Friday, December 12, 2014

Together, Positive, In Chaos


It's been an amazing adventure: GiverCraft. We read The Giver by Lois Lowry; we joined the GiverCraft MineCraftEDU community. We built a community based on evidence from the story, then were thrown into chaos as the memories returned when Jonas, the Receiver, left, leaving the memories to be found around our GiverCraft community. We built the memories and shared them in snapshots of GiverCraft and in words that expressed our interpretations of the story: What if the memories returned to everyone?
Everything we did, we brought back in discussions to the text -- what would Jonas have done? the Giver? What would the other characters do? Why do you think so? How has the community changed? But we learned more than "find the central idea" and "use evidence from the story."
As we worked through our memories in the new chaos, the students were concerned that some of the players did not follow the agreement we had all signed, to play nicely and not interfere with others' work. Yes, we were thrown into chaos, but we asked the person to stop. We asked again. Each time, he said, "No." Twice he provided food, but most often, he interfered.  It was a difficult discussion for my students, many of whom know that life is not always easy and structured perfectly; that struggles and difficulties can happen daily by events beyond their control-- they are independent-minded and are expected to solve their own problems, and they are family-oriented and are expected to help each other. And here, in their game, where they had agreed to certain constraints, here were people who did not follow the norms to which our students agreed and followed. They had the power to help each other, but not to stop the problem. They were indeed in a "new world" from which they could learn about life.
"What do you think?" I asked.
"We think there should be rules."
"There should be rules for people who just do anything anytime even in others' places and stuff."
"The should go to 'grievers,' or be kicked out for the day."
"We can't stop him; there needs to be rules."
And they wrote about it:
We are like the Giver because they had rules just like us. There are rules so people don't go in to other peoples things. Also because if we didn't have rules people would do whatever they wanted.
If you find a house don't go in it because we need a law to not to break stuff.
There was some people who was throwing potions at my friend's horses and they ran away but we got them back and they were throwing invisibility harming; we should have a rule for no bad potions.
If I had to make a law about the new world it would be that you wouldn't be able to break block unless you were ask to break that block for the player and the consequence would be that you would be kicked from the games for two days.
I'm going to make a fence around my property and I'm going to make signs that say "please stay out or please don't destroy", please and thanks too. We have laws In the real world; they don't go on to other people's property without permission-- that you can, you can't hurt anybody but since we have nobody to tell us what to do people can do what ever they want. But In the real world, people can do whatever they want If we didn't have laws.
We have laws in the real world because if we didn't have the laws we wouldn't be learning in our schools right now. We have rules in Givercraft and we follow those rules because if we don't we wont be doing the project about the Giver. Also if we didn't have laws people would be able to do what ever they want to do and steal stuff, hurt people,and say mean words to everybody.
The students understood why we have rules and leaders, and they found ways to solve their problems in positive ways. This is learning beyond the stuff of standards; its learning in life.
One other school group was recognized for revolting against the elders [which would be unheard of in our real-world community -- elders are respected and cared for]. The players apparently wanted more freedom and captured the elders. I understand that sometimes rules interfere. But I also heard the voice of those during the chaos -- that in their efforts to survive, their work was hampered not just by the new memories, storms, and dark of night, but also by players intent on adding to the chaos. The students tried to have a meeting to consider their choices; they put up signs to protect their stuff, and they talked to the person. They felt powerless, and struggled with their desire to maintain their agreement and their frustration with not being able to form a community better than sameness: free, but with an agreement -- free to build with their memories, with the freedom to work through the memories, and without someone interfering. They did not want sameness, but they wanted freedom to work together.
So today was the last day to build memories, even with our intruder. And they felt good about their decisions to find positive ways to work together -- to collaborate -- around the extra chaos. That's an important lesson as well.
And today was the day we were honored with an interview in Google HangOut with the author, Lois Lowry. One student already reflected on the experience:
Scene 2 final day
Today we watched the interview with Lois Lowry. There was a lot of people there. The person [Lois Lowry] said that she based the books on her father. The father is forgetful because he forgot that his oldest daughter had die when she was 28 years old. A lot of the kids had to tell how they finished the memory and what they did to finish the memory.
The students heard the author's process, a "What if...." and imagining a character for the answer. They heard how the community of sameness developed:
[paraphrased from author] My family was in the military. We’d have a wall around the base and community and everything was orderly with lots of rules. Every evening a bugle would play. We’d have to stop what we were doing and stand at attention to watch the flag lower. It was filled with rules, no crime, but not like real life and that’s what I was thinking when I created the Giver.
They learned that many kids write to Lois Lowry about the book. “There could be love,” is a quote from the Giver and a tattoo on a boy’s arm; the boy sent her a book to be autographed with a return envelope.
They heard how to build memories, especially "a wedding memory," which helped them in their last play at GiverCraft.
We learned so much, thanks to GiverCraft and Lois Lowry and her book and interview. We learned how authors get ideas, we learned that sameness is "mean and boring," but that chaos is frustrating because "In the real world, people can do whatever they want If we didn't have laws." And we felt good about ourselves for choosing to work together in positive ways, as we had agreed. Because we learned from The Giver, "There could be love."

