4th Grade Fun with Ozobots and Dr. Seuss!

I’m not sure why but I hadn’t pulled out the Ozobots for the fourth graders this year so when they arrived at the lab and discovered Ozobots set out, they could hardly sit still to get instructions!

Needless to say, I presented the instructions in record time! Their job – add color codes and paths to the outline of the Cat in the Hat’s hat. iPads were set out so students could video their Ozobots. A few did that and then air dropped video to me so that I could add to what I took. Here’s a glimpse at what happened.

4th, Seuss & Ozobots from Trinity Valley School on Vimeo.

I would hear groans from students who couldn’t get their Ozobot to follow the code they thought they’d drawn. Then, I’d hear from someone else who announced that their code worked and they were more than happy to share tips on how to better draw effective codes.

Lesson learned for me – I need to do MUCH more of the exploration time for the students. Yes, there are times when I need to do direct instruction but watching the fourth graders interact reminded me how important it is to allow time for uninterrupted learning to occur.

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Blogging with a Twist

img_6687Although our students have been blogging since first grade, I always like to have the fourth graders start off with a paper blogging activity. After working with this age over a number of years, I’ve discovered that many become lax in their posts and comments; submitting writing that isn’t their best!

The paper blogging idea is not my own but comes from a post entitled, Workshop Activity: Paper Blogs, by Leonard Low. He used it with teachers to show that blogging is a “powerful strategy for empowering and engaging learners.”

Usually, the paper blogging takes two 40-minute sessions but I only had the students for one 30 minute class so it was a challenge to fit everything in, but we did it! We began with a quick review of what is okay to share and what should be kept private.

From the time we began blogging in first grade, I’ve discussed penny vs dollar comments/posts so the children can quickly tell me that just as a penny is worth hardly anything, penny writing is just as worthless. A penny comment might be only one word. Or it could be something like “great” or “wow” – words that don’t really tell anything to the writer. Penny posts lack detail or don’t make sense. Dollar posts paint a picture for the reader; adding details that help the reader make connections. Dollar comments ask questions, make specific compliments, keep the conversation going.

Using the food idea from Mr. Low’s post, I asked the students to think about their favorite food. What was it? Where was the best place to get it (home, restaurant)? What made it so special? I gave them 10 minutes to write and most were able to finish.

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We then discussed tags. Everyone could tag this as “food” and then they could add additional tags.

The next step was commenting. Each student had 3 sticky notes. They were to move around the room till I told them to stop. Once at that spot, they were to read the post then write a comment on the sticky note.

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Normally, we’d have time for 4 or 5 comments but with our shortened class period, two was the limit. The third sticky note was for each student to return to their post to respond to one of their comments.

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An important part of the lesson is to discuss the quality of comments. I asked for volunteers to share what they considered to be “dollar” comments. And, there were many! We then moved on to “penny” comments with the rule that no names should be shared. As this was discussed, we also brainstormed how to transform a penny comment to a dollar one.

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I’m eager to see if the quality seen in the paper blogging transfers to our online blogs next week!

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Sharing Our Book

Recently the fourth grade classes worked in small groups to create a Lego ABC book to share with kindergarteners. (Click here for post about making the book.)

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Our sharing took place on a beautiful afternoon so we gathered the iPads, the kinder students chose a “big” kid for a partner, and off we went. The little ones were enthralled with the 4th graders but what surprised me is how well the older students did with their young charges!

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While the big kids weren’t too eager to hold hands with the little ones (that was my suggestion that fell flat!), they were great at keeping them entertained with the book, talking to them, asking about their interests.

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The only problem we encountered was getting too far away from buildings and then we’d lose Wi-Fi. But, that was an easy fix.

We returned to the lab with a few minutes to spare. That allowed time to finish viewing the Lego Book and share other apps.

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It was a really good experience for our oldest Lower School students to interact with our youngest ones! Looking at the smiles on faces makes these kinds of activities worth every minute.

 

4th Graders + 1st Graders + Ozobots = Great Learning!

