I have checked and rechecked all connections. On Monday we should be able to participate in our first videoconference with a park ranger from Denali National Park in Alaska. We will extend our knowledge about arctic animals with an in-person lesson from an expert in the field. We will connect via Skype so we can see and talk to the ranger in real time. We will be talking about animals that live in the park today and also those that lived there long, long ago. We are all looking forward to this unique opportunity!
Here’s a link to their website in case you are curious about Denali National Park.
I have been unable to solve the connectivity problem with the Glacier Bay ranger program, so I have not rescheduled that virtual trip.
As I was looking over my photos and Seesaw posts for this month, I was a bit surprised at how much we have explored in just a couple of weeks. We focused on a snow theme at first and got to build a snowman with fake snow we made in class. Just stir together three cups of baking soda and one cup of white hair conditioner and you get a mixture that has the consistency of packable snow without the freezing hands. We also made artistic snowmen in a variety of ways. They are currently decorating our room.
We read and retold The Mitten by Jan Brett many times. The children love to act out the part when the bear sneezes and all the animals go flying in the air! Retelling a familiar story builds stronger comprehension skills and gives much needed verbal practice.
I introduced an ice cube challenge that got their brains thinking with determination. How can you pick up an ice cube using just a string? No hands on the ice cube either! We had a few successes once I provided some salt. I love how engaged and creative the students get when presented with an interesting problem to solve.
We also grew beautiful crystals using a super saturated solution of Borax in hot water. Here’s how we did it: start with three cups of very hot water and add 1/2 cup Borax laundry booster. Stir in more Borax until no more will dissolve. Twist and shape a pipe-cleaner and hang it from a stick so it doesn’t touch the sides or bottom of a clear jar. Pour in the solution. Don’t disturb the jar! In about an hour you will see crystals begin to form. The longer you leave it, the more crystals form on the pipe-cleaner.
This month has been made special with guest teachers helping us learn. Mrs. Stark has been providing music lessons. She has introduced us to different styles of musical compositions and use of voice. Beethoven’s Moonlight Serenade had an impressive and immediate calming effect on the whole class!
Mrs. Tweedt has been teaching us about arctic animals. We get to draw the animals as we make our own book. We couldn’t secure a connection for our videoconference with the park rangers in Alaska but we have explored mini icebergs in the classroom. I’ll keep trying to find a solution the the connectivity issue so we can reschedule that virtual fieldtrip.
I hope you are enjoying the photos and videos on our Seesaw blog. Be sure to leave a few comments for your child. It makes quite an impression when we read them in class.
After a well-deserved month off-track, we certainly packed December with learning and laughter. The December birthdays were combined with the November dates for a rollicking party. There are plenty of photos on our Shutterfly Site to prove it. Thank you to our terrific volunteers! I couldn’t do it without you.
Speaking of volunteers, Miss Starla made it back from her injury. No one was happier than I to see her smiling face and capable hands at our door. She also bought everyone a knit hat to stay warm on chilly recess days.
We celebrated the Hour of Code with many experiences related to computer programming. Be sure to check out our videos called Hour of Code, We Love Bee-bots, and Ozobots in TK. Just click on the Class Video tab and scroll down to find those titles.
We read and compared several versions of the story of the Gingerbread Man. The students also got really good at retelling the story. They used puppets, small animals, and flannel board characters. They even got to act it out in small groups.
We were surprised when The Gingerbread Man showed up in our classroom. He was very interested in what we were doing, but one day he suddenly disappeared! It didn’t take long before we started receiving texts and photo clues from him. So we became detectives and set out to search for him. You can check out the video of this adventure here.
Other special guests brought us beautiful music. Mr. Seifert, his guitar, and his fourth graders came by to sing holiday songs with us. It was a bit intimidating because we didn’t know many of the words and they were so big, but it was still a good time. Another treat was when Athena’s mom played her harp for us. It was enchanting! You can view a short video of it here. She promised to come again, too.
Wishing blessings and peace to you and your families.