Thank you, Lois Lowry and GiverCraft.


This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#hourofcode Everyone Wins


Click Here to Photo Album 
See yesterday's post for more information on "Hour of Code." 

Today students in grades five, six, seven, and eight completed our Hour Of Code. There could have been tech trouble. We had a back-up plan. There was some confusion. We know how to collaborate to solve the problems. Because we are persistent; we don’t give up. We have a mindset of “I can.”

Hadi Partovi is the founder of Hour of Code. One of the obstacles to improving education is mindset. Learning computer science needs a new mindset: we can, and we did! Watch this CBS interview in an Hour of Code Classroom to see what Hadi Partovi says:
 It's a mindset that Computer Science is hard.

But we did it. Every student was a winner, a successful coder to make that Angry Bird get that pig. Every student was a reader too -- reading the puzzle and debugging directions. Every student was collaborator -- offering assistance to each other so we could all succeed.

And every student said, "This is fun," not "This is hard." They are ready for more, and many responded with, "I'm doing this at home."

So think about it. There’s so much noise in the eduverse about transforming education so students are “college and career ready.” The students need to be prepared for their future — and that means an understanding of the workings of the devices and apps they use daily: computer science — code. Just one thing could do it: allow our students to be makers in the world; coders of the future -- as part of their literacy class.

Why? I watched today as everyone read. Everyone.  On their own. Wanting to read. And afterwards, they wrote about their experience. No complaints. MIT's Mitchel Resnik says
In the process of learning to code, people learn many other things. They are not just learning to code, they are coding to learn. In addition to learning mathematical and computational ideas (such as variables and conditionals), they are also learning strategies for solving problems, designing projects, and communicating ideas. These skills useful not just for computer scientists but for everyone, regardless of age, background, interests, or occupation.
Our kids wrote about their learning, and here are some of their reflections- their first thoughts about coding and coding to learn:
Coding is like solving a puzzle because it always has a new layout and as you advance it becomes more challenging, like if you move from a 500 piece puzzle to a 1000 piece.
Behind every click or swipe or touch on my phone is code.
I learned that code is very easy once you understand it, it exercises parts of your mind in a fun way, it opens up a new and faster way for finding answers.
Vocabulary words to know for coding: Repeat; The computer will repeat the command until you reach your destination.
 I liked how it challenged my way of thinking
 I learned coding is like playing a game because you have to use signals to turn left,right, and move forward.
Coding is like using commands to move forward or turn left or right because the codes are about commands
Coding is like…math because it takes time to get the problem done.
Behind every click or swipe or touch is…a code.
I learned that…coding is hard because you don't know what the code will be until you try.
Coding is like a puzzle because you have to figure out the code to pass the level and it does involve thinking.
Behind every click or swipe or touch on our devices is just commanding the game and controlling the device.
 You have to be precise.
I like that we get to understand coding and get to learn about computer science and you can use it in the future. 
Coding is like reading a book because the codes mean a different word.
I liked the way the web site challenges your brain.
I learned that coding looks complicated but it is not hard.
And, they want to continue at home --- reading directions and writing code.

