Monday, February 27, 2017

Blue Whales

In first grade today we read The Blue Whale, by Jenni Desmond.  This non-fiction book is full of interesting facts about blue whales that the first graders loved! 

Did you know that a baby blue whale drinks 55 gallons of milk each day?!  That's a lot of milk! 

What makes this postmodern book a classic is the visual secondary story being told along the way using only images. We learn that the little boy loves blue whales and has books about them and whale decorations everywhere.

Did you know that you can fit 50 people inside a whale's mouth?  Good thing blue whales don't eat people!

The first graders were engaged from start to..well, until we ran out of time!  It's a long book.  We will save the rest for next week. I want wait to see how it ends!


Today's 4/5 enrichment group started planning an obstacle course for BB-8.  This looks like a challenge! 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Watching Star Wars with BB-8

When I was introducing BB-8 to the students, several pointed out that they had one at home and a few mentioned that the BB-8 interacts with the movie.  Everybody was intrigued by that idea!  The kids who owned BB-8s at home hadn't tried it or were unable to explain it well, so the other kids all wanted to watch the movie in library and see how the droid interacts.  I vetoed that idea, but I couldn't resist trying it myself over vacation! 

It's cute, and funny to do once, but probably not something I'd do regularly. Also, it requires a constant connection to a cellphone with the app open and running. Serious battery drain for both the droid and the phone, and (I'll confess) it's hard to give up my phone for that long! :)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Field trip!

I had an awesome day with this silly bunch (and the rest of DBS!) at the Montshire today!

We started with a snowshoe hike to Saturn (not as far as you'd think!), then went inside to explore the museum.

The kids and adults alike had a great time. I'm so happy to be part of this school and to live so near such a great children's museum!

2nd & 3rd grade enrichment

The Jan/Feb enrichment block was all about robots! The kids learned what robots are, how they work, and then (finally!) got to make their own. Unfortunately we had lots of snow days that got in the way of all academics, including enrichment, so the 4/5 group didn't have time to make a video to share, but 2/3 got to! Here is the video being shown at this mornings assembly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Red Clover Book Awards

This spring we will be reading the ten Red Clover Book Award nominees and voting on our favorite one. According to the Vermont Department of Libraries' website:
The Red Clover Book Award is designed for children in kindergarten through fourth grade. Each year thousands of Vermont school children read the 10 nominated picture books and vote for their favorite in the spring. The award has been handed out annually since 1997.

We will be voting with the very hi-tech "stickers on posters" method. :)

You can see the list of books nominated on the Red Clover website.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

What can robots do in school?

This week in enrichment we are talking about what kind of jobs robots can do, and what can they do in school?! I challenged the students to come up with a robot (or idea) that could serve a function in school. This task is extra challenging given the time and materials constraints they are working within. The kids jumped right in though and came up with lots of great ideas!

This guy thought his lion could be used in PE class to demonstrate push-ups or supermans.

These two are working on a pencil delivery system. Their robot will roam the room with sharpened pencils, collect dull ones, and (maybe, somehow) sharpen them. These girls were so into their project that they spent all of recess that day telling me about their ideas for how to get the robot up to the pencil sharpener, how to make it hold a pencil, and how to make it use the sharpener. Their brains were hard at work!

I'm not sure what this chompy alligator can do in school, but I know it does an excellent job of amusing students and teachers alike! :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Lego WeDos

The second and third graders in Enrichment group are working with Lego WeDo kits, which are excellent beginner kits for learning programming and robotics. We have the originals that plug in to the computer, and the newest models that work with Bluetooth and allow for a more mobile robot.

I love their excitement when things work!