Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Building Communities

This Team Built A Hopsital
Yesterday. we spent some time building and learning about and communities. Students worked collaboratively in small teams to build one essential piece of a community.

This Team Built A Firestation 
Each team used an iPad to research their assigned part of a community to learn about what it was, what it looked like and why it might be important to a community.

This Team Built A School
When students were finished, they presented their creation to the rest of the class, explained what it was and what they had learned. At the end of the project, we had a large community made up of various organizations. Below is a brief video clip showing the students in action!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mrs. P's "Be-A-Famous-Writer" Contest

Earlier this year we decided to visit the website MrsP.com and during some of our dreaded "excessive heat days", we listened to Mrs. P read us a story from her magic library since we couldn't go outside to recess. We discovered she was hosting a writing contest and the students were eager to enter! Today she announced the finalists in her "Be-A-Famous-Writer" Contest and we are thrilled and excited that we have not one, but two finalists in our very own classroom! Congratulations to these hard-working students! Mrs. P's press release with this exciting announcement can be viewed here!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Winners!

Team Winners!
It was so nice to see so many parents at our classroom awards ceremony last week! Thank you again for coming. The students have worked hard all semester and have a lot to be proud about. The above two students were our team winners in the Noetic Math Competition (Fall 2012) and tied for 2nd place nationally. 
We also had quite a few students who placed in the top 10% nationally, earning a spot on the Noetic Math National Honor Roll. Each student who placed earned a medal. Congratulations Mathletes!
3rd and 2nd Place Winners
Much earlier this school year, we studied about disasters and emergency preparedness. I incorporated the concept into a Social Studies unit, the kids did a webquest SaveFrom.net and creating a poster displaying what they had learned was the final part of the quest. I mailed the posters to the Arizona Department of Health Services, as they were having an emergency preparedness contest
We did remarkably well in the contest and had many winners!

Congratulations to all the students for their amazing accomplishments this semester!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Artist in Residence

You may have heard we've been dancing at school.
It's true! We have had a few classes with the current Artist in Residence at Sonoran Sky, Mr. Thom Lewis of The Thom Lewis Dance Company inTucson, Arizona. Students have had a wonderful time, dancing, stretching and playing rhythmic games with Mr. Lewis. The video below shows a brief glimpse into one of the lessons. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy 2013!

Students Used iPads and iTouches To Scan The QR Codes!
Recently, we decided to write resolutions for the New Year and set some goals for 2013. Of course, writing them out traditionally seemed a little boring to us, so we decided to amp the lesson up a little to make it fit in with all of our 21st Century Learning.
Students all wrote resolutions using Google Docs and shared them with me. Depending on the length of their resolution they either pasted it directly into our favorite QR Code Creator Site, or made their document public, and linked the QR Code directly to their document. 
This is an example of a QR Code which links to a public Google Doc. If you click on these close up images, you should be able to scan the QR Code right off your computer or mobile device and read it or hear it!
This is an example of a QR Code which links to text.
This project was so much fun! The students agreed that their favorite part was scanning and reading all the resolutions at the end. We used the i-nigma app to scan our codes. 
We worked in small groups to create audio New Year messages as well! We used the Croak.it app to create audio recordings. 
Next time you are at Sonoran Sky, please stop by our bulletin board and scan some of our QR Codes! Happy New Year! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Learning About Energy With Steve Spangler

Steve Spangler Gave My Class Some Energy Sticks!
Last month, I had the pleasure of visiting YouTube Headquarters in San Bruno, California for the first ever YouTube Education Summit. It was an amazing experience and I felt very honored to be invited. I had the opportunity to meet some incredible education innovators including Sal Khan (of Khan Academy), Sir Ken Robinson (via G+ Hangout), several representatives of Ted-ED and the most exciting celebrity of all - Steve Spangler, the legendary science guru of Steve Spangler Science
Fan Girl Moment! 
I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw that Steve Spangler was one of the speakers at the EDU Summit, and was captivated along with the rest of the audience as he got about 75 adults actively engaged in several hands on science experiments, right in the middle of YouTube headquarters. I'd been a Steve Spangler fan for many years (as any elementary school teacher probably is) but watching his entertaining science in person, kicked up my respect for him to an entire new level! 
Human Energy Circuit
One of the many experiments he had us participate in at YouTube, was creating a human energy circuit using his cool, interactive Energy Stick. He gave everyone one of these fabulous devices and there were a few extras left and he generously gave me those to take back to my class! 
The students had a great time learning about electrodes, circuits, energy and electricity experimenting with the energy sticks. As a class, we also sent Steve Spangler a few tweets during the lesson and he responded! 
The energy sticks brought our science lesson to life and the students were able to correctly explain what we had done at the end of the period. 
We also created a brief video demonstrating our new knowledge. Who knew science could be so much fun? Click below to watch the class in action!
Thanks again, Steve Spangler! We loved the energy sticks, learned a ton and had a fabulous time!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has an enjoyable break, and that you were entertained by our turkey recipe books (sent home last Friday.) Below is a video clip of some excerpts from the book.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Last week we worked in small groups to build anemometers in science class. What's an anemometer, you ask? Ask your 2nd grader!
Students were given assembly instructions and supplies, and were then responsible for building the device with their team.
After they were built, students worked with a partner testing their new creation in front of a fan, using all the different speeds. We also brought the anemometers outside and tested them in the wind. 

