Sunday, September 24, 2017

One School-One Book

All of our students have required summer reading assignments, but never the teachers. But for the first time since I've been teaching in our school (18 years), our faculty had required summer reading and IT. WAS. WONDERFUL!

Our entire faculty was asked to read The Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff.  A young panhandler surviving on the streets meets a young business woman climbing the corporate ladder.  The young woman reaches out to help the young boy, and in return, he teaches her more than she could imagine.

An Invisible Thread shows how one person, Ms. Schroff, puts aside her individual wants, needs, and desires to focus her energy enriching the life of a young boy with no expectation for anything in return.  One small McDonald's meal turned into a lifelong friendship.

This is a story of grace, kindness, and compassionate. These are necessary when working with children in the classroom as well.

As the dust settles on the whirlwind first weeks of school we also need to realize that coworkers, support staff, substitutes, parents, coaches, and bus drivers also deserves our utmost grace, kindness, and compassionate,  We need to put aside our individual wants to focus on the larger picture; our students.

Thank you, Ms Schroff, for sharing your story and inspiring our faculty.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Animal Robots

We just completed our longterm robotics and coding project.  First, the students were introduced to various components (servo motors, LEDs, duo controllers, etc).  We learned how to code each component individually.

Students were asked to build an animal that incorporated movement, sound, and light into their project.  They used GarageBand to record facts about their animals and Snap! for coding.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Talking Devices

After reading Out of My Mind and Rules (both books feature non-verbal characters), the fourth graders were inspired to create their own talking devices.  Students used Makey-Makeys and Scratch to code and construct their communicators. 

Here are some students using their devices to answer questions.  

Students testing their coding

Makey Makeys and Scratch were used for coding and construction.

Students connecting to Scratch.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Congratulations, Class of 2016

One of the advantages of teaching in a PreK-Grade 12 school is having the privilege of attending our annual commencement ceremonies.

Girls wearing floor length white gowns.  Boys all in traditional black tuxedos.  Every faculty member wearing black graduation gowns and our college alma mater's hood.

A handful of this year's graduates were in my fourth grade class.  We shared so much- canoeing, bike rodeo, field day, humor, friendships, life lessons.

I couldn't be more proud of these students and am optimistic about their futures.  Each of them made an impact on my life.

Thank you parents for sharing your greatest gift with me- your children.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Pandas, Panda, Everywhere

Our first graders were very fortunate to travel to the National Zoo and visit Bei Bei.  Throughout the year, they have been studying pandas and learning some facts along the way.

Firstie wrote and illustrated a panda book during computer class, and it was presented to the National Zoo during their field trip.  Also, they created beautiful panda masterpieces in Art class.

We combined the two projects into a panda movie.  During this project, students learned how to voice over their images.

Check out their informational movie.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


This is an email I just sent a colleague. Thought I would share with all of you.

The last couple computer classes I've been using Kahoot! with the second graders to help them review for the Manners Banquet.

It is similar to Socrative but MUCH more fun.  You set it up like Socrative- type a question with multiple choice questions.

Instead of being an independent activity, it is like a game show format and everyone is going against each other.  When students log in with access code, they have to create a name.  I've been having the 2nd graders create nicknames instead of using their real names.  (Their nicknames have been their favorite food, their super hero name, their grandparents name, etc.) This makes it even more fun because you don't really know who you are playing against- identity is secret.

Questions and multiple choice answers appear on the smart board.  Great sound effects are built into the game and makes it very exciting.  

Students use their iPads to choose their answer.

The faster you answer the questions, the more points you receive.  However, the faster you answer with a wrong response, the more points are deducted.  So, it isn't always best to answer right away.  High reward, but high consequences.

Students do not need to download an app.  Have them go to Safari and type Kahoot.

This might be a great end of year activity.  Beware- it can be highly energetic and addictive!

There are close to 1million free Kahoot games already created and ready to use.  You can browse through and edit one to make it better fit your needs.  Why reinvent the wheel?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Our First Robotics Class

Today the 3rd graders started working with Lego WeDos. They had a wonderful time building dancing birds.  They learned basic programming and experimented with loops, timers, and adding sound effects.