Krebs' Class Blogs

Constructing, creating, communicating, collaborating, and thinking critically in grade 5.

September 23, 2011
by Tyler

Our Study Hall Chess Club

Chess is a two player board game that has been around for a very long time. In the Soviet Union state officials played chess to compete for promotions.

This year in study hall we are learning how to play chess in our chess club. The goal of chess is to trap the king and take it out. Some of the players have been playing for a long time while others are just learning. One of our players Lauren says that Chess is a “very entertaining and thoughtful game that requires lots of concentration.” Our Chess club plays chess during study hall and we are learning as we go. Here is a video of our chess club.

Posted by Tyler

September 22, 2011
by Denise Krebs

If I Lived Forever…

If you lived forever on earth, would it be a blessing or a curse?

That was the question we considered before we began to read Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. We have joined hundreds of other students around the world in the Global Read Aloud. Here are our answers to the question that is asked on the cover of the book, “Would it be a blessing or a curse?”

It would be a blessing if I stayed 21 or 25 because I would be able to get to go anywhere by myself, like Miami and on the airplane or California or anywhere in the world.

If I could live on earth forever and never grow old, but be 21 years old, I think it might be all right. It would be a curse, too, because you can’t have any friends or spouse without them dying or finding out.

It would be a curse because if you loved someone you’d be alive while they’re dead and you’d never have enough time to be settles before someone guessed you could live forever. You’d be a science experiment. On the other hand, you could see the whole world.

I think it would be a curse because why would you want to live forever on earth? You would just get bored, and what if you got in a fight with a friend, you would have to live on with that for the rest of your life.

I would like to be in my 20s and live forever, but I would like to go to heaven someday.

Would it be a blessing or a curse? It would be a curse because you would never get to die and see your loved ones if they were dead.

I think that it would not be a blessing to live forever, but not really a curse, either. I would not like living forever on earth. It would get boring and old. I would run out of things to do and it would be a long life that I would not like to live. I would not enjoy living forever.

It would be a curse because if you lived forever the world would get over crowded and some people would have to move to a different planet.

I would not want to live forever because I would like to go to heaven and meet my grandpa and reunite with my Uncle Junior.

If I could live forever on earth, I think it would be a curse because I want to go to heaven and reunite with my family and friends.

It would be a curse because you wouldn’t be able to go to heaven. You would have to go to different jobs every couple years and you have to move a lot.

I think it would be a blessing and a curse. It may be a blessing because you would be able to live forever and see things you wouldn’t be able to see now in the present. It may be a curse because you would see some of the things you may not want to see. They may have new laws that you won’t like or other things that you just truly dislike.

It would be a blessing because Jesus wanted you to be on earth forever. It’s his choice for your life. I would probably think it’s a blessing, not a curse.

It would be a curse because I would never go to heaven. I would never see God and my ancestors. I would have to go through all the bad times that would happen. If I was caught, people would do terrible things to me.

It would be both a blessing and a curse because it would be cool, but it would be bad because everybody would die, but not you.

It would be a gift because you would live forever.

If I could live forever on earth, it would be a curse because your body would never change. It would also be a blessing because you would never die.

I wouldn’t want to live on earth forever because I would always stay 12 and be in school forever. It would be a curse. The world would get boring because you would know everything. You would run out of things to do.

September 15, 2011
by Shiann


Play Nice

We went from copying pictures from Google to learning how to properly post pictures on our blogs. We learned to use the Clipart our school subscribes to. We learned about the Creative Commons licenses on Flickr and how to properly link the picture back to Flickr. We learned how to give proper credit to the people that took the pictures and how to link them back to them. But that’s not enough.

We have used other people’s pictures, but now other people are going to be using our pictures. We are transforming from users to contributors. We will be taking pictures and loading them onto Flickr so that the whole world can see our wonderful pictures and use them for their own uses.

In class we thought of some words to describe the two categories of takers and contributors.




lazy…………………………………………………………………………………linking back



irresponsible digital citizen……………………………………..good digital citizen

no permission…………………………………………………….properly cites CC pics

And these are just some of them.

On a scale from 1 to 10 in the world of takers and contributors we are probably a 4, but we are working to one day be a 10.

Our class has a new Flickr account to share our photos. Check it out. We have photos to share.

Posted by Shiann



September 4, 2011
by Denise Krebs

Bugscope Session

The Bugscope is an $800,000 scanning electron microscope housed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A student sitting at a laptop in Iowa (or anywhere) can focus, change contrast, and zoom in on some really interesting specimens. My students and I were privileged to be the first Bugscope session of the season. It was certainly a first in more ways than one, because, for my class and me, it was the first time we have made real-time connections with someone off-campus.

Besides my initially high stress level because of an unexpected scheduling conflict at my school and the chat feature being disabled for a while, it turned into an amazing experience. The scientists involved were professional, hospitable, accommodating, and knowledgeable. The ones we interacted with most were Scott Robinson and Cate Wallace at Microscopy Suite, Imaging Technology Group, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

We were delighted with the wonder of looking at insects from our own backyard up-close and grossly personal. (Yes, we had actually sent our own insects to the lab.)

My students loved it. Here are just a few of their reflections:

As I said before, I was new at connecting like this so I made some mistakes. Not for the purpose of having a pity party, but just to share objectively some of the many things I did wrong, I offer my top six list of things I would have done differently:

  1. I would put my Bugscope session on the main calendar in the school office and not just on my classroom calendar. That would have prevented an impossible scheduling conflict.
  2. I would have run the systems test at school instead of at home. Of course, I needed to test our network at school, not just my laptop’s system. What WAS I thinking?
  3. I would have double-checked the chat feature in plenty of time to ask our IT person to enable chatting.
  4. I would have taken time before the session to practice with my students using Google chat. They could have practiced asking relevant questions, using good conventions, and reading previous responses to ensure they were joining the conversation and not repeating questions that had already been asked.
  5. I only had two laptops for designated chatting. Next time I definitely would have expanded the number of students connecting with the scientists, giving each person a partner and having the pairs work together to ask questions of the scientists on chat. I would have put their first names instead of calling ourselves Student 1 and Student 2.
  6. I would have scheduled the session a little later into the school year after we had time to learn more about insects.

I share these because maybe someone reading will be hosting their own Bugscope session. Or maybe these ideas will be good to keep in mind for others and myself when connecting via Skype or another situation like Bugscope that involves chatting.

It’s easy to point out all the things that went wrong, but there were many things that went right, and I was tickled to have had the opportunity to experience these winning moments:

    1. A student was the one who figured out the chat was working again, and he began right away asking relevant questions.
    2. Students were attentive, interested, and made sure to record the experience with photographs, video and notes (not even required).
    3. While we looked at compound eyes on the screen, I remembered I had a basket full of little prisms that simulated compound eyes. (Usually I would have remembered the next week or so.)
    4. Some students even came back into my room with their lunches, spending the period asking questions and watching the insects while they munched.
    5. The folks at the Microscopy Suite provided us with the transcript so we can refer back to it.

On a side note, we participated in the Bugscope project solely because of a tweet I received this summer from Kevin Ricketts.
Just another example of how Twitter is changing the way I teach! Thanks, Kevin!

Also, thanks to Mrs. Hunt who so quickly enabled chat for us when we discovered the problem.

And a great thank you to Scott and Cate and all the others who did such an amazing job making my seventh graders feel like scientists.

September 2, 2011
by Jaci

8th Grade History!!

My class and I have recently posted about our personal museums and about American History. Be sure to check out our posts on the “Active Eighth Grade Blogs” blogroll at the right! You can also click here to see our video about what we think history is.

Posted by Jaci

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