Donor’s Choose Project – My Mom’s Ears and My Dad’s Nose: Heredity Stations

Please check out my Donor’s Choose project, here. It’s called My Mom’s Ears and My Dad’s Nose. I’m asking for resources on heredity for the 5th graders. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give. Any donations made by November 22 will be matched up to $100.  Use the promo code SPARK during checkout to double your donation.

Thanks so much for looking at this project for our school and library!


World wide mathematics

OK, one of my professional goals this year has been to add authentic (and objective appropriate) international math connections to my lessons. So here are some of my attempts:

Buying fractional parts of villas and jets.
World oil reserves – places and oil types.
Polygons in geography. We are specifically focusing on other continents.
Comparison of square mileage of USA states to European countries.
Water conservation efforts world wide and why they are important.
Comparison of gas prices gallons here to liter in Canada.
Conversion of real-time temperatures in Australia (I know a guy there) to F.
Conversion of mountain heights from Km to Mi.

This is just a few of the things I’ve broached with the kids. It’s late and I just can’t come up with an exhaustive list right now. It’s been thought provoking experience for them and has stretched me.

So why do we need to have these conversations?
When asked how a villa or jet could have fractional pieces. Every class decided it was based on space. No one came up with time allotment until prompted.
I didn’t know there were different types of oil. Extra heavy, heavy, etc. That was bad enough, but the kids didn’t know that there were oils other than olive and sunflower.
No real reason why a 5th grader should know how much gas costs except that it impacts their families. Everyone was surprised at the outcome when they did the conversions. Gas looks cheap when you are only getting a liter.
Europe looks really big until a map is placed over a USA map. we actually drug Europe around trying to find countries the size of Texas and NC.

These have been successful parts of the lessons and I will look for ways to continue them. I was prompted by all the verbiage out there on 21st century learners, but after a few weeks, I can certainly see the benefit.

I wrote and gave a Google Forms test today

And it went very well actually. Google Forms.

Some of the kids had a hard time with the submit button. They didn’t intuitively know to click it when they were done. I’ll admit that seems a bit odd to me, but . . .

Some things I learned along the way:

  • I had to add a place for the students to put their name in at the top. I should have had a first name and a last name box for sorting on the spreadsheet.
  • I should have also had a box for them to indicate their class. Easily fixable on the spreadsheet, but I could have taken care of it up front.
  • I had 10 multiple choice question with the last one being a free response. s
  • The google spreadsheet is a little awkward to deal with, but it easily downloads to excel which is easier.
  • My questions were all on the top row. Some were pretty complex, so they took up a lot of room. I cut those and put them on the second page of the spreadsheet.
  • I made the key on the first row of the spreadsheet. This helped with grading.
  • I added a column after the name for grade.
  • As I graded, I put wrong answers in red. I like red. Kids aren’t going to see this and it stands out nicely. This also gives me a great visual looking down the column as to which objectives are strong and weak.
  • Some of the kids turned in multiple copies. It was obvious some just kept hitting the submit button, because each was identical. But it was interesting on some to see a progression of correct answers. However, one that turned in several had completely random answers each time. So I learned something about what that one knows too.
  • I had kept the free response pretty simple – just to get them used to it and for me to see what they could do. It was a word problem and I asked them to tell me about one (and only one) step. A few did just that. Most gave the answer instead. Some however worked the entire problem in the same way we’ve been working word problems in class. It was interesting to see how how clever they could get representing model drawing in a text box.

One of the drawbacks I found in writing this test is that Google Forms does not have the ability to link. So, I couldn’t insert an image in a problem nor could I link to an associated page of images. That’s a bummer.

Engaging the 21st Century Learner

Steve Hargadon will interview Karen Hume this week:

Date: Thursday, February 3, 2011
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 1am GMT (next day–international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Event and Recording Page:

Karen Hume has written 6 professional development books for teachers. Her latest publication is Tuned Out: Engaging the 21st Century Learner (Pearson Canada, 2010). Her previous best-sellers include Start Where They Are, andEvidence to Action. Karen’s writing, workshop facilitation, and keynote addresses revolve around differentiated instruction, which she sees as an organizing framework for everything that happens in teaching and learning at all levels of a school system.