Category Archives: IB PYP

Galimoto, Makerspace and Third Grade

I was searching for an idea for a makerspace activity when I thought of Karen Lynn Williams’ book, Galimoto.  I also have a galimoto I purchased years ago and figured the children could create one using pipe cleaners (I know, they’re called chenille stems…but I can’t break the habit of 50 years of saying “pipe cleaners”).

I decided that third grade would probably be able to think three dimensionally and have the motor skill development to do this. And, they did (although some really struggled).

Read the Book

After reading the book to the class, I showed them my galimoto.  They were amazed and intrigued by this simple toy.img_4904.jpg

Design the Galimoto

I had the teacher group the students into pairs and each pair was given a sheet of paper and a pencil and instructed to decide what wheeled creation they were going to create.  They drew their design and that is all we accomplished in the first session.  Some used non-fiction books if they were stumped as to what their vehicle really looked like. They had to work well as a team to decide on what they were going to do and then how to draw it out.

The Construction

At the beginning of our second session, I handed each student a copy of the IB Transdisciplinary Skills-Social Skills.  They took turns reading aloud so that everyone was familiar with what good team work looks like. Each group was given ten pipe cleaners and some scissors along with their drawing.  I did make a couple of suggestions, for instance, to create shapes with the pipe cleaner and then cut off excess.  I reminded them that they only had ten pipe cleaners so to plan wisely.

Motor Skills and Hands-on Experience

Some students do not have highly developed fine motor skills (their thumbs are probably very developed!) and had a difficult time figuring out how to twist the pipe cleaners together or around.  Lack of experience mostly.  They were getting the hang of it by the end.  Many of our students don’t seem to have a wide range of experience of making things with their hands and also seem awkward using scissors.  All the more reason to provide more opportunities for makerspace type activities.

Many students created an outline of their design, ie. a two dimensional obect, and thought they were done!  With further support they figured out it had to be three dimensional, just like the galimoto I had.

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The Final Product

Pretty much each group completed their galimoto after about thirty minutes.  Success.  They were very proud of their accomplishment.

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Making Thinking Visible-See, Think, Wonder

Mrs. Walker, our IB coordinator is leading the faculty through a book study of “Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners” by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison, which is a research-based approach to teaching thinking that develops students’ thinking dispositions.   I bought the book and I’m about half way through reading it and I wanted to start using some of the routines.

IB Concept Perspective

I have in the past I explored the concept of perspective by having third grade students view an interesting photograph.  I chose one from the New York Times feature, “What’s Going on in this Picture?”.  I have used Padlet before to record students thoughts after viewing a photo.

But this year I decided to use one of the thinking routines from the book and chose “See, Think, Wonder”.  I modeled the routine as a whole group with the teacher recording the student responses on chart paper.

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See, Think, Wonder

Then, using a new photo, I walked the students through the thinking routine again.  They used a sheet of paper folded in thirds which they headed each section, “See”, “Think” and “Wonder.”  We went through the steps together viewing the photo and they recorded their writings. img_8796

I think the students began to have a better understanding of their thinking after this activity.

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I am anxious to incorporate more thinking routines in library instruction and activities.

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The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

Our first grade classes are begining their unit of inquiry on plants and animal, one of their lines of inquiry being animals and plants depend on each other for survival.  I read Eric Carle’s book, The Tiny Seed and we focused on the IB concepts of connection and change.  How were the plants (seeds) in the story connected to the animals and how did the seed change?

After reading the book to one class and the discussion that followed, I realized that our students did not have much experience with seeds.  I went home and looked through all the seeds I have and brought some in for the students to look at.

Variety of Seeds and Magnifying Glasses

I brought in eight different types of flower seeds that I had on hand that showed a variety of shapes and sizes.  I put a few on white sheets of papers with index cards as labels. They enjoyed using the magnifying glass and they made a number of observations about the seeds.  They said one type looked like raisins, another like chocolate chips. An easy way to bring to the idea of seeds to life; well easy for me as I am a gardener and have lots of seeds on hand!

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5th Grade Immigration and Padlet

5th grade is starting to study immigration and I wanted to read some picture books that would give an overview or an overarching picture of the topic.  I started with Faith Ringgold’s We Came to America and afterwards we talked about some of the reasons people immigrate to the U.S.A.

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Next-Hamid’s Story

The next time we met, I read Andy Glynne’s Hamid’s Story: A Real Life Story of His Journey from Eritrea.

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I asked the students to reflect on what they would do if they had a child who had recently immigrated to the U.S. in their classroom; posting our IB Learner Profiles nearby to encourage them to use these as inspiration for their response.

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I knew I saved this metal tripod thingies from the trash for a reason!

Padlet

I used Padlet for the students to record their responses.  I like Padlet as it gives the students a variety of ways to record their ideas, through writing, making an audio recording or video taping themselves.  I was surprised that so few from each class chose to video!

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Padlet

Many of the students wrote very heartfelt reflections and this is a lesson I will definitely repeat and Padlet is going to be a the top of my list for recording student voice.

