Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fractions, Forests, Worms, and Genius Hour=Packed Week!

I'm SUPER EXCITED! I'm presenting Genius Hour to our School Board at the April School Board meeting! 
Here's how it's going to go down…
I will give a brief Power Point synopsis of what Genius Hour is all about…then
Any students who have completed a project so far will give a sentence or two telling about their experience!!! WOOT WOOT! <they are only giving me about 5 mins to do all this>  HA! <do they realize who I am? And that I'm super chatty-especially when I'm excited>
Well, the parents are SUPER excited too! OF course they LOVE when their children are recognized at a School Board Meeting! In front of everyone! 
AND the kids are SUPER excited too! They can't wait to show what they learned ALL ON THEIR OWN!
Can ya tell I'm excited for this opportunity?!

WELL… before that happens, my Principal asked me to present at our next staff meeting…
All of our staff meetings are professional development of some sort…
I hope the staff is receptive…it's nerve racking getting up there in front of teachers and other staff members who would rather be getting ready for the day in their classrooms than listen to me about my newest passion.
AND the Principal has invited our Superintendent (well, he actually invited himself) and our Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum. SO FUN!

Here's an update of Genius Hour in the classroom…
I had to change out our "wonder wall". This is a place where students can write their wonders as they come up in class. They are particularly inspired after a read aloud or science lesson, or social studies lesson. After it fills up…we talk about the deep questions to explore… and I keep all the papers together for the kids to look at whenever they want...
Here's our themed paper for April… "Our Wonders Are Growing". The kids came up with that idea.
Gimp Shop was not successful for me AT ALL...I finally found an app for one of my students to create clip art for her Genius Hour project…thanks to Anchor Art Man from Instagram! He also runs a store at TPT…go visit!
Thanks for your help!
Here's one of my student's drawings we turned into clip art...
NEXT UP…Fractions...
We've been working on our fractions unit in 3rd grade. They seem to be catching on pretty quickly.
To break up the activities…I let the kids use their desks as dry erase boards…it didn't erase very easily…but nothing a wet wipe couldn't cure. They bought into it! So it's a win in my opinion.
In the bottom photo, one student was the leader and drew two cards from the Math Deck, 
told their group what the two fractions were,
the rest of the group had to compare fractions…
they were allowed to use fraction strips or a number line,
then they wrote problem out using <,>,= on the white boards…
THEY LOVED that activity…

Another day… I started playing the music Let's Go Fly A Kite…
Then I introduced a math activity that would mix both math and art.
Students had to design a kite to their liking with shapes and such.
On the tail, the bows had to have fractions describing the kite!

In science, we are studying Ecosystems and the lesson was about the different types of forests.
I split the kids up into small groups. Each group was assigned a type of forest.
They had to research the forest and make a poster to represent their assigned forest.
When everyone was finished, the students presented their poster to the class. They had to give an accurate description of the forest and important characteristics of that forest.

Annnnnd my favorite… WORMS!
We started the novel How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell (Norman Rockwell's son).
It's my all time favorite novel to do with the kids…a big study of everything worms!
So far, we've read chapters 1-6…
The kids are hooked.
We explored the website...
which is SO SO SO fun! and identified the parts of a worm…
Now the students have a place in the room to practice naming and PRePariNg themselves for the day when I bring in ReAL LivE night crawlers for us to check out!!!
Yeah…that's some faded bulletin board paper…Just ignore that…
I was picking and choosing my battles that day. Faded paper won vs. time.
The white dots are velcro pieces for the parts that are stored in the baggie…to stick right on there!
We will be building a worm terrarium this week! Red worms! They will LOVE this!

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