Monday, November 12, 2012


Award Winning Art!
We have had some award winners in our classroom recently, who deserve to be celebrated! Congratulations to Sunny for receiving an honorable mention for her beautiful painting which was on display at the Arizona State Fair.
"The Bamboo Dance"
Another congratulations goes out to Tristan, who won a random drawing for submitting a story in the Mrs. P. Be-A-Famous-Writer-Contest earlier this year. Below is the announcement from Mrs. P's website.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Creating Commercials

Writing Scripts Collaboratively
Last week we finished our literature study on the book Ramona Quimby, Age 8. In the book, Ramona had to write a commercial for a book report and present it to her class. We decided to do the same thing in our class! Students worked in small groups and collaboratively wrote a commercial for an assigned product. After proofreading and editing their scripts, they started rehearsing their presentations. Finally, we recorded and uploaded each commercial. Below are some of the results of our hard work!
The Frosting Group
The Plastic Baggie Group
The Tissue Group

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Festivities

Today we celebrated fall with some fun, hands on festivities!
Using milk cartons, graham crackers, frosting and lots of candy, student created their own individual "spooky house." 
The creativity was truly flowing and some students decided to add weathervanes, cobblestone paths, window decorations, chimneys and many other unique ideas to their creations. Watch us in action in the clip below!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Scholastic Book Fair

 The Scholastic Book Fair is at Sonoran Sky this week!
My class is scheduled to visit the school book fair tomorrow during the school day. We had an opportunity to browse today. The book fair will be running until this Friday, November 2 and families are parents are welcome to stop by

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rosetta Stone

We have been studying foreign languages at school! For many years, the most consistent parent feedback I received was that the self-contained program needed to offer a foreign language. We have come up to a solution to that concern by allowing students to use the Rosetta Stone software online.
All students enrolled in this program for the 2012-13 school year will have access until July 30, 2013. We intend to use Rosetta for approximately for 30-minutes a day, three times a week. Students are encouraged, but not required to access the program at home. This is not part of their grade nor will it appear on their report card, but rather a valuable learning opportunity. 
To log in at home, students can access the classroom portal here:
Students all know their user name and password. 
Recently Rosetta unveiled a free iPad app. The link to the app can be found here. After it is downloaded, students should go to the classroom portal using a browser (we have found Safari works best for this app) and log in. Then click on "Launch Rosetta Stone" and the app will open, with the student logged in and ready to learn! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Up In The Air

As part of our weather unit, today we started an investigation about air. 
What better way to learn about air, resistance and acceleration than by making parachutes? Everyone formed a hypothesis to this problem: 
Can we slow down the rate of how fast something falls?
Students experimented with adding various "passengers" and timed each flight with a partner using online-stopwatch.com
We learned that in order for a parachute to move through the air, it must push the air out of its way.  The air pushing back on the parachute makes it fall slowly.  When any object moves through the air, it is always slowed down by something called air resistance.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Audio QR Codes

We have been studying Beverly Cleary for the last few weeks and all students chose a book by this author to read. Each student created a poster about their book and presented it to the class.
We took things a step further and had students read their brief summary into an iPad app called Croak.it. This app digitally records up to 30-seconds and creates a link. Students then took that link, pasted into my favorite QR Code creator which is qrcode.kaywa.com, and generated an audio QR Code.
Students printed their code and added it to our bulletin board. Next time you are on campus, take a moment to scan one of our audio QR Codes to hear a brief summary of a Beverly Cleary book!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Phases of the Moon

We have been studying phases of the moon in Science!

 After a reading comprehension, a class discussion and singing a catchy song about phases of the moon, students worked with a partner or small group to replicate each phase of the moon using an Oreo cookie.
 Once they had created a model of each phase, they had to put them in order and label them. We followed up with a brief post-assessment. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

The American Math Challenge

Next week is The American Math Challenge! The event officially kicks off October 16 and students will be challenged with 50 mathematical concepts. On October 17 students are allowed to participate in up to 100 live math challenges using mental math skills.
Warm ups for The American Math Challenge opened today. Each student received a username and a password and had the opportunity to log in for a few practice rounds this afternoon. I am sending home a card with this information today so students may continue to practice at home, if they would like. This is a really great competition because it allows students to compete against other 2nd grade students all around the world! It is very safe and personal information is quite limited, but students will see the country of the other students they are competing against live.