Monday, February 29, 2016

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Genius Hour

Hello Families!

Wow, this was really an exciting week! Not only did we start Lego WeDo and share our Country Presentations, but we also started our Informational Writing and Reading Unit. This is one of my favorite "gear shifts" of the year, as we move our focus from narrative work all year so far, and start getting our teeth into some serious non-fiction. We've started gathering ideas for writing, and even had our preview Kahoot of non-fiction literary terms.

As exciting as all of that is, I'm actually going to tell you know about a brand new adventure we're embarking on for the first time this year: Genius Hour!

For the eight weeks between February vacation and April vacation we will be taking one hour a week to become a Genius at something. There are thousands of classrooms across the U.S. doing similar projects, and even a 4th grade classroom at YES and some classes at HMS as well. We're starting by identifying a big idea, a big wonder, a big question that each of our geniuses wants to explore. Think of it as a passion project, with a little bit of structure thrown in. Once we've all had time to explore our big question, we'll share it with the class (and possibly a larger audience?) to show what we've learned.

We started off this week with a few videos showcasing what some possibilities are, and then a fun activity to show why we're spending some serious time working at this. Each kiddo got 10 seconds to complete a drawing. They did their best work, and their drawings were... well... nice. Then we repeated the endeavor but everyone got 10 minutes instead of seconds, and their drawings were unique, colorful, expressive, and... well... great. So we're going to take the long road, and see where it brings us, and I'm so excited for this new challenge!

I'll post second versus minute comparisons this week, after we get some pics taken!

Here's to March,

Country Projects

Hello Families,

As I'm sure you know (since many of you were there), this week we shared our completed Geography Projects! I was astounded at the diversity and quality of these projects, and so proud of our budding geographers. Here is each of our presenters, with his or her project:

Wow! They're so great, and they all look (rightfully) proud. It was also an amazing turnout, and here are a few of you (I tried to get as many of you as possible!) learning something new about the amazing world around us:

Thank you so much for all of your support!

Take care,

Lego WeDo

Hello Families,

As you may have heard this week, we started our first sessions of Lego WeDo in the STEM Lab with Mrs. Wolinsky this week. On Monday, we had an introduction and our first hour, and then on Friday we had another hour working in tandem with Mrs. Fier's 4th graders. We've been doing Lego WeDo at YES for a few years now, and I am amazed every year at home well the kids work together.

Lego WeDo encourages budding engineers to think critically, while using hands-on dexterity and programming skills to achieve a desired result. Once that has happened, they are encouraged to experiment more and see what sorts of things they can make happen. Collaboration is key, since nobody is working alone. Accountable talk rules the day, and teamwork reigns supreme. Here is a slideshow of some of our first session of building!

I hope you enjoy, we sure did!


Friday, February 26, 2016

Trying this out...

I think I have made a Google Photo Album that I can share with you. I'm going to try. I have high hopes. We'll see what happens. This is some work days from February, and a day of math investigations. I hope. 😳

Here goes. Follow this link to see some pics of our class!

Good luck, 

New Code, New Trucks

Hello families!

I have a few exciting events and pics to share with you, and when I went to do that with Picasa this week, I was told that Google is shutting that service down. So after I wandered in circles for a while, I found Google Photo, which is what I am currently experimenting with. I plan on having a couple of slideshows for you by the end of the weekend of Lego Wedo, Math Investigations, and our Country Projects and party. Plan to. I'm just getting into it, and hoping I can figure it out.

In the meantime, I will share with you a very, very popular playlist in our classroom this week, at least by my personal estimate. Recommended to us by none other than Hazel G. (Abbott), I know that it's gotten bodies moving and minds racing. I give you: Twenty Trucks.

You're welcome, please enjoy, and please have a great weekend,

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Junior Achievement!

Soooooo... Just found these pictures of our "Graduation" from Junior Achievement and wanted to thank Lynne Gawtry for being such a great volunteer! You might even be able to pic her out in that poster Wyatt and Charley are holding up. She has some serious JA bona fides!

Still not sure what happened in that second picture...


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Common Sense Media

Hello Families!

With conferences just about over, I wanted to share a resource that has come up a few times. Many of you have avid readers who are eager to read more challenging material. This is great, but it can sometimes be hard to keep up with them and pre-read everything to make sure it is appropriate.

I strongly recommend checking out new titles that you're unfamiliar with on Common Sense Media. They do a great job of looking into all sorts of media aimed at kiddos, and giving a concise, clear review of what sorts of things you should expect to find. They evaluate media for things like positive role models, violent content, and language, while also giving a quick recommended age reference.

I hope this helps some of you navigate the exciting world of books with your kids!

Take care,

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Photographic Evidence!

Our new photographer, Matt, has been hard at work. Here we are hard at work on geography projects ranging from Google slideshows to state plates to country maps and country flags! Well done, Matt and crew, and we'll try and make sure there are more pictures to come.

-Mr. Abbott

Monday, February 1, 2016


Hello Families!

Here are two of the most recent challenges from Mrs. Agell. Have fun!

Also, you may have heard talk of Ken-Ken this weekend. I am starting a new math challenge for kiddos using Ken-Ken puzzles. Ask your Mathemagician if you're not sure what this is about. This first week everyone must do the challenge, but after that it will be optional. Get as far as you can, good luck!