Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Marshmallow challenge round 2

Students reflected after their first 18 minute attempt at the Marshmallow Challenge.  They talked with their group about what did not work, brainstormed what they could try the next time, what materials they used, which they did not and how could using all of the materials help them to think outside of the box.  Below are the pictures from the 2nd attempt at the 18 minute marshmallow challenge, almost all of the groups had a free standing structure.  This time the tallest structure was 41 cm tall, quite an improvement.  


Marshmallow challenge

Our class launched our S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) exploration today.  Students were grouped in teams of 4 and worked together to formulate a plan to make the tallest, free standing structure that could hold a marshmallow.  This activity was called the Marshmallow Challenge, click here to see the details.  Every group had 2 minutes to share their ideas with their group members before touching any materials and beginning this task.  Here are a few videos from the students as they explored:

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4
Video 5

This is the only successful tower at the end of the
first 18 minutes, 2cm off the table.

What was difficult in this task for you?  

  • it just didn't stay up
  • the tape got all gunky and would not stick
  • not everyone helped
  • I didn't know how to tie so I could not use the string
  • there was not enough time
  • the table was slippery

Monday, October 24, 2016

Flexible seating

Students explore a variety of places in the classroom where they can work and learn.  They love getting a clip board and exploring the new seating in the classroom: the floor, the balls, a bench, a bean bag or even a stand up table.  We are making our version of flexible seating where students have choice in where they learn best.  Each of these options come with the same expectations, students work, use the resources they need to be successful, take care of their learning environment, respect others.  We have more seating options waiting in our Donors Choose grant that is nearing completion.  Thank you for all of your support in making our classroom a place where students have choice and comfort in their learning.  If you would like to know more about our Donors Choose grant, click here and if you would like to know more about my reasoning to move towards flexible seating click here.  We have use stability balls class wide in 1st grade for the past 4 loops of my career.  The students that love them, love them, however, they are not for everyone.  We have added rubber bands to the bottom of chairs and this year now we have added all of the above options.  Yay for choice and comfort in student learning!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Indoor recess fun

The students love exploring board games in the classroom during indoor recess.  They teach each other the rules, strategies and turn taking necessary to play each game.  Race to the Treasure was our newest engineering addition that Mr. Hawkins helped the students explore.  Engineering Ants has fostered some amazing conversation about design, thinking and reasoning. These games have allowed students to feel safe and take a risk in their learning without even knowing they were doing so.  Chunks and Chunks Stacker push students to use their newly developed phonics skills and always is full of laughter with the hundreds of Dr. Seuss words that are created through every game.  Some students can keep a straight face and give an amazing argument to their partners on what their word means and why it is a word.  These are my favorite moments when the students stand up for themselves in an appropriate way and share their thinking!


Balloon fun with Ms. Ray

Students worked on hand-eye coordination in Ms. Ray's Physical Education class.  They loved adding  to the complexity of the task and were shocked to see how with a little concentration, they could master each challenge.  Students began the activity by lightly tapping the balloon above their heads, they then moved to a set or light finger push above their heads, soon they added a clap before setting the ball each time and even worked up to set, clap, turn around and repeat!


The Cardboard Challenge with the 3rd graders

Our class visited Mrs. Sorenson's third grade class in the gym to explore and play their cardboard challenge games.  What is the cardboard challenge?  Click here to see Caine's Arcade and learn about their inspiration for their amazing projects.   

Our students were so excited to think about learning and problem solving this way that we will be adding some STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities to our weekly schedule.  Mrs. Sorenson said she would be happy to help the learners in our room and her students are eager to come and help as well.  Stay tuned!