Saturday, May 25, 2013

Great Day to be Outdoors

Ahhh, the best way to spend a spring school day is to go outside.  After our unit on natural resources and landforms, we headed to our State Park for a day of hiking and canoeing.  We are fortunate to live approximately 30 miles from a relatively unknown gem.  Our State Park offers camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and even more.

During our hike we spotted snakes, frogs, various species of ferns, and evidence of the yellow bellied sapsucker.  Our hike started in a hardwood forest and ended in a swamp.

We also went canoeing on our field trip.  Each canoe had two students and one parent.  We learned the person in the bow (front) of the canoe acts at the engine.  Their job is to use all their muscles to paddle the canoe.  The person in the stern (back) of the canoe is responsible for steering and keeping us on course.  It was a very windy day which made navigating quite difficult.  All in all, it was a great day!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bike Rodeo

This week we had our annual Bike Rodeo.  Our fourth graders learned rules of the road, importance of safety, hand signals, traffic signs, and parts of the bike.  With bikes and helmets in hand, we headed over to the county recreation complex adjacent to our school and put our new knowledge to the test. The students worked their way through nine stations, spending ten minutes at each station.  Each station reinforced a different skill and/or tested the students' safety knowledge. 
Navigating a Narrow Passage
Ducking Under a Low Object
Using Left and Stop Hand Signals

Monday, May 13, 2013

Call a Doctor...Our Class has Spring Fever

That's right.  The "fever" has hit our classroom.  The symptoms thus far include: ants in our pants, talking while we work, crooked lines in the hallway, forgotten common sense, and general lack of self control.  I knew we were bound to catch the "fever" because it is quite contagious this time of year.

So, what is a teacher to do?  Let's add more craziness to the mix and introduce stability balls.  I've never had stability balls in my classroom, but I thought I should give it a try.  Off to Wal-Mart I ventured and picked up four balls (one for each group of desks).

Boy, was I impressed with my students.  Like I mentioned,  I bought one ball per group of desks.  The students decided on their own that they should take turns sitting on the stability ball.  They even asked for help dividing the remaining time in the day evenly so each student got the same amount of time.  I wrote the times on the board when the students should switch with a classmate who was waiting patiently for their turn with the ball.  The students rotated the ball around the group members without fuss.  I love my class!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The First Step is the Hardest

Excited, nervous, curious, inspired, energized...All of these words describe how I feel after attending an amazing three day technology conference.  At the end of the conference the speaker asked us, "What are your five takeaways from this conference? What will you share with your colleagues when you return to your school?"  This took quite a bit of thought because all the breakout sessions I attended were simply amazing.  

Here are my takeaways (in no particular order)-

1- Twitter is a beautiful thing, and I need to jump in with both feet.  Professional development can be accomplished with less than 140 characters. #NewToTwitter

2- Give my students time on the iPads for app exploration.  Students do not need to be taught how to use every app.  They are curious little creatures and can, quite often, figure out an app on their own.

3- Ask three before me.  I should encourage my students to ask three classmates for help before asking me. Obviously, this practice is not applicable in all situations.  Also, ask three before me should be adopted by the faculty.  If I'm having technology problems, I need to ask other faculty members before emailing IT.  I'm sure IT will appreciate this. 

4- I need to push my comfort level, hence this blog. 

5- Why try to reinvent the wheel.   Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and blogs are a great resource.  Use them, tweak them, