Sunday, November 20, 2016

Week of November 21

We continue to read about intriguing animals, exciting places, and amazing events around the world in our Leveled Literacy program.  Students are very excited to receive new books each week to delve into another fascinating topic.  I am as excited as they are; learning about how engineers created "gecko tape" based on close observations of gecko's  feet and their abilities to scale walls,  ice sculptures in Sapporo, Japan to honor cultures around the world and raise awareness of global concerns, as well as taking a closer look at the origin of root words and investigating how words are related, yet change with different prefixes and suffixes.

Last week I attended a workshop with a focus on computer science.  During the week of December 5-11 there is a national initiative to raise students' awareness and interest in computer coding/programming called "The Hour of Code."  It was a fascinating class and I went home and further investigated coding apps for my iPad/iPhone.  I introduced these apps and programs to the students on Thursday and they were totally engaged and interested in solving the challenges set before them. The wonderful aspect of learning computer code is the ability to problem solve.  You can be wrong, but there is no judgement, you just try something else to see if you can make the program run correctly.  Students are also collaborating and sharing ideas with one another in how to succeed.  Computer coding will most likely be a necessary skill in many of our students work lives in the future, doing jobs that haven't even been created yet.  I have added a couple of links in the resource folder if you are interested in viewing or even trying to code yourself. During the Hour of Code week, we will spend more time in the classroom working together running programs and coding.  If your child is interested in having coding programs on their device, go to the app store and type in "code or coding" in the search bar.

We began our light unit and one of the first misconceptions we were faced with was the ability to see in the dark.  We went into a pitch black space and I pulled mystery items out of a bag.  All students thought that if they let their eyes adjust to the dark, they would be able to see the objects even though comments like, "I can't even see my hand that's right in front of my face!" were being made. We also tested items to see if they were transparent, translucent, or opaque.  During the week of November 28 we will be looking into how light behaves and what happens to the light when it hits different objects; is it reflected, absorbed, or refracted or some combination of those? We will not have time in our schedule for science during this upcoming short week.

I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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