Monday, September 26, 2011

IT'S NOT A....

The books and "Not a Box" drawings from Library along with the "It's Not a Fingerprint!" book.

The Kindergarten and 1st grade classes (minus Mrs. Dorsey's class who has Think Tank on Friday), have successfully completed their "It's not a ..." books, as well as investigated the shapes of their own fingerprints. (See the last post for more details on this challenge).

As it turns out, looking at fingerprints on tiny fingers is a bit more difficult than anticipated, however your children rose to the challenge. With magnifying glass in hand, they determined which category their pointer finger fell into and then graphed their prints along with their classmates. Stop by the Learning Lab to see the graph!

In addition to investigating their fingerprints, students used their creative minds, and picture smarts, to turn a basic fingerprint into something else. Your children thought of things I never would have! Make sure to ask them to read you their books, or, to stop by the Learning Lab if they chose to have theirs displayed.

Until next time...

-Mrs. Ford

Monday, September 19, 2011


( Do you really want to hear the music??? Click here and it will play in the background while you read!)

A great investigator or spy needs keen observation skills and the ability to think outside the box. This is JUST what your child will develop over the next few weeks in Think Tank!

PreSchool-Kindergarten and  will be reading "Not a Box" by Antoinette Portis in library with Ms. Sweeney and then applying their creative thinking in Learning Lab over the next two weeks. You can then thank me for saving you money on toys, as your child will hopefully start looking at everyday inanimate objects in new and exciting ways!

In Think Tank, students in all grades will be tackling the awesome fingerprint. From what I've heard, Ms. Hunt did an incredible job engaging students last year in investigations surrounding these amazingly intricate, and often overlooked, part of ourselves. For that reason, I made sure that students were not completing the same investigation but were building on any prior knowledge. Every grade level will be doing something a bit different. Pre-K- 2nd graders will be using magnifying glasses to examine their fingerprints and compare them to a peer. They will then be making fingerprint creations that answer the question: What can a fingerprint become??

3rd-5th graders will be taking the investigations even further. We will be "lifting" latent fingerprints from everyday objects and using a guide to determine who each fingerprint belongs too. Each student will also create their own fingerprint card by lifting their OWN prints! This is actually a quite straightforward process and I encourage you to try it at home!

Many classes will also be classifying the prints of their classmates in a fingerprint chart. From there, students in a Learning Lab will derive all kinds of data. Stay tuned for what our investigative scholars can figure out!

As always, all Think Tank challenges connect to content, Multiple Intelligences and Habits of Mind. Check out the connections below, please feel free to come by the lab to learn more... but be careful, we may use your fingerprints!


What academic content does it address?
Magnification, Scale, Classification, Compare and Contrast, lines

What intelligences are used in this challenge?
Visual-Spatial, Naturalist, Math-Logic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal

What cognitive skills will this support?
Brainstorm, investigate, identify, perceive patterns synthesize ideas, draw, analyze and evaluate
What Habits of Mind are strengthened by this activity?

Wonder, Explore, and Ask Questions
Support Ideas with Reasons Why
Look Carefully
Be Adventurous and Open-Minded

What types of questions will you be asking?

How are fingerprints similar to animal tracks? How are they different?
Compare and contrast these prints. How are they alike?
What other characteristics to humans have that make them truly unique?
What images can you make from a fingerprint? You will have to brainstorm. Are there other times in your life when you need to generate a lot of ideas?
What kinds of lines can you find in your fingerprint?
What do ridges on our fingers help us do? Why d we need them?

Until next time...


Having your child's fingerprints on file in the event of an emergency only takes a short time and is FREE. You can request free kits or go to a free event. I will place the information here, as well as on the link bar on the left. This is a real life application, and potentially, a real life- SAVING one....

-Mrs. Ford

Thursday, September 15, 2011

TINY Pitter Patters...TINY click clacks


Pre-K and Pre-School students got in on the Think Tank action! Think Tank looks a bit different in their classes. Because early childhood classrooms are inquiry based already, we have created a schedule where I become a center. During choice time in each of the classrooms, I bring my materials for the week's challenge and become the "Discovery Center". Students then choose to come to see me. This works well for a few reasons. First, it is important that children at this age are able to explore things that interest them. Secondly, doing a whole group challenges with 3 and 4 year olds is not the best route for them to get to know the information or explore. As I'm sure you know as parents, their attention span just isn't that long!

So, please don't be alarmed if you ask your 3 or 4 year old if they explored animal tracks and they say no. They may have chosen to go to another center. However, many students did choose to spend their time with me, talk about their different "smarts", meet our "Smart Friends", and explore the tracks. If your child didn't choose my center, please feel free to stop by the learning lab for a quick exploration with them. I am more than happy to lend out some of the materials when the week is through.

This post will be picture heavy! Enjoy seeing your child's class in action. Please also check out the most recent work of Ms. Kelly's class as well as Ms. Hanni's class outside my office afterschool today. They are new additions to the "Inquiry on Display" wall.

Until next time...(aka Sunday when I will unveil our next challenges, and share what's been going on in Learning Lab and 4th and 5th grade this week!)

-Mrs. Ford

And now... the moment you have been waiting for... a MILLION pictures of your children! :)

                                                            AND ANIMAL TRACKS!

                                              MR. SCOTT'S CLASS EXPLORES!!!


                                                        MS. LEVIN'S CLASS!