Friday, November 30, 2012

Math RTI started this week!

4th grade has started Math RTI this week.  We will have it every Wednesday and Friday for 30 minutes for the rest of the school year.  We are fortunate that we have Ms. Fay, Ms. Lawson, Ms. Crowley, Ms. Devlin, and myself as teachers during this time.  This allows us to place students in smaller groups and provide direct instruction on skills that students need.  We will assess every 6 weeks and modify groups as needed.

I had 2 groups during this time.  One group worked on a 1,000,000 unsolved math problem from 1937.  Click on the link below to see activity.  They practiced multiplication (2x and 3x).  The group worked collaboratively and were actively engaged the entire time.  It was a challenging activity and they used their best effort to try and solve the problem.  After working so hard, we discussed today that the problem is UNSOLVABLE!  The group was up for another challenge.  Could they create their own math problem that would be solvable similar to the unsolvable problem, but changing the starting number?  The group is still working on this.  Try it ~ Can you solve the unsolvable problem?$1,000,000_Unsolved_Problem.html

The second group practiced using prime and composite numbers using Mimizu puzzles.  These puzzles require students to determine whether 2 numbers share a common factor.  Students had the choice to work alone, with a partner, or a small group.  Click on the link below to see activity.  The group worked hard and were actively engaged.  This was a challenging activity and they stuck with it. They have a packet with beginner, intermediate, and expert puzzles.  Students will hold onto this packet in their math folders and continue working on it as an enrichment activity during math blocks.  Try it ~ Can you solve the puzzles?

I found both activities on a website called Math Pickle.  Click on the link below to check it our for yourself.

* Ask your child what he or she worked on in their small group?  

Scratch Programming ~ Team 16 Class Account!

Imagine ~ Program ~ Share

Thanks to Porter and Dylan, we now have a Scratch account for our whole class.  Students and families can click the link above to explore and play the games created by Team 16.  We will continue to add projects as students complete them.  Please check-in weekly to see if there are new games.

In the case the direct link to our class page isn't working, click on the link below which is the Scratch home page.  Our log-in information:  Username ~ team16 and Password ~ school

"Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.
As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively."
Scratch educational ideas and research articles:  
Learning with Scratch
Learning By Designing
21st Century Learning Skills

Families ~ Challenge yourself and create a game yourself!  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Scratch Project ~ Football Game Created by Dylan and Porter

Scratch Football Project by Dylan and Porter

Click on the link above to play the game.  Great collaboration boys!

The Lost Lunchbox ~ Critical Thinking Skills in Multiple Disciplines

Team 16 has started The Lost Lunchbox game.  We registered and explored ourselves today.  Over the next few weeks/ months, we will be collaborating and problem- solving in pairs and in small groups.  We HOPE to find the lost lunchbox.  Only 200 students out of 2,000 registered students actually found the lunchbox.  This game was created for grades 3-8.  Please click on the link below to learn more.  Students are welcome to play at home too.

The Lost Lunchbox
The Lost Lunchbox is the one of internet’s first educational role-playing games (RPG) designed specifically for children in grades 3 –8. Conceived by Greg Nussbaum, creator of, and designed by the team at, The Lost Lunchbox is an unforgettable and exciting experience for students that incorporates critical thinking skills in multiple disciplines, problem solving, and a healthy dose of adventure and curiosity. The Lost Lunchbox is an outstanding, educational alternative to traditional video games that glamorize violence and promote mental stagnation.

The object of the game is to find the character’s lost lunchbox in an enchanted school. In order to find the lunchbox, the user has to accumulate a variety of prizes, tools, and clues that will lead to its location.  The accumulation of such objects is achieved through fulfilling the challenges in the school’s many classrooms.  The academic challenges were designed to be, well, challenging! Users will likely not succeed the first time. Some classrooms will require users to conduct minor on-line research or use process of elimination. Others will function as trials, in which users will improve over time before fulfilling that particular challenge. After the completion of each academic challenge, the user will undoubtedly feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Most users will not be able to “conquer” the game right away. It will take perseverance, persistence, and actual learning to do so. Below is a list of the academic challenges students have to fulfill to obtain the clues and prizes necessary to find the lunchbox.
  1. Conduct an online science experiment in which the user has to make a volcano and then make it erupt.
  2. Make ten math problems and answers from a series of six numbers
  3. Put a variety of “fun” historical events in their correct order (with respect to date).
  4. Pick out a misspelled word among twenty correctly spelled words. The user must spell the misspelled word correctly.
  5. Identify types of prose.
  6. Identify a missing word in a famous quote or passage.
  7. Identify U.S. states on a U.S.A map based on a clue.
  8. Play a memory game
  9. Identify musical instruments
  10. Dress up an athlete according to the clothes and equipment worn in a particular sport.

