Monday, February 6, 2012

Making changes

Now that we are getting more comfortable with the idea of e-time, grade levels are beginning to branch out and try some new things with e-time.  Friday was the first day for splitting students amongst the grade level in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades.  Kindergarten and 5th grade have been split nearly from the start and I'm sure 1st grade is making plans in that direction as well.

This group of kindergartners interested in storytelling and puppetry had the chance to work with 5th grade students on designing an original skit.  As you can see from the picture, the kindergartners were giving the 5th grader their full attention.  This group in particular came up with a skit to help teach others about good manners.  Both ages of student thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to work with someone outside their grade level.

First grade is continuing their winter theme during e-time.  This last week, they incorporated some fun 100th day activities with it.  They spent time learning about proportion as they created a 100th day snack while other students had the opportunity to make "snow" paintings.

The second graders that I had the chance to visit were completely absorbed in their research on a favorite animal.  When I asked one student about what they were doing, she commented that she just loved desert cottontail rabbits and wanted to teach everyone else about them.  Sharing our new findings is a critical part of the research process so it really made me happy to hear that enthusiasm.  When the research is finished, they plan to create a presentation of some kind in a "pet show."

In 3rd grade, students were divided into groups based on the information from the survey that they completed a couple of weeks ago.  In Mrs. Cook's room, students were moving forward with explorations in physics with a very complicated marble run.  Even without the full directions, the students were able to put it together and discuss their plan to come up with a successful design. 

Down C Hall with the 4th graders, there was a lot of noise but in the best way possible.  I had to step in to the room dedicated to students interested in music.  The students had worked in small groups to compose, practice and perform pieces of music on the drums, recorder and xylophone.  Having been in band myself, I loved seeing how into the music they had become.  Learning how to play and perform music can be very difficult but the results are so rewarding.  I think that group was beginning to understand the rewards of that effort.  Another 4th grade group across the hall was doing a little research into stop animation.  Anyone out there know some awesome, but easy (and free, preferably) programs that we could use for that?

Heading upstairs into 5th grade, I had the chance to see students at work on original video games using a software download from  At this point, they were trying to learn the ins and outs of the program so I'll have to come back up in a week or two to see their finished products.  It was quite evident how engaged the students were in this because half the students never even noticed that I was in the room!

Stay tuned to see what we have in store this next week!

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