Dolphin Digest

November 2019

Learning Center News

The Learning Center was transformed to the land of Arctic Adventure during the month of November! A HUGE thank you to Joanna Soukoulis and Yena Levinson for co-chairing our wildly successful book fair. Middlefork was bursting with excitement the entire week of the book fair, with students viewing book trailers for available books, being read a bedtime story by Dr. Greene, and viewing a readers' theater by Middlefork teachers. There was even a visit by Clifford the Big Red Dog!


Kindergartners learned about the history of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade by reading Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of the Macy's Parade. After taking a studio tour of the design, production, and final processes of the parade, students went back to class and designed and built their very own balloon floats to be paraded throughout their classrooms.

First Grade

November kicked off our Project Lead the Way Computer Science unit with first grade, Digital Storytelling. Students programmed each other acting as robot dogs to pass through a series of dots while collecting dog bones, jumping over puddles, and making their way back home to the dog house. Next they took the skills they learned in unplugged coding to learn the block-based application Scratch Jr. First graders are currently learning about the different motion, triggering, sound, looks, and control blocks. Just recently they performed programming skits in small groups using different triggering blocks.

Second Grade

November begins our Landforms collaborative unit with second grade. This month students learned about safe searching and finding research only our district databases, Facts4Me, World Book Online, and PebbleGo. After choosing different landforms to research, second graders will access the databases to find information that will then be used to create a Book Creator book next month. They will record their research and turn their books into videos, complete with photos and references.

Third Grade

The Bluestem award is one of the only student-selected awards given to books in the state of Illinois. This month the Learning Center turned into the Dolphin Diner, and students got a "taste" of each of the twenty nominated books in the Bluestem list for 2020. They rotated to different "plates" to view book trailers, making special note of which four (or more) of the twenty books they would like to read in order to be able to vote in March. Each student set a goal to indicate the amount of books he/she would like to read, and made deadlines for each month leading up to Election Day.

Makerspace Musings

The Makerspace is open to students during first and third recesses everyday. Students create 3D designs using Tinkercad, print on the 3D printers, program robots, fold origami, use the Osmos, make designs with Perler beads, draw in 3D using 3Doodlers, and much more.

The Makerspace has become a popular destination this month for classrooms working towards rewards. All kindergarten classes came in for free exploration time--some more than once!

Coding Kids

Our fall sessions of Coding Kids have 55 Dolphins participating. Kindergartners are learning the basics of sequencing, debugging, and conditionals through the Kodable app and unplugged activities. First graders are exploring the ins and outs of Scratch Jr, programming races and games for each other to play. Second and third graders that have previously participated in coding are learning to code using Scratch on the chromebooks, programming animated names and completed challenges. Additionally we have explored coding with Ozobots and decoding binary code messages.

Registration for our winter session of Coding Kids will open on Monday, December 9 at 6:00 pm. Look for the registration link in the Friday News on December 6.

Dates to Remember

Hour of Code Week: December 9-13

Fall Reading Challenge due: December 13

Mrs. Johnson

Library Information Specialist

Makerspace Director

Coding Kids Sponsor

Dedicated Dolphins Sponsor