Piclits is a creative and fun website that is all about Inspired Picture Writing. I used the site a couple of years ago with my one computer classroom and then forgot about it until I checked a blog post I wrote back then. Now I am in a classroom where each student can use a netbook and it was much easier to use this program.
Students can choose a picture. Then like refrigerator magnets they can choose precise vocabulary words from lists in located below the puzzle to arrange words into poems, sentences, messages, or labels. We just spent about 15 minutes playing around with the words and came up with many interesting piclits. I was happy to see that many students chose a poetry form based on William Carlos Williams "A Locust Tree in Flower". You can view each piclit by clicking or you can go to the website an create your own piclits. While having fun, we were introduced to wonderful and useful vocabulary words. Here are a few examples of our piclits.
Just a reminder that you can find examples of how to do the Everyday Math algorithms online. Today we are reviewing the Partial Products Method. This method gives student a good understanding of place=value and multiplication concepts. It also has the added benefit of facilitating student use of mental arithmatic as they solve problems. You can find many animations of the Partial Products Method here. Tomorrow we will be reviewing the Lattice Method of Multiplication. This is a very easy metod to use because it relies almost entirely on the recall of the basic multiplication facts. You can find many animations of the Lattice Method of Multiplication here.
This week we looked at another unusual William Carlos Williams poem called "The Locust Tree in Flower"
You can read about the poem and my lesson here on my Simply Teaching blog. Be sure to check out the "art" version version of the poem. That is strangely weird; not only is the poem fractured into pieces but so is the reader's voice.
Here are our versions of tree poems inspired by William Carlos Williams' poem. We used the animoto program again and learned to add videos to our poems.
Campbell came to school and showed me an ocarina. I had never heard of an ocarina. Campbell bought it during the summer and he knew what it was and how to play it. He told me it goes along with our study of the Incas, Mayans, and Azteks. I looked it up and he was right. Then he played it for me. I like when a student makes connections with things that we are studying. Interesting find and great job, Campbell!
Click here to retake the Mysterious Inca Brainteaser Quiz that we used to introduce the Incas. Can you get a 100%? How much do your parents know? You can let them try the quiz too! Grades aren't recorded! This is a good way to review and learn important information.It is found on the National Geographic for Kids website.
Today we started a science unit on Mixtures and Solutions. We learned that a "mixture" is two or more materials stirred together. A "solution" is a special mixture that happens when a material dissolves in water. We made mixtures out of water and gravel, water and powder, and water and salt. We also learned that the materials in a mixture can be seperated. We used filters to try to seperate our mixtures.
Hmm. The screen seperated the gravel from the water. The filter seperated the powder from the water. How can we seperate the salt from the water?
Today we reviewed the Everyday Math algorithm for addition called the Partial-Sums Method. Most fifth graders have mastered an algorithm of their choice for addition. If the are proficient in using that algorithm then they should use it. They are, however, expected to know the partial-sums algorithm for addition. The method helps them develop their understanding of place value and addition. In the partial-sums method, addition is performed from left to right, column by column. The sum for each column is recorded on a seperate line. The partial sums are added at either each step or at the end.
Here is a video that explains how to do this method: Addition Partial-Sums. The Everyday Math company has put the algorithims used in its program online. The animated directions take you through a problem step-by-step so students can refresh their memories or parents can learn the new algorithims. These are great refreshers, models, and argument breakers!
Here is the link to take you to the algorithms. Just click on the button for "Algorithims in Everyday Math", then click on grade 5, select an operation, an algorithim, and then an animation.
We are doing a short study on the Olmec people who built one of the earliest civilizations in the Americas. They lived along Mexico's east coast as early as 1500 B.C. They are often referred to as the "mother civilization" of the Americas, because so many other groups learned from their culture. They built temples on the tops of thier flat-topped pyramids. The people lived in villages and built huge stone carved faces, some as large as 20 tons, looked out over these villages.
Here is an article on the National Geographic for kids website that shows the discovery of 3000 year old Olmec writing. Can you figure out what it says?
"An ancient culture is getting new attention. Featured in the new National Treasure 2 movie, who were the so-called Olmec Indians of ancient Mexico? A very mysterious and advanced civilization, many believe that the Mayan calendar is really Olmec in origin. From pyramids to written language to sophisticated social structure and even ball games, the Olmecs were the mother culture of the Americas."
This week the class has been working hard on the NECAP tests. I am very proud of how much effort each student gave on these tests. The students I watched were using strategies, working slowly and carefully, and doing their best jobs at all times. Let's just say that the marathon testing sessions are over and it was good to see how seriously the fifth graders took this test. The class was very happy to be done with the NECAPs and just as thrilled that they get to do it again next year!
Some students were feeling a little bit dizzy when done.
Here are our pictures from the first day of school. I wonder how much we will grow and change throughout the year? This video was made from a program called animoto. You can make 30 second videos like this for free on their website. Teachers can get a free educator's license here that lets you make an unlimited amount of animoto videos and the length is not restricted to 30 seconds. I will update this video with a few more photos once those students return their permission slips.
Today I introduced the class to one of my favorite poems, "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams. I made this animoto video to help make the poem come alive.
The class will be writing their own poems based on "The Red Wheelbarrow" and use Animoto to showcase their work. We will be doing it a little bit different than in previous years, but you can find some of my student's work and more information about "The Red Wheelbarrow" here and here.
This week is the NECAP test week for fifth grade students at New Searles Elementary School. Maybe this year (or even last year) you heard of a writing strategy that we call 4-square. We use it to organize and plan answers in our Scott-Foresman reading series as well as in other subjects. It is a simple strategy to use. I think it is a key strategy for writing better answers on the NECAP tests as well as a simple and proven way to improve test scores. You can read my post to parents last year "Think in Fours for Higher Test Scores" explaining the method here.
A handout is going home today about choosing an Inca project to complete for a Social Studies unit. There are descriptions of the projects as well as items needed to complete the project in the handout. Please make your top three choices. For inspiration, here is a video showing the projects that my class made last year.