My 4th graders participated in their very first Mystery Skype today with a 6th grade class in Missouri. Before we began the Skype I gave each table of 4 students a job. One group used the Almanac in their Social Studies book to look up some of the facts given by the other class, some used Google to research the facts, some students used laminated maps to identify the area of the US where they thought the state may be located, and a few students helped out by reading our facts to the other class. After the 6th grade class gave us their facts, they took a guess at where we were from and we did the same. We were both successful!
Some of their facts were:

  • Their state is near the Mississippi River
  • Their state was a swing state in the Election
  • The name of their state contains 8 letters
  • They are near Jefferson City

Then they surprised us by asking if we wanted to guess what city they were from in Missouri and they would do the same. We ended up being successful with that guess as well!

It was such a great opportunity and experience, and we are certainly looking forward to doing more Mystery Skypes in the near future. Here's a look at the 6th grade class we Skyped with today on our Promethean board.

This week in Reading students learned how to analyze and evaluate an informational text to identify evidence and opinions. They worked really hard analyzing the texts given on this Monday -Wednesday while discovering the different types of evidence used by the author to support their claim. They also had the opportunity to think about their own opinion in comparison to the author's and decide whether they agreed or disagreed with the author. They were also given thinking stems of I think...... and I would.... to elaborate on their explanation. Today they took their learning further by writing a persuasive letter to Santa using opinions and reasons stating why they deserve the presents they are asking for for Christmas. They also learned today while typing their paper on Microsoft Word how to add clipart.

Here's a sample letter to Santa.

Here's a peek at our week so far and it's only Tuesday!

This week students are learning the importance of taxes. Today students engaged in an activity where they had to determine the sales tax on items they chose from different ads. What a better week to do this since Black Friday was just last week! We had tons of ads to share with students.

Here is the example that was given to students.

Check out this student's wish list!

I am so excited to showcase our postcard exchange bulletin board. Check out all of the postcards we have received so far. We are looking forward to learning more about the rest of the states in our country.

A shout out to my partner teacher, Mrs. Allelo for creating our holiday board for the hallway!

My students and I are truly going to miss our student teacher. She has made Social Studies come alive for the students. Her lessons have been engaging, collaborative, involved critical thinking and many of the activities she planned were project based. A few weeks ago she created a collaborative and product focused Social Studies lesson on the types of government and the rights of citizens here. They learned about the different types of government such as limited and unlimited and participated in many activities where they could apply their learning.
Towards the end of the week students collaborated to create their own country as their final project. They decided who would lead their country, the type of government they would have, and decided how the citizens were treated. They even created their own laws and rights, and they created a flag to represent their country. Once students planned each assigned part of the project, they were given an iPad to use the keynote app to create a slideshow to showcase their country to the class. Students really took ownership of their project and were excited and nervous presenting it to the class. Here's a look at a few projects.

The first activity was creating a slideshow using the Keynote app. The students used their outlines from a previous week's lesson on bats to pull important facts from to showcase in their powerpoint. First, students were taught how to gather photos and save photos to the iPad from the internet. Then students were given choice on their background design and instructed on how to create the first two slides. They took off after that. How much fun it was being the facilitator throughout the remainder of this center!

The next student centered learning activity was centered around word work. The lesson was adapted from the site Students were first paired with their shoulder partner and were given a handout containing four boxes, which students were to fill in with a target word, definition, synonym, word parts and to formulate something special about the word. Students were given a list of target words to choose from with their partner. After student pairs agreed on four target words from the list, the iPads were distributed and students were off to discover the word's meanings using the dictionary app.

What student centered activities are your favorite?

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