Thursday, September 25, 2014

Edmodo Excitement

This year 3rd and 4th graders are experiencing Edmodo for the first time.  Many of them had heard about Edmodo from older siblings, and were anxious to get started!  
We have had fun creating our profiles on Edmodo and have dived into a few assignments.  
Fourth grade has been reviewing Microsoft Word and the use of the editing tools.  They have used MS Word before, but not some of the specific tools that we are learning about this year.  We are about to being a unit about online safety.  
Third graders have just recently logged into Edmodo.  They are getting used to remembering their login names and passwords and have also had fun creating their profiles.  Third grade is beginning an assignment dealing with online safety using a resource by PBS kids, Webonauts!    

This is an original PBS KIDS GO! game that explores what it means to be a good internet citizen.  It's very engaging for the students.  They can even continue their online journey on their home computer if they wish this weekend.  

Each student took home a letter of explanation to their parents as well as a special code that will enable their parents to log into their child's Edmodo page.  One of the cool things about Edmodo is the ability for both students and teachers to communicate and complete assignments online during times outside of the school day.  I'm hoping that parents will frequently check in on their child's page!

Edmodo is designed to get students excited about learning in a familiar environment.  We can continue classroom discussions online.  Learning is personalized and engaging for students.  Special apps help teachers to supplement what is learned in class.  Edmodo also makes it simple to track student progress. Grades and badges can be assigned or awarded.  Through student discussion posts, understanding can be clarified, and frustration or confusion can be minimized.

Edmodo and Online Safety!

Last year Grades 4-5 and 6 were introduced to a new learning tool called Edmodo. Edmodo is a free social learning platform that provides a safe way for students and teachers to connect and collaborate.   Students have continued to use Edmodo this year for assignments.  We have done a review of the tools used in Microsoft Word.  Students learned some shortcuts used in formatting documents.

We are currently exploring internet safety through the USA-SOS site.  Students are given a Scavenger Hunt to complete by reading and listening to a variety of media that is provided.  They are learning about netiquette, how to avoid viruses on a computer, cyberbullying, cookies, and how to choose a safe, secure password. 
Parents are able to access their child's Edmodo account and view grades and assignments through their parent account.  If you have not already done so, please take the time to create an account.  Ask your child what they are doing in class.  One of the cool things about Edmodo is that students can do their assignments at home or at the library.  I am also able to see their work when I log in at home.  
Check it out!  It's COOL!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chalk it up!

The Kindergarteners are just learning about quarter notes (walking notes) and eighth notes (running notes) in their ABC Music and Me curriculum.  First graders are reviewing some basic notation and musical symbols in their music classes.  We all took advantage of the gorgeous weather today, and went outside with our chalk and practiced our notating!!  The kids thought this was a great idea, although a bit hot if we were in the sun very long!  Mrs. Lyon enjoyed the extra bit of sunshine too!  Here are some examples of our budding musicians' artwork!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Star-Spangled Banner

In music classes we have been talking a lot about the Star-Spangled Banner this year.  September 14 was the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key writing of the poem, "In Defense of Ft. McHenry" which later became known to us as our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner.

Mary Pickersgill was known as one of the top flag makers in Baltimore.  Major George Armistead wanted something flying over the garrison guarding Baltimore's waterfront that would be seen by the British, even from a distance.  Mary was commissioned to make the flag...30 by 42 required 300 yards of wool, and had 2-foot wide stripes as well as 15 stripes and stars.  She had to work on the flag in a nearby brewry as her own home wasn't even large enough.  Taking 6 weeks to sew with the help of about 5 other women, Mary Pickersgill completed the flag and was paid $405.90 for her work.  The main flag weighed about 50 pounds (23 kg), and it took 11 men to raise it onto a 90-foot (27-meter) flagpole.  There was also a smaller storm version that flew during the battle, costing $168.54.
In addition to reviewing proper etiquette while singing the Star-Spangled Banner, students have done a variety of activities.  Younger students colored flags (not an easy task for a kindergartener!), noting the order of the colors of the stripes on the flag.  

Students also learned about length, width, and perimeter as we measured the actual size of the flag!
We celebrated the 200th Anniversary as a school body Monday morning.  We of course sang the Star-Spangled Banner and then measured the size in the gym.  Then we wanted to see if the entire student body would fit inside of the area of the flag!  Well, we EASILY fit the entire elementary students and teachers inside the flag (somewhere around 300) and had lots of room to spare!  Students agreed that the junior high and high school would probably have easily fit in too!  Here we are singing the Star-Spangled Banner together.  The yellow rope represents the perimeter of the flag.