Fibonacci Numbers ~ Watch and understand what Nicholas taught us today

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ms. Crowley to the Rescue...We made it to P.E.

Mondays are always busy for Team 16.  We were so engaged in the Math lesson, I forgot about P.E. at the end of the day.  As I was just introducing a challenge question, Ms. Crowley politely reminded me that it was time for Physical Education.  The students quickly packed up and headed down to the gym only a few minutes late!  Thank You Ms. Crowley!

Homework for Tonight:  Read and practice math facts (watch the prime/ composite videos if you still haven't gotten around to that)

We are studying multiplication in Math this week.  Spelling/ Vocabulary has started up again.  We are writing personal narratives during writing time.  Last week, we worked on BOLD beginnings.  We will continue this week and work on adding details and colorful words to our stories.  Ask your child about the Cultural Enrichment assembly we had today.  It was pretty amazing to watch!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2025...The time is NOW to prepare our students

2012 (you) vs. 2025 (your kid)
by chandagohrani. Browse more infographics.

Pictures of the Red Panda Project by Alice and Caterina

Alice and Caterina's Red Panda Project Pictures

Click on the link above to view pictures of the poster Alice and Caterina created.


Pictures of Michelle's Non-Fiction book about Parrots

Parrot Project by Michelle - Pictures

Click on the link above to view pictures of Michelle's Parrot Book.


Paper Project Pictures

Paper by Ava and Tali

Click on the link above to view several pictures of the paper and supplies.


Cozy Reading and Project Day Pictures

Cozy Reading and Project Day

Click on the link above to view pictures from our cozy reading and project day we had a few weeks ago.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Team 16's Thankful Blogging Post!

What are you thankful for?

"It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart."
~ Author Unkown

"I am thankful for my family and to be able to share this special day with everyone close to me, including friends." ~ Ms. Cherwinski

"I'm thankful for my Mom and Dad." ~ Ms. Crowley

"I'm thankful for my life, cat, and family." ~ Jocelyn

"I"m thankful for my family, cat, and gluten- free food." ~ Maya

" I'm thankful for having a roof over my head and my cat." ~ Caterina

"I'm thankful for the food that God gave us." ~ Casey

"I'm thankful for my family, house, and cat." ~ Michelle

"I'm thankful for my family, house, and food." ~ Lara

"I' thankful for my family, house, food, and my life." ~ Tali

"I'm thankful for my family, house, and food." ~ Khalia

"I'm thankful for my family and all the food we can buy." ~ Ava

"I'm thankful for my family, life, food, and good teachers." ~ Sophia

"I'm thankful for my family." ~ Odyssey

"I'm thankful for my family, football, and great teachers." ~ Dylan

"I'm thankful for my family, food, and basketball." ~ Porter

"I'm thankful for my family and oatmeal." ~ Miranda

"I'm thankful for my family, dog, and soccer." ~ Olivia

"I'm thankful for my family." ~ Waleska

"I'm thankful for my friends and family." ~ Alice

"I'm thankful for my family and the soldiers who support our country." ~ Damien

"I'm thankful for my family, house, God, and the world." ~ Alek

"I'm thankful for my Mom and Dad." ~ Nicholas

"I'm thankful for my family and technology." ~ Mason

"I'm thankful for my family and food to eat." ~ Daniel

What are you thankful for?

No More Grammar Goof- Ups!

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Team 16 all earned their Digital Passports! We are Cyber-Safe!

Team 16 finished all videos, games, and activities to earn a digital passport.  We learned how to be safe online.  Team 16 filled out a digital passport handbook which will go home tomorrow along with a Cyber-Safety Certificate!!!!

Families, during the past few weeks, I sent home a family tip sheet for each lesson.  Please hold on to these and review them with their children when you have time.  The more teachers and families work together in educating students about being safe online, only positive things come out of it.

Over the next few months, Team 16 will participate in more cyber-safety activities to keep us all up to date and SAFE!

Congratulations Team 16!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Keep Smiling...

