Native American Clothing – by Alison

Here is another voicethread about the Native Americans of this area. Alison and Maggie did a great job learning about how the Pequot, Niantic, and Narragansett tribes made clothing from animal hides.

This voicethread was written and recorded by Alison with technical support from Emmett.

To get an idea of what it was like to sew clothing out of tanned leather, Alison, Maggie and Alexandra stitched together a Native American style pouch.

Sewing a buckskin pouch

Sewing a buckskin pouch

Here is the finished product, decorated with markers instead of dyes from berries:

Hand-made pouch

Hand-made pouch

Of course, the native Americans would have had to skin the animal, tan the hide, cut the leather, poke holes for the bone needle, and make dyes from plants and berries – all without the help of any metal tools!

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What was something interesting you learned?

Do you think it would be hard to make clothing the way the local tribes did?

Is there anything else you would like to know about the topic?

Poetry Madness – Round 4

The results are in from Round 3 of our March Madness poetry tournament and the winner is… I’m Disgusted With My Brother!

Poetry Madness - Round 4

Poetry Madness - Round 4

We have one more round to go until the final four next week. This week’s poems are read by; Tyler (The Sloth), Sean, Autumn, Erik, Gus, Emmett, Jacob and Sam C. (Seal), Sam L. (Weather), and Sam K. (Smart).

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Here are this week’s poems. Which one will join Monster Mothers, Jabberwocky, and I’m Disgusted With My Brother in the final four? You decide! Have a listen and then vote for your choice.


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We have been working on reading with fluency.

Mrs. Yollis’ class has been a BIG help with their excellent audio posts of poems. In fact, we liked their readings of Seal by Jay William Smith and Smart by Shel Silverstein so much that we included our versions of those poems into this week’s competition. Please take a moment to listen to their amazing versions!

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Which poem did you choose? Why?

Which poem do you want to win the whole tournament?

How was our reading?

A Playground Song

This week we watched a playground clapping song by bloggers from Hawes Primary School in England. We enjoyed listening to their song, watching the clapping pattern and noticing their accent.

They asked for other classes to share playground songs that they knew. Here is one called “Miss Mary Mack.”  We hope you like it.

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If you have any playground songs to share, post them on your blog and then add a link to this post and the post from Hawes Primary School.

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Do you know this song or any other playground songs?

What makes playground songs fun to do? What makes them challenging?

Density and Buoyancy

In science we have done a couple of activities about sinking and floating. First we built boats, then we made eggs float in salt water.

The floating eggs really got us thinking about what makes things buoyant.

Rubber Ducky

a buoyant Rubber Ducky

We wrote a lot of ideas in our comments to that post. Here are some of our thoughts:

  • The salt made the water thicker so it pushed the egg up.
  • The salt made the water heavier than the egg.
  • The egg was heavier than tap water but lighter than salt water.

Than someone wrote a comment about density. Hmm, what is density?

Well, everything that takes up space is matter and all matter has weight. Matter that is the same size can weigh different amounts because of how tightly packed the molecules are. This is density. Matter that is heavy for its size is very dense because the molecules are tightly packed. Dense objects are also hard. Matter that is light for its size is less dense because the molecules are not tightly packed. Less dense objects are soft or easy to move aside.

Here is a diagram showing the density of the three phases of matter – gas, liquid, and solid:

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You can see that liquids are less dense than solids. That is why we can push our hands through water – the molecules move around our hands into the extra space. It is super easy to push your hands through air because there is so much space for the molecules to move into.

Pushing your hands through solids, like your desk, well… That’s a little harder! There is no space for the molecules to move to.

So, what about buoyancy?

Objects sink or float depending on their density. If they are less dense than the water, they will float. If they are more dense than the water, they will sink. So, an egg is less dense than salt water.

Different liquids have different densities. Salt water is denser than tap water, but that is just the beginning. Check out this experiment we did with different liquids floating on each other!

floating liquids

floating liquids

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Science is AMAZING!

Science is AMAZING!

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What is the most interesting thing you learned about density and buoyancy?

Why do you think helium balloons rise and regular balloons fall?

Do you have any questions about density or buoyancy?

Poetry Madness – Round 3

The results are in from Round 2 of our poetry tournament and the winner is… Jabberwocky! We had 141 votes and over half of them (74) were for Jabberwocky.

This week we have four new poems to vote on. They are read by Alexandra, Tommy, Alison, and Margot.

Poetry Madness Round 3

Poetry Madness Round 3

We have been working on reading with fluency, and poetry is a great way to practice. Reading fluently means:

  • Reading smoothly at the right PACE – not too slow, not too fast, and not choppy.
  • Reading with EXPRESSION – changing your voice to make the reading sound interesting.
  • Paying attention to PUNCTUATION -stopping at periods, slowing down at commas and line breaks, and sounding excited at exclamation points.
  • Read with good PHRASING – make the reading sound like natural talking.

(Mrs. Yollis’ Class has a wonderful new audio poem, Captain Conniption, that models fluent reading. Definitely check it out!)

