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.
I have registered our class for a very special event on Wednesday, January 21st. We will be participating in a video conference from 10 – 11 AM with scientists in ANTARCTICA! Time For Kids has arranged for many, many classrooms to get connected via the internet to hear directly from those men and women who are way down under studying penguins. I have some penguin-related activities planned for the week, so I think we are in for a treat all week long.
On June 4th we successfully connected with the California State Parks Department for a virtual field trip to Columbia State Historic Park in Columbia, CA (near Sonora). Through this video conference, Ranger Phil shared his vast knowledge and artifacts of the California Gold Rush and the Westward Movement. We had prepared thoughtful questions and he answered every one of them with examples and clarity. The students were eager to learn everything they could during this experience. They were exceptionally polite and attentive. I could not have been more proud. This is a tremendous way to enrich the curriculum and allow students an opportunity to speak to an expert. We would all love to do it again!
We will be a launching our study of the Pioneers and the Westward Movement next week. I always have a grand time teaching this unit. It is a remarkable period of our nation’s history.
As a special introduction to this unit, I scheduled another video conference about the Gold Rush and Pioneers. I have been assured that the video connection problems have been resolved so I am game to try it again. Keep your fingers crossed for June 4th!
Well, we tried and failed again. We were prepped and ready for our video conference with Ranger Ryan and had more connection troubles. I don’t think I will be able to reschedule it this time. We still enjoyed our in-class study and learned a great deal about salmon.
Well, we really tried to follow through with our video conference with Ranger Ryan today. However, every event has its glitches and this was no exception. We just couldn’t get our equipment to communicate with Ranger Ryan. We tried for over an hour and finally gave up. Even our technology experts couldn’t make it work. The good news is that we have rescheduled our meeting for May 20th. We also know more about what we need to do next time. Everyday is a learning experience so, we will be very well prepared by then.
I have scheduled a video conference through the California State Parks Dept. We will be speaking with Ranger Ryan on Wednesday afternoon while he is in the Del Norte Coast State Park near Crescent City. We will be learning about the life cycle and habitat of salmon and the importance of our natural resources. We are preparing thoughtful questions and hope to make this an engaging learning time. One thing I find pleasantly surprising is that this virtual field trip is totally free to our students.
Mrs. P 😀
P.S. I have another video conference scheduled for June, but I’ll tell you more about that one later.