Friday, February 20, 2015

The Day Dolls Came to School ...

During the long weekend, I  visited my parents in Ohio who are in the process of moving. Because of this, I grabbed all of my old toys and storage items from their basement. One of these treasured pieces was my American Girl doll and her trunk of accessories. Upon hearing that one of my girls had visited American Girl Place over the weekend, I mentioned that the trunk was in the back of my car still. So, during indoor recess, the girls and I had a grand time going through all of my old Kirstin clothing and accessories felt old since my doll is now retired!
 This, of course, led naturally into an optional "Bring your Doll to school day" the next day. It was a lot of fun! and definitely not something that happens every day! The boys did a good job of keeping their teasing to a minimum, some even created their own "dolls" to join in the fun :) 
 All in all, it was a very unique day in fifth grade full of hair brushing, clothing changes, and lots of smiles! They won't be forgetting this day for some time :) 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Quadrant Craft

While studying explorers, we have been looking at many of the different pieces of technology that helped them navigate across 
oceans. One of these pieces of technology includes the Astrolabe. Originally invented by the Greeks, the Astrolabe measured the altitude of objects, determined the elevation of the Sun and stars, and also give the time and date. 

The quadrant,  a contemporary of the earlier "Astrolabe," utilized it's location components and helped determine one's position using longitude and latitude degrees. The sexton was yet another, even more modern, version of the astrolabe, utilizing the component of altitude and elevation readings making it popular among aviators during WWII. Here is a great teacher resource sharing the history of these difference technologies along with an classroom activity. 

We have been walking through our winter wonderland listening to the WALKING CLASSROOM's Explorer podcasts which have talked about them using "tools" to navigate. After one particular walk, we created our own "astrolabe/quadrants" using THIS template. Then, went outside to test them out yet another great excuse to get some fresh air.  We used them to determine the altitude of a myriad of objects including church steeples, playground equipment, trees, and even each other's heads :) 
The craft and activity went well with our previous longitude and latitude project, found HERE, where we plotted the coordinates of Early Explorer's Routes. 
Here are more Explorer Activities: 

Longitude, Latitude, and Exploration!

Before I explain what we did and how AMAZING this project was,  I must give a MAJOR shout out to Stephanie over at Teaching in Room 6 for this incredible idea! I know that she has inspired many and I have seen this particular lesson all over pinterest, so understand that I simply utilized this awesome lesson and was awed by the learning results. 

Longitude (y axis) and latitude (x axis) are extremely similar to a coordinate grid, so this lesson works great during an Exploration unit. I did a small pre lesson on plotting points which just happens to be a fifth grade math standard! What, WHAT! before diving into our major activity. After some quick teaching, we played the classic game of battleship (which I found HERE on TPT) to help reinforce the new skill. 
 After an evening of plotting while I watched the great new history channel mini-series "Sons of Liberty" a must watch, I created my own estimated plot points for the particular Explorer's travels. These I put on individual cards and placed in envelops for partner groups. Partners then had to plot the coordinates on their blank world map, found HERE, changing the colors for each coordinate set. You can purchase the coordinate cards from my TPT HERE
The coolest part of the whole learning project was the day we matched the Explorers to their coordinates. Partners worked together to identify which Explorer matched the coordinates by reading short biographies which are available as a freebie HERE. They then matched the correct Explorer with their travel route and color. This part was FULL of independent learning discovery! Students were utilizing so many resources including maps, globes, and their own knowledge to identify and locate countries, continents, oceans, directions, and exact locations. It was definitely one of those awesome teacher moments as I watched my kiddos focused and independently learning all around me! 
Finally, students used the information from the biography cards to write non-fiction summaries of the Explorer's travels making sure to include who, what, where, when, why, and how. 
I was so impressed with their final products! This is definitely a project that I will do again! 

Here are more Explorer Activities: 
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