Filed Under (science) by Lee Kolbert on 08-12-2010

By Lily

Ahhhhh!  I am bouncing of the walls right now. It is finally the time I get to go on vacation and visit my aunt, uncle, and 2 lovely cousins. We were going because it was Thanksgiving week and we haven’t seen them in a long time. Today on this amazing Saturday, I woke up  at 4:00 to get ready for my flight to Colorado. My friend’s mom drove us to the airport so we can ride a Frontier Airlines airplane. It was finally 7:00 when we boarded our plane. We are on our way to have a wonderful time I thought to myself.

We finally arrived around twelve o’clock Florida’s time and 10 o’clock Colorado”s time. Right as soon as we got off the airplane I grabbed my luggage and ran to give my uncle a great big hug. Then we headed back to their house and had a little snack. When we were eating their dog named Dutches sprinted up to us and started to lick us like there was no tomorrow. My cousins and aunt soon bolted through the door from my older cousin Sabrina’s indoor soccer game. She scored the winning goal for her team. How lucky is she?

It was soon the next morning and we were packing their cars to drive up to the Y.M.C.A of the rockies. There we were going to stay in a cabin for Monday- Wednesday. Finally, when we arrived we went and checked in at the lodge. The lady at the front desk gave us our key which had the cabin name on it. The name of it was “The Osprey”. The moms got handed a map of all the cabins. We hoped back in their cars and found our way to the cabin.

It took us a long time though… we kept saying the names of the cabins we saw so hopefully my mom could look on the map quick enough and see which direction we were going. One our first day in the mountains, my couisin Emma and I woke up first and saw a nice thick layer out bunny tail white. It was my first time seeing snow and it was an exquisite sight. When the whole family woke up, we decied to get bundled up and go sleding. We had to put on an under (longed- sleeved) shirt and pants. Then sweat pants and another thick shirt. And then our sledding pants. We definitely got bundled up like snowmen.My uncle lugged some sleds up when we came so had got those ready. We went around town looking for a good hill to go around.

After we went to millions of places back near our cabin we drove. What do you know right above our cabin we found a perfectly steep hill. “Wahoo!” we all shouted when we went down the hill. Their dog Duthches loved the snow most of all. You might ask how a dog loves snow. Well she would hop out of the car before we even had a chance to. She digs her snout in the snow and gets covered in white. The second day we were there it snowed even more. As I said yesterday, the most amazing sight I had ever seen. Since yesterday everybody in our family loved sledding, we decided to go sledding again. My Uncle Irv and I got ready first so we plugged in the air pump and blowed up our sleds. Out back at the field we had a ball. Today when the kids waited for the parents to slowly walk up the hill we got ready and aimed some snowballs to throw at them. YES!!! Our snowballs landed on our moms and dads. But then the had to give us revenge. They had even bigger hands then ours, so their snowballs were gigantic! Ahhhh! The four kids ran. Because of all the layers we had to put on, it was tough to run up such a steep hill. Our parents ended up hitting us. Good thing us kids had our hand and feet warmers or we would have froze. After a few hours past, we went back to our cabin.

We were so pooped we all layed down on the couches and read. We read when we were eating or when we had free time. The four kids, read so much they called us geeks. Ha!Ha! Bright and early we woke up the next and headed back to their house. It felt like forever! We alot did much more but that was just a bit. I LOVE my family!

Filed Under (science) by Lee Kolbert on 10-10-2010
Photo property of Karen McMillan

I’m always looking for ways to be sure students know what they’re doing online before they get there and to be sure their parents are comfortable with what they see their children doing. I believe this post showcases a best practice for that very thing. As always though, I look to you for feedback and more suggestions.

Karen McMillan (@mcteach on Twitter) just gave an awesome presentation on Classroom 2.0 Live where she showcased her Paper Blog activity. You MUST watch the archived session here. Karen shared her Paper Blog activity with me a few months ago and I’ve used it with my students to get them ready to blog with the “real thing.” My students have practiced writing and commenting appropriately.

This week, my students will be receiving their real blog credentials and I’ll be showing them the technical aspects of posting to their KidBlogs. Based on a recent comment to my class blog by an Australian teacher, I found my way over to his blog and loved what I saw; a well organized blog with some wonderfully helpful support pages for his students. Realizing I’ve taught these skills to my students, but have no place online for them to go for reference, I just had to steal this idea from Mr. Campbell in Australia. I’ve made some modifications and I’m excited to share it with you and show it to my students who will hopefully use it as a reference. Please check it out here and let me know what your thoughts are. Have I left anything out?

Filed Under (blogging, science, Secret Life of Scientists) by Lee Kolbert on 08-10-2010

I’m not going to post too much here, because I want you to read about it on the very cool Secret Life of Scientists site. So, follow some of my students’ work over there and give them some encouragement in their fame by leaving them a comment. Check out my first post about what we’re doing here and the follow-up post here.


Filed Under (science) by Lee Kolbert on 03-10-2010

Hannah (Mrs. Kolbert's class 2009-10) shows her project.

Is it every parent’s nightmare to have a science fair project assigned? I think often it is but it truly doesn’t have to be. With careful planning, following directions and helpful resources, creating a science fair project can (and should) be lots of fun and a great learning experience for kids. The most important thing to remember is that it’s not a competition. Oh, well, I guess it is a competition. Let me put it this way: it is a STUDENT competition. Parents should do their best to let their kids take ownership of the project as much as possible. That means coming up with a topic that is interesting to the student yet sufficiently challenging. Parents definitely need to be involved, but mostly to make sure their child is following their plan, the directions, and conducting their experiments properly. A fantastic resource is Science Fair Central. I LOVE the 3 step process that walks you through the entire process. Obviously, there may be items on your school’s criteria that is not on the site, but certainly you can make the adjustments.

What’s your best advice for parents who are helping their kids with a science fair project?

Filed Under (blogging, science, Secret Life of Scientists) by Lee Kolbert on 26-09-2010

We hope you’ll follow our class’ adventures with the Secret Life of Scientists as we explore each new scientist and my new blogging “gig.”  Secret Life of Scientists is an amazing website hosted by PBS NOVA where scientists are profiled who also have some very interesting “secret lives.” The current scientist is Molly Woodworth who is not only a neuroscientist but also a CHEERLEADER! How cool is that? You can learn more by watching brief, fun videos about Molly here.

My first post is about our students who are now exploring some ways scientists do their jobs and tools they use. The first question I asked the class was, “What do scientists do?” Their responses (which needed to be spontaneous, with no research) are posted below in the slideshow and will soon be posted on the Secret Life of Scientists site as well.

Check it out!