Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Urban Legends on Smore

During our Mystery Unit, we learned fact versus opinion. Each group explored different ubran legends that interested us using digital and print resources, and then we used our knowledge of fact and opinion to crete these tabloid like "papers" on Smore. Also, we took our knowledge of graphic sources to add meaning to our writing. Enjoy our Smores and let us know whther you think any of these are pure fact or pure opinion. We'd love to hear your ideas.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mystery Skype

Our Mystery Skype, that we did yesterday was awesome. A Mystery Skype is a Skype when you try to figure out the other persons' location before the other class finds out. We could only ask "yes" or "no" questions. We Skyped with a class in Riverside, Illinois. We guessed their location before they guessed ours.  The funny thing  about the  Mystery Skype was that they asked if we lived close to the city of Tuscaloosa. They always guessed cities that were near Tuscaloosa, but they never actually guessed Tuscaloosa until the end. 

It was really cool because we had maps to help us figure out their clues. The kids we were Skyping with were pros at Mystery Skype. They each had apple laptops. We each had a map that had a sheet protector over it, so that we could write on it with an expo marker, and our own devices. When they said it was by the Great Lakes, we started to guess all of the states that touched the Great Lakes. We also knew that the state didn't touch Canada. Illinois was the last state there was. Once we guessed Illinois, we began narrowing down their city. It took a long time to figure out what city it was.  We were surprised that they didn't guess our state and city before us.

At the end of the day their teacher tweeted that if you ever do and Mystery Skype to be very specific with your questions. By doing a Mystery Skype we were able to analyze clues, use process of elimination, and draw conclusions; those are important skills to learn for anything you do in life. To do a mystery Skype successfully, you need to be a strong communicator and thinker. We can't wait until we do it again.

Ellis Island Immigration Day 2013

 Last Friday we had Immigration Day. We got to experience what it was like to immigrate to America back in the 1900's. We all dressed up as immigrants and brought suitcases (backpacks, pillowcase, etc.) to make the re-enactment more realistic. First, we all sat on a boat (one of our teachers classrooms) for an hour with about 200 other people. About ten of the "immigrants" were first class and got to sit in the chairs instead of on the floor with all the other immigrants. They also got to eat cookies and got to drink punch. After the "ship" reached land, the first class immigrants got off. If you were first class and you easily passed through all of the examinations. Then, the teachers  slowly selected pairs of regular immigrants to get off. We had to go through exams and some people had to go to the hospital. Before you could go to America you had to go through Customs. These were the steps to becoming an immigrant. You had to go through Customs, Physical, Mental, Medical, Eye, and Legal Exams.

At customs we had parent volunteers and teachers check and make sure we were the person we said we were. If you didn't pass you were deported and had to go back to the ship.

Next was physical. You had to do exercises that proved you were worth passing through. If you were weak you would get deported.

Then, there was mental. You had to take a test that showed whether you were smart or not. You had to be a bright person to get passed that.

There is also medical. At medical you had to check and see if you were sick or had any diseases.

Next, was the eye exam. You had to make sure you could see properly. If you had crusty eyes you would not get through.

Last, but not least is the legal exam. You had to take a test in Spanish. At the end we went over the real meanings.

We learned a lot with this experience. We know how the immigrants felt: sad, angry, frustrated, scared, and excited. Sometimes it helps to experience it yourself. We know how hard it was not knowing other languages, maybe having a disease, or getting deported. If you did get deported, you did get to go back through, unlike the real immigrants though. The day was a lot of fun too though. Everyone was dressed up, and the teachers acted like the Ellis Island workers. I think everyone learning about immigration should do this because it makes the learning more real.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment.

The End of 2013 Global Read Aloud

 The end of the Global Read Aloud we learned that people around the world participate with the global read aloud. We got to connect with other classes around the world. It was so cool! A class in Sweden asked us questions and told us comments through Twitter. They are on the other side of the world! This was also a chance for everyone who read it to learn lessons: how to treat others, what it feels like to have Cerebral Palsy, and be different.You realize that some people can be so mean. Think of how many people learned these things! The world is definitely a better place because of the Global Read Aloud.

We also got to watch a live chat with Sharon Draper and see her insight on the book, how she came up with the book, and what she likes about writing. She is really in love in what she does. She used to teach, and has written and published 31 books. Wow!
The Global Read Aloud is a brilliant way to learn and connect with other classes around the world. I think every class should participate. There are different books depending on your grade level. It is a better way to read , because you talk to other kids who might have seen something you did not. They can teach you new things too.  I think this is definitely a great learning opportunity for kids of all ages.I hope we will do it again next year!