Thursday, April 26, 2012

Awesome April

We have a fantastic group of students who come from CHS each week to work with and mentor some of our students.  Since we had an adjusted schedule last Friday due to our assembly, those CHS volunteers ended up helping with e-time!  This young man is assisting a kindergarten student with an art project.  Upstairs in 5th grade, one of our CHS volunteers filled in last minute for an absent student during the mock trial of Goldilocks.  We are lucky to have high school student volunteers who are so willing to step in and do what they can to help!  What wonderful role models!

Many of our 1st graders are still interested in learning more about pets.  This young man has begun a model of a duck.  Once the model magic has dried, he plans to paint it to look just like a real duck.

Service + SEM = real world learning!
These 2nd graders have been diligently learning about weaving so they could create quality friendship bracelets to sell to their fellow students.  The group decided that all proceeds from the sale of the bracelets will go to Operation Kindness, north Texas' oldest and largest no-kill animal shelter.  At last count, they had taken over 50 orders!

We often think of art as a solitary activity but these 2nd grade students are learning the joy of creating art together.  They came up with a common theme for their mural and each person is adding their own touches.

Volunteers make e-time even better!  These 4th grade students greatly benefited from the chance to work with one of our best volunteers.  They were trying to figure out why they couldn't get the motor to work in their robotics kit.  He guided them to the solution through questions but never gave them the answer.  They did it on their own!

Just as I did with the 4th grade music e-time group several weeks ago, sometimes we need another staff member to fill in the facilitator role for an e-time group.  While Mrs. McConnell was attending a conference, Mr. Hilton gladly stepped in to work with the 4th grade arts and crafts group.  I think he's trying to figure out the secrets to successfully threading a needle here.  This e-time group is working on custom notebook covers with felt.  Check back soon for pics of the finished products!

This 5th grade student is hard at work on a personalized treasure box.  He explained that it's important to line the inside of the box to protect all the important things you put in when the box gets jostled around.  It looks like a time consuming task to create on but I imagine that a lot of people would be interested in their own personalized treasure box.  A potential business opportunity?

5th grade needs you!!!

Our 5th graders are beginning career exploration during e-time and need volunteers who are willing to share about the ins and outs of their jobs.  Our 5th graders have a wide variety of interests when it comes to careers so we are open to hearing from people with all kinds of jobs!  They will want to learn about the education and training needed for the job as well as the day to day tasks of that career.  A short presentation (30-45 minutes) with some kind of visual aid (PowerPoint, website, models, etc...) is preferred.  They need speakers for the following dates: May 4, May 11, May 18.   A cleared background check is also necessary.  Interested?  Contact Mrs. Kirby via e-mail at

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Before the long weekend...

...let's take a peek at the e-time happenings across the building today!

Future bakers in kindergarten learn about the importance of following a recipe while having a little fun by making a tie-dyed cake!

1st graders most certainly can do independent research.  These young ladies are passionate about animals and want to learn more about some of their favorites.

 While creating works of art can be enjoyable in and of itself, these students want to share their efforts by creating personalized picture frames for friends and family.

There is a great story behind this photo.  These young men had originally planned on building with LEGO pieces today but there were none available.  They were very disappointed.  However, their amazing teacher, Mr. Wu, had an idea for them.  Try taking an old box or other recyclable item and create something out of that.  They were initially skeptical but gave it a shot.  With lots of teamwork, cooperation, and creativity, they built a deluxe two story home complete with a rooftop pool.  Look at how proud they are of what they accomplished by working together!

 These students found a way to incorporate their study of physical changes with the upcoming holiday.  They made observations about the eggs before they were hard boiled and then after.  Of course, the funnest physical change to observe was coloring them!

Blokus is a relatively simple game with just a few rules.  However, these 3rd graders are beginning to understand that some of the simplest games require a great deal of strategy to be successful!  I'm not sure that they even noticed I was taking their picture!

These fourth grade students are using a beautiful picture they found of a beach with crashing waves as inspiration for a mural to hang in their classroom.  I can't wait to see it when it is ready for display.

 This fourth grade student has discovered that threading a needle is not as easy at it seems!  It's a bit hard to see but she is at the beginning stages of sewing a personalized bookmark.

Judge Cadue presides over her courtroom as a group of 5th graders have a heated (but respectful) discussion of the crime for which Goldilocks should be tried.  Theft?  Damage to property?  We'll see!

Try try again!  This 5th grade group's first try at the robotics obstacle course was not successful.  They had a fantastic discussion about what they believed they needed to do to fix their initial mistakes.  

