Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Spaghetti Challenge :: Projects By Jen

Today we participated in the Great Spaghetti Challenge, one of the many wonderful Projects By Jen

Task: Use the materials listed below and build a free-standing tower! The project runs from October 10 - November 18. Join the fun!

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To prepare for the project, we thought about the Engineering Design Process. 

 (click to enlarge)
From Tracy Watanabe 

In preparation, we watched some building videos on BrainPop. 

Mrs. Yollis put everyone into small groups, ideas were discussed, and  a plan was made. 

Finally, the materials were passed out, and the creativity began! 

Students were given 18 minutes to build a free-standing tower with a marshmallow on the top. The enemy to all...GRAVITY! 

Time was ticking away...

Several started with a solid foundation

Everyone chipped in! 

After 18 minutes, only one tower was free-standing! Behold, the winning structure and team!

Way to go! The tower measured 44 cm! 

One of the members on the winning team used observational learning to modify and create a winning structure. Preston noticed that everyone was making their towers quite tall, but none of them were staying upright, and that was without the marshmallow! So, he persuaded his team to make a shorter, more stable tower. It worked!  

After processing the learning, Mrs. Yollis gave every team an additional five minutes to modify and improve their tower...just for fun.  Almost everyone was able build a free-standing structure. Meter sticks were brought out and the height was measured

This one measures 38 cm! 

 Here's a second try that measured 46 cm. 

 Will it stand? Will gravity win? 

This one measures 38 cm. 

Sadly, this one collapsed

This one measures approximately 15 cm. 

Plus, our little 3 cm tower

Preston also used weight to counter balance the tower. 

In the afternoon, we held a Google HangOut with Mrs. Watanabe and some teachers from Ventura County Office of Schools. The students talked about the process of designing a tower. Many of the teachers had the same results as the students. The teachers asked the students how they resolved problems. How did you resolve some of the problems in your group? 

Photo collage by Mrs. Watanabe

What was your favorite part of the design process?

How would you do this task differently?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Comments Count!

We are enjoying being a part of Edublog's Student Blogging Challenge! Week 2 Task: Time To Comment

The comment section is where a blog can really come to life! It is a place where you can interact with readers and learn more about one another. So, we spent the week becoming better commenters!

How I teach my third graders to comment.

First, we learn how to comment using an informational video made by my former students. Through this video, we learn the FIVE tips for leaving a quality comment:

Step 1: Compliment the blogger in a specific way.
Step 2: Add new factual information.
Step 3: Make a connection.
Step 4: Ask a relevant question to get a conversation going.
Step 5: Always proofread your comment before publishing! 

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A few other ways to teach commenting.

Collaborative Commenting

Here is a fantastic group comment from our blogging buddies in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Their librarian, Mrs. Talley, connects her classes to ours via the comment section on our 366 Photo-of-the-Day Blog


The photo that inspired a collaborative comment. 

Mrs. Talley composed a quality comment with a class during their weekly visit to the library. 

(Click to enlarge)

As a group, I helped compose a reply. (Since I am the only one who can type proficiently, I type for my student bloggers. Soon they'll be typists and will be able to compose quality comments themselves.) Any student who added an idea or sentence gets his/her name added to the closing of the comment. 

(click to enlarge)

Learning From One Another ★ 

A weekly homework assignment is to leave a blog comment by Friday on a blog post of interest. Students must have parent supervision on the blog. 

This photo from our  BreakOut EDU experience brought an interesting  comment from a student. 

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

Check out Elie's analogy:  BreakOut EDU reminds me of a restaurant.  

(Click to enlarge)

Elie shared his comment in class, and we talked about analogies. Before long, another student left a comment with a different analogy. Hayden thinks that BreakOut EDU is like kayaking in a double kayak!  

Again, collaborative comments are a great way to teach this important blogging skill. This group comment was written by Reese, Elie, Lola, Rose, and Nolan.

 Learning From Parents ★ 

Parents, called Virtual Volunteers, help us learn about commenting! Here is a wonderful comment about our BreakOut EDU experience from Nolan's mom. 

(click to enlarge)

What are some other ways to teach 
commenting skills?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Student Blogging Challenge!

We are excited to be a part of Edublog's Student Blogging Challenge! 

This is week number one out of the ten week project
(We are sorry, we are a little late publishing.) 

There are two tasks for week number 1. First, make an avatar to represent your class. An avatar is an image used to represent yourself online. Mrs. Yollis' avatar is a photo of her standing next to a Google Map marker at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. What does this avatar tell you about Mrs. Yollis?

Here is our class avatar. Mrs. Yollis took a photo and then she modified it using the Prisma app. 

How do you like the avatar?

What does it say about us? 

 Second, make an About Me page or post telling a little bit about your state or country. Let's get started! 

Here is a wonderful video about our state, California. 


Here is another resource with photos about California!

Tell us about yourself. 

Where are you from? 
What are the regions like there? 

What is great about your state or country? 

Are there any problems happening in your country like our drought?   

Friday, October 7, 2016

BreakOut EDU!

Mrs. Garcia came to our room today with a fabulous game! 
It was called BreakOut EDU

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

First, Mrs. Yollis put us into eight teams, one for each letter in the word TEAMWORK. Then Mrs. Garcia explained the rules. We would have 45 minutes to solve eight problems. A correct answer would lead to a number or word that unlocked a lock. Two hints were permitted

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

Would we be able to unlock them all?  

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

TEAMWORK was important!
If you finished your task and unlocked one lock, you were free to go and help other teams. 

 Everyone was intrigued with the locks.  

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

With 45 minutes on the clock, we began our challenge! 

Some students worked with Morse code.

Others constructed a time line. 

These two are discussing a math task to solve a mystery. 

Hundreds charts and logical reasoning were used repeatedly.

Sometimes the locks opened. Other times they did not. 
If the code didn't open the lock, we had to try something new. 


One by one we began our escape! 

Here we are at the halfway mark! Four unlocked. 

With over nine minutes to spare, we unlocked the box! This was our second attempt to break out, and we used teamwork and perseverance to succeed

Photo by Mrs. Garcia

We loved this type of collaborative learning!  A tip of the hat to Jeanine Huebner for the BreakOut EDU tasks! 

Without revealing too many clues, what was difficult about your task?

What did you learn about yourself from this experience?