Beebots + Africa = Beefrica(?!?)

unknownHappy Thursday! With third quarter QUICKLY coming to an end next week, I feel that our class has been such an enjoyable place to learn during the past few weeks. I LOVE our learning community and the ways we work and interact with one another. As I have mentioned before, there are definitely both smooth and bumpy times in our classroom, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world because we have established such a caring community that it is the best way to spend our days – with one another! We have slowly begun to immerse ourselves in research about Africa and LOVE how much we are learning! Additionally, we are in the process of finishing our next round of persuasive writing, mastering ways to add and subtract numbers, continuing to practice many ways to decode tricky words in books, and taking our coding knowledge deeper with a classroom game, Beebots, and Scratch Jr.  Thanks for visiting our blog this week – read below to learn more about what we have been doing in first grade!

Table of Contents

  • Conversation Starters
  • Researching Africa
  • Beebots
  • Africa Visitor
  • Counting in Groups
  • A Smile for You!

Conversation Starters:

  • img_8094Last week, your class had a Mystery Number Skype with a second grade class at Keysor– another elementary school in Kirkwood. Tell me what your job was during the Skype and what you enjoyed about it. What kinds of questions do you ask in order to efficiently find out the secret number? Give me some examples. What did your class do well during the Skype? What could your class continue to work on?
  • unknownToday, your class went to the library to vote for your favorite Show Me Book. Which book did you vote for as your favorite? What made you choose that book as a favorite? Mrs. Meihaus, Robinson’s Librarian, reread the book that your class voted for – Tooth Fairy Wars. Tell me what happens in this story. What do you enjoy about this book?

Researching Africa: Our school is in the middle of a book drive in which we are collecting books to donate to Botswana, Africa. When the book drive was introduced to my students, they were VERY interested in learning more about Africa. There were so many questions and such a high level of positive LEARNING energy in the room that I knew what our next focus study would entail – Africa. We began digging into our research this week and have learned so much!  Ask your first grader what he or she has learned about Africa so far and what he or she still wants to learn.

We were so excited to look at a map of the world - and specifically, Africa!
We were so excited to look at a map of the world – and specifically, Africa!
Ava was doing some research about Africa.
Ava was doing some research about Africa.
Here was a web Kai made as he learned about Africa.
Here was a web Kai made as he learned about Africa.

Coding:  Since it is the 21st century, one of the goals in Kirkwood is to provide exposure to a wide variety of topics and opportunities so our children can choose a path that will lead them to follow their passion and strengths both now and into the future. One of these areas now includes computer science, which to us means coding. As you know, your first grader has had some exposure to coding with Scratch Jr. Now, we are ready to build on their prior experience and make it more meaningful so kids can understand and transfer their knowledge of coding into their world. We have been learning about coding by giving one another directions (or codes) as well as creating codes for tiny robots called Beebots.  What are Beebots?  Click here or here to see some Beebots in action.  Next, we are going to head back to learn more about the capabilities of Scratch Jr. and practice creating a story by using block code.

This is our rubric descriptor for Computer Science Practices in first grade.
This is our rubric descriptor for Computer Science Practices in first grade.
We practiced coding with an activity as a class first.
We practiced coding with an activity as a class first.
Mrs. Sisul came to teach us about coding with Beebots!
Mrs. Sisul came to teach us about coding with Beebots!
Check out these coders!
Check out these coders!

 

 

 

Africa Visitor:  With our interest piqued about Africa, it was the perfect time to invite a Rwandan friend of Robinson, Treasure, to come visit our classroom and teach us more about what we had been learning. Treasure brings excitement and energy to the room and the children absolutely adore him! We learned much more about Africa during our time together and look forward to our next visit with Treasure.  As it was time to say goodbye, he was swarmed in hugs by first graders!  Look at a few photos below to get a glimpse of our time with Treasure.  And . . . click here to SEE Treasure play the drums for us!

Treasure, from Rwanda, came to talk to us and teach us about Africa.
Treasure, from Rwanda, came to talk to us and teach us about Africa.
Treasure drew for us too!
Treasure drew for us too!
After teaching us about Africa, Treasure did some drumming for us.
After teaching us about Africa, Treasure did some drumming for us.

Counting in Groups: While we continue to work on mastering strategies to add and subtract numbers, we have also begun discussing ways to count numbers in groups. Check out our rubric descriptor below to see what we assess on with this skill. Since we are doing a lot of learning about animals in Africa – among other things – we began working with giraffes and the number of legs they have. First, we looked at a picture of giraffes and noticed so many things. Next, we talked about the mathematical questions we had about the picture. Finally, we began working to answer one of our mathematical questions – How many legs do the giraffes have altogether? Our first grade mathematicians chose whether to work independently or with a partner to solve the problem by showing their thinking on a poster. Next week, we will have a Math Congress in order to notice the strategies one another used and how we might try something another mathematician used.

Check out our rubric descriptor for counting a set of objects in groups.
Check out our rubric descriptor for counting a set of objects in groups.
This is the picture we looked at and came up with the math question to investigate: How many legs do the giraffes have altogether?
This is the picture we looked at and came up with the math question to investigate: How many legs do the giraffes have altogether?
Amelia worked hard to prove her thinking about the giraffe legs.
Edie and Amelia worked hard to prove her thinking about the giraffe legs.
Check out the math thinking from Kai and Charlie about the number of legs on the giraffes.
Check out the math thinking from Kai and Charlie about the number of legs on the giraffes.
Check out Julia and Harlow's smart math thinking!
Check out Julia and Harlow’s smart math thinking!

 

 

 

 

 

A Smile for You: There have been SO MANY smiling moments in our classroom lately that it is hard to choose just one. Below, there is a photo of one of our writers sharing a book she wrote with her peers. They were genuinely interested in learning how and why she began creating her own Frog and Toad book (we’ve read many of these together). As I have said before, I LOVE seeing kids teach kids. It is so beautiful and makes my heart smile. I hope you smile as you see the picture below by knowing that we have so many great things happening each day! Thanks for visiting our blog this week. Have a lovely weekend!

Author Amora shared the book she is creating with other curious authors!
Author Amora shared the book she is creating with other curious authors!

 

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