The Marshmallow Incident in Room 207

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Marshmallows flying through the air with the greatest of ease…what!  Room 207 had a Marshmallow Incident of their own after reading the book, The Marshmallow Incident by Judi Barrett.  You may recognize her name.  She is the author of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Pickles to Pittsburgh.  

The story is about two towns, Town of Left and the Town of Right, who cannot get along.  There is a dotted yellow line separating the two towns and no one dares cross it-until one day someone trips and fall to the other side.  Needless to say the towns have a conflict on their hands.  This book is great to help with conflict resolution.

After reading the story, our class decided to have a marshmallow incident of our own.  This was a great event to bring in parents and help us get to know each other a little better.  We had several events:  MarshKabobs, Marshmallow Relay, Marshmallow Buildings, and the Marshmallow Catapult.   Take a look at the fun being had by students and parents!

After the festivities, we had a little time left over for some problem solving.  Students were challenged to make the tallest stack of marshmallows as they could with one bag of large marshmallows.  To begin, they were given time to brainstorm and plan.  

Collaborating at its best!

Then they began to build.  It became very clear that marshmallows are hard to stack.

Boy, this stack will not stay up!

One group began thinking outside the box and realized that I didn’t say they couldn’t use the bag the marshmallows came in.  So, they piles the marshmallows in the bag as a base and then used the rest to make it taller.  

The winning team!

What was your favorite marshmallow event?


A Moldy Experience!

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Hi, this is Lilly and Claire!

Our class did a mold experiment to practice using the scientific method.  Our teacher said to pair up in groups of three for the project collaboration.  To go with the project, we made a science journal and we’re going to keep track of the results.

Here we are writing about our observations! We collaborated to get the best detail. We made our journals out of small gift bags.

First, we got a piece of bread.  We had to split the bread into three parts.  Then, we rubbed one of the pieces on a desk, one on a shoe, and the last on our tongue.  Each of us had to hypothesize which piece of bread we thought would have the most mold based off information we researched.

The petri dish with the three parts. Reminds me of a fraction!


After that, we put it in a petri dish.  The petri dish was split into three equal parts.  It was clear so we could see the mold as it grew.  We had to label it afterward so we knew which bread piece was which.   We put tape on the sides so it would be extra tight.  Once we had mold growing we didn’t want take the chance that it would open!  Yuck!

Look at what is happening to our bread!

Last we put it in a big black container under a desk.  We would check the mold twice a week.  It took a couple of weeks for the mold to become visible.   Once it did we were amazed at the different colors we saw!


These are most of the colors we saw: yellow, black and blue-green.  We also saw white fluffy looking mold. Some people didn’t have any mold at all…my group!  Bummer!    We must be too clean.

There I am with my moldless bread! I am not looking too happy!


Here are some facts about mold…

There are five basic types of mold that grow on bread. The most common mold is penicillium.

Alexander Fleming discovered this mold.

Alexander Fleming

He found that this mold kills germs. He used this to make a medicine called penicillin which saved millions of lives over the last 80 years.
Mold is…
not a plant.
like mushrooms and toadstools. 
one of natures cleaners.
used as flavoring for foods such as blue cheese and soy sauce. 

What do you think would happen to our world if we didn’t have mold?


Sonoran Desert…the Facts!

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Hi, Gabe and I did some research on the Sonoran Desert.  Why, you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  

Here we are fishing on a field trip. Sorry, didn't catch any fish. This manmade lake is in the Sonoran Desert, too.

We live in the Sonoran Desert. Our school is in the Sonoran Desert.  We thought it would be important to know some facts about where we live.  In class, we learned about the different types of writing.  One that we spend a lot of time on is nonfiction text.  Sometimes nonfiction text is called expository or informational text.  It all means the same.  This kind of writing is about real stuff. There won’t be any speaking kangaroos or flying pigs in this kind of writing. There are just facts about a topic.  

by Isaiah

What topic would you like to learn more about?

Hi, this is Gabe.  Here is the information we found.  We put it in a Power Point presentation.  Then Mrs. Fraher used Slide Rocket so we could show it on our blog and at our Tech Fest at the end of the year.  You will also see Christian’s presentation on what collaboration is and who we worked with while doing Project Feeder Watch.  All of the pictures in the presentation are ones that our class and Mrs Fraher took around our school using our class digital cameras and iPads.

Let us know what you learned.

Project Feeder Watch Comes to a Close

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Our class has had a wonderful time this year on our Project Feeder Watch.  Check out what we did and learned during this great birding project!

