Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday Party ~ 2013

On the last school day of the year (the 2013 year that is), we had a great holiday party!

There was a cookie decorating station.
Beautiful designs were created by all!

Pupils tried their luck at the dreidel station! 
Spin, dreidel, spin!  

The final station involved marshmallows. There were a few challenges: pick up as many marshmallows as possible with a straw, make as many snowmen as you can in a minute, and the marshmallow team toss.

Healthy snacks were enjoyed by all!

At the end of the day, we recorded a special flutophone song for Mrs. Monaghan and our blogging buddies in England who celebrate Christmas! We've been working on a Twitter Vocabulary A-Z project with them this semester. 

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Over the winter break, read or contribute a fun story on 
Buck's Holiday House!

Check out the interesting interactive winter links on this post. 

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 Thank you to all of our readers for your support and for the quality comments you contribute throughout the year!

Have a wonderful holiday break!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hour of Code

Mrs. Yollis' class participated in the Hour of Code program! Heather's mom, who has a degree in computer science, came in and with Heather's help, taught the class how to write JavaScript. 

First, the class was introduced to some computer vocabulary.

Next we used the Khan Academy to learn JavaScript.

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These are the steps we took to begin learning coding at the 

First, click on LEARN and select Computer programming.

Next, select Computer programming and click on  
+Create Program

Finally,  write code in the box on the left, and it will show you what you've created on the right. Tips for writing code can be found under the boxes.

Some people worked on the laptops. Notice the two yellow ellipses that have been coded.  

Others worked on the ipad. We did not use the ipad app. Instead, we went on Safari, located Khan Academy, and wrote code from there. Mrs. Wang made copies of the coding information from the Khan Academy site.

Mrs. Wang recommended making a background first. 

Here is the coding information for coloring:

Next, add some other shapes to create a picture. 

Thank you, Mrs. Wang, for making us into beginning coders! 

After school, Shayna went home and created this picture. She sent the class a screen shot and it became a post on our 365 photo blog

In the comment section of the Creative Code 365 post, Heather added a few lines of code that makes repeated shapes as you move the mouse. Everyone love it!

Here is that code:

background(0, 255, 17);

fill(255, 0, 0);
var draw = function() {
ellipse(mouseX, mouseY, 76, 70);

Thank you to Heather and her mom for a great first lesson on coding!

What did you like about coding?

What advice can you lend?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Began Today!

The winter solstice occurred today at 12:11 P.M. ET. 

In the Northern Hemisphere, winter is the coldest season of the year. It begins about December 21 and lasts until about March 21. Around December 21 or 22, 
the sun's rays fall directly over the farthest point south of the equator - marking the first day of winter. 

Winter days have fewer hours of daylight because of the path the earth takes as it revolves around the sun. The earth completely revolves around the sun during 365 days. The earth's axis always tips about 23 1/2 degrees from a line perpendicular to its path. 

In the Southern Hemisphere, winter begins in June.
Different regions have longer winters than others. For example, in the polar regions, winter takes up half the year. In the Temperate Zones winter takes up about one quarter of the year. 

In regions where there is cold weather, it causes many changes in the environment. Water may freeze and become ice, snow, sleet or icicles. 

Sometimes it gets so cold, boiling water will vaporize! 
(Thanks Mrs. Rose from Ontario, Canada!)

Most plants and animals become dormant and rest. Some animals hibernateThe only plants that grow and remain green are evergreensPeople protect themselves from the cold climate with winter clothing when they go outdoors. They enjoy a variety of indoor activities or outdoor wintersports such as skiing, skating, or sledding. 


Here are some fun winter links!

Want to make an online snowflake? Click here! 

BrainPop has some great winter and snow movies! Click here! 


What do you enjoy most about winter?

How will you be celebrating the holidays?

What activities will you be participating in this winter break?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Variety of Van Allsburg

Recently in our reading text books, we read The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Chris Van Allsburg's first children's book. It is a clever and mysterious story about a dog named Fritz who runs into Mr. Gasazi's garden. Fritz is possibly turned into a duck by Mr. Gasazi, but the reader never really knows for sure. Mr. Van Allsburg leaves that up to the reader to decide.

Because Mr. Van Allsburg is such a talented writer and has written so many wonderful books, Mrs. Yollis read three more to us.

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One book we listened to was called Two Bad Ants. Through their experiences in the jar of crystals, which turn out to be sugar, these ants learn that they are better off staying with their colony rather than venturing out on their own.

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  Another book we enjoyed was Bad Day at River Bend. The story seems to take place in an old western town. Everything and everyone in town is being covered by a colorful greasy slime. However, at the end it is revealed that all the characters are in a young boy's coloring book!

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Today, Mrs. Yollis read The Widow's Broom to us. It was an eerie tale in which a witch's broom comes to be owned by a widow. The neighbors are very upset about this enchanted broom who does all the widow's chores and want to do away with it. However, the widow comes up with an extremely clever plan to trick the neighbors and keep her broom!

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Which of these stories did you like best and why?
What other books by Chris Van Allsburg have you enjoyed?
Write a sequel for one of the books we read!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Family Blogging Month Winners!

Every November is Family Blogging Month in Mrs. Yollis' class!
The project generates lots of enthusiasm and family participation! Family Blogging Month is a fabulous way to strengthen the home-school connection and create a true online learning community for all!  

This year, we had two groups of winners. One group of winners came from Mrs. Yollis' split class last year. Ten students were in Mrs. Yollis' class last year as second graders, and they had an advantage over the other students. For one, they had a year of blogging experience under their belts. In addition, they had all learned to type in the split class. The second group of winners are new to blogging this year. They did a fabulous producing quality comments and so did their parents!

There were HUNDREDS of comments written during the month of November!

And the winners are... 

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

Each student received a certificate, won a free meal from a local restaurant, and was given an opportunity to publish a free-choice post on our classroom blog!

Congratulations to our top bloggers! We will be running another Family Blogging Month in the spring! Thank you to all the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends for your participation!
We hope you will continue to participate in our learning community!


What did you like most about Family Blogging Month?

Which family members left comments, and 
how did that make you feel?

How did your family enjoy the month?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Terrific Twitter Time

Today we had a terrific time on Twitter!

The entire adventure started with a weather tweet from one of Mrs. Yollis' blogging friends in Northwestern Ontario, Canada.

Here is that tweet: 

That got me thinking about our weather. So, I got out the thermometer and took a reading. What was the outdoor temperature in Fahrenheit (F)? Celsius (C)?

On a whim, I tweeted out a question to my PLN. (A PLN is a Personal Learning Network. These are my friends and colleagues on Twitter. We enjoy learning and sharing together.)

Here is my tweet:

Notice my tweet ends with Pls RT. That means I asked my PLN to retweet, or send my tweet out to their followers on Twitter. My hope was to spread our tweet out to as many people as possible so we might get a few responses about the weather in different locations. 

Southern California has mild winters. I wanted my students to see that weather varies quite a bit depending on location.

I can't thank my PLN enough for the learning opportunities they provided my students. Have a look!

Here is one from Nebraska!

It was so cold in Nebraska, the students stayed indoors for recess!

Here is the weather report in Reefton, New Zealand.

Here is the weather report in Reefton, New Zealand.

Reefton, New Zealand
School is out for summer!

At the end of the day, Mrs. Jessen sent us a photo of her daughters vaporizing boiling water. 

 Here is a Vine from Mrs. Rose. (A Vine is a short, repeating movie file.) It was so cold in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, that they could vaporize boiling water too!


What did you learn from this experience? 

What were some of the location that we looked up in our atlases?

What are some follow up questions that you'd like to ask?