A couple of weeks ago, I purchased 8 Ozobots. Ozobots are small robots that can be “programmed” by using a series of color combinations (OzoCodes) drawn by markers on white paper. These were introduced to a 4th grade class that just happened to have some skilled Ozobot users!

After watching a couple of the students, I decided to ask their teacher if they could share their knowledge with a first grade class who happened to also have some college student observers from TCU.

We got permission and I presented the plan to two students who were absolutely thrilled to be asked! They suggested two others so we ended up with a fabulous group of four! I was a bit concerned that they would be somewhat intimidated by the college students. Didn’t even cross their minds – one boy told me, “No problem! I can teach the college kids.”

The fourth graders arrived before class started. They had spent their weekend drawing Ozobot paths to share with the younger ones!

The first graders were in awe of the older students! One little girl stated, “I just love these 4th graders coming to teach us Ozobots.”

What leaders these older students are! Our four young teachers were amazing! They all walked around providing tips and offering any guidance needed to make sure the little ones (and the college students) were successful at drawing codes for the Ozobots.

At one point, one of the fourth graders pulled me aside to share, “Uh, Mrs. Arrington, that little boy is getting marker on the table. What can I use to clean it up?”

And, as the older students left, I was asked, “Can we come back next week and teach?” We will definitely have to make that happen!

Checking for Comments

First graders were thrilled to check their blog for comments after posting their ChatterPix Kids noun video. (see previous post)

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We had some amazing writing going on as the children read what parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even our 4th graders wrote.

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Thanks to thoughtful comments from relatives and other students, these first graders are so excited to be sharing their work with an authentic audience!

Card Towers

What can you do with fourth graders, a deck of cards, and the Hyperlapse app? Build and record the process…

The task:

  • See how high you can build a card tower by working together.
  • One person is the videographer and will use the Hyperlapse time-lapse app to record the process.

What Happened:

The students were divided into groups of four with most working quite well together. What was funny to me is that few children seemed to have used playing cards for building! That was something I did often as a child. There were a lot of starts, collapses, and restarts. Some groups build really long structures because they weren’t able to go up without a collapse. Others decided that bending the cards would be helpful; and that did seem provide a sturdier base. The tallest structure was about 11 1/2 inches with the next one coming in at about 9 inches.

The App:

Hyperlapse is a super easy app to use. However, the hardest thing for a 9 or 10 year old to do is stay still while videoing the process so all of the recordings have scenes ranging from the actual building to selfies to everyone else in the room! Next time, a few more instructions . . .

Here’s a brief look at how the process progressed.

Welcome to the Web: A Webquest for Learning How to Navigate the Internet

Welcome to the Web” is a webquest designed by Mark Warner to teach students about the internet. Here is the description from the Teaching Ideas website:

The resources are split into seven sections:

  1. The Beginning – explains how to use the site.
  2. Getting Started Online – teaches children about the basic concepts involved in the Internet (World Wide Web, Hyperlinks, Back button etc). This introductory lesson also gives valuable practice in visiting and navigating around web sites.
  3. Staying Safe – encourages pupils to keep themselves safe online by following the SMART rules. Also tests their understanding usign interactive activities and fun quizzes.
  4. Using Your Browser – helps people to learn more about their web browsers… what are the different features and how are they used?
  5. Searching Online – teaches children how to search effectively, and keep themselves safe when doing so. Also identifies search engines which are particularly suitable for children to use.
  6. Trying Top Tricks – finding information on the net is great, but it is also important to know how that information can be used. This section explains about printing, using the Find tool to locate specific information within web pages, copying and pasting text, and saving images from the web. Also includes information about copyright and why it is important to credit others when you use their work.
  7. The Welcome to the Web Challenge – When the children have completed all of the sections of Welcome to the Web, they can complete this exciting challenge. It requires them to use all of the skills which they have learnt to catch the creator of a destructive computer virus!

Our fourth graders work in pairs to explore the webquest. I always enjoy watching their interactions with each other and how secretive they become when they figure out who the computer virus culprit is! Much is learned through this fun and informative quest.

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