Red Ribbon Week Hat Day

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Today was the last day for Red Ribbon Week at Pontiac, and as is our
tradition we celebrated with silly hats. Combine that with Fallfest
tonight, and we had an exciting day!

Using Animoto to Make Movies

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Today we started making movies from PowerPoint projects in science class. We are studying the interactions of organisms and I thought that by making movies through a website called Animoto would be a new way to make studying the vocabulary interesting.

Here are two of the first ones “finished.” Considering these were made by fifth graders in only about 30 minutes of class time, I am awfully impressed. Tomorrow we will start looking at more ways to improve our projects, but I thought I’d share the first drafts.

Take a look at what a great start Kamryn and Grace have on their work!

Skate Night Pics

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Animoto – How do Organisms Interact

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Our Group Photo Collages

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Fun Friday Cartoon

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Bubbles of Life

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I sure hope today was a day to never forget for my students. After weeks of planning and ordering and locating the right materials, my students assembled closed system fresh water aquatic ecosystems as part of our unit on ecosystems. I’ve been getting excited about this and I hope they are now, too.

Basically, the Bubbles of glass jars filled with the abiotic and biotic factors necessary for a balanced ecosystem. We added spring water, rocks, and left room for some air before introducing the living things. To add life to our projects we dropped in two types of water plants, some fresh water crustaceans, and a snail. Voilà, an ecosystem in a jar.

I had a great time watching everyone get excited about what we made. Some groups have even named their animals already! Anyways… Over the rest of our unit and hopefully the rest of the year, we will carefully observe our Bubbles for changes to the ecosystem. If we are lucky we will watch the different factors in the jar develop a complete life cycle together that never needs changing!


Ecosystem Research Projects

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This week had been all about reading and taking notes. Sounds like a simple task, but there is more to this than you might think. One of the hardest things for a fifth grader, in my opinion, is take what you have read, organize it, and write about it in a new, fresh way.

Students are working in different learning groups on one of five different ecosystems- ponds, oceans, estuaries, forests, or grasslands. Students are using a variety of different resources- text sets, magazines, online periodicals, and even videos.

The task has been to teach students how to go about collecting and organizing the ideas they find as the collect them from their reading. To do this, I have shared what I call “The Method”, which is really something I picked up from former middle and high school students. The idea is to create two types of cards – source and note cards – using index cards. Source cards keep track of what you have read, and note cards collect small bite size pieces of facts, and interesting statements. Later these cards will make it easier for students to make a bibliography and piece together a project.