Friday, January 13, 2012

Round 2 of E-time!

This morning as I monitored my usual duty spot, I added, "Enjoy your e-time!" to my usual "Happy Friday!" greeting to the students.  Every single kid perked up and added a little skip to their step because they were pumped about their e-time plans! 

Let's take a look at some of the exciting things that were happening across the school.  I apologize in advance that I don't have any pics for 3rd, 4th and 5th grades.  I discovered that my camera battery was kaput pretty early in the morning.  As soon as more teachers have a chance to get some pics to me, I will most definitely add them!

Snails aren't icky!  They're fun!

We love to do research!

This week, the kindergarten students branched out and worked in mixed groups across the grade level with other students who shared a common interest.  In one kindergarten room, future scientists made observations about snails and went to the computers to research more about snails.  They were much braver than I can claim to be because they didn't seem remotely bothered by holding the slimy snails as they checked them out up close.  When I walked past another kindergarten class and overhead, "What kinds of things taste good dipped in chocolate?", I knew had to stop in.  The students were learning how to follow a basic recipe when cooking.  It didn't take long for Mr. Hilton to make his way down there too!  We were fortunate enough to be taste testers and I have to say that the chocolate covered marshmallows made a tasty post-lunch treat! 

Learning how frost forms

Showing off a pattern block snowflake

Further up the hall in 1st grade, the students were engaged in a variety of activities related to snow.  From the creation of pattern block snowflakes to an experiment with ice and salt, every student was immersed in the concept of snow and winter.  One student explained how important it was to do the folds just right when making a paper snowflake so the patterns you cut out would be symmetrical.  The creations around the room were a sight to behold!  Be sure to ask your 1st grade student about the frost experiment! 

Creating a masterpiece
Down in Mr. Wu's room, about half the students were involved in explorations of using different materials for building such as paper, clay and legos.  I overheard some excellent teamwork as students who have some experience with building coached their classmates in how to make their buildings stronger and more stable.  The other half of the students had chosen to express themselves through painting.  The student pictured above has plans to use the painting she created in an original story.  Can't wait to see that!

Students in Mrs. Schulz's 3rd grade classroom continued their investigation of building or designing a game that uses common classroom objects.  I was so mad that my camera battery was out!  The marble run that was created using chalkboard erasers, tissues boxes, rulers and string was incredible.  The students were so proud to explain how they had come up with their design idea and watch other students play with their creation.  They then went into a conversation about Rube Goldberg machines which set the sparks flying again!

In 4th grade, the students had the opportunity to pick up where they left off last week.  Mrs. Malone's students continued their work on the class blanket.  I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with a student in Miss Kayl's room who is in the beginning stages of designing and building her own doll.  As she put it, "I love dolls and I know I could just buy one.  All the dolls out there aren't what I want so I'm just going to make one myself so I know it's what I like!"  Each week of e-time will be spent designing and creating a different part to add to her doll.  Once it's completed, I will definitely share pictures with you!  Another group was pounding out some rhythms on djembes, a type of African drum.  By the end of e-time, they had already come a long way in getting the rhythms down.  Maybe they'll put on a little performance for us sometime in the future!

The 5th grade students are mixed up into four different interest groups.  The athletics groups spent time researching their favorite sport or game.  As they started delving into the history and rules of their sports, they really began to understand how intricate and complex certain sports have become when they originally had very simple origins.  Our photography group had the chance to work with one of our awesome parents who just happens to be our yearbook coordinator.  These students will get the opportunity to help work on the yearbook and give their opinions and insight into the photos included as well as take some of their own photos for the yearbook.  The performing arts group has expressed a strong interest in commercials and song parodies.  They've spent time finding songs they can use and are learning more about the characteristics of a parody before creating and performing one of their own.  In the technology 5th grade group, students had the chance to Skype with another amazing parent of ours to get ideas for the "Tech Tips" website that they would like to create for the students of Austin.  Another subset of the technology group was psyched to learn that they will have the chance to use some borrowed robotics equipment from the high school.  They corresponded with Mr. Yakubovsky from CHS who shared some ideas with them and is making future plans to have one of his engineering students help the group get started on their robotics exploration.

As you can see, we had an OUTSTANDING second day of e-time!  My favorite part was listening to the students work together and set goals for future e-times.  They are truly engaged and eager to share their learning!  Thanks again to all the teachers (and some parents!) for their preparations to continue the excitement this week. 

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