Sometimes it is difficult to find the words we need to truly express our gratitude. Sometimes we can find music and even images to support our words. And today at VVE, we celebrated and said thank you to our Veterans who have given of themselves to our nation. After a beautiful memorial slideshow created by Jackie Seiders Smart, moving music shared by our second graders and Mr. Z, we invited veterans to the stage to thank and celebrate them. It was so special to see so many family members of our VVE Cardinals standing side by side on stage. We even had a veteran from World War II. The words and music are a small way for us to share our HUGE debt of gratitude. Happy Veterans Day.
Two amazing VVE Cardinal moms -- Anita Lakshman and Maile Kono Wells -- have once again put together an amazing VVE International Day. On this third year of the event, students in grades K - 5 watched Irish Dancers, 2nd & 3rd graders listened to and danced with a German Polka band, and Kindergarteners and 1st graders rotated through VVE Parent Volunteer centers. Kindergarteners made a Costa Rican craft, heard a West African folk tale about Anansi, learned about Ireland, and made Indian Rangoli art. First graders learned a Jewish song, participated in a lesson about England (with handwritten cards explaining different British landmarks, learned about Korean culture, and learned about ancient Mayans (from a professor of Mayan history)! VVE is so blessed to have so many creative families who are willing to share their time and talents teaching our Cardinals about our world. We look forward to learning more throughout the year!! (More photos and videos will be added to our VVE International Day blog -- see the link in the navigation bar to the right.)
Beginning November 5, VVE fifth graders will begin taking their iPads home a couple of nights per week to do math and science homework. This is part of a district initiative to help 5th grade students develop skills they will need in middle school, including taking responsibility for homework, and using Google Classroom and other digital tools to practice key concepts. In preparation for this, Dr. Moore met with each homeroom class during their library rotation time, and shared the expectations and parameters for successful iPad use at home. Students reviewed the importance of keeping the iPad in the neoprene case during transport, charging it each night, and using the school iPad ONLY for assigned homework. Students also talked about the importance of healthy habits, including completing iPad homework in a common area where family members can monitor work, only using the device for assigned homework, avoiding screens in the evening, putting the iPad away as soon as homework is completed, and taking plenty of time to relax and play away from screens! Our awesome VVE 5th grade teachers will be working to give meaningful assignments that allow students the opportunity to practice skills as well as invitations to create in multimodal ways whenever possible. Families can see the slideshow shared with students at any time -- just ask your 5th grader to open their Showbie app, tap the class called "5th Grade iPads," and then look for the assignment called "iPads HOME Information."
First graders in all classes revisted Scratch Jr this week. Scratch Jr is a block-based simple coding program designed by researchers at Tufts University, MIT Lifelong Kindergarten program and the Playful Invention Company. In kindergarten, students explored with the blocks to create open-ended programs. In first grade, we have added some challenges! After a lesson reviewing all the tools in Scratch Jr., Dr. Moore came back for another visit in two classrooms to share coding challenges. Challenge #1 invites a coder to make a car drive across the city. Our first graders didn't stop at that! They decided to even add some of their fall words, and even created codes in which the car driver gave a shout-out to other friends in the classroom! We can't wait to see what these creative coders come up with next!
In library rotations last week, Ms. Anderson and Ms. Grossman had 5th graders design paper quilt squares with icons, drawings, and words that represented their interests and hobbies. This week, Dr. Moore extended that lesson and shared a way to do a similar thing using Pic Collage. Together they talked about identity maps (where a creator places themselves at the center and then moves items around the outside to represent multiple aspects of their identity , including hobbies, interests, family roles, background (religion, culture, hometown, place of birth, etc.). Students' identity maps were filled with creativity! They submitted their finished products to Showbie. We were excited to learn more about one another and practice using multiple tools to express ourselves!
At our first Laugh & Learn, Dr. Moore shared with teachers a review on how to use See Saw Learning Journal in the classroom. One of the newer tools is the Activity tab which allows teachers to select from other teacher-created assignments, or create some of their own. We already have a couple of teachers trying it in their classrooms -- way to go, SeeSaw Ambassadors!
VVE Tech & Learning
Holly Moore, Educational Technologist, shares student learning here, in our Cardinal Community Blog.