December 9, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class
We learned two exciting things about our blog this week.
1. We were nominated for an Edublog Award for Best Class Blog 2013! We feel honored that our blog was nominated, and we’d like to thank all our friends and fellow bloggers who nominated us. We saw that many of our favorite classroom blogs were nominated, too, and we are excited to learn more about the nominees on the list that are new to us! If you would like to check out the nominees and vote for the awards, this is how you do it:
Students can also vote for individual student blogs. We’d like to congratulate Em’s Canvas (written by a 2nd grader in our district) on her nomination! To vote for student bloggers, go here: Voting is now open for best student blog.
Thank you to all of our readers for supporting classroom blogging everywhere!
2. We have been watching our ClustrMap carefully all year, and we were ecstatic, thrilled, jubilant and exhilarated when we recently reached the milestone of having 10,000 visitors!
We love to see where our visitors come from and to think about what it must be like where they live. We noticed that when we looked at the country list in ClustrMaps, there were some countries we knew, but many we had never heard of before! To find out more about these countries, we started by finding out in which continent the country was located. We have been learning about the best ways to search for information online this year, and here is one tip we learned that was helpful: in Google, just type the word “continent” and the name of the country, and a box will appear at the top of the search results with the answer. Try it!
Thank you to all our readers everywhere!
We appreciate all of you!
December 8, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class
Photo Credit: Pat Henson via Compfight
The Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous speeches in American history. It was given by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, on November 19, 1863. We read that this year was the 150th anniversary of the speech, so we decided to do some research about the speech to learn more about it. Here are some facts we learned:
- The Gettysburg Address was given at the site of a Civil War battle which was fought July 1-3, 1863. They wanted to dedicate the field in memory of the people who died there.
- President Lincoln was not the main speaker on that day. The main speech was given by Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours.
- The Gettysburg Address took only about three minutes to deliver, and was about 272 words long.
- There are several hand-written versions of the speech with a few differences in wording. Because there was no video or sound recording back then, no one knows exactly what President Lincoln said on that day. We studied the version of the speech contained in the National Archives.
After we did a close reading of the speech, we tried to memorize parts of it. Almost all of us memorized the first sentence, which says:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
A group of us made a recording of the speech. We thought it was a good opportunity to try out our green screen for the first time this school year!
As we learned about the Gettysburg Address, we also researched information about the life of Abraham Lincoln. We were lucky enough to be able to borrow a Traveling Trunk from Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park, in Kentucky. The trunk contained books, games, and reproductions of items Abraham Lincoln would have used during his life. We had a great time exploring the items in the trunk! Here are a few pictures:
The trunk contained replicas of clothing people in Lincoln’s time would have worn.
There was a set of Lincoln logs in the trunk, which we used to make a model log cabin.
We learned how families like the Lincolns made “windows” for their log cabins using brown paper and oil. Can you see that the paper becomes translucent?
The trunk even contained a replica of Mr. Lincoln’s stovepipe hat!
What do you know about the leaders of your country?
November 19, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class
On November 7, our class went to the Mesa Arts Center to see National Geographic Live. We heard from Paul Nicklen, a photographer for National Geographic. He talked about his adventures photographing animals in their habitats all over the world. He said that he got interested in nature when he was a little boy, exploring his home on Baffin Island in Northern Canada.
We decided to explore our own environment and learn more about our natural surroundings. Our school is surrounded by desert, and just to the south of our school there is a marked nature trail called Traynor’s Trail, which is named for a former teacher at our school. Last Thursday our whole third grade went on a walk on the trail, led by Mrs. Salmon, who is an expert hiker. We took pictures of the unique desert plants we saw on the way. Here are collages of photos made by members of our class (made on iPads with the PicPlayPost app).
Collage by Natalie
Collage by Kyle
Collage by Ezme
Collage by Nick
When we got back we did some research about some of the plants we saw. Here are some of the facts we learned:
- Barrel cactus can grow greenish fruit and orange flowers.
- The palo verde tree grows yellow flowers and 2-3 inch pods filled with seeds.