So yes-- today, we took our first step in our middle school. We have a mindset of curiosity. We were anxious, and expectant. We were unsure, and hopeful. We were confused, but open. We. Were. Ready. We — a class together, and a learning community ready to understand the code behind the devices we use every day: computers, smart phones, tablets, apps, Facebook! And the code behind the things that help us in our lives: planetary rovers, medical devices, monitors, etc.

So what are you waiting for?  Try it: Hour of Code Part One You'll be a winner too!

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hour of Code! We're joining!


Hour of Code at Nespelem School
 












Students in grades five, six, seven, and eight will learn a bit of code this Wednesday as we join millions of other students in "Hour of Code" for Computer Science Education Week. We're going to see the code behind "Angry Birds" as we write the code to make that angry bird move using logic and as few steps as possible. We'll learn repeat times, repeat until, and repeat else commands. Don't know these? Then take some time to do your own Angry Birds Hour of Code. Every one should have access to learn code, and everyone should know something about the bits behind the things we do every day -- Facebook, Cell Phones, Browse the Internet. So...

We're part of the Hour of Code! Are you on the map? Sign up now.

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#ProjectWWW: Planning

Thanksgiving is this Thursday in the United States. Families will gather, thankful for each other. We'll feast on foods traditional for the holiday and for our family cultures.

In grades 5 6 7 and 8, we're thinking about foods around the world and have joined with many schools in states and countries around the world to share What We Eat -- a day, a lunch, Thanksgiving. Students have started listing the foods they will probably eat this Thursday. What is the food? How much did they eat? What calories did they consume?  Here's the beginning of one student's spreadsheet. What's our project? Read here and Follow #ProjectWWW on Twitter. Families, be sure to return the permission slip.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and don't be surprised if you students get into taking food pictures!  They are gathering their research!



This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

GiverCraft: Reading for Evidence


The GiverCraft game has begun. The first task is to create the community for the "Nine" characters -- the world the child would live in. Our sixth grade students have read the book -- they're amazed how plain a gray and white world is, how keeping people safe has so many rules, and how being the same means not having so much.

No storms? Nope.
No sunburns? Nope.
No sun? Nope.
No color? Nope.

How will we build our community? 

The students dug into their memories of the book, finding the page numbers for the places needed for a "Nine." The read about the buildings and what they looked like.

"Let's draw a map."


Students are busy creating buildings for the community in MineCraftEDU based on evidence from the story, a Common Core State Standard.  Here's what they've built so far:

The Central Plaza:


Inside the plaza for meetings:



Notice how grey and and white everything is -- no color; just like the book. Even the tables and chairs. We've almost finished with our other buildings on the map.

What will our next task be?

Who said reading isn't fun?

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Reading: Engaged

This week the sixth grade class and I worked hard. We have a book to read and understand before we connect with other students in a game about our book, GiverCraft, a Minecraft EDU game based on the book, The Giver.
Obstacles have been thrown at us: I’ve had training and have been out of class; testing started and took time away; sports takes kids out of class. But we have used every minute we could find to get the book read and understood.
This is not a class who likes reading, but we are listening to the story on Audible and following along. We are reading it like friends who are enjoying a book together. We listen and use post-its to mark important places to share with each other. We pause the story and the students share. And they are sharing the important parts of the story– and explaining how it fits with what went before and predicting what might happen. They are discussing the main character and how he is changing. They are wondering about a world of sameness and rules.
They are engaged in reading. They are engaged in authentic, can’t-put-the-book-down reading. They are leaving class commenting on the world within the book. They are arriving in class and readying themselves for the days’ story and conversation. And they are anticipating success when our tasks are presented in our Minecraft game next Monday, ready to support each other with their understanding from our authentic conversations.
I’m glad I left the learning to their choices, their moments of insight, and their conversations. I’m glad I reached out to be authentic with them; our shared learning shows they are real readers.

