Thursday, April 23, 2015

Genius Hour 2015

Welcome to Genius Hour 2015!

I hope that you have heard your child mention Genius Hour because that is all they can talk about here at school. 

Genius Hour is an activity Room 222 will be exploring for the next few weeks to build our knowledge on topics that are interesting to us. 

Check out this short video explaining Genius Hour:

Here is what our journey through Genius Hour will look like:

These are our accomplishments and stages so far:

1. Get your ideas - Students started by writing down all of the topics they wanted to know more about. 

2. Then, after a day or two to think, each students decided on one topic to focus on for several weeks. 
Then we began drawing and writing about what we already knew. We also started our wonderings and questions. 

3. We are currently in the Research and Take Notes stage. We are gathering inspiration, instructions and ideas from sites that we are exploring. We learned how to use as our kid-friendly search engine.  Through this stage we also learned how to evaluate different websites and decide which are good for us and which we should pass by. 

Room 222 has been doing very well and is extremely motivated and excited about their projects. Our project list is very diverse this year. Here are our student chosen topics for 2015:

How to Build a Model Train
Make a Model Shark
Robotics/Circuit exploration
Make the Best Milkshake
Make Fudge
Learn to Bake
Create Potions
How to Make a Tornado
Make our Favorite Minecraft Characters with Legos 

Genius Hour in Room 222 has several expectations:
1. Proper use of Technology and Materials
2. Showcase Research and Note Taking Skills
3. Information must be Shared with our Audience

Here are our first reflections on Genius Hour:

Please stay tuned for more information!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Collaborative Ocean Inquiry Learning

Last week we dove into a new project, Ocean Creature Inquiry Groups.  Based on interest, the students have joined a group to research a specific ocean creature. This style of learning will help us through the research process by allowing us to gather and synthesize our information and discuss it as a group. 

Along with the research process, group collaboration is the big focus. We have discussed that scientist, teachers, police officers and most other professions must work together in groups. We watched a few videos of scientists working as teams and discussed how we could do the same. 

We started our inquiry process by writing down all of our thoughts about our research creature. 

Check out this video from our first session:

Then the students began to code their thoughts. They were to locate questions, wonders, noticings and facts that they already knew. 

Once they built their schema, the students began to research. One of our goals is to gather information using many different types of media. We will focus on our favorite online resource Pebblego, Youtube videos and books about our creature. We are charting this new learning on our information poster. 

Remember, collaboration and teamwork is the underlying focus of this research unit. Check out this video for example of amazing teamwork and knowledge sharing:

As we move forward, we will continue to gather information and then begin the process of synthesizing that information into the most important. From there we will write our research papers.

Thanks for checking in!

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Little Bit of Writing and a Little Bit of Science

Well, I blinked and March is over! I can't believe it went by so quickly. 
For Room 222, March was filled with some very exciting and new academic challenges. Our current writing unit is taking us to new genre of writing, Opinions and Arguments. 

Throughout this unit, Room 222 students will be forming an opinion, supporting this statement with valid reasons and learning how to disagree with another person's opinion in an academic way.

We start this process by deciding which piece in our collection is the best or "the blue ribbon winner". We relate this to a dog show. The judges must score the pieces and decide which deserves the award. 

Here you can see a student's work and scores while still in the deciding process. 

This student has chosen to give stars to the cards based on different categories. The one with the most stars won the award. 

This student has picked his favorite winning piece and has started his opinion writing form.

We hope to show you more of our opinion writing at next week's open house!

Recently, our science study switched from Space to Oceans. 
We are starting by learning of the four layers of the Ocean: Tide Pool, Open Ocean, Ocean Floor and the Abyss. 

Following our study of the Tide Pool, the students explored the other 3 layers using food coloring, water and vegetable oil to help show the 3 color differences in the ocean.

After combining all of the ingredients and giving it a good shake, you can see the 3 separate colors that indicate the layers. 

Once our bottles were clean and oil free, the students used Sharpies to label the layers. 

Then, as scientists, we wrote and drew about the experiment and our observations. 

We will continue our Ocean studies through the month of April in many different ways. We can't wait to show you!