Mrs. Gardner, our Kindergarten ESL teacher, has connected with another ESL teacher in Asheville, North Carolina.
Before their first Skype, they both read The Peace Book in honor of International Peace Day. Each student then wrote what PEACE means to them and illustrated their drawings! When they Skyped, they took turns reading their writing and showing their pictures.
The second time they Skyped, both classes read a book about being THANKFUL! They made turkeys that said "I am Thankful for ..." and on the feather, they wrote things they were thankful for. When they Skyped, they shared the book they read, showed their turkeys and read one by one the things they were thankful for!
This is an ongoing collaboration between the classes! We look forward to seeing what other projects they do together!
Mrs. Conrad's first grade class got to talk to 2 astronomers from Cal Tech University in California! The students have been studying moon, sun, sky, and stars in science class and did an awesome job of showing off how much they have learned.
Mr. Jencson and Dr. Heidi Wu had slides prepared for the students, and asked them questions about what we see in the sky. Cecil answered a question explaining the earth spins so we see the sun and moon, and Dylan explained the sun is down because it's to the west.
Students brainstormed questions to ask the astronomers the day before, and several students were selected to ask. Israel asked, "How cold is it on the moon?" and the astronomers were impressed with his question! The answer was "much colder than anywhere we live!".
Mr. Jenscon explained to the students he was still in school, and it would be like 19th grade. Dr. Heidi has finished her schooling and described it as an "astronomer expert", it took her until 22nd grade! Thank you so much to Cal Tech for joining us and helping teach our students!
Madelyn Rosenberg, author of Nanny X, Skyped with Ms. Gilmore's 3rd grade class. The author made the visit interactive by helping the students "color your story" and "use your senses" to add meaning to writing. While describing monsters the students reached out to touch it.
To go along with their monster description students were asked to think about what it ate for breakfast. Responses covered all sorts of food groups, but the most creative goes to Kain, with his "mud covered cockroaches".
Ms. Rosenberg gave students simple advice if they want to be a writer: "Write a lot and read a lot". She herself is working with a friend to write a novel during the month of November and they are alternating days of writing chapters.
Mrs. Cunningham introduced the students to the novel Nanny X in class, and Ms. Gilmore will be continuing it as a read aloud so students can see how it ends! After the Skype the students shared their reactions using the A-E-I-O-U strategy and the thing the students found interesting was that the author keeps a writing journal, and their next question was "what's in the journal?" We'll have to wait for her next book to see!
Mrs. Burleson's class participated in a mystery Skype on Friday, November 13th. The students were spread around the room in groups to work on their respective jobs. Each group had whiteboards to record their questions, and the information they collected.
Bobby began by introducing our Knollwood class, and asking for the first question. The students were quickly able to narrow down the mystery location when they found out it was one of the 13 original colonies.
The mappers were hard at work using markers on laminated maps to rule out possible locations. In the end the questions led them to realize our Mystery Skype partners were in Pennsylvania; a town north of Philadephia.
Mrs. Johnson's 4th grade class participated in an author Skype with Jeff Weigel, who wrote Dragon Girl. To prepare for the Skype Mrs. Cunningham did a book talk about Dragon Girl and read an exert to the students.
Students were introduced to the writing process as the author described he starts with the beginning and end of the story then has to fill in the events in the middle. During his introduction Mr. Weigel showed the stages of his drawings to the students, and admitted that he writes stories so that he can draw out the illustrations. He showed the drawing stages of several pages, and we were able to see the final product in the book.
Students planned questions the day before, and several were selected to ask the author questions.
Students wanted to know the origin of the character names, and why dragons were the topic.
The author Shared he doesn't feel anything special about dragons, but chose them because he knew kids found them so interesting.
As most writers do, Mr. Weigel had a broad vocabulary and used words with the students such as "germ" and "intriguing" which Mrs. Johnson is going to explore in class.
Mr. Weigel offers his books for sale, and several students are excited to purchase a copy of their own. Mrs. Cunningham has a copy in the media center which will undoubtedly be checked out constantly. Noelle left the skype describing it as "awesome". What a great way to explore the "real life" of a writer!