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What's Next for Flight?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Looking back at our web of "flight" that we made back in September...

The kids and I determined that we have studied each section in depth except for "animals that fly." (One caveat - we did not study "make-believe flying objects" although how neat would that be to create a futuristic flying machine?!)
So, we took a vote. Should we:
1) Study animals that fly through an in-depth look at insects, caterpillars, and butterflies
2) Move straight into preparations for an exhibition on our flight unit for our peers and parents

Though not all the students were present on the day of the vote...the majority ruled. We had 19 votes for caterpillars and butterflies and 3 votes for the exhibition!

I went ahead and ordered a butterfly kit - it will send us painted lady and monarch caterpillars very soon! 
Our first steps were to gather what information and misconceptions were held by the children already on this topic.
You can see a slideshow of some of their finished products here - 


Once we had gathered their initial knowledge and understand, we created a class web of knowledge to see what they knew as a group and where our teaching and facilitating of this next part of the project needed to begin. Here is the web that was created.


This gave me a good idea of where they are. They mentioned some of the parts - but not all (not the thorax). They really focused on the butterfly and not the caterpillar. Their knowledge of types of butterflies is slim. Needs of butterflies and caterpillars wasn't mentioned at all, along with the fact that they are insects. I believe we'll start by learning what qualifies something as an insect, then study caterpillars, and go from there.
I sent this out to the parents yesterday in hopes of creating insect sculptures after a bug hunt outdoors next week:


Our kit has arrived, and the caterpillars should arrive once the children return from Spring Break. I am looking forward to launching this with the children!





Learning by Doing

As I sit here on my week-long Spring Break, I am so grateful to have the time to reflect on our year and gear up to make the last 9 weeks with these 26 second graders be time well spent. As a teacher, you can get so focused on the "what" in teaching - your content - instead of your "who," your "how," and especially, your "why." 
Over Christmas break, our staff got a chance to really reflect on our WHY. Why are we here? Why are we teachers? Facilitating, assessing, leading, in the way that we do in this new school district is not for the faint of heart. Remembering why we are doing it and who we are doing it with was really important for us. It was the right way to start off our second semester of our second year of school.

But now, before starting my last 9 weeks of school, I want to look at my WHO and my HOW...
My learners and how I can best meet their needs.
I found these quotes last night while doing some research. I feel like I needed some reminding that these 7 and 8 year olds in my class are just that - 7 and 8 year olds. They have only been on this earth for a very short time. There is so much they do not know and have yet to explore. They need to be allowed every opportunity to research in the way they know how. I'm already noticing how so many children at this age forego "play" and would rather choose an iPad. I have 15 minutes at the end of each day where I basically force play and creativity on my students. No iPads, no screen time. They must build, imagine, and/or create something. Pull out the puppets or play-doh. Let's get out the blocks or the marble run or the electrical circuits and figure out what makes a ramp work. Let's ask questions and wonder. Let's make thinkers!



Motorized Aircraft Digital Presentations

After our 3D models were complete and students had done sufficient research on their chosen aircraft (through a guided research plan created by my intern), it was time to share their learning with their peers through a digital presentation.

I gave them several options:
1) Book Creator
2) Little Story Creator
3) Keynote
4) Google Slides
5) Adobe Spark

Take a look at how well they turned out!

Blimps
(Created using "Little Story Creator")
By Maddox, Braydon, Rhiley, and Bryant


Chinooks
(Created using "Book Creator")
By Elijah, Haley Grace, and Carmen


Biplanes 
(Created using "Adobe Spark")
By Anna, Zainab, and Zavion

Cargo Planes
(Created using "Little Story Creator")
By Bhakti and Kaylea

Blackhawks
(Created using "Adobe Spark")
By Landon, Abby, and Callie


Fighter Jets
(Created using "Adobe Spark")
By Darrius, JK, and Grace

Rescue Helicopters
(Created using "Adobe Spark")
By Yujin


Seaplanes
(Created using "Adobe Spark")
By Cami, Sydney, and Sidney


Stealthbombers
(Created using "Adobe Spark")
By Judah, Micaiah, and Axel







Getting started on Teachers Pay Teachers

I sold my very first product on Teachers Pay Teachers in December of 2014. It was a sad Word Document that had no cover page, no preview, and no creativity.

After much research and practice, I have much better ways to create resources that are more engaging and are also useful in my classroom. 

I've come a long way, but still have so much to learn and so many more things I want to try and make!

I was hoping to make this 2 1/2 year process a little quicker for other teachers out there so I made a quick video showing how I get started on each of my resources once I come up with an idea of what I am going to make (which is the hardest part for me!). Check it out and let me know if you have any questions.