During a recent book talk to a 4th grade classroom, I shared one of my favorite books. I also used my new Merge Cube. I had been looking for ways teachers can incorporate Merge Cubes and augmented reality into their classrooms, and the book talk was a great way to start! I created a template on Google Slides and then imported the png files into CoSpaces. The process was easy and students loved seeing the Merge Cube.
If you would like a copy of my Book Talk Summary template, or need support in using Merge Cubes in your classroom or school, please let me know!
One of my favorite aspects of being an Instructional Coach is the opportunity to partner with teachers to support their integration of new instructional practices or technologies. This year, my building added Project Lead the Way, and during the kindergarten Structure and Function: Human Body module I knew it was the perfect opportunity to introduce the teachers to Google Expeditions. For this Project Lead the Way/Google Expedition, the kindergartners travels inside the respiratory, digestive, and circulatory systems. The students were able to have a 360 degree view of the systems, and the expedition allowed the five year olds to experience the structures and functions they had been studying.
What would do you do when a group of students score proficient on an ELA pretest covering the following Iowa Core standards?
(W.4.3) Students understand that an author reflects on his/her life by writing a narrative to convey a real or imagined experience or event.
(RL.4.2) Students understand that details that develop the theme of a story, drama, or poem lead to a better understanding of other perspectives and cultures.
(RL.4.3) Students understand details in a story or drama develop characters, settings, or events and lead to a better understanding of other perspectives and cultures.
(RF.4.4) Students understand fluent readers learn to recognize words quickly and accurately as a way of obtaining meaning from what is read.
As an Instructional Coach, this scenario is very familiar to me, and was the challenge our fourth grade teacher asked for my assistance in solving. After looking at the standards, we decided to give students the task of creating a stop motion video of a readers theater script that they wrote based on a fairy tale or folk tale. Below, you will see the finished product. I'd say the students did a wonderful job, and I could see using this activity again.
Earlier in the school year our district's science coordinator brought several A World in Motion (AWIM) kits to my office so I could distribute them to classrooms in my building. As a former science teacher and lover of inquiry and student exploration, I was excited to bring these STEM opportunities to our students. I have already helped our 3rd grade teacher incorporate STEM into her science instruction, and they recently wrapped up another STEM unit using the AWIM Pinball Kit. Our Kindergarten teacher had approached me earlier this year wanting to add STEM lessons into her science and center time, and as soon as I saw the AWIM Rolling Things kit I knew it was a perfect fit!
When we started the unit, we told the kindergarteners they would get to be scientists and every one of them began cheering! In the Rolling Things unit, students explore how a vehicle's weight and ramp height affects the distance the vehicle and/or crash box travels. Currently, we are about half way through the Rolling Things explorations, and I am loving seeing the kindergarteners work together, share their thinking, and experience STEM and inquiry learning! I am in the classroom every afternoon either co-teaching whole group lessons, or facilitating explorations. The students have discovered that the higher the ramp, the further the vehicle will travel. They have also made connections that the weights of the vehicles (convertible, truck, and sedan) makes a difference in how far the crash box moves after impact. Beyond the science lessons, the kindergarteners are working on communication skills, being able to productively work with a partner, recording results, measuring, and being responsible for self directed tasks/learning.
I look forward to seeing how the remaining two weeks of the Kindergarten STEM unit goes! I will continue tweeting daily, and blogging about the experience as I can.