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Monday, November 10, 2014

#NaNoWriMo

Our students in grades seven and eight are participating in #NaNoWriMo again this year. Each students sets their own goals and we continue to follow the Common Core State Standards aligned curriculum by Young Writers NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. I wrote about it last week, and this was our first week.

We actually have only twelve days of classroom time to allot for this due to trainings, conferences, and Thanksgiving. However the students are writing about what they know: their hobbies and interests. They took that lesson to heart: writers write about what they know [or research]. So students are writing about friendships made and lost, sports goals and goofs, and characters new and ancient.
Students draft their writing in Google Docs.  Our Teacher Dashboard by Hapara allows me to quickly see new additions, view, and click to add comments to encourage their continued efforts. I point out the positives to encourage their continued use of those strategies such as dialogue and description to help set the mood and tone for their action.




Students share their novels with each other to also add comments and encourage each other. Students or teacher and student can carry on a feedback conversation through the comments and when completed, just click “Resolve.” The collaborative aspect of Google Apps for Education encourages writing by students through this process; it’s personalized learning at its best.

When not writing for NaNoWriMo, the apps allow for students to choose the app that best fits their audience and purpose: a blog? a Google site? a document? a slideshow? a survey [forms]? a spreadsheet with charts for data? a HangOut with experts? To meet the Common Core State Standards, collaboration and multi-media information are key. I’m so thankful our school district adopted this for our students.

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Veterans Day

Our school honored our Veterans with a Pow Wow organized by Linda Saint, our culture instructor. Soy Redthunder was the MC. LaTonya took pictures for us:

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

NaNoWriMo in 7 and 8

Engaged !

In October, we begin our preparation for our novels, following the helpful curriculum by Young Writers NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.  Notice: Common Core State Standards focus each lesson. That means, YES, you and your students can write a novel in November.
On Friday, we mapped out the days we can write in school and set our writing goals. Teachers write 30,000 words and students choose their own goals. Students are excited and talking about their novels.  Monday, we begin writing. Most will draft in Google Docs, leaving their "inner editor" in a box somewhere on a shelf so that only the flow of their story taps onto the page, one letter, word, sentence, paragraph at time -- ideas driven by a character with problem.  That's all you need to start, but if you need more, the Young Writers Program provides help:

Links to Start

Teacher Stories

Start

I'd like to thank my friends at #clmooc for inspiring me again -- their 5 image story task set my imagination in motion for my novel; here's my start.  It helped my students see how to start -- with a character, an image in their mind, and a problem.
Are you ready? Are your students writing?  Check out our Virtual Classroom and watch our progress.
Students, comment with a summary of your novels!

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

#GRA14 Fourteenth Goldfish

Fourth Year Event
Global Read Aloud 2014
The Fourteenth Goldfish


What is the Global Read Aloud?

The project was created in 2010 by Pernille Ripp with a simple goal in mind; one book to connect the world. Now with four years under our belt and more than 200,000 connections made, we realize we are on to something larger than us so we look forward to continuing the global connections.

The premise is simple; we pick a book to read aloud to our students during a set 6-week period and during that time we try to make as many global connections as possible.

What are we reading this year?

 This year we are reading The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm. Students have a copy to follow along with to build their sight vocabulary and listening vocabulary. This book will serve as a mentor text, a text we refer to as we learn our reading and writing skills. We've already learned about good description and character development: here's an example from the book:

"This kid's wearing a rumpled pinstripe shirt, khaki polyester pants, a tweed jacket with patches on the elbows, and leather shoes."

"I study the boy-- the gray-tipped hair, the way he's standing so comfortably in our hall, how his right hand opens and closes as if used to grasping something by habit. But it's the heavy gold ring hanging loosely on his middle finger that draws my eye."

This will help us when we read other books -- to notice how the character is created by the author. This will help when we write -- as an example of using precise words to create a mind movie for the reader of our own stories.


Who will we connect with this year?