LEGO story starter ~ Something to look into for the visual and kinesthetic learners

LEGO Launches StoryStarter For Improved Literacy

"LEGO® Education, which is known for its extensive support in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, plans to launch its first ever LEGO-based solution for Language Arts January 2013.
Based on findings from thousands of interviews with educators, parents, and students, LEGO saw a need for increased support in writing at the elementary school level, specifically grades 1-5. It set out to improve the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which shows that only 27 percent of students are proficient in writing.
It’s solution: LEGO Education StoryStarter.
StoryStarter, which was piloted this last year with elementary classrooms, helps students create a storyline, which improves recollection and retention of learning material. The kit, which includes enough for up to five students to use at a time, allows students to create figures and settings for multiple scenarios in a storyline. Building out the steps and stages of stories helps students visualize early writing concepts for narrative writing, expository writing, and reading comprehension.
“We use it as a brainstorming tool before we write our weekly writing piece,” said Erin Hardy, educator at East Richland Elementary School in Olney, Illinois. “Students are able to build their ideas for what they are going to write that relate to our weekly writing topic. Students love to use the bricks so they can refer to their builds as they are writing.”
Hardy used the blocks in her writing and reading curriculum to improve comprehension and demonstration of skills both in individual work and teams. She said that it’s a great way for students to brainstorm and visualize their idea in a fun, 3-D way that also serves as a referral instrument throughout the writing process.
“Students love to use the bricks so they can refer to their builds as they are writing,” said Hardy. “They say that it helps them have more ideas and better details. Writing is a very exciting time in our day!”
“Kids are very visual and having a model to refer to is so powerful,” added Hardy. “Teams can talk about different questions they asked themselves while reading or teams can work together to retell a story. Teamwork is so important as a 21st century learner and educator!”
LEGO added that StoryStarter adds a kinesthetic learning element to Language Arts teachings. “Traditionally, language arts lessons don’t include a strong visual or kinesthetic learning component, and may not be as engaging for all students. A kinesthetic learning experience which is hands-on helps students engage different learning styles, and provides a concrete way to look at language arts concepts such as story structure.”
LEGO continued, “It can also be used to reinforce concepts or assess comprehension; for instance, if a class reads a book you might have the students build a different ending to a story and then write about it. This helps the educator gauge comprehension of the reading material while also assessing their progress in writing.”
Throughout classroom beta testing of 51 classrooms in 21 states, LEGO found that StoryStarter had a positive impact on students, especially those in ELL and special needs. “ELL students truly shine with StoryStarter,” said Hardy.
“They have their model that they can use to communicate their ideas,” she added. “It helps to strengthen vocabulary and it also encourages students to speak in front of others. Using the model as a reference is a great way to empower students. The high level of communication in a classroom that is using StoryStarter is the vocabulary rich environment that a ELL student needs.”
Once students assemble their bricks into a LEGO model, they can then upload pictures to LEGO’s web-based software to continue the writing process digitally. In addition, StoryStarter comes equipped with a teaching guide created by LEGO curriculum specialists that aligns with the Common Core State Standards. “Speaking, listening, and technology are all pieces of the Common Core,” said Hardy, “and StoryStarter is a tool that covers all of those.”

Project Day on Friday!!!

Team 16 has been having project day every Friday.  The students are creating, building, composing, constructing, designing, discovering, learning, and collaborating!  It is amazing to watch.  We are all learning from each other.  I love seeing everyone engaged and actively working.

Quotes from students:

"Can we do projects today?"
"Is it project day?"
"I must finish this project today!"
"I love project day!"
"If I finish early, can I work on my project?"
"Can I share my project?"
"Can you post my project on the blog?"

Happy and engaged students is what education is all about!

Another Basketball game created by Porter using Scratch

Basketball Game ~ Programmed by Porter using Scratch

Olivia's slideshow ~ All About Dogs

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Homework section moved to the top next to the project links

Team 16, I moved the homework section to the top.  It is now next to the project links.  Please let me know if this works better for you. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Digital Passport ~ Digital Citizenship

Team 16 will be learning how to be safe online this week.  We will be following the Digital Passport.  You can click on the link above to find out more information.  Students will watch videos, play games, and complete a Digital Citizenship Handbook.  Below are the specifics of what the students will be learning:

Privacy Share Jumper:
Students evaluate examples of online messages. They decide what information is appropriate to share and when. Students are also reminded that nothing is truly "private" or "erasable" online.

Students will:
  • reflect on the benefits of sharing online, while acknowledging that information can spread fast and far.
  • classify information that should be kept private online.
  • predict the effect that an online post or message might have on someone's reputation.
Students make choices about what to do if they or their friends are cyberbullied. They are encouraged to "evolve" into an “Upstander” – someone who takes action to stop cyberbullying, rather than standing by.

Students will:
  • compare different forms of cyberbullying and the roles of those involved.
  • interpret scenarios that illustrate how targets of cyberbullying feel.
  • identify ways to be an “Upstander” when cyberbullying occurs.
Search Shark:
Students learn how to choose effective keywords for searching online. They practice selecting keywords that are most relevant to a search prompt. Along the way, students discover hints for narrowing their search results.