Mrs. Dobecka can do more than just teach P.E.!  This 5th grade robotics group benefited from some friendly advice from our favorite P.E. teacher.

 Have a wonderful long weekend with your families and we will see you again on Tuesday, April 10!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

4th and 5th grade E-time update

5th grade took a little detour off the e-time path last week as they had a visit from the High Tech, High Touch group.  I know that they so much from that!  They will resume their studies in robotics, logic games, law and arts and crafts this week.

 The 4th grade chess tournament continued this last week.  Ms. Malone told me to snap a picture of her quickly because she wasn't how long she'd stay in.  I'd say that she's doing well for a beginner!

 Mr. Hilton looks quite serious as he watches his opponent plan his next move.  I didn't get to stay to see how this turned out but I know they both had to have enjoyed the opportunity to play against each other.

 4th grade has added a robotics group this time around.  Thanks to the generous loan from the high school there are enough robotics kits for two small e-time groups to work on them.  Mr. Barnette, who has been working with the 5th grade robotics group, came in to help the students get set up.  This group above is taking an inventory of their kit.

 While his fellow group members just dive in, this young man decides that checking the directions might be a good idea.  It doesn't hurt to have a bit of background knowledge before you get too far into it.

Thanks for helping the 4th grade robotics group, Mr. B.!

2nd and 3rd grade E-time Update

Ms. Ricciardelli has some 2nd grade students captivated with what she has to share with them about possible plans for the newly formed building and construction group.  They spent a lot of time discussing what they want to learn in this round and brainstorming materials they need.  

These young ladies are learning the basics of weaving.  As one of them said to me, "You have to start with the simple stuff first.  Once you know how to do that, then you can move on to the harder stuff."  They have a plan to sell the bracelets they are making and donate the money to a worthy cause.  Stay tuned!

Did you know that you can create simple animations using Microsoft Power Point?  This 3rd grade student didn't know that either!  What a fun way to tell a story!

Mrs. Cook helps a student select just the right paper for the cover of his book.  Since he was making the book for his mother, he had to find just the right shade of purple since that's her favorite color.  I hope his mom enjoyed the little surprise!

Working hard to create a book for a friend in 3rd grade

This 3rd grade room was quiet when I came in but it was the students' choice.  They are completely absorbed in the task of solving logic puzzles and games with each one increasing in complexity.  Their final goal is to be able to write some of their own to have classmates solve.  I can't wait to see what they come up with!

Quesadillas, anyone?  The 3rd grade cooking group decided to focus on different foods from around the world with last week's spotlight country being Mexico.  Let me tell you.  It smelled wonderful down in B Hall!

The 3rd grade cooking group also spent a little bit of time learning about the countries from which their dishes originated.  They plan to keep a journal of sorts to record what they find out each week.

Monday, April 2, 2012

1st grade E-time Update

We still have a good sized group of students interested in learning about pets.  Perhaps we can call Mrs. Hull from PetCo to talk with this group too!  Another group of 1st graders is passionate about games so they had the chance to dive into some old favorites and learn a couple of new ones last week.  They ended their e-time session by creating some group rules and expectations so that e-time can be enjoyable for everyone.  I love that!

Going old school with a game of dominoes

When I walked past Mrs. Nutt's room, I had to stop in after hearing all the excitement.  The students working with her want to learn more about fitness and sports.  They were doing an awesome cool down routine that I was able to capture with a couple of pictures.  Mrs. O'Neill even joined in!  (Don't mind my fingers in one of the pictures.  I was using a borrowed iPad and still trying to figure it out!)

Stretch those arms as high as you can!

Keeping fit can be lots of fun!

Kindergarten E-time Update

Kindergarten has shifted gears with e-time and the students are getting the chance to explore an interest for several weeks now.  I had the opportunity to spend some time with the kindergarten kids who expressed an interest in sports last week.  Before we tried a couple of new games, we talked about good sportsmanship and how to play fair.  My favorite part of the discussion was when a young man commented that you help someone who is hurt, even if they aren't on your team.  How thoughtful!

Another kindergarten group is delving into the world of dinosaurs.  Their very brave guide, Mrs. Kaprelian, had a small group of students trying to make a model of a dinosaur via paper mache (sorry, can't get the accents!).  They weren't sure how to set it up but they gave it a go anyway.  I think the picture shows that they were doing a fabulous job, don't you?

Making dinosaurs!

The kindergarten e-time group next door was busy planning some very elaborate LEGO constructions.  It was clear that they had spent time working together to come with their creation ideas.  Take a look at this group's final product.

Look what we made together!