First, we live in the Sonoran Desert so our goal was to examine and learn about the birds found in the Sonoran Desert.  Here is a Tagul from Justin about the bird species we saw.

Here are the bird species we saw from our class window and some facts about them by Nathan and Cassidy…

Here are some of the species we have seen using Blabberize:

Do you know the different features birders use to identify birds?  Take a look at this Show Me from Elly, Zach, and Cody to find out.

We hoped you enjoyed learning about birds with us.

Please comment and tell us something you learned.

There is another post with more information! Check it out!




Turkey Vulture Does the Math!

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Hi, my name is Christian.

I am going to tell you about the turkey vulture and how it did math.  I think the turkey vulture is funny looking, but an interesting bird.

Christian looking at his favorite book...Birds of Arizona!

A turkey vulture is one only birds that eats carrion as its main source of food.  This is good for the environment because dead animals can’t sit around or diseases will start.  I like to compare them to a live vacuum.  They suck up the waste!

How did the turkey vulture do math?  Look at the picture my dad took of this turkey vulture on our view fence in our backyard.

Taken from my backyard!


If you recall, there are 12 inches in one foot and one yard is equal to three feet.

How can we tell how long the wingspan is by just looking at the picture?

Well, let me tell you.

Look at the fence.  The space between each bar is six inches.  Now count how many spaces there are under the turkey vulture’s one wing.  I count six spaces.

Here’s the math:
six spaces times six inches for each bar equals thirty-six inches
6 x 6 = 36
This tells us that one wing span is about 36 inches long.

What number do we know in measurement that is 36?

You are right!  There are 36 inches in a yard.  So, the turkey vulture’s one wingspan is 36 inches long, three feet or one yard.

How long would both his wings be?

Here are some fun facts about the turkey vulture:
The turkey vulture builds no nest, but lays eggs on a cliff or in a cave.  It’s eggs are white with brown markings.   The eggs remain eggs for 38-41 days.

Here I am with my friends discussing bird species.

What else can you tell me about the turkey vulture?

Want to Learn and Relate? Collaborate!

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Mrs. Fraher gives our class a lot of chances to collaborate with other students.   We collaborate with different students within our class.  It is fun to learn from others because everyone thinks differently.  Collaborating makes learning fun!  We have learned how to write better, explain ourselves better, and comprehend what we learn better.  A lot of what we have learned can’t be tested using a multiple choice test.  

Global collaboration teaches us about cultures and the importance of relationships.

We learned that collaboration relationships require give and take, learning doesn’t just come from books, and there are no boundaries when it comes to collaborating.

We collaborate with other classes at our school.  We work with Mrs. Shamhart’s first grade class in reading, Mrs. Rivera’s second grade class in math, and Mrs. Goucher’s class in science.  We have met a lot of different students at our school that we would not have met if it wasn’t for collaboration.  When we walk around school we get to wave to them and know that we learn from them and they learn from us.

Collaborating on PhotoPeach

The cool thing about collaborating and the technology we have is that we can also collaborate with students from other countries.  We were email buddies with a class in Port Lincoln, Australia and collaborated with Mrs. W and Mr. Davo Devil from Tasmania.

  We also get to collaborate with other kids at other schools in Apache Junction and around the United States.  We are going to meet Mrs. Moore’s class and Mrs. Hamman’s class at Four Peaks Elementary, and we are writing to a class in New York- Mrs. Delace’s Class. For the whole year, we have been buddies with Bensesa School in Nairobi, Kenya.  We have learned about different cultures and have found out that we are a lot alike, too.  We are starting a new collaboration with Mrs. Murphy’s class.  We will be blogging buddies with them and also participate in a Flat Stanley project.


Reading with each other is a great way to collaborate!


Did you now that you can collaborate with people from all ages?  Mrs. Fraher likes to invite community members and experts to collaborate with us.  This shows us that we can learn from any age and that people in our community care about our learning.

Do you collaborate with other kids at your school or around the country?

What do you like about collaborating?

Follow the Clues…Bird Detective!

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Hello, my name is Justin.

I will be teaching you how you can be a bird detective!  You just have to follow the clues to identify any bird species you want.  There is more ways than you think and here they are!

What I think is the easiest feature to use is finding males and females.  In almost all of the bird species the male looks different then the female.  You can also tell by the bird’s size, the largest bird on the earth is the Whooping Crane.  The smallest bird is five centimeters tall.  This bird lives in Cuba and is a Bee Hummingbird.  Here is a picture of a hummingbird that lives in our area.