Students will:
  • learn how keywords can help them find information online.
  • evaluate keywords for their relevance and helpfulness.
  • practice identifying the most effective keywords for different search scenarios.
Creative Credit:
Students remix media content to create a new creative piece. Along the way, they give proper credit to the artists whose images and sound clips they use.

Students will:
  • learn about copyright, credit, and plagiarism and apply it to their own creative work.
  • reflect on the ethical importance of giving credit to others for their work.
  • determine how to receive credit for their digital creations.
Students learn why it's important to avoid multitasking with a cell phone. They consider the benefits of focusing on one task at a time.

Students will:
  • learn that cell phones are powerful, convenient tools for communication.
  • identify situations in which using cell phones can be rude or distracting.
  • reflect on the benefits of focusing on one task at a time.
**Families:  I will be sending home a packet each day with what we leaned in school.  Please read it over and have a discussion with your child.  Thank you for your help with this!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Homework- Agenda book or Google Calendar or...?

Students all learn in different ways and to be most successful, teachers need to brainstorm and teach different strategies for the same idea. For example, some students in Team 16 are finding out that writing down daily homework using agenda books is not the BEST strategy for them. They forget their agenda books at home and usually write down their homework on a sticky note.

 This can be looked at in different ways. Teachers want to teach students responsibility and organization. One way to do this is to enforce the agenda book on each student. It does teach responsibility and organization...But, if the agenda book is NOT working for would be setting the students up for failure to enforce it. I feel it is my job to come up with alternative options for them.

 A parent suggested using google calendar as an alternative. My first thought was, "brilliant!" I had never thought of using that tool. Students all have google calendar through Wayland. The first day we tried this out, other students wanted to try google calendar. I allowed them this week and told them I was going to send out a post about this and check in with families.

 Do you want your child writing their homework using google calendar? Would you prefer they stick to an agenda book? Do you have an alternative option? Please let me know your thoughts. Please share alternative strategies if you have one.

 Thank you for your help and understanding!

Kahlia and Maya's Interactive Poster about Space!

Sophia's Slideshow about Gorillas

Practice Synonyms and Antonyms by playing games!

*Play Super Word Toss to practice synonyms and antonyms

*Play Synonym Toast to practice synonyms

*Synonym and antonyms games-  Choose a game to play

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students

Change in Student and Teacher Roles

*When students are using technology as a tool or a support for communicating with others, they are in an active role rather than the passive role of recipient of information transmitted by a teacher, textbook, or broadcast. The student is actively making choices about how to generate, obtain, manipulate, or display information. Technology use allows many more students to be actively thinking about information, making choices, and executing skills than is typical in teacher-led lessons. Moreover, when technology is used as a tool to support students in performing authentic tasks, the students are in the position of defining their goals, making design decisions, and evaluating their progress.

*The teacher's role changes as well. The teacher is no longer the center of attention as the dispenser of information, but rather plays the role of facilitator, setting project goals and providing guidelines and resources, moving from student to student or group to group, providing suggestions and support for student activity. As students work on their technology-supported products, the teacher rotates through the room, looking over shoulders, asking about the reasons for various design choices, and suggesting resources that might be used.

*Project- based work and cooperative learning approaches prompt this change in roles, whether technology is used or not. However, tool uses of technology are highly compatible with this new teacher role, since they stimulate so much active mental work on the part of students. Moreover, when the venue for work is technology, the teacher often finds him or herself joined by many peer coaches--students who are technology savvy and eager to share their knowledge with others.

*The most common--and in fact, nearly universal--teacher-reported effect on students was an increase in motivation and self- esteem. Teachers and students are sometimes surprised at the level of technology-based accomplishment displayed by students who have shown much less initiative or facility with more conventional academic tasks.

*Teachers talked about motivation from a number of different perspectives. Some mentioned motivation with respect to working in a specific subject area, for example, a greater willingness to write or to work on computational skills. Others spoke in terms of more general motivational effects--student satisfaction with the immediate feedback provided by the computer and the sense of accomplishment and power gained in working with technology.

*In many of these classes, students choose to work on their technology-based projects during recess or lunch periods. Teachers also frequently cite technology's motivational advantages in providing a venue in which a wider range of students can excel. Compared to conventional classrooms with their stress on verbal knowledge and multiple-choice test performance, technology provides a very different set of challenges and different ways in which students can demonstrate what they understand (e.g., by programming a simulation to demonstrate a concept rather than trying to explain it verbally).