 

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IB Approaches to Learning-Makerspace Activity

After a not very productive group activity with one of our fourth grade classes, I decided they needed to work on their social skills.  In the International Baccalaureate program we have something called Approaches to Learning and one component is Social Skills.  This class needed more practice and I decided to give them the opportunity!  I wanted to use a fun makerspace activity to engage the students, one that wouldn’t require any academic prep.

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Tower-Makerspace Activity

The library media specialists in our school system attended a makerspace workshop at the beginning of the school year conducted by Cari White from Texas.  We did an activity where we built a tower using index cards and round labels.  Easy-inexpensive, not much prep on my part, accessible to all skill levels!

The Hook-the Book-Rapunzel

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I chose a book with a tower in it, Rapunzel and decided to use Bethan Woollvin’s version as it short.  I needed to allow time for the students to read the IB Approaches to Learning: Social Skills before working in groups. After reading Rapunzel, the teacher divided the students into groups of three and each group did a carousel reading of the skills.

The Building of the Tower

The challenge is simple: work as a group to build the tallest tower using 20 index cards and 8 round labels.  In reflecting on this activity, I would spring for a better quality of index cards.  I used the ones that you can get at the beginning of the school year for 50 cents.  They didn’t have quite the stiffness that a higher quality of card would have.

The students, as I predicted, were a little slow in getting started.  Not much communication or collaboration, but eventually they got the hang of it!

And they were so proud of their towers!

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Fourth Grade Primary Documents and Inferences

Fourth grade is studying the American Revolution and I wanted to introduce them to primary documents as an information resource.  I also wanted to acquaint them with the book, George vs George: The Revolutionary War as Seen by Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer. This book is a great example of the IB key concept of perspective.

Cover of the book George vs George by Rosalyn Schanzer

Borrowing an Idea from WritingFix

I found a lesson plan on Writingfix.com and used the first part of it (http://writingfix.com/WAC/HistoryFix/George_vs_George1.htm) which used portraits of George Washington and King George.  The website also provided a graphic organizer for the students to use to analyze the primary source document.  This was also an opportunity to have the students practice making inferences, an ELA skill they work on in this grade level.  I marked the word, “infer” in dictionaries and had one student read the definition while the others followed along.

Model First and then Small Group Work

First I modeled what the students were going to do.  I have a large poster of a portrait of Paul Revere from a collection of posters, Picturing America: America’s History Through Our Nation’s Art, from a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  This portrait by John Singleton Copley is a good way to have the students, as a whole group, work through “reading” this painting.  They noticed the tea pot, the tools, his plain clothes, etc.  Then they brainstormed what that might mean (inferring) about this person (I covered up his name).  Then they worked in small groups looking at the two portraits.4-3

Two Men-What Can We Infer?

I gave each group a small copy of each of the paintings, one of King George and the other of George Washington.  At this point they had just begun their study of the Revolutionary War and most didn’t know who these men in the portraits were.  I gave them about 5 minutes to observe the first portrait and make notes on their graphic organizer and then I had them move onto the second portrait.4-1

For the most part the students did a good job and were surprised to see what they could find out about a person, just by looking at a painting. After we shared a few observations, I revealed who each man was and showed them the book, George vs George.

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I will be sharing this book with this grade level over the next couple of weeks. Just not sure how yet!

 

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First Grade – Historical Figures and Magnets

Sometimes inspiration strikes when you least expect it.  I wanted to design a lesson for first grade students to introduce them to a couple of historical figures they will be studying for their IB Unit of Inquiry.  Sometimes grades will also have what we call “stand-alones” or standards that don’t fit in with their Unit of Inquiry, but they will cover during the six weeks.

So I was looking to combine historical figures and magnets (their stand-alone science standard).  As I was mulling this over I remembered a box of business cards and magnets that my son left behind when he changed careers and moved to Atlanta.  So I have this box of cards and the magnets that can be adhered to make the business cards into a refrigerator magnet.  Bingo!  It came to me.  Have the students draw a portrait of one of the historical figures on the reverse side of the business card, peel off the protective sheet on the magnet, place the card on the magnet and you have a project!

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Britannica School Elementary via Galileo website

We are so fortunate that the state of Georgia provides libraries free access to some fabulous web resources including Britannica School Elementary encyclopedia via Galileo.  I projected the website on our large screen and we read some basic information about three of the historical figures from the social studies standards.

Georgia Standard of Excellence: Social Studies: SS1H1 Read about and describe the life of historical figures in American history. a. Identify the contributions made by these figures: Theodore Roosevelt (National Parks and the environment), George Washington Carver (science), and Ruby Bridges (civil rights).

George Washington Carver, Ruby Bridges and Theodore Roosevelt

I found several photographs of each of the individuals and placed copies on the tables so that students could refer to them.  I also included the names on each sheet so they would know who was who and how to spell their names.

After reading about these three people students decided who to draw portraits of and I had them include the name of individual on their drawing.

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I helped them attach their drawing (business card) onto the magnet.  I set up a station of several objects for their magnet testing; cardboard, plastic, metal, glass, and wood. Fortunately I had a volunteer or a teacher to assist the children as they tested to see what the magnet would stick to.

S1P2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to demonstrate the effects of magnets on other magnets and other objects.

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