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Here are this week’s poems. Which one will join Monster Mothers and Jabberwocky in the final four? You decide! Have a listen and then vote for your choice.

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Which poem did you choose this week? Why?

How was our reading?

Do you have a favorite poet or poem that we might enjoy?

Native American Dugout Canoes – by Tyler

Here is a Voicethread by Tyler about the dugout canoes used by Native Americans of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

These canoes were an important part of Native American life. They were hard to make but could last many years.

To learn more about the Native tribes of this area, visit our wiki page.

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What did you think of the Voicethread?

What was something interesting you learned?


Can Eggs Float?

After our boat building activity, we were really wondering about what makes some things sink and others float…

At first many of us thought that it was just weight; heavy things would sink and light things would float. So we tested that out with a marble and a ball of wood.

Weighing a ball of wood and a marble

Weighing a ball of wood and a marble

The wood was heavier. So, it would sink and the marble would float right?

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Hmm… The wood floated and the marble sank even though the wood was heavier than the marble.

So sinking and floating couldn’t just be about weight. Maybe it had something to do with the water. We decided to do an experiment to see if we could make an egg float.

Can an egg float?

Can an egg float?

We started with an egg in regular tap water (it sank) and added one teaspoon of salt to the water and stirred it in good until it dissolved. We kept adding one teaspoon at a time to see if we could get the egg to float.

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Here is what happened:

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Every group got their egg to float, but some needed more salt than others. Some groups got their eggs to float with only 4 teaspoons of salt, and others needed 7, 8, and even 9 teaspoons of salt!

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Why did the egg float in salt water but not tap water?

Why do you think different groups needed different amounts of salt to make the egg float?

Poetry Madness – Round 2

The results are in from Round 1 of our poetry tournament, and the winner is: Monster Mothers! Thank you to everyone that voted. We had a total of 55 votes and 30 of them were for Monster Mothers.

This week we have four new poems to vote on. They are read by Derek, Sam C., Taylor, and Sam L.

Poetry Madness Round 2

Poetry Madness Round 2

We have been working on reading with fluency, and poetry is a great way to practice. Reading fluently means:

  • Reading smoothly at the right PACE – not too slow, not too fast, and not choppy.
  • Reading with EXPRESSION – changing your voice to make the reading sound interesting.
  • Paying attention to PUNCTUATION -stopping at periods, slowing down at commas and line breaks, and sounding excited at exclamation points.
  • Read with good PHRASING – make the reading sound like natural talking.

(Mrs. Yollis’ Class has been helping us practice fluency with their spectacular poetry posts; “Seal” by William Jay Smith and “Smart” by Shel Silverstein. Check them out!)

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Here are this week’s poems. Which one will join Monster Mothers in the final four? You decide! Have a listen and then vote for your choice.


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Which poem did you choose? Why?

How was our reading?

Do you have a favorite poet or poem that we might enjoy?

Building Boats

Our new science unit is all about Properties of Matter. Properties of matter are the ways that we can describe matter. Some physical properties of matter are: weight, texture, color, absorbency, transparency, and many others.

We did a science activity to investigate the property of Buoyancy: if an object sinks or floats.

Bouyancy - Sink or Float

Buoyancy – Sink or Float

Mr. Salsich gave partners a limited amount of materials to try to build a boat that could float and also hold marbles. We tried to see how many marbles our boats could hold without sinking. Here are the materials we were given:

4 rubber bands, 4 straws, 6 popsicle sticks, a stick of clay, and a 6x12 inch shhet of alumimum foil

4 rubber bands, 4 straws, 6 Popsicle sticks, a stick of clay, and a 6 x 12 inch sheet of tin foil

We didn’t have to use all the supplies, but these were the only materials we could use.

Here is a video showing what we did and what we learned.

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(Special thanks to Tommy’s mom for helping test the boats!)

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Have you ever done a “sink or float” experiment?

How do scientists learn?

Some students said the tin foil floated because it was light. How do heavy, steel ships float?

What was your favorite part of the activity?

Alison Plays Piano

This is a student post written by Alison

I started to play the piano when I was six. Before I took lessons, I taught myself how to play scales and other things. My older sister, who already took piano lessons, helped me learn the notes and key signatures.

notes for bass clef and treble clef

notes for treble clef and bass clef

I have been playing for two years. I know a lot of songs and a few scales.

A piano is an extremely interesting instrument. It is a string instrument.  The piano has short strings for the high notes and long strings for low notes. It has soft “hammers” to bump the strings and the strings vibrate to make a noise.  You can play loud and soft by hitting the key harder or softer.

Upright Piano Diagram

Upright Piano Diagram

I think that the piano is a fun instrument to play, but you need lots of practice.  I play after school.  After I’m done practicing I like to fool around and make up my own songs.

Here is a video of two songs that I can play; The Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini and Musette by J.S. Bach.

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What did you think of the playing?

Which song did you prefer? Why?

Do you play any instruments?