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Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Summer School has flown by! Our wonderful students presented on the process and outcome of their investigations to classmates, teachers and family members. Each presentation lasted about 5 minutes. Students  used live skits, Power Points, Glogster and Comic Life as a means to share their findings. At the end of each presentation members of the the audience were given questions to ask the presenters. The questions  matched those from a checklist/rubric that was given to the students to check the quality of their work.

¿Qué fuentes de información utilizaron? ¿Cuál fue lo mas divertido de esta experiencia? ¿Cuál fue lo mas difícil de esta experiencia? ¿Cuáles fueron los pasos que tomaron en su investigación? ?Cuál fue la pregunta que investigaron? ¿Qué fue lo que descubrieron? ¿Qué fue lo mas interesante o importante que aprendieron? ¿Qué fue lo que descubrieron?

During their first presentation in the morning the children were shy and unsure of themselves. By the end of the day the students were really proud of their work and took ownership of of all aspects of the presentation. They couldn't wait to present again!

I've realized that PBL is a process both for teachers and students and during these 4 weeks we've taken a huge step forward! Let's keep walking...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chefs For a Day

Chef Mark had 12 assistants helping prepare food for today's summer school lunch. One half of the PBL classrooms got to help fix BBQ chicken, collard greens and fruit salad, a menu that they proposed and was approved by Leander ISD's Child Nutritional Services.
The importance of hygiene and safety were highlighted by Chef Mark and the students were able to experience the team work, collaboration and organizational skills involved in preparing food for a large number of people.
The students had a very enjoyable time fixing and then eating the delicious lunch we had today.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Today we visited Central Market and the students got a "delicious" tour of the store.  They got to sample some exotic fruits and vegetables, real pound cake and even a bit of gelato.  They were amazed to see the 26 varieties of apples, as well as all the different kinds of mushrooms that ranged in price from $5.99 per lb. to $39.99 per pound.  We had lunch on the patio and despite the rain the kids could not stay away from the playground!

We also stopped by the New Day Community Garden where our friend Rose Jennings told us about what it means to grow food as a community.  The children had good questions such as:  Is it hard to grow your own food?  How long does it take for something to grow?  What happens to the fruits and vegetables in the winter?  Rose showed them how they compost so that they always have rich soil available for the plants and how they are almost done with two big cement rain barrels that will allow them to collect rain water for irrigation.  She talked a lot about the value of collaboration between different gardeners and different organizations.  The kids got to see eggplants, tomatoes and peppers growing on the vines and tasted some sweet basil and thyme.

How to Prepare a Possum

On Wednesday July 10th, students went on a field trip to the Austin History Center to see the exhibit "How to Prepare a Possum: Austin 19th Century Cuisine".  We learned about Austin early culinary history and how difficult it was to have a good meal at a restaurant before the arrival of refrigerators! 

Susan Hansen and Teresa Duran

Photographer: Mariana Cruz

Field trip to Central MARKET TODAY

We took a tour of Central Market this morning!  Students learned that the word organic in the grocery store means food grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

Students tasted a variety of fruits and vegetables.  We visited the dairy, deli and bakery.  

They even touched a live lobster!

Monday, July 8, 2013

LISD Leader Chef and Nutritionist presents the Challenge

Today the district nutrition team introduced a board game based on the food groups and the weekly menu of the cafeterias on our schools.

The students had to chose the food items for entrees, fruit, vegetables, grain and dairy that would make a balance choice.

After playing the Leader Chef presented the challenge: the mission for our students is to create a healthy menu that they will enjoy and that will be prepared and served by the chefs for lunch on the last day of school to the whole district. Yum!

Day 9 Workshops on the research process and using accents to support published work

We have two groups of guest teachers offering workshops to students.

Students are learning more about accents in Spanish.  They have realized they need to be able to use accents correctly in their presentations and communications with the public.

Students are using Educreate to diagram the research process.  They are learning about the research process as a whole so that they will be able to reflect on where they are in the process and make some decisions on how to proceed.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Passing The Torch!

Cindy and I are now passing the torch to our fellow Instructional Coaches, Teresa and Susan!  You ladies will do GREAT!

Last Day Of The 2 Weeks!

Students worked hard throughout the 2 weeks!  Students had the opportunity to choose from a variety of books to read over their short break.  There were times when students would work individually (for different reasons), but they worked just was well.  They seemed excited about finishing out the last half  (2 weeks) of the camp.  They were given the opportunity to provide us with some feedback about:  what they most enjoyed about camp, what the hope to see for the next two weeks, and how we could make camp better.  Before they left, students wrote a brief individual/group note about where they were in their investigation so the the next round of facilitators (Teresa and Susan) would know where to continue.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


In addition to collaborating in the classrooms to resolve questions about food and how it impacts our bodies, culture and society.  Students have been receiving some teambuilding sessions from a ROPES expert.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What am I putting into my body when I eat my favorite food?!!

Today my class researched the nutritional value of their favorite fast food meal.  The focus was on 6 aspects of nutrition: calories, carbs, cholesterol, protein, sodium, and sugar.  Once they found the values for each item of their meal, they added them to find the total nutritional value.  So far students have been surprised to learn what they are ingesting when they take bites of their favorite fare!

Teachers deliver a Math Workshop

Today was the 1st time dual language teachers came in to deliver a workshop to a group of our students based on some learning the students felt they needed.  Mrs. Hilary and Mrs. Bernhardt taught  a lesson on graphing data on a bar graph.  The students learned about the important parts of a bar graph: the title of the graph, the numbering system used to display their data, and the labels of the info. being displayed.  Students then worked in pairs to recreated their own bar graph based on the data that was on a table given to them.  During this activity students had rich conversations with their partners about how they wanted to represent the data on the graph and the numbering system that would be best to display the data (skip counting by either 5, 10, 20, or 50).  Overall, the learning was well received and the students will know how to graph the data they get while investigating their focus questions.  Thank you Mrs. Hilary and Mrs. Bernhardt!!!

Day 6---Word wall, Workshops, and Padlet

The word wall is coming along well.  Students are developing a grade appropriate list of words that is based on the research they are performing.  Students are pulling vocabulary from their research material, food magazines, and classroom library, and their own personal reading!

Throughout the 2 weeks, students placed words that they come into contact with.  They did a great job of keeping the vocabulary at a grade level appropriate.


Examples of student generated vocabulary words.

Norma and Allison delivered a workshop for language arts on  procedural writing.  Students worked in groups and pairs and followed the lesson cycle.

Today, during my read-a-loud, I presented as a discussion forum for my students.  This was a first time experience for all of the students.  I posted 3 questionsThey seemed to be extremely engaged and were excited to see their answers posted on the wall.  At the end, students were even asking if they could access this app from home!
Students enjoyed posting to the wall.  Foe some, it was the first time they they have been exposed to this type of question/answer format.

Students accessed the URL to begin posting thier thought, comments and answers on the Padlet forum.