Smith 5th Grade Blog 2012

Last post of the year for the departing fifth grade. See our new website, The Technology Classroom, for new ideas in 2013.


Exciting new math animation video from fifth grade students.

Here is the promised video of 10 of or 37 birds returning from rehab. This has been quite a journey for me, but I won’t complain because the birds have it harder flying back to Brazil. It is so cool that my students appreciate the nature provided for them in our garden.

Here is another great activity shared by teacher Linda Hamman that is really simple to use but incorporates many math skills. Basically the student draws the orginal bug on a 1 cm by 1 cm square grid. However, the biggerst challenge is that the student needs to draw a 15 x 15 grid with 2 cm by 2 cm squares. The student finally draws a bigger bug but it must be in proportion to the original bug.

Awesome morning with my students. Finally a moment to sit outside for a period of time and observe nature. The students were assigned a room to watch and observe only the birds coming and going. They were also told to sketch their birds and record their markings. Finally, they recorded a detailed explanation of what they observed.

The students were able to watch the babies being fed, and most interestingly for me, a chance to observe the baby birds learning to fly.

One of the projects that I have used in the last 2 years to teach ratios and proportions was to use a Promethean lesson by teacher Pat Verhoeven to manipulative facial parts. Ater the students learn the correct placement of these features, each student draws their own features.  Last year students only had time to draw and photograph their animation work.  This year I was able to put the work together into a movie using the Michael Jackson song, “Black and White”.  Next year I hope to enable the students to make the movies themselves. The music on this video has been legally purchased.  I strictly follow copyright laws. Currently it is legal, for educational purposes with no intent for profit, to record 30 seconds or 10% (whatever is less) of audio.  I will remove if the law changes.

Proportions and ratios with animation

We have an very healthy Purple Martin community, but we also experienced a slight disaster this week. This is why I have not been posting for the month of May. Our large house crashed as we were raising it after a nest check. A cable of only 4 years old had rust and unraveled. The other cable on the small house has no rust. For many reasons, which I will spare all readers, we had to remove the 37 babies and bring them to a wildlife rehab facility. We are currently trying to find homes for the rehab babies in established nests. However, the good news is that we have 62 healthy babies in the other houses and 3 nests with 12 eggs.

May 9th update: On May 10th 10 Purple Martin babies will return to established nests at Smith. All of the younger birds have found a good home in Houston. There are several that were too old and will be released soon. We wish those birds lots of luck! That leaves us with 72 babies at Smith with 3 nests and 12 eggs. No pecked eggs or dead birds. I am really hoping we can get through the next couple of weeks without the record high April temperatures.

May 10th update: Today the healthy 10 Purple Martins were returned to our school and placed in the appropriate gourds and small house rooms. Unfortunately, I found another problem. Red ants had made a trail up and down the wooden post. I used vaseline and chalk around the post and cleaned as many on the post that I could find. There was no evidence of them around the babies. Then I stayed until 7:00 PM to make sure that there were adults still alive and willing to feed our new guests.

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