September 14, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Close Reading and Constitution Day

This post was written for Week 2 , Activity 5 of the Student Blogging Challenge.

This year we have been practicing close reading and learning how to annotate text. We are finding that when we read things closely and carefully, we learn a lot more!

It is Constitution Day in our country on September 17, so in social studies this week we did a close reading of an article about the Constitution of the United States. Here are some things we learned:

  • It took a long time for people to agree about what should be in the Constitution. The Constitution was finally signed on September 17, 1787.  
  • The U.S. government has three branches which work together to run the country. There is not just one person who is in charge of everything.
  • In George Washington’s own copy of the Constitution, he wrote the word “President” in the margins next to the sentences that talked about things that were his job. He annotated text as he read, just like we do!
  • The beginning part of the Constitution is called the Preamble.

We read the Preamble and talked about what it means. Here is a video of a group of us reciting the Preamble.

Constitution Day 2013 from S Hamman on Vimeo.

What have you learned from reading a text closely?

May 3, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman

Mystery Class Update

We identified all ten Mystery Classes and were one of the winners of the contest!

At our school we’ve been talking about feeling proud about something you’ve accomplished. We definitely feel proud that we found all the Mystery Classes! We wrote in this blog post about how we worked to find them. It took a lot of effort and perseverance to figure out all the clues. In fact, we struggled over Mystery Class 8 until the last day of the contest, when a small group finally figured out it was in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

This was such a fun project! We enjoyed learning about the changing seasons and the cultures of so many interesting places.

Here is the actual list of classes, courtesy of Journey North. Have you heard of all these cities?

November 19, 2012
by Mrs. Hamman

Flat Stanley

Do you know who Flat Stanley is? He’s a character in a series of books written by Jeff Brown. He’s a regular boy except that he is totally flat! Because he is flat he can go on all kinds of adventures; all he has to do to travel somewhere is get mailed there in an envelope!

We are starting a Flat Stanley project. We are making our own Flat Stanleys and sending them to friends all over the world. Our friends will take pictures and tell us stories about the adventures Stanley had while visiting them. If you’d like Flat Stanley to visit you, please leave us a comment!

A group at our Saturday Academy made a trailer about our Flat Stanley project. A trailer is supposed to give you a little bit of information about something that is coming up, just to get you excited about it.

Flat Stanley Trailer from S Hamman on Vimeo.

Did our trailer work? Are you excited about the Flat Stanley project?

September 6, 2012
by Mrs. Hamman

Mystery State!


Today we had our first Mystery State Skype call of the year. We talked to Mr. Haney’s class. They asked us some questions about our state, and gave us some clues about theirs. It wasn’t easy, but most of us guessed their state by the end of the call. It was really fun to talk to kids who were so far away! At the time we were talking to them it was 11:00 a.m. here in Arizona, but there it was almost time to go home!

We are looking forward to Skyping with lots of other classes this year. If you’d like to connect with us, please feel free to leave us a comment!


November 19, 2011
by Mrs. Hamman

Green Screen Experiment

We have been inspired by all the great student-made movies we have seen on the Internet. We especially like the chromakey green screen videos created by Mr. Avery’s class. On Saturday, two students came to Saturday Academy to create a green screen video of their own.

Before we got to school,Mrs. Hamman had downloaded some stock video footage and photos to use as our backgrounds. We planned a rough idea for our script, then tacked up a canvas green screen at the front of the room and filmed in front of it. We only had an hour and a half to write, film and edit the movie, so we just kept our first take each time (except for the two bloopers you see at the end of the video!) After we filmed, we edited the movie, adding titles, music and transitions. Since we were borrowing Mrs. Hamman’s Mac we used iMovie to create our movie. We thought it was pretty simple to use, but there are many other ways to make green screen videos. Mr. Avery has some great tutorials that explain a variety of methods.

Here is our first green screen experiment! What do you think?

Here are few things we learned from our first video:

1. What you wear in front of the screen is really important! Unless you want to look like the Invisible Man, your clothes can’t have even a hint of green on them.

2. We should have used a tripod to hold the camera still during filming. The movement of the camera is more noticeable when you replace the actual background.

3. Making a green screen video is really fun! We look forward to experimenting more with this technology.

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