Thursday, September 27, 2012

Google+ Hangout With Four Classes!

Today was an amazing day! We connected with three other classes on Google+ Hangout. The classes that joined us were Mr. Buist's class from Arizona, Mr. Spicer's class from Illinios, and Ms. Abdel-Aal's class (from right next door)! We are partnering with these classes (and two others who couldn't attend the hangout session) on Edmodo for the Global Read Aloud project.

The coolest thing about Google+ Hangouts is that you can connect with more than one class at a time! The class that is talking is featured on the main screen while the other classes are listening and shown at the bottom. Somehow Google+ Hangouts knows which class to put on top!

Our class introduced ourselves to the others and then we shared some predictions about the book we are reading together, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. We also learned about the other classes and heard their predictions. My kids commented that most of their predictions were the same except my class thinks that Ivan is in the circus, and the other classes predicted Ivan was in a mall! We shall find out soon which is correct when we read the book next week!

Thank you to Mr. Spicer and Mr. Buist for spending some excellent face time with us today!

Here are some photos from the event. 

This is Mr. Buist's class presenting while the others are listening.

Here some students are waiting to introduce the class and share
predictions about Ivan.

Here we are watching the screen waiting for our turn to come up!

Can you see? It's Ms. Abdel-Aal's class talking from next door!

The students talked into the camera on the teacher's laptop.

What was your favorite thing about meeting these classes on Google+ Hangout today?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Global Read Aloud 2012

This week, we introduce the Global Read Aloud Project and our book The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. The premise of this project created by Pernille Ripp, a Wisconsin teacher, is simple: One shared book can connect the world and inspire children to love reading, sharing, and learning together.

This will be my second time participating in the Global Read Aloud. Last year my class read Tuck Everlasting with over 1000 children worldwide! It was amazing! Next week, we will be joining with classes from North America to Australia to read The One and Only Ivan at the same time. Our class will be collaborating with classes in Illinois, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Canada on Edmodo and Skype to discuss the book. In addition, we will post class projects on our blog to reach our global audience. The children will share not only their predictions, thoughts, and comments, but their love of reading with the world!  If you haven't heard of this book, please take a moment to view this trailer below! You can also click on the links to learn more about Ivan.

I read the book this summer and fell in love with Ivan instantly. A gentle, silverback gorilla, Ivan has been kept for almost 30 years in a glass "domain" in a mall in Washington. This story is written from his perspective. Based on a true story, this book incites people to stand up for the rights of animals like Ivan who are kept unjustly in captivity. Silverback gorillas are an endangered species and we will be learning more about them, and the real Ivan, as we read this novel.

If you'd like to know more about the Global Read Aloud Project you can check out this article that was published in Learning and Leading with Technology in 2011. We are excited to be a part of this project again this year!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Responsibility Value Presentation

As part of our citizenship curriculum, our school focuses on a different value each month. Everyone in our class signs up for a time to be the "Ambassador for the Month".  This ambassador must become an expert for the value of the month and share what he/she has learned with our class and school. The ambassador also gets to attend a special "lunch bunch" with our School Head!

During the month of September, we learn about Responsibility. The class ambassador, Ali, was responsible for teaching the rest of us how to exemplify this value. His task was to interview family members, students, and others in the community to learn what responsibility means to them. Next, he made a multi-media presentation using Glogster, an online poster, to share what he has learned with our classmates.

Here is the first Glogster of the year! Thanks, Ali, for doing an awesome job!

 Have you done a presentation like this before? 

What does responsibility mean to you?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mystery Skype Map

Fifth Grade White is connecting with other classes to Mystery Skype!

To Mystery Skype, we connect via Skype with another classroom in an unknown location. The object is to figure out where in the world the mystery class is located.  We play a game similar to that of 20 Questions, where each class gets to ask "yes" or "no" questions to gather clues and information to help determine where the other class is located. The students in our class must work together to figure out where the mystery class is before they figure out where we are! This helps us work on our mapping, critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills. We also learn interesting facts about other cities, states, and countries and make positive connections with diverse students!

Here is a map to track the location of the classes we will Skype with this year. Our first Mystery Skype is scheduled for this Thursday!

View Mystery Skype in a larger map

Our students were amazing! They did such a good job figuring out where the mystery class was! Even though the other class figured out our location first, we felt so proud when we came up with the correct location!

Here are some pictures taken during the Mystery Skype call.

Our Problem Solvers, who did a lot of running around, are conferring about their next plan of action.

The Inquirers were in charge of deciding which question to ask. It was hard to choose because everyone was gathering so much information! You can see the other classroom on the Eno board!

Here the rest of the class is trying to narrow down the possibilites of the mystery class' location.

Here are some clips of our Mystery Skype call
with Mrs. Grayson's class!

Here the Inquirers are trying to consult with their teammates to ask the best possible question. I was pretty impressed by how well they worked together!

In this video, the Inquirers are consulting with the Problem Solvers, Clue Keepers, and Google Mappers to answer the other classes question.

Good job, everyone! 
And a special THANK YOU to Mrs. Grayson's class for being our first Mystery Skype call ever. 
We hope to do this again sometime!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Honoring the Memory of 9-11

Our class attended an assembly today to remember those who lost their lives in the attacks 11 years ago.   At that time, one of our teachers actually worked near the Pentagon. She shared with us her first hand accounts of that tragic day. How scary that was for her!

During the assembly, the words of a gentle and loving man, Hassan Hathout, inspired us. He said, "There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who have love in their heart, and those who don't." Our fifth and sixth graders wanted to honor those who died that day and share their feelings with our community. So with love in our hearts, we posted peace-loving messages on our front gate.

The events that occurred on 9-11 have had a profound effect on all Americans. 

How did you honor and show respect
for those who perished that day?

Monday, September 10, 2012


Our class is learning about Responsibility this month. Please help our class to brainstorm all the ways we show responsibility, both at home and at school by posting a note on our wallwisher. Thank you!