Can you see the long, thin beak?


What other clues could you use to identify a bird species?

You can also tell the bird species by the beak.  A bird that eats nectar has a loooooong beak.  It uses its long tongue to slurp nectar up like its tongue is a straw.  A meat eater usually a sharp beak with a hook on the end.  This is used for ripping the meat apart.  An insect eater has a thin beak for pecking insects in small cracks and trees.  A bird that eats seeds has a sharp point at the end and strong edges to crack the seed open.

This Red-tailed Hawk on a Saguaro Cactus outside our room has a beak that helps tear meat.

There are also a lot of  different feet for birds.  Here is one.   Songbirds have four thin toes one, pointing diagonally left and another pointing diagonally right.  The other toe is pointing straight.  The last one is pointing backwards!  

Lesser Finch using its toes to grasp the finch sock at our classroom window.


Some birds like the Titmouse have “mohawks”, or as the Quail has a topnotch.  A topnotch is a little feather on the top of quail’s head.  

Many male and female Gambel's Quail feeding at our window. See the top knotch?


You can tell by the patterns and colors of the feathers.  For example, the female House Finch looks almost exactly like the Song Sparrow, but the Song Sparrow has darker brown spots.  The Song Sparrow only has the brown specs on the top of his stomach, it has a thin pointed beak, and it has a dark spot next to it’s eye.  A female House Finch has light brown spots all over it’s stomach and it has a curved beak, but doesn’t have the dark spot.  

This House Finch at our window is similar to the House Sparrow. Its pattern and color set it apart.



This is how you would be able to tell the difference between bird species.

iPads, MacBook Pro, Binoculars, Oh My!

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In the world of technology, our class is sitting pretty thanks to the money we received from Century Link and AzTEA through the technology grant Mrs. Goucher and I won.  It is absolutely a dream come true for both of us.  Both Mrs. Goucher and myself really appreciate the generosity of Century Link and their commitment to the community.  Every time I think about the phone call we received letting us know we won, I get a big smile on my face!  All of the hard work writing the grant was definitely worth it!  Most of the grant was set aside to help us purchase iPads, two Mac Book Pros, and binoculars for our Project Feeder Watch.  Kids will be using them to help with data collection and recording of bird species.  We haven’t received our binoculars yet.  When we do, it will help us identify the species because we will be able to see the bird’s features much better.  

Here are a few pictures that show our excitement when the iPads and Mac Book arrived:

Feels like Christmas!


Another box to many more are there?


We're getting closer!



The anticipation is killing us!


Yes! The iPad has left the box!


Yes, Mrs. Fraher is looking a little possessive of that Mac Book! Do you think she is thinking, "MINE!"

To try them out, we took a few pictures of a cactus wren and its nest in our school parking lot with the iPad.  A male and a female were building the nest and foraging for food in the median of the road.  They were very interesting to watch.  Check them out…


The Cactus Wren...Arizona's state bird.


Do you have the Cactus Wren where you live?  

If not, what bird do you have that is similar in looks to the Cactus Wren?


Cactus wrens are common in cactus country (which is us) and arid hillsides. They forage on the ground for food.


It likes to make its domed nest in thorny trees, like this Palo Verde, or Cholla cacti. This is to protect its young from predators.


Two of the prominent features of the Cactus Wren is the white eyebrow and speckled feathers. Uh, oh, he's watching us.


Listen to the chug, chug, chug of the cactus wren:

CactusWrenCallFade PE916201

How are Birds and Our Digital Footprint Alike?

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A digital footprint is the word that is currently being used to describe the trail that is left when we visit the internet.  It is the evidence that we have visited websites, uploaded videos, and sent emails.  Our class has been learning about being safe on the internet, responsible in what we “say”, and aware of where we go on the internet.  This is all part of being a responsible digital citizen.

We are also deep into our Project Feeder Watch project and now learning about identifying species by the evidence they leave in their habitat.    As I was teaching this, it struck me that one can be used as an analogy for the other.   Birds leave feathers, nests, droppings, and tracks in their habitat as evidence of their existence, and we leave email, sites, videos, and blog posts in our digital habitat. 

So the next time you see a bird  and the footprint it leaves by a dropping or nest, think about what you leave on the internet. Hopefully, it is respectful and responsible and not a “bird dropping.”


Take a look at what our class has found that shows evidence of birds in our desert habitat. 

Evidence of Bird Species on PhotoPeach


Can you think of other analogies that could be compared to digital footprints?