Reading

Smith Skeeter Geobug is ready for Opening Day with the Round Rock Express

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Human Report:
Picked this up from my first cache near work!! I will be leaving it soon in a cache in Round Rock near the Dell diamond home of the Round Rock Express (Triple-A Minor league Baseball) player development team for the Texas Rangers!!

Smith Geobug

Interesting facts awaiting my class. The Round Rock Express has three owners including Nolan Ryan, and they are a Triple A baseball team associated with the Texas Rangers. Also the town was originally named Brushy named after Brushy Creek. The post office actually asked Brushy to pick another name because there was already a Brushy in Texas. The Chisholm trail passes nearby. The Chisholm trail was famous for getting cattle from the Southwest to the Midwest.

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Smith students produce first book trailer

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This week our class created book trailers for some favorite books. It is not as easy as one would think for an elementary child to create a movie not giving away the plot. We would love some feedback and some further suggestions for next time. As a teacher, I am looking for rigor. Students just want to know that they have produced a great project.

Make word study collaborative with Google Presentations

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This past summer I learned how fantastic Google Presentations was as a class tool. Like other Google tools, more than one person at a time can work on the same project. After finishing Frayer graphic organizers, my students took pictures with our iPods of their original work. Then they went to our Google drive and each brought up the presentation program slides. No more saving on a drive and e-mailing to the teacher to make one big project. The project is already complete. It can be downloaded in many ways – as a PowerPoint, JPEGs, however you wish. One of the key ways to run a project such as this is to teach a capable student and make them in charge of the project. I can’t wait to see the next group of slides!

Smith shares trip to Mars

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Mr. Strommen
There are so many amazing things happening at Smith Elementary this month. Fifth grade students continue to research the Earth, moon and the Sun while comparing and contrasting to the planet of Mars. Our computer lab will assist our students with their research using http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=790991&backurl=/shelf/my . We will share our new acquired knowledge on Skype with JPL worker Dellon Strommen to learn more about his job supporting the Mars Rover program. Next our physical education teacher Coach Teri Lucky will excite our students with a Texas line dance getting them ready for the Houston Rodeo. We will share our dance with our ePal friends in the Czech Republic to support our Multi-cultural Day in May. Fifth grade classes at Smith are excitedly exploring probability using sweet treats and Google forms to collaborate with other schools on Twitter. We will be finishing the project with a histograph. Our Purple Martins have returned to Smith Elementary from Brazil and we already have 6 birds happily building nests. Fifth grade students will start their egg and bird counts to continue helping scientists working along with the Purple Martin Conservation Society. Students continue to amaze us at Smith with their writing skills. Currently we have students preparing their first articles for the Fort Bend Herald. Students are almost finished with the draft of the class book to be published on bats. We continue to enjoy our novel, Bridge to Terabithia, and we will soon learn how to use our geometry skills to create the strongest bridges in our annual bridge competition. Today teachers had an amazing time with Principal Mark Melendez. We were so excited to learn about more available iPad apps and we can’t wait to use them on our new math measurement unit.

Getting to know our Czech friends better!

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PlaygroundThis week we made another movie for our favorite Czech friends and shared some good school and class information with them! We also started our Cinderella unit and we are comparing our traditional story to their Cinderella story usually viewed with families during Christmas.

Sharks and elephants to ponder

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elephantsMary Lee shark
Today in the Houston Chronicle is a story on tracking the great white sharks. Great white shark, Mary Lee, has been hugging our shores in the Atlantic since September. See http://sharks-ocearch.verite.com/.
There are many opportunities for students to connect with wildlife and we should not ignore what’s offered on the Internet as humans serve our role as keepers of the planet. Check out The Elephant Santuary in Tennessee at http://www.elephants.com/ too. We have a responsibility to prepare future generations to stay involved citizens and using the technology wisely in our classrooms helps us keep our students connected.
After you share the great white GPS pictures and the elephant webcams with your students, Read Faithful Elephants by Yuko Tsuchiya. This book is a real tear jerker, but will get students writing and discussing as we approach our new reading unit on author’s point-of-view and social issues.

Vermont meets Texas through Global Read Aloud

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We had a fantastic experience today as a final activity, after reading The One and Only Ivan, through the Global Read Aloud Project. We discussed “How Ivan grew into his own stength and wisdom” and “How did we recognize that he was changing?” (Question credit to the Global Read Aloud). We also discussed what it meant “to belong” through each character’s point-of-view.