September 30, 2009

Bugs, bugs, bugs

Third graders learn about bugs, or more accurately, they become entomologists learning about insects. Outdoor explorations in the garden, photo opportunities and research sources give students an in depth understanding of this group of animals and the life cycles they exemplify. One amazing opportunity offered by the University of Illinois is an interactive session with scientists who have loaded student samples onto an electron microscope for viewing by a class. I was asked to "drive" the microscope which involves selecting between the ladybug, pill bug, fly and ant sent by the class and then zooming in to see a compound eye, the hair-like "setae", the grasping sections of the mouth, etc.

Student questions and sample images from one class are available at

September 14, 2009

2nd Grade, Lesson 1

In our school setting 2nd grade is the first time students have access to computers. To start they year, they explored the drawing tools of Clicker Paint. The buzz of discovery in the classroom is the primary sound as 7 and 8 year olds manipulate the trackpads to create the colors, images and combinations that show their understanding of the possibilities for creating with this software. The classroom teachers and I use this program in a progression from Exploration to Illustrating a learning (Fall, Life Cycles, etc.) to Illustrating and adding text to describe learning. Every child experiences success, accomplishes a new skill and feels mastery of the technology involved.