Welcome to the Library!
It's National Computer Science Week!
This week we are using a curriculum from Code.org, whose mission is to expose all students to computer science. Computer scientists write the programs that we use every day. Computer programs are made up of step by step instructions, also called computer code, that tell the computer what to do.
Why should elementary students learn about computer code? It teaches problem solving, persistence, and logical thinking. And it's fun!
Believe it or not, some of the lessons don't require a computer. We did these Unplugged Lessons:
K-1 students learned about finding bugs, which are mistakes in the code. After reading a story about noticing what is not right, students experimented with a handmade marble run, and had to figure out why it didn't work and how to fix it.
Grades 2-4 did Graph Paper Coding. They followed directions to fill in squares in a pattern on a 4 x 4 grid. Then they wrote code to make a particular pattern. Not always easy, but rewarding if you stick with it.
Learn more at www.code.org
We read Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig. If you hold that magic pebble, anything you wish for comes true. There was plenty of room for discussion, especially when students shared what they would do if they had a magic pebble, and a mean, hungry lion was coming straight toward them. They had a lot of good ideas, like wish the lion was gentle, wish the lion would disappear, or wish that they were someplace else. Sadly, Sylvester doesn't make such a smart wish.
We read a very old story that children still relate to. Curious George Rides a Bike, by H. A. Rey. We talked about what curious means, that feeling that you just have to know something you don't know. George's curiosity leads to fun escapades, but also gets him into trouble. My favorite part is when he stops delivering the newspapers, making them into boats to sail down the river instead!
Students are working hard on alphabetical order, and beginning to use that skill to find words in the Cat in the Hat Beginner Dictionary. We will move on to another dictionary soon, and learn how to find out the meanings of words. To practice alphabetical order, there are links to 2 computer games, under Learning Games, to the right on this page.
Students are learning about keywords and how to use them. The keyword is the important word in a question. This is the word you look up to answer your research questions. Students are given questions, have to identify the keyword, then use it and the print encyclopedia to find the answer. For example, if you want to know how many moons Jupiter has, you look up Jupiter. This also requires alphabetical order skill.
Students are learning how to verify research sources. With all the news on social media these days, we cannot believe everything we read. The best thing to do before passing on a story you hear is to check a couple of other sources and see if you find the same story. Students are doing a simple version of this, by using 3 different research sources to answer the same question, and looking to see if the answers are the same.
Ms. Shapiro's Book Reviews
To read more about these great books (Jennifer Murdley's Toad, Lemonade Crime, Pirates of Crocodile Swamp, The Fairy Tale Detectives) click here:
Try a new series! Martin Bridge, Mercy Watson, ZigZag Kids, or My Weird School. To read more about these books, click here: Grade 2 Reviews.
Great Early Reader series: Poppy and Max, Cork and Fuzz, Minnie and Moo, Penny.
Grade 4 Students each researched a different US state, then displayed their findings in a word cloud in the shape of that state.
In response to the book Henri's Scissors, Grade 2 students made collages in the artist's style. When Henri Matisse lost the ability to paint, he discovered he could make beautiful pictures with paper and scissors.