*Another effect of technology cited by a great majority of teachers is an increased inclination on the part of students to work cooperatively and to provide peer tutoring. While many of the classrooms we observed assigned technology-based projects to small groups of students, as discussed above, there was also considerable tutoring going on around the use of technology itself. Collaboration is fostered for obvious reasons when students are assigned to work in pairs or small groups for work at a limited number of computers. But even when each student has a computer, teachers note an increased frequency of students helping each other. Technology-based tasks involve many subtasks (e.g., creating a button for a HyperCard stacks or making columns with word processing software), leading to situations where students need help and find their neighbor a convenient source of assistance. Students who have mastered specific computer skills generally derive pride and enjoyment from helping others.

*Experiences in developing the kinds of rich, multimedia products that can be produced with technology, particularly when the design is done collaboratively so that students experience their peers' reactions to their presentations, appear to support a greater awareness of audience needs and perspectives. Multiple media give students choices about how best to convey a given idea (e.g., through text, video, animation). In part because they have the capability to produce more professional-looking products and the tools to manipulate the way information is presented, students in many technology-using classes are reportedly spending more time on design and audience presentation issues.

**Research found online**  Click on the link at the top to read the full article.  

Jocelyn's Slideshow ~ Celebrating my strengths!

Lara's Slideshow about Ferdinand Magallen and Marco Polo

Wacky Web Tales ~ Practicing Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives

Tonight for homework Team 16 will go on Power My Learning, log-in, click on the word work playlist, and then click on Wacky Web Tales. Students will each write 2 Wacky Web Tales practicing parts of speech. **Try to copy and paste both Wacky Tales in a new google document and share with me.** (Email:

Here is an example:

A Wacky Web Tale by Ms. Cherwinski

The Beach

Hooray! Summer is finally here, and that means we can go to the beach! Today, my family is going to Wayland Beach, and I can bring a friend with me. I decide to invite my best friend Kori. I know Kori will want to go with us. She thinks going to the beach is funny!
We start our beach day by watching the sunrise, and then eating breakfast at Uncle Marco's Pancake Hut. I always get pizza flavored pancakes.
After breakfast we ran the waves, go singing for seashells, and dance a sandcastle. Then we eat the lunch we packed for the beach. It's my favorite—apple sandwiches. The only time apple sandwiches are not so silly is when you drop them in the sand.
By noon, everyone's had enough of the beach. But Wayland Beach is fun at night, too! There is a really small boardwalk. It's always crowded with people. Would you believe we saw my teacher Ms. Cherwinski there, eating a huge banana split?
There are a lot of cool shops on the boardwalk. You can get a little hermit dog, but make sure your mom and dad say it's okay! My favorite store is the jewelry store. Kori and I each buy a rope bracelet that will walk when it gets wet. Pretty red!
By 8:00, we're all ready to head home. I usually fall asleep on the ride home. I can't wait to go to Wayland Beach again.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Homework for Tonight ~ Monday, 11/5/12

Team 16 had a busy day in school today.  We ran out of time to write our homework down.

Tonight for Homework:
*Read (take notes at home if it helps you write your Friday reading letter)
*Math Study Link 2-8, page 37 (Gestation Period)- due tomorrow
*Practice Math facts

I posted videos for you to preview for Wednesday's math lesson on subtraction with multidigit numbers.  Please watch tonight or tomorrow night so you can come to school on Wednesday with any questions on how to do the subtraction problems.

Reminder ~ Tomorrow is picture make-up day!

*Please share your google site with me if you get a chance (remember how you shared your reading letter with me?)  I can help you tomorrow if you don't know how.

Thank you!  Have a wonderful evening!

Subtraction of Multidigit Numbers ~ Videos and Songs to watch and learn

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reading Genres ~ What type of Genres do you like to read?

Cozy, Comfy Friday~ Reading and Project Day tomorrow

Tomorrow, Team 16 will be having a cozy reading/ project day at school.  Ms. Devlin's class had one today which we were planning on joining them.  Due to the storm and the school closings, I had forgotten all about it.  We discussed it as a class today and decided that we do still want to have a comfortable and relaxing day reading with our friends and working on our projects.  Remember to wear comfy clothes and bring some books from home.  A big thank you to Ms. Devlin for her great idea!

We still have orchestra tomorrow so please bring your instruments if you are in band or strings.

Homework tonight:
*Math Study Link 2-7 (double-sided) ~ There are videos posted on the blog if your child is struggling with regrouping.
*Reading Letter- Fill out "hamburger" organizer first (Your topic sentence will be the story starter that you select this week and your details will be evidence from the text.) Then, type or write your reading letter.  Feel free to write more than one paragraph.  Please bring your organizer to school too.
*Please bring your Agenda book to school tomorrow!

Engaging the Active Learner ~ Powerful Poster