar interest or to ask questions of experts to further learning on topics. As with any new technology there are always drawbacks to consider before beginning. My main concern with student blogging is keeping them safe. KidBlog itself has many features that will help with this concern and it will be important for me to understand and consider all the settings in regards to visibility and security on our blogs. There is always a risk involved when allowing kids to connect and share online but I feel the benefits far outweigh the potential negatives. Digital citizenship is something that kids need learn by being part of the process in a controlled settings or environment.
As I begin the process of using KidBlog I will share posts on how I decided to set up the blogs, how I managed the project and any tips, success or failures that might help others in the process. If you are already using student blogs and have links, suggestions or comments please share!
I am challenging everyone to stop saying that parents don’t value education or that parents don’t care. Stop saying it for any reason! I expect a few people will try to provide examples of situations that prove a certain set of parents don’t care but I won’t listen. Yes, there are bad people out there and situations that make it very difficult to “believe” but what I am asking is for all teachers to ignore that and carry on as if all parents do care. Because I think 99.9999% of parents do value education, they just might not show it in ways that are typical or be able to show it in ways you are accustomed to. Maybe they had a bad experience in school, maybe they feel embarrassed, maybe it is cultural, maybe they work three jobs, just maybe. I believe that all of my kids can be successful and I believe that each one of them can achieve in my classroom. I think all teachers can yell that from the rooftops. It is important that we have the same blind faith in parents because when we start doubting them we are undermining a crucial aspect of student success. Parents matter, they are an important part of the success of our students. What can we do to support the parents that need us most? We ask that question about the kids in our classroom but I wonder if we ask it about the parents.
That old man in the picture above is my Dad (with my oldest son.) He never went to conferences, never signed papers, never read with me or helped me with homework or science projects. Mainly because he couldn’t or he felt like he couldn’t. My Dad migrated from Mexico picking cotton as a kid and his schooling was not extensive. He can fix or repair just about anything but struggles with spelling and writing to this day. There are reasons he wasn’t involved but I know he valued my education despite never showing that to my teachers.
You might never know the experiences, situations or backgrounds of the families coming to you so give them the benefit of the doubt every time.
Another video showing the many uses of Explain Everything. In this video I show how I use the app to create an audio decodable book “I like ______ ” with my class. The finished product can be printed or the audio book can be shared in many ways. Make sure and check out the noun lesson here. Info on the headphones I use to record the audio from the students can be found here.
**This project could easily be done with the Educreations app as well with the only difference being the finished product would be saved as a link instead of a video to your camera roll.