For the next few months I place an object in a themed box and the children ask complete YES/NO questions to figure out as a group what is inside. If they guess correctly they all get what is inside!
This is a very challenging task and involves several skills. To be successful they need to ask questions to eliminate or include categories of things. Then make smart guesses based on clues to make the correct guess. For example, Is it something you can eat? will either eliminate all edibles or include edible items in their guess. They need to look over the yes/no clues before asking as well to figure out . Some children will ask Is it a mummy? not attending to clues or will ask an opinion Is it scary? which is a maybe answer.
During the summer, I developed a project idea that I wrote up & submitted to an organization called Donor's Choose.
My idea was to get funding for 12 backpack chairs to aid the children with sitting and attending during activities, group meetings or reading on the rug. Sitting on the rug can be difficult for some children in my classroom.
This project was generously funded in less than a month by friends, family and unanimous donors. There were numerous snags and I didn't think we were going to get the chairs ( lack of stock , back ordered and mailing issues etc.) but they finally arrived!
This was a wonderful opportunity to talk about generosity of others. Room 15 will be writing thank you cards and letters soon to be published on Donors Choose for the generous people who helped room 15 to see and enjoy.
A few tech tools that help the children transition and finish their work, keep the noise level low for learning and incorporate consistency in the classroom makes such a positive difference.
1) Too Noisy is a sound meter app that visually shows children how Noisy feels about the noise level in the class. The sensitivity can be adjusted for specific conditions . The paid version offers many more fun features but the light version works well for us!
2) The free timer using the clock feature on the iPads! Visual and easy to see and read .
Both of these could be used easily at home for a variety of situations. 3) A low Tech Coconut... for those quieter moments when a gentle sound to remind them of a transition is helpful.
4) And finally, I also add a fun 'class call ' to gain attention before giving a direction which helps with understanding and success! It is a the call /echo signal . I start by saying "class, class .. " I say silly or say 4 times etc. and the kids respond 'yes, yes .. in a similar tone, rate as I called. When they have all responded I give a direction that they must wait other out and NOT move until I say "GO" and clap twice. It works and we have easy transitions with smiles.. especially if I was silly which I am prone to be.
Room 15 is lucky to have 1:1 iPads. They are still in very good shape after 4 years . This is because we have very specific common sense rules.
This week the children practiced these routines and rules to earn their iPad license. They learned how to carry them to their desk or work area, how to return them to their numbered bin, how to hit the home button and power button to shut them down. They learned that they can only go to apps assigned by teachers and were taught many apps in the process. The apps they learned or were reviewed so far are: Creation apps- How to use the Camera and access their cameral roll, how to send things to the class dropbox so I may check for understanding or share it here, how to make a popplet, read a book in iBooks, use Edmodo and just started using Doodle Cast pro. Educational apps so far : World of Cents , Math Matthews, Spelling Monster, Cash Cow, iPad Typer. Assessment Apps: AR and Star
Much like our Wind car trials in science, I had the children build paper airplanes for two days and figure out which on they wanted to enter into the contest. One child went home and watched you tube videos and built a plane that passed all the others. I didn't put many restrictions on their planes only that they had to fold their final one independently on a special piece of paper I gave them the final day.
We flew in the cafeteria for the contest and then went out side for more fun. There was so much sharing , clapping, encouragement and fun! What a fun way to fly into the next grade and end our final day.
The children earned another AR party so this time I decided to be seasonal and do some Valentine engineering challenges with some fun! I gave them two timed challenges. 1) Make a candy chute and roll all of your heart candy into a cup using very specific dimensions, materials and time limit. We started by reading an informational article on how we have used chutes in the past, present and future and how they act like incline planes something we studied and worked with in our pumpkin math/science unit. 2) Make a tin foil barge carrying candy hearts that floats and not sink in a tub of water. We must be able to see all the candy hearts.