- Palo verde is the state tree of Arizona. Its name means “green stick” in Spanish.
- A barrel cactus can grow up to be ten feet tall. They hold lots of water so they can last a long time in the desert.
- Mistletoe is a plant parasite which grows on desert trees. It takes nutrients away from the trees and if it isn’t controlled it can kill the tree.
- Cholla is sometimes called “jumping cactus” because the fruit can break off and cling to people and animals when they walk by.
- The Saguaro cactus is protected in Arizona. It can be a home and provide food for many desert animals.
We didn’t expect to see many animals on our walk. Most desert animals stay hidden during the day, and the snakes and other reptiles we sometimes see in the desert are usually dormant this time of year. We were very surprised when a sharp-eyed hiker noticed this animal. It was off the trail, hiding under branches that provided camouflage, but Mrs. Moore was able to get a good picture with her camera.
Can you see the rattlesnake? That was a good reminder for us to always stay alert when walking in the desert!
Have you ever gone on a nature walk?
Can you define all the bold words in this post?
November 13, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman
Today we had a chance to learn about a different country by going on a Skype visit. Our class got together with Mrs. Carney’s kindergarten class to make a special Skype call.
Mrs. Carney has a sister-in-law who is serving in the U.S. Air Force. Right now she is stationed in Honduras, which is in Central America. She told us about what it is like to live in Honduras, and we made notes of the similarities and differences between Honduras and Arizona. She said that it is warm there right now, like it is in Arizona, but much rainier. One interesting thing she told us is that skunks are a very common sight on their base, so they have to be very careful to avoid them when they are walking at night!
One of her jobs while serving in Honduras is to work with the local people, and they often visit local orphanages. Here is a link which tells about one of the orphanages which they visit. She told us about what it is like at the orphanage and what the kids who live there like to do. It sounds like they enjoy the same types of things we do here, like reading, drawing, playing sports and using computers! We are planning to work with Mrs. Carney’s class to send some letters and cards, in Spanish and English, to the kids who live there. We look forward to making friends with the kids in Honduras!
It was very interesting for us to learn about what it is like to serve in the Air Force and to live in another country. Every time we Skype we learn more about our world!
Have you ever visited another country?
What other countries would you like to visit?
October 23, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class
This post is written for the Student Blogging Challenge, Week 6, Activity 9.
This week’s challenge asked us to write about our world and the ways we learn about it. In our class, we love to learn by playing games whenever we can. Our favorite geography game is called GeoGuessr.
This is how you play: the GeoGuessr website brings up a random image from Google Earth Street View. You have to guess where in the world the picture was taken. You can look at the picture from all angles and zoom in to see small details. When you are ready to guess, you place a marker on a map. Then the site tells you how close your guess was to the actual location. The closer your guess was, the more points you get. You get five different images to guess. At the end you get a final score. It’s fun to keep playing to see if you can beat your high score!
Here’s an example of an image of a very famous place in Google Earth Street View. When you hover over this image you’ll see the address, but you won’t get that help when you play GeoGuessr!
View Larger Map
Our favorite thing about this game is that we get to see amazing places from all around the world. We’ve noticed that we’ve gotten a lot better at finding the locations as we’ve played, too! Some of the clues we know to look for to make a good guess:
- If there are signs in the picture, in what language are they written?
- If there are cars, on what side of the road are they driving?
- Is the land flat or are there mountains or hills?
- What types of plants and trees are growing?
- What is the weather there? Can you see snow or rain?
- What color is the dirt? Even that can give you a clue!
Sometimes the pictures trick us, though. For example, yesterday in one picture we saw a sign that said “restaurant” and we thought it was an English speaking country, but it was actually in France. We didn’t know until then that “restaurant” was a French word! We also had a picture yesterday that looked exactly like a part of the United States, but it was really in South Africa, over 13,000 km (8,000 miles) away! It’s been really interesting to see that places that are so far away can look so much like our own home.
Have you ever played GeoGuessr?
What are your tips for making a good guess?