We have connected with one school in Hawaii so far, and we'll find more. You can follow our journey in several places: TACKK, LAGoals, 567 Kidblogs, and 8 Edublogs [ see student list at right]. Some students still have permission slips to turn in.

Our TACKK is already a "featured" page! There it is at top left in the pic below!


Be sure to ask your students about our work. Grade six drew some excellent scenes from the story today, and they will share their ideas about their scenes tomorrow. Grade five students are working on their images as well. Grade seven and eight predicted ideas about the book on TACKK.

Check back for more info!
 





This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Collaboration Practice

connectkindly

Collaboration is a part of our learning each day.

The Common Core State Standards include collaboration as a key component [ See Speaking and Listening Standards as an example ].  Collaboration, though, requires listening and discussing skills and strategies that many students find difficult. Are there ways to promote practice of these so students acquire them as a daily habit?
I learned a strategey that my students enjoy from Joy Kirr, a Twitter colleague. She posted a "Find Your Seat" activity for five days at the beginning of the year. I've added to that; we're still "collaborating" to organize ourselves in groups every day as an entry task.  
After the first day, we wrote in our interactive notebooks what we did as a "learning community" to be successful at the task. That became our class guidelines.
What are our activities?  Collaborative Seating Slides. The first five are adapted from Joy's work; the rest I keep adding to; each day we review our Learning Community class guidelines and acknowledge how much we've improved as collaborators and learners.  We discuss who was a leader that day in helping to organize, who asked questions to clarify, who helped, who added an idea, etc. Each day students are improving in their openness and appropriate requests and conversations. Each day another student takes the lead, each day they learn better ways to interact with and involve their peers, and each day they learn positive ways to encourage each other. Most importantly, the students are collaborating not just with their usual friends, but with whomever is in their group that day. If students can speak up, lead, discuss with each of their classmates, including those they may not have chosen, then we are well on our way to becoming connected learners with peers around the world.  

And we continue our Dot Day goals while collaborating.:

Click image to enlarge.
 
 Students, which learning community guideline do you think is most important?



This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dot Day #dotday

September 15th is International Dot Day. It's a day to join other students around the world to "Make a mark and see where it takes you." It's day to discuss how we can "Make a mark, and make it matter." It's a day to consider and plan for how our words and actions have a ripple effect on the world.

How did we do this?  First, watch this animated video of Peter Reynold's book The Dot: 

And follow our lesson outline here: It's Dot Day.

First, we thought about and discussed our place in the universe through images: You're Here!

Although we are a small speck in the universe, we matter. And life happens; we learn to deal with life and to understand the people around us with confidence, trust, perseverance, flexibility, and compassion. How did we do this? We discussed slides, images, and The Dot story: Dot Day. We discussed these words through the eyes of the main character in the book, Vashti. And we discovered the ripple effect of encouragement and kindness.

Then images helped us consider these words for ourselves: Dot Day Traits.

We determined central ideas and their development, forming summarizing statements. We understood the characters over the course of the book. Our conversations built on others' ideas to collaborate on the central idea and summary. We integrated and evaluated information in diverse media and formats.

Finally, we created our own dots and wrote statements of words and actions that would make a mark, make them matter, and have a ripple effect in the world. We used our grammar and conventions to create posters of our ideas. We organized our writing and our style to share with others. We planned our posters and revised our worlds with help from each other. We will blog about our ideas and post our poster dots!

Here are a few; we hope you enjoy them and spread the word --- make a mark; make it matter!

Click an image to make it larger.














 Common Core State Standards
Reading
Key Ideas and Details
2.    Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
3.    Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration
1.    Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
2.    Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Language
Conventions of Standard English
1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Writing
Production and distribution of Writing
Model
4.    Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
5.    Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
6.    Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others [working on; need permission forms completed]



This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Grade Eight Leaders

Eighth Grade Leaders are popping up early this year!

They're shining and showing their Eagle Spirit by running for ASB!

When you see them, let them know how great they are!

Kim Iverson and Jenny Hare are our ASB [Associated Student Body] advisors, and they are helping our eagles soar!

Look at these awesome posters!  Best Ever!










This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...