This I Believe is based on a 1950′s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division.”
Please listen to our version of NPR’s This I Believe, with essays written by 5A students after considering what they believed to be most important in their lives. There are still a few more to add, so come back in the next few days to listen to the last few!
Each of the students in 5A have written a portfolio entry on their experiences with Mystery Skype in our classroom. Here are some of the entries, along with a slide show with images taken during our various Mystery Skype sessions.
One highlight I totally love about 5th grade is… Mystery Skype! Basically Ms. Gartside tweets and plans with another teacher from a different school in the world and they arrange for us to have a Skype. We have to guess (by asking yes or no questions) to see where they live! It’s Ms. Gartside and our first year doing it—and so far I think we have done either three or four!
We have various different jobs—like the mapper (narrows the state, city and country down,) info-researcher, questioner and replier, (talks to the other kids and asks and answers questions) runner (brings answers and questions from one group of people to another,) tweeters who live-tweet and a photographer. When we have Mystery Skypes the room just starts buzzing and almost everyone is always busy.
So far I have been a questioner and replier (look at the photo I posted,) a info-researcher and a tweeter. We were supposed to have one today, (Jan 30, 2013) but it was cancelled due to a snow day. Our friends we have been Skype-ing with live in Chicago, Ontario and Minnesota. They always guess our city pretty quickly! Once the school was in a tiny town and we couldn’t find them until the end! Turns out they were in Mahnomen, Minnesota. The kids in Ontario were very close to Niagara Falls-wouldn’t it be fun to go on a field trip there and meet them face-to-face? Eagerly looking forward to our next Mystery Skype! by Claire
A Mystery Skype is a Skype call, but a very special one. You try to find out where in the world the other class’s school is before they find out ours. First you try to find out what country they are in, then their state (or county, province etc.), then their town/city and lastly their school. To figure out this information, you can only ask yes or no questions. The following rules are ones that depends on the one you prefer. The first option is: You can ask a question, and if the opposing class answers “yes,” then you get a bonus question (only one bonus question per turn.) The second option is: You can ask the other class a question, they answer, and then it’s their turn.
Now that I’ve explained how to Mystery Skype, I can now explain my experience. I love Mystery Skypes because I get to apply my knowledge of world geography and U.S. geography, while also getting to have special jobs for each person! For our Mystery Skype on December 7, 2012 my job was the questioner and replier, answering and asking all of the questions with Claire, the other questioner and replier. I thought that the Mystery Skypes are a really fun thing that most classes don’t get to experience! by Owen
Mystery skyping is basically skyping with another class and trying to figure out their location and school, simple right? Not really. Although mystery skyping is so much fun, it’s hard work too! Each person get assigned to a job, here is a list of all the jobs: host, backchannel writers, runner, photographer, mappers, reasearchers, questioners, and question reasearchers. You have to ask yes or no questions to eliminate places on the map. Usually the places are in the U.S.A but we once had a class from Canada. So far we’ve done 3 mystery skypes and are improving each time. I really hope that we can continue doing mystery skypes and I think they’re really fun to do. by Nina
A Mystery Skype is a Skype we do with other schools, and try to figure out where and what their school name is. The Mystery Skype we did today was with some 5th graders. My job was to say the question and answer the questions from the other class. I like Mystery Skypes because we work together as a team. Also I like tracking down where they are because it’s kind of like a game. When me and Nina wait for the answer to their question we have a little chat with the other school and it was kind of fun. There were some funny kids so I liked to talk with them, I think I made a new friend in a different school. I also like the feeling when we find where they are, I feel proud of myself and I feel the joy of winning. I think these feelings come to me because we worked hard. It was fun doing the Mystery Skype, I would definitely want to do it again. by Thomas
In class we have been doing Mystery Skypes with other city schools from around the world. The way it works is that each class tries to guess were the other class located in the quickest way possible. For example a question could be “are you in a country 1,000 miles away from the north pole?” The questions can only be yes or no answers. My favorite Mystery Skype was with this 4th grade class from Canada. It was really hard to locate them at first but once we knew they were within 25 miles of Niagara Falls we easily got the answer. We also did one with a fifth grade class from a small town in Minnesota. That was really hard because their population was about 5,000 people, and we had 8 million. My favorite part about Mystery Skype is being a mapper and coming up with the questions. I found that Google Chrome is really useful when you have a general idea of the population, and know about were they are located, google earth was really useful because in our Mystery Skype with the Canadian class I searched Niagara Falls and then zoomed out until I was only seeing cities with a population of around 1,000. From there it was easy and we found the school in the next question. I have really enjoyed these experiences so far and hope to do another one soon. by Otto
On Friday we finally tested our wind-powered land vehicles! Over the last few weeks, we have been busy. Every Friday we have about an hour to design and construct these vehicles. We started from scratch, using recyclable materials, such as cardboard tubes and bottle-caps – all things we found in our Mystery Box. With only those materials and nothing else, besides tape, glue and string, we have built four completely different vehicles. Each group consists of three people and those three people worked together to make an extraordinary vehicle.
We tested them on Friday, which basically meant seeing how far they went with a fan as the wind source. We plugged in the fan and turned the speed to medium, praying for the best. The Gliding Jelly Doughnuts went 16 feet! The Mad Coconut Scientists were close behind, and the SourPatch Kids and the Ice Breakers were also very close! This was just our first testing opportunity, so the measurements aren’t really important right now. What we were looking for is what was working on our vehicles and then what wasn’t- and that’s what we need to fix. We went back to our classroom understanding what improvements we needed to make. Some people have to make their sail larger or smaller and some people have to work on a steering problem. We will be making changes and then having a re-test next time. We will see which vehicle can go the furthest distance, carrying 12 marbles.
