March 1, 2012
by Mrs. Hamman

Solar Explorers

We’ve been researching renewable energy, especially solar energy, for several weeks. Our student bloggers have written about our project on their blogs and have received some great comments! Here is a Popplet giving an overview of our whole project.

What do you know about solar energy?

October 10, 2011
by Mrs. Hamman

Mystery State Skype

This photo was taken by Mrs. Hamman and edited using an iPhone app called WordFoto

In social studies we have been studying the history and geography of the United States. This year we have been learning about other states from the students who live there! We’ve been doing an activity called Mystery State. We Skype call a class in another state, and ask them questions about their state. Then they ask us questions about our state. We try not to make our clues too obvious, because we don’t want them to guess our state too quickly. At the end of the call, we each guess the other’s state.

We were introduced to Mystery State by Mr. Haney’s class, and now we Skype whenever we get the chance! Here is a Google Map with the states we have “visited” so far marked. We’d love to talk to a class in each of the fifty states before the end of the year.


Which states have you visited?

Which states would you like to learn more about?

September 29, 2011
by Mrs. Hamman

Figurative Language in Tuck Everlasting

We are enjoying our reading of Tuck Everlasting. It’s tempting to read ahead, but we want to stay on the schedule of the Global Read Aloud. One problem is that we have Fall Break the week of October 10-14, when we are supposed to be finishing the book. We will take a vote in class to see whether we want to finish reading it next week or wait until we get back. If we read ahead, we promise not to spoil the ending for everyone!

One thing we have noticed while we are reading is that Natalie Babbitt uses a lot of figurative language in her writing. We have been keeping track of similes, metaphors, idioms, hyperbole, and other forms of figurative language as we read. The figurative language makes the writing more colorful and interesting. This sentence is in Chapter 12: “The sky was a ragged blaze of red and pink and orange, and its double trembled on the surface of the pond like color spilled from a paintbox.” Isn’t that a great description of a sunset?

We illustrated some of our favorite figurative language, but our drawings are literal interpretations! For example, here is Jessie’s interpretation of the sentence about the sunset:

We made an Animoto video of some of our drawings. One of our favorite expressions to draw was “Jesse exploded.” Can you guess how we illustrated that one? It’s at the end of the video.

What is your favorite example of figurative language in Tuck Everlasting?

September 9, 2011
by Mrs. Hamman

Global Readaloud AND Student Blogging Challenge

We’ll soon be starting on a couple of exciting projects. On September 19 we will begin the Global Readaloud. Students from all over the world will be reading the same book over the course of four weeks, and communicating about it using blogs, Edmodo, Skype, and Google Apps. Our class has already made a connection with Ms. Kim’s class in Seoul, South Korea, and we’re looking forward to connecting with others during the readaloud. The book we will be reading this year is Tuck Everlasting.

As we read we’ll be discussing the characters, plot, setting, theme, and narrative point of view of  the book. It will be fun to communicate with others and get their insights as we read.

Another upcoming project is Edublogs’ Student Blogging Challenge.  This challenge will help us improve our blogging and commenting skills. By the end of the challenge, some of us in the classroom may be ready to start our own personal blogs!

What do you know about the book Tuck Everlasting?

What do you hope to learn about as we participate in these two projects?

September 2, 2011
by Mrs. Hamman

Calculating Photoperiods

Our class signed up for Journey North, a project which tracks wildlife migration and seasonal changes. One part of the project which sounds really exciting is the Mystery Class, “a global game of hide-and-seek”. Students track sunlight data in an attempt to locate ten mystery sites across the world; while doing that they learn the reasons why we have seasons and how the changes in seasons affect wildlife. We will be studying seasons and the environment all year as part of our Disney Planet Challenge project.

To prepare for Mystery Class, we started learning about photoperiods. We had already learned that the Greek root “photos” means “light”. A photoperiod is the period of time during the day when an organism  is exposed to light.

We each were given a U.S. city to research. We looked up the sunrise and sunset data for our assigned city for August 31, 2011, then we calculated the photoperiod. Many of us had time to do some more research on our cities, and we enjoyed learning more about all those other places. This activity taught us geography, math, science, and research skills!

Guess which city that we researched had the longest photoperiod on August 31? You’ll find out if you watch our video! The song playing is called “Life in the Sun”, which we thought fit this video pretty well.

Why do you think that different cities had
different photoperiods?

What did you learn about the city you researched?

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