Monday, January 16, 2017


I am a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teacher. PLTW is a program that uses computer science, engineering, and biomedical science to engage students in the type of world they are growing up in. PLTW is a curriculum that spans from Kindergarten to high school, and I love how it makes my students think, problem solve, and collaborate.

We are working on computer science during this unit, and it directly corresponds to our NPDL Big Cat Project. In this unit, students will learn what an "algorithm", or process is and how to apply it to a problem. In this case, our problem is to help an animal meet its needs.

Students will use an algorithm, and later a computer "program" to help an animal find 1) food and 2) shelter. We are studying big cats in our class, and the program they design will create an animated movie to support their project.

The first step to learning how to code is to understand that they have to design a path, or an algorithm, for their animal to follow. In this lesson, we used a grid board, magnets, and dry erase markers to create that algorithm. Students were required to design it, then test it to see if it worked. They would test it by writing their code on a seperate piece of paper, erasing the steps in the grid, and using the code that they wrote to see if the process still worked. If it didn't, there was a "Bug in the System" and they had to try again. Take a look:

 Placed animal, food and shelter on the grid.
They drew a path, with steps going through the food and shelter so that could pick them up. 

 Writing the code.

 Testing the code.

 Re-working the code.

On their forth try, and not giving up!

My students were AMAZING at this lesson. Our next step is to use a program called Scratch, Jr. to create an animated movie, using a code of their own design.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Adding 1 More

We are working on adding one more. The idea that each number means a quantity and that the quantity goes up by 1 at each new number, is a powerful concept and is easily taken for granted. By visualizing 1 more, students can see the power behind their numbers.

Using SumBlox, we can see that numbers grow and that each number has a bigger quantity.

 Partner game where one person puts down a number card the other person puts down a card that is 1 more. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Winter is Here!

Ok, so it's not here in the sense that there is snow. But, it is super cold and we have been exploring the idea of snow and reading some amazing winter books!

My favorite snowman story is Sadie and the Snowman. She has to rebuild her snowman every time it melts! Another one of our favorites is Snowmen at Night. We read this story and thought about what our snowmen would do at night. Take a look:

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We also learned about how snowflakes form. My students were amazed to see that water is made of molecules and that when they freeze they can make cool designs. We did a Fun Food snack in which we started with the basic shape of a snowflake, a hexagon, and built symmetrical arms coming off of it. It was a difficult talk to create, but they did an incredible job. Plus, it was delicious!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Welcome Back!

Welcome back! We are off and running for the new year! I am so excited to really get into USING everything we have learned in the first semester. We will be working on a variety of skills, which include:
1. Part, Part, Whole (a math concept that takes a number and breaks it down into parts)
2. Addition and Subtraction
3. Base 10 (finding groups of 10 inside numbers to help us organize our thinking)
4. Writing complete sentences
5. Reading decodable stories (using those CVC words!)
6. Using technology in a whole new way with an introduction into coding and programming.
7. Delving deeper to our NPDL (New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning) project on Big Cats

As your child might have told you, I have a broken hand. :( I was sledding in Wrightwood over the break and fractured it pretty bad. I will still be at work, but my writing skills are not so good. I didn't want anyone to worry, I will be just fine. :)

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