FYI 5 December 11, 2016

Well, we are counting down to the winter break! I really can't believe the time has gone by so fast. There is a buzz in the classroom...talk of special events, decorations at home and the anticipation of parties and presents. It is all very exciting!

In the classroom, we are slowly winding down our investigation of fish. The students created a diorama of a freshwater or ocean habitat, adding different animals and underwater features that might be present. After the break, we will change gears and begin to study mammals...specifically the human! It was actually a goal of a few of the students to learn more about the human body AND our study coincides with January, which is Heart Month. It should be very interesting...more details to come.

Another special event this week was the intial building of our gingerbread houses with our big buddies. We originally planned to complete the whole project with them but an unexpected field trip popped up for the 3rd graders, so the new plan is that we will complete the decoration on Friday morning during our Winter Celebration. As candy is starting to come in, the students are getting more and more excited. The students can't wait! If you haven't brought any candy in, it is not too late...we will take anything. By the way, is anyone willing to make frosting?

This coming week our schedule is packed full of special events. On Tuesday, Meital will be sharing the traditions and food for Hanukkah. We will be learning the game of Dreidel, doing some art and trying some of the traditional sweets. Thank you Meital!

On Wednesday, we will be meeting again with our buddies to add the roof to our gingerbread houses. There might be some candy added but it will be dependent on the time!

Thursday we will join the kindergarten pod and have holiday centers from 10:30 to 11:45. If you have time to come in, we could use your help! Then, at 11:50, there is a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The middle schoolers have planned this event so the staff is trying to support them in their efforts. A fundraising form was sent home last week but as this was an event that the staff was unaware of, the promotion of donations has not really happened. If you can contribute to their efforts, it would be greatly appreciated!

Friday is our Winter Celebration AND a school-wide Pajama Day! Students are welcome (but it is not mandatory) to wear their PJs to school. As part of our Room 6 celebration, they are also welcome to bring sleeping bags, blankets and stuffed animals etc. to add to the coziness of the day. We will spend the morning decorating our gingerbread houses and after recess we will have our potluck, read Polar Express and enjoy a few centers. I believe that Teresa sent out a google doc to sign up for food for the potluck so look for that. I hope you will all come and join us even if it is just for a short time. Friday is a family day and being together is what makes the day special!

Last, I want to thank you for everything you do for our students and myself. Room 6 has become a wonderful, welcoming community and thanks to you we have an amazing environment in which to grow and learn together. Have a joyous holiday and I will see you in the new year!

Upcoming...

December 13 - Hanukkah Celebration

December 14 - Gingerbread House building

December 15 - Holiday Centers with the Kindergarten Pod (10:30-11:45)

December 15 - Make-A-Wish Fundraiser 11:50-12:10

December 16 - Winter Celebration 10:30-12:00

December 18 to January 8 - Winter Break

Design Challenge: Make a Fish, Math Exploration and secret gift making!

Food For Thought:

This article is about the recent Hour of Code that some of our classrooms participated in. Although Room 6 was not part of the event, the activities and resources here are available to you online at any time. I used to do it with my K/1 classes every year and you could really see how logic, mathematical thinking and reasoning comes into play when developing 21st century skills. I thought it might be a worth-while activity for you to explore with your children over the break!

Calling All Learners and Teachers for the Hour of Code

Posted on Edutopia November 10, 2016

Chances are high that computer-science literacy will be increasingly relevant for jobs of the future. Some theorists even suggest that the ability to read and write code is a fundamental 21st-century competency. Yet, according to an August 2015 Gallup survey, many students get little exposure to these concepts at school; opportunities are even more limited for low-income students. To address these realities, there are a variety of free resources that can help teachers of all grades and subjects give students exposure to computer science, as well as access to opportunities that develop the skills required to approach coding problems.

This December 5-11, 2016, the Hour of Code campaign during Computer Science Education Week is one such opportunity. Code.org is hosting this event for a fourth year to engage students, teachers, parents, and others (ages four and up, and of any experience level) in fun ways to experiment with programming and game creation. From structured lessons to more creative, exploratory activities, a variety of experiences make coding accessible to all kinds of learners. Activities can be done on computers, phones, and tablets, in pairs or together as a whole group. If access to devices is an issue, various unplugged activities such as "My Robotic Friends" don’t require them.

Hour of Code Tutorials can be accessed at any time by anyone. If you are a parent and your child is not participating at school, you might consider learning an hour of code together as a family. Although some schools may choose to conduct schoolwide or community events, it’s also feasible to participate as a single class. Teachers don’t need to know anything about coding in advance, though if introducing “programming” to your students fills your heart with dread, consider advice from Terri Eichholz in "Code Dread." Here are some resources to explore:

Explore the Hour of Code Tutorials

Tutorial Highlights: Old and New Favorites

Do you have robots? Visit some of the new activities for robotics.

Know some Minecraft aficionados? Participants older than age six can use blocks of code to take characters Steve or Alex on an adventure through a Minecraft world.

Tutorials for younger and older students let users maneuver old and new Star Wars characters like R2-D2, C3PO, Princess Leia, Rey, and BB-8 through various game actions and events.

Hour of Code Across Grade Levels and Content Areas

Coding activities aren't just a fit for math and computer science; they can also be a part of lessons and projects in English, social studies, science, art, and beyond. Students at the elementary level, even in kindergarten, can benefit from opportunities to practice computational thinking. Check out the following resources to explore sample activities:

Hour of Code Suggestions by Grade Level (Ask a Tech Teacher, 2015)

Coding for Kindergarteners (Edutopia, 2014)

Holiday-Themed Activities

Interactive Holiday Cards With Scratch (Ages 8+)

Hour of Webpages Holiday Card Project From Khan Academy (Ages 8+)

After Hour of Code

Explore the following resources for ideas on how to make opportunities to code and exercise computational-thinking skills an integral part of your activities throughout the year.

Life After Hour of Code (Edutopia, 2014)

15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer) (Edutopia, 2015)

Coding for Kids Revisited (Edutopia, 2014)

Short on time in December? Tutorials, resources, and extension activities from Code.org will continue to be available throughout the year. Visit Edutopia’s Coding in the Classroom page for additional support and resources.

Credits:

Created with images by kevin dooley - "Playful branches"

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