Seeing Scientists at Work in Jee Young’s Classroom

For those of you who follow us, you know that Two Apples A Day consists of two elementary teachers, collaborating on one blog. We started this adventure in the same country, at the same school, with the same vision (haha, okay reeling it back). Since then, Jee Young has left Korea and moved to Singapore. Melody (me!) has stayed in Korea, but worked for several international schools. Jee Young was able to come back to South Korea and visit my classroom a couple of years ago and shared her experience here.

This past fall, I was able to visit Jee  Young’s fifth grade classroom in Singapore during one of my holidays. I observed one of her science lessons and took mental notes of things that I thought were so on point.

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Here are the top 3 ideas I took away from Jee Young’s lesson:

1. Wear a Lab coat. Jee Young instantly turned scientist when she slipped on her white lab coat. Such a simple thing to do that made a big difference. As an additional bonus to this look could be protective goggles, yes?

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2. Call your students “Scientists”. Every time she spoke to them as a whole, or to an individual, Jee Young used the term “scientist(s)” and you could tell it made the students take themselves more seriously… they felt like scientists, they were scientists.

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3. Use lesson/learning time wisely by setting up routines.  In the course of 45 minutes, Jee Young gave the students their task, had the students observe their experiments and discuss their observations with their small groups, create a post on their blog using their iPads (pictures included!), and then had a couple of students share a few posts with the class as a whole. While this was happening she moved around to answer questions, mentally made notes of students’ work, and gave instant feedback. It was amazing. Yes, it takes time to set these routines up at the beginning of the year or at the beginning of a unit. But the effort is well worth it.

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Observing colleagues is a great way to share ideas and grow as a teacher. I know we all get busy, but take the time to do it and you will not regret it.

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Thank you for welcoming me into your classroom Jee Young, I hope I can come back soon.

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Poetry Cafe

Well, all good things must come to an end… and our poetry unit is no different. Every year, at the end of her poetry unit, Jee Young holds a poetry cafe (as mentioned previously here). This year, I was super excited for it because she asked my class to be a part of it! The event was held in our school auditorium and it started with all the fifth grade students on stage, reciting poems to the audience. It was incredible to see so many students on the stage performing poetry pieces that they had memorized by heart.

After that, my students joined their book buddies, and one by one (or… should I say, two by two) they recited the two-voice poems they had been working on for a couple of weeks.

The idea of getting on stage with their book buddy, and reading into a microphone, was so significant for my students. What a great way to feel accomplished! After the two-voice poems, every fifth grader got on stage and recited a poem they had written during the unit.

The other second grade teacher and I were so inspired by the event, we are hosting a mini-poetry cafe with our students next week! We are going to bring a microphone into the classroom, invite the parents, and have our publishing party in that style.

Oh, and what I loved most about the fifth grade poetry cafe is when the two fifth grade teachers got up and recited an inspiring two-voice poem they wrote for their students! Talk about a tear-jerker.

Here is what the stage looked like:

Do you have any great ideas for a publishing party? Please share! 

p.s. Oh, and I had an amazing birthday last week!!! I especially loved my personalized stationary— Jee Young is awesome!

Fifth Grade Musical: Geology Rocks!

“Musical plays for the musically timid teacher…” Yes, that is the tag line for Bad Wolf Press that Melody discovered last year. Her class performed,  “The Turkeys Go On Strike”, which was a huge success. They have a wide arrange of musicals for the different grade levels and subject areas.  You do have to pay to order the musical, but it was definitely worth it.  It comes with a  copy of the script and a CD with all the songs and instrumentals versions as well. I can definitely say I am a musically timid teacher, but Bad Wolf Press makes it easy to do and fun for the kids.

This year, both fifth grade classes will putting on the musical, Geology Rocks! It is a mystery where Sherlock Holmes and Watson are trying to figure out what happened to Professor Rock. It goes along nicely with our science unit on landforms that we are currently studying. In the book, they give great tips on how to practice, rehearse and perform the musical. They give you a four week plan. So this week, we are on week 2, where students have been listening and singing the songs. There are 10 songs that are in the musical. The students don’t necessarily sing all of the songs. I have to admit, last night as I was trying to fall asleep, the chorus to the main song in the musical was stuck in my head…He loves, he loves, volcanoes…

Next week, the students will be reading the script and choosing parts. I hope to post more on the process and final production of our first ever fifth grade musical!

P.S. We ❤ comments! Let us know that you were here.

Geology ROCKS!

The Cast