Our Class on Social Media

Friday, December 9, 2011

Build Incredible Educational Experiences Through Local Experts!

For the last two years, I have invited Chief Meteorologist Kendra Kent of FOX Carolina to come speak with the 4th graders of Wellford Academy and share her vast experiences and expertise in the area of weather.  Each year the students have been ecstatic about this special visit and have built so many wonderful curriculum connection to our classroom learning. Of course, I wanted to learn more about Kendra's job, so I visited the studio to see Mrs. Kent in action.  What a neat experience and how much fun it was to be able to capture this time in pictures and video for my students and fellow bloggers!  I was amazed at how different it was sitting in the studio watching the show as opposed to watching it on my couch at home; for some reason I thought it would be the same.  Getting an inside perspective to a news broadcast production would be a very cool experience for any class, and when I found out the studio offers tours, I put this activity on my list for a future field trip.  I'm crossing my fingers hoping to soon introduce my students to the the TV studios of FOX Carolina!

 As Kendra and I were talking after the show about how we got in touch a couple years ago, I remember it started with a simple introductory email asking "Would you be willing to come?"  Fellow teachers, step out and don't be afraid to contact your local experts in the curriculum fields you study.  You will be amazed about the community relationships you can build and develop!  Today, I am blessed to call Kendra Kent my friend, and I am even more blessed to have a professional join me in the realm of educating future professionals for our state, nation, and maybe even international endeavors! From the bottom of my heart and the hearts of my students, THANK YOU Kendra Kent for the difference you've made in our lives!

Mathematical Analyzer and Thinker Award Goes to Rebecca!

This week, our class has been analyzing the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, and using some very important math thinking skills to solve two major problems I developed from this favorite Christmas tune.  One of the problems was to determine how many total items were given to "the true love," the recipient of the lavish gifts mentioned in the song. Students analyzed each stanza to build a number line outlining how many items were given each day and then used the daily totals to figure out their final answer.  Once they had finalized and checked their work, they wrote their answer on a slip that was placed in our drawing.  After I took out all those who submitted the wrong answer, a winner was chosen. Congratulations to Rebecca, our Mathematical Analyzer and Thinker!  She won a New York City t-shirt bought from the heart of NYC in Time Square when Miss Tripp visited there earlier this fall.  A special thank you to all the students for their hard work and dedication in developing their math thinking skills this week!

Check out our blog post on the Twelve Days of Christmas activity if you would like to enjoy the challenge of math with a festive Christmas flair!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How Many Miles Till Bethlehem? The Christmas Story From a Modern Day Perspective

We have all been in the car when someone's asked, "Are we there yet?" or "How many more miles till we are there?" Experience the book, How Many Miles to Bethlehem in a different light as you consider how much money the traveling groups in this story saved by walking.

Using today's scenarios I created in the handout below, infuse a modern day perspective into the timeless Christmas story.  Students will refine their long multiplication skills while taking on the challenge of figuring out the costs of these traveling groups in today's different vehicles.  Happy calculating!

For students finishing early, allow their creative language arts juices to flow as they rewrite the Christmas story incorporating the travelers use of the modern day vehicles listed in this activity!

Long Multiplication With Christmas Flair and Pizzaz!

There's nothing like trying to teach long multiplication right before Christmas break, but using this activity infuses the excitement of Christmas while still practicing the technical process skills of long multiplication.  I have seen motivation and excitment for learning long multiplication as we've worked through this challenging activity!  The long multiplication process can sometimes be "tedious," but because my students have been focused on the challenge of solving the problem of how many gifts and how much was spent, they have shown an enthusiasm for learning that has warmed my heart! The extened learning and challenge with a language arts focus has left my class buzzing with excitement on who to write their adventure about.  I'm anxiously awaiting to read the many ideas they've come up with.  Join in the fun, and may your students have a joyous Christmas math experience.

The Twelve Days of Christmas handout (2 sheets, front/back)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Astronomy, Geography, and Cultural Celebrations the Christmas Way!

With only two weeks until Christmas break, I decided to create several Christmas activities that engaged and motivated my students in learning the planned curriculum skills, but also incorporated the seasonal excitement everyone is naturally experiencing this time of year. In science, we are currently studying astronomy, specifically the moon phases and how earth's rotation and revolution create night/day and the seasons.  The activity below incorporates these skills as well as many valuable social studies and time zone skills.

Students will choose a country from the Christmas Around the World website and complete the following research below.  Dependent on the our time schedule, students will present their researched information through blogging,  multimedia presentations, podcasts or a simple informal class presentation.

I'm looking forward to seeing my students experience the excitement of this "across the curriculum" Christmas extravaganza.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Data Analysis With a Mission!

For the last two weeks, my students have been on a math mission that has taken them through the exciting world of data analysis.  They were presented with a special request that brought them excitement, fervor, and purpose for delving into this very important world of math learning. Follow us through our mission as we take on data analysis with a mission!

The mission:
After dividing into groups, the students were assigned a part of the planning process for the Christmas party. Each team brainstormed to develop their question that would help them collect data for their simple survey. We drew our tally tables that listed our categorical data, and once we were ready, we set out to collect our numerical data.

As we marked our tallies, we noted it under either the boy or girl column to later be able to build not only single bar graphs, but also double bar graphs; keeping boys and girls votes separate would also be another way to help us further analyze our collected data.

Using our collected data, we set about creating our different types of graphs to communicated our data. We used an online program called Kids Zone, Learning with NCESS, Create A Graph.  We drew single bar graphs to represent the frequency of our categorical data and double bar graphs to further note the differences in our data between the boys and girl's choices.

Below are two books created to display our single and double graphs.  As you read our book, look under the graphs for our observations and party recommendation we made for the teacher we worked with.

Single Bar Graph Book by Ms Witherspoon's Class:

Double Bar Graph Book by Miss Tripp's Class:

After completing this project, here we brainstormed on how we could improve our work:

1. Many of us needed to make sure the intervals on our graphs were not decimals but whole number.  Therefore we needed to change the range we entered into the computer program.

2. Carefully consider the differences between an observation and recommendation and make sure both of these we wrote were solely based on our data.

3.  Analyze our written ideas to see if we have clearly communicated our ideas. 

4. Spend more time proofreading our work, checking carefully for capitalization, punctuation, and complete sentences.

5. When we developed our choices for our survey, we tried to use variety of ideas, especially offering healthy choices in the foods and drinks.  We could have researched for a greater variety of choices that were more likeable. 

A very special thank you to Mrs. Spillers for allowing my homeroom class to work with her class in collecting data for this special project.  Also, thank you to Mrs. Connelly for allowing Ms. Witherspoon’s class to do the same with her students.  Ladies, you both helped “hook” my students' interest in helping you out, and in turn this sparked their motivation for learning.  Thank you for being a part of the fourth grade learning process!