Here is what the kids had to say about the tests:
Twenty 5th graders from Mrs. Kragen's AGATE class at Suquamish Elementary competed in the 58th annual Washington State Science and Engineering Fair in Bremerton on March 27 and 28. Eights students won special recognition. They were among more than 500 presenters from grades K-12 who shared their projects, display boards and demonstration materials with judges. The judges for this state-wide fair volunteer their time to listen, critique, and praise students.
First Place trophy winners in the 1st-6th grade Junior Division category:
Congratulations to these students!
(Pictured left to right: Emma Yellowcalf, William Mixon, Cale Moore, Jada Torres, Conner Nichols, Jake Steiner, Andrew Massie, Trevor Martin)
WSSEF is an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to promoting science, technology, engineering, and math across the state of Washington year-round. WSSEFF awards more than $1.8 million in scholarships as well as special awards meeting specific criteria set by sponsors. For more information and for a list of current sponsors, list visit http://wssef.org.
How would you like to be cheated because you couldn’t tell one bill from another? This can happen to anyone with vision problems. The US should add a tactile feature to its paper money.
There are a lot of blind people in America. They need to be able to tell the difference between money. Right now they can’t tell one bill from the other. They have to ask someone else how much money they have. As Connor McLeod told Time for Kids, “It’s frustrating … I have to keep asking my mom how much money I have” (6).
With tactile money blind people could count their own money. “The markings would make it easier for people with vision problems to identify each bill by touch” (TFK 6).
With regular money blind people could be cheated by employers who pay them less than they are supposed to. At the store, the cashier could give them the wrong change.
Even though it may cost extra money, the money and the effort will improve thousands of lives. And think about it. If you became blind, wouldn’t you want to be able to handle money on your own?
Oh my gosh, your children have been working HARD. First of all, we worked on how to research and then organize and develop expository writing at a deeper level.
As we studied the American revolution, we worked together to model writing good paragraphs.
The students each picked a subsequent conflict in US history to explore on their own. They spent over a month on the project, first doing research. I gave them a graphic organizer to help them think about the kinds of information to look for as they took notes.
Once they had their notes, they made a Lists of Works Consulted, wrote paragraphs, and then created presentations. They could make a website on Weebly, a museum display, or a PowerPoint. My constant refrain was, "Make sure you have your CONTENT first. Creating the presentation comes at the end."
Because this assessment is classroom-based, I tried to schedule it so they had ample time to do all the work at school.
On the other hand, I have encouraged students to get peer and parent assistance to help with revising and editing their paragraphs. If your child hasn't asked for help, ASK WHY!
Students can check their own work using the rubric for the CBA.
Presentations start next week. Parents are invited! We will start after lunch each afternoon.
Having finished our first experiment with the Mentos, we completed all our writings and made a sample display.
ALL the writing went into the Scientific Journal, which followed MLA format (TNR 12, double space, one-inch margins, 0-point, all the normal stuff). We added a title page and a table of contents. The journal goes in a folder in front of the display.
NOT all the writing went on the display. The writing on the display did NOT use MLA format. We used Comic San and a larger font and single-spaced. We added very colorful headings.
I was finally able to go onto the Washington State Science and Engineering website and register as a teacher today, so that means all my students can now register for this year's science fair. Hooray!
Meanwhile we have finished our first set of experiments with Cokes and Mentos. We are having a blast--pun totally intended!
I have the write-up of what we have done so far on the Elementary Materials page in the Science section so students can use it as a sample. I am paying kids LOTS of Kragen cash for getting their science fair projects done now instead of later. If they finish any of the following parts by Monday, they get $20 PER PART:
How can you help? After they finish a section, have them read it aloud. Help them hear any areas that might need revising for clarity. Once they have all their ideas fleshed out, you are allowed to edit. Encouraged to edit. Begged to edit. (They should be asking you to edit by this point!)
We did our first diary entry for the Discovery simulation today. Here are the ways students can earn points for their entries:
Here are the ways I answered questions the students had:
We've been studying the colonies so we've been following colonial manners in the classroom. That means students must bow and say "ma'am" before they speak to Mrs. Kragen.
Individuals worked on three maps each, including making one that was a custom map out of their own imagination. Each group made a flag for their colony--one large flag and several small ones to use for claiming territory on the large classroom map. Groups figured out their total wealth units today, which they had earned from assignments, and then they used their wealth to load their ships with cargo.
Students also did a writing preassessment in the computer lab using the social studies chapter on the colonies as a resource.
Often I have the class do a poetry unit right before winter break, and then I write an elaborate thank you note poem for the class for any gifts I get. They like to see me do the same kind of work I've made them do!
This year we did short stories right before the break, so I thought I should write a thank you in the form of a short story. Several kids wrote "choose your own adventure" stories. I'd never done one of those before, so I decided to challenge myself and give that genre a try.
I created a website specifically for the story: dreagan.com. (If you go to the "about" page on the web site you can see where the name came from.)
I hope you enjoy the story with your children, and I hope you know how very much I appreciate all the thoughtful gifts.
Diet Coke and Mentos
Greek alphabet song
From Education Week--According to the latest research, the two best predictors of college success are not grades and intellectual ability. Number one is “conscientiousness” (dependability, perseverance, work ethic). Number two is “agreeableness” (interpersonal skills, getting along with other people, working well in groups).
From what I’ve observed, I would say the same is true for life after college—jobs and careers, marriage and family life. Success comes more easily for people who are willing to work hard and who are able to cooperate with other people.