This was a short week, I was out sick two days, but with so much going on, I felt like I needed to split up my week in the lab post. I covered the intermediate or upper grade students in this post, Week in Lab Week Three for 2010. This one will have what happened with the primary students (grade 1 – 3, or U.S. six to eight year olds).
This year, I’ve really upped my game with the little ones, and it is requiring me to work outside my comfort zone. First, some background. First graders coming out of half-day kindergarten are more “kindergartners” than “first graders” in terms of ability, maturity, etc. We’ve also lengthened the school day 30 minutes, so they are doing six and a half hours, rather than the four and half they did before. I’ve started with a unit on short vowel sounds. I’m showing videos to introduce them, and having them go through the words and sounds being introduced. I’m then having them create a VoiceThread on what they are learning. They pick out a word with the sound, and a picture from Flickr, showing that word.
Last week, I was writing the word using a stylus pad. This week, we went up to the next level. I had students write the words using our Smart Board, so the pictures for the “i” sound (the last three) are all done by the kids. I’m going to start adding sound next week.
These students are continuing with their unit on Storytelling. I used one of my favorite video resources, a story from Discovery Streaming called “Mouse Around” that I’ve used in the past. I love it because it has no dialogue, but is live-action. It follows a mouse as he is moved from place to place by hitching a ride on various objects and then ends up back home. I used it to teach about cause and effect. It worked really well. At the risk of sharing the obvious, I found it worked better working back from the effect to the cause.
This grade was the one I was the most excited about before school started, and I’m still looking forward to work with them, but I’m still setting things up with their project which is to have them working with some high school students in Florida who are taking ASL (American Sign Language). My students are studying friendship, and the Florida students will be teaching them how to be friendly in ASL. We were going to do Skype, but that got nixed at the other district, so we’re using VoiceThread. I have to keep it private though since we have names with pictures, and some kids who don’t have permission for me to share their images in “public”. I will just have to describe what is going on there, sorry. I interviewed students and had them share what they liked about our school. It went well. I hear from my partner in Florida that she will be uploading some video of basic signs which I can’t wait to share with students next week! This project was a big part of my appeal for funds in the Donors Choose grant I received.