4th Grade – What’s Your Sentence?

We are in our 3rd year of our tradition of doing "What's Your Sentence" videos to showcase how the 4th grader students want to be remembered.
They designed their sentences on the computer and then hand-draw their artwork to make it unique. It's pretty amazing to watch and see how they want us to remember them.
As an added bonus, there is a playlist at the bottom of all the videos we have done for this project.  It's pretty crazy to see that some of these students will graduate in the next few years too.

Here is a full playlist of all our videos from the past several years. 

CIS Student News

The Intermediate Building has been working on their own news show this year and they have done a phenomenal job!  Students have worked with their homeroom teachers to write scripts, research facts, practice public speaking, and evaluate themselves to see where they can improve.  The teachers have jumped in once or twice as well and it has been a great learning opportunity for all of us.

I will update the list below each time a new show is published.  The videos are "unlisted" so you can't search on Google or YouTube to find them.  You will have to use some of the links below to watch their playlists.

What’s Your Sentence?

It's been a few years since we have done this project, but we decided to restart the tradition of doing "What's Your Sentence" videos of how the 4th graders want to be remembered.
They designed their sentences on the computer (and practiced how to download and install fonts) and then hand-draw their artwork to make it unique.  It's pretty amazing to watch and see how they want us to remember them. (Also, I am super thankful that we finally have a good microphone to record with)

Video Chat with Local Motors

This morning we had a special opportunity to have the students visit with Local Motors in Arizona.  Being able to talk to any car company would have been pretty awesome, but Local Motors isn't your average car company.  Their cars aren't built on huge assembly lines like most other manufacturers.  They specialize in 3D printed electric cars.  They were founded by CEO Jay Rogers in 2007.  You can check out the rest of the team here.

The cars are printed on a very large and very expensive printer in their microfactory.  Our small Makerbot costs around $3,000, but their car printer is closer to $1,000,000.  Their printer is also roughly the size of a one car garage, while ours fits nicely on my desk.  Ours printer also uses PLA plastic that we buy in small 2 pound spools, while theirs prints out of huge vats of plastic pellets that are sucked up a vacuum and melted down. It takes a fork lift to refill their printer which is pretty awesome.  I didn't bother to ask what that costs.

We learned that their cars right now come only in black and are not painted, which allows them to recycle any piece of the car in event of an accident or part that simply needs replaced. If a customer wants to change the color, they wrap the pieces with a vinyl wrap that can be swapped out and repaired at any time.  

A normal automobile has round 40% recyclability while the end goal of a 3D printed car is to be 100 recyclable/reusable.  Imaging being able to drive your car into their shop, tossing the car into a gigantic shredder and then starting work on your next vehicle.  A typical metal car is owned for an average of 10 years while the 3D car process would allow for a person to have a new custom car every few years.

Another crazy part of the process it that an entire car can be built in around 48 hours, which means if someone wanted to order their car, they could potentially watch the car being printed and built over the course of a few days and then hop in and drive it home.

The students had a lot of question such as if the car was flammable.  It's not.  But if the car was heated to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, it would essentially turn into a puddle of goo.  It is printed at a temperature of around 450 degrees Fareinheit. We also found out the original Strati 3D printed car could go around 35 mph and the new car called the Swim could go 75 mph and faster.

Printing the car instead of using traditional methods also means that you could aid in the design of your own car and make the car unique and truly one of a kind.  

There are certain features right now that the car does not have, such as a heater, but as the technology progresses more and more can be added to the design of the cars.

A final thought was shared by a teacher after our video chat and was perhaps the highlight of the entire video call.  At the end I asked what it would take for a student to work for a company like Local Motors.  While many who work there have college degrees and are very text book smart, they told our students it's not just about that.  They have machinists, production managers, marketing directors and a variety of people with experience in several fields.

Many companies of the future need people who have a wide range of skills.  People who can build things, tinker with what exists and get their hands dirty are great candidates for jobs at companies like Local Motors.  There has been a push in education and around the world for Maker Spacers that allow students to explore and learn through hands on activities.  Math and Science are huge avenues for students which fits with the push to incorporate more STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineer, Arts & Math) activities into school.

As of now Local Motors is not taking public orders for the car, but they are hoping to provide a consumer grade version that will available sometime soon.

A huge thank you for them taking their time to chat with us and show us some pretty crazy parts of their world.

Famous Inventors & Chroma Key


    For the past week or so I have been working with students in Mrs. Dickey's classroom helping research famous inventors and learning how to use our Google Drive to take notes and make presentations on Google Slides.
     The students were on a fact finding mission about their famous inventor to learn how and what they contributed to the world.  Once the research was done, the students took their notes and wrote a narrative of each inventor that they could read and record.
     The students also used Google Slides to make a background for their presentations and were pretty amazed by how easy it was to use the built in search feature to find images for their slides.
     Once the research was done and the slides were made we used the iPad and a makeshift blue-screen to record each student's narrative.
     Some paragraphs were  a little long and we ended up having to use the Chromebooks as a teleprompter.  If you do something like this, I would suggest putting the camera directly over the middle of the computer screen and make sure the microphone as a clear path to pick up their voices. We had to play around a little to make things sound ok, but they came out clear enough.
     We also used Green Screen by Do Ink to import the videos and place their background slides behind them in to make their reports more like a newscast. I learned that a green screen would have been much better than our make-shift blue screen.
     The students did a great job and Mrs. Dickey and myself were able to talk to the students about ways to make their presentations better which we will keep in mind for next time.
Check out the playlist below!

SumDog Math Contests

We are excited to announce the first Western Nebraska Math Contest to be held on SumDog.  It is for students in grades 1-8, but we are just competing with 1st-4th grades.

SumDog is a free math website (www.sumdog.com) where the students can login and practice their math skills with some great activities and we can monitor their progress on any skills.

We are starting a contest on Friday for the Western Side of Nebraska.

Students just need to log in at www.sumdog.com and choose their activity.  Their points will automatically be calculated for the contest.

For their participation, every student will receive a full access account for FREE!  They will also have access to a special version of the "Junk Pile" game just for competing.

The contest starts October 25th and runs through October 31st.

All students have received a paper copy of their login information.  If a student has lost their log-in they can ask for it at school.

Squiggle Bot

I am super excited to be starting this project with my students, but as we are looking at getting our materials list, the cost is pretty substantial for something like this with 75+ students.  I plan on having them pair up to create them to cut down on costs and I have been scrounging to save some money and reuse and much as possible.  My lesson plan would involve them making a video tutorial for the creation of the squiggle bot using our point and shoot cameras and posting it to their blogs and the web.

We are trying to raise around $600 to cover all our costs for this project.

We need:
Any Brand 120mm Fan ($6-$8)
- Fully Insulated 9V Battery Snap Connectors  ($3 for a package of 5)
- Alkaline 9 Volt Battery $2.25 per battery
- craft markers ($1.25 for 4 markers)
- rubber bands (.10 per bot)
- electrical tape (we have that covered for sure)

My plan is to raise the funds via Kickstarter, and the students will reward those who donate to their project with a range or bonuses from thank you's on our class blog to signed artwork as well as a Squiggle Bot hand-built by our students.