We all love Passion Projects, (that’s what we call it,) and hope to do more in the future!
Hi- this is Claire’s teacher, and the teacher of the Tech-Taters! I am adding these videos of the testing to Claire’s blog post. They are not all testing with the same speed in the videos, though we did on Friday! These are just the better videos to post instead of 1 really long one! Enjoy watching us test our vehicles.
This week while reading the one and only Ivan Stella got her foot infected. She was in great pain. Meanwhile, a little baby elephant named Ruby came to the circus. She was afraid of course, because she used to be living in the wild. Ruby is a very loquacious elephant so she had no problem telling Ivan, Stella and Bob about her ups and downs in the jungle. She soon became so close to Stella that she started calling her Aunt Stella. She loved it when Stella and Ivan told her stories. As days went by Stella’s foot got worse and worse. It soon became so bad that she couldn’t walk. That night Stella asked for one favor from Ivan. She asked for him to take care of Ruby. Within the next few hours Stella passed away. Ruby was so sad and the next night she could not fall asleep so she asked Ivan to tell her a story. Ivan told her about how he was raised and when he lived with Mac and his wife. I wonder if Ivan is sad to talk about when he lived with Mac because maybe he at least had a so-so life because he wasn’t living in a cage. by Lia
We have planted seeds called Wisconsin Fast Plants in science. They are called fast plants because they go through their entire life cycle in only 6 weeks. Band has also started. This is the first year we get to be in band, and we get to choose which instrument we wanted to play. In our class we chose; saxophone, trumpet, trombone, flute, clarinet and drums. In Wellness we are learning to play team handball. We are making timelines of our lives. We have collected 2 entries from each year of our life, and now we are working on revising them to make them interesting to an audience. We will add photos of the fast plants as soon as we download them!
We are going to participate in the Global Read Aloud. The book is called The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate. We watched the book trailer and we think it is about a sad gorilla who has been kept captive, maybe in a circus, for around 30 years. We think an elephant comes to wherever Ivan is and Ivan tries to protect the elephant. One of the pictures in the book trailer shows Ivan drawing a picture and showing it to the elephant – maybe he is trying to communicate with the elephant because they are not the same species. The music in the trailer is very sad and dramatic, so we think the book may be a sad book. Maybe the elephant becomes part of Ivan’s family and they escape from the circus. We start reading next week, and will be posting our ideas about the book here, as well as connecting with other schools on Edmodo and Twitter.
This is the first post for our class this year. We will be studying many things, like ancient China and ancient Greece. In our first week there was a big Mystery Box in our classroom. Now we know it contains materials to make a wind-powered land vehicle. It must be able to hold 12 marbles. When we build them we will race them to see which goes the furthest.Then we will have a chance to redesign and improve it before we test again. At the beginning of November we are going to have a sleep over at a forest called Black Rock, where we normally go for day trips. This is the first time we get to sleep there overnight.
After we saw Van Meter and Brook Forest’s book suggestions for incoming 5th graders, our teacher decided we would do the same thing. We made recommendations for summer reading as well as for books kids should read during 5th grade. Here are the books we recommend that rising 5th graders should read during the summer – but they could also read them when they are in 5th grade!
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Al Capone does my Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Danny the Champion of the Word by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright – “This is fun and interesting with a lot of adventure. It is also set in NYC, but in a very different time. It is very well written, and is in the appropriate season!”
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter – “I love baseball, which is just a small reason I like this book. It is also told from the perspective of a quiet, thoughtful character who has a lot to say about the things going on. This book goes up and down, and you never quite know where it is going.”
We hope you enjoy our suggestions. If you have ideas about other books rising 5th graders should read, please comment here on our blog! We have a whole other set of books we think kids should read in 5th grade. Our teacher is going to post them at the beginning of the next school year.
Have a great summer! We are all going to!
5A Tech-taters 2010-2011
Our school decided as a community that we wanted to help Japan after the devastating earthquakes and tsunami, and particularly wanted to help Japan’s children. We found out about a program where for every paper crane (origami folded cranes) that we made by 25th April, OshKosh would send an item of children’s clothing to Japan. We set our target at 1000. A few teachers knew how to fold the cranes, and we invited one to come to our class to teach us how to make them. The first time, it was really difficult to follow the directions but Ms. Kim was very patient with us and we took our time. We made 13 cranes (one each) that day. Over the weekend, Catherine got together with some friends, taught them how to fold cranes, and on Monday she came in with about 35 cranes in a bag! From then on, our class were off! Many students in our class gave up recess time to go to make cranes in the art studio, and would take home paper from the classroom to make them after school and bring them in. We made hundreds! By the 25th of April, the day of the final count, we were ecstatic – we had not only reached our target of 1000, but we had more than quadrupled it!! Yes, our final total was 4927 cranes. That is almost 5000 items of clothing for OshKosh to send to Japan. Great work everyone!!
What a wonderful performance! 5A – you did an incredible job, and I was so proud of you. Everyone has been working so hard on these projects so it was wonderful for you to share them with your families. It was great to see you put just as much enthusiasm into re-doing the performance for the K-5 assembly later in the afternoon. I think you enjoyed dancing to the music at the end of assembly as much as all the rest combined! Maybe a dance party in the classroom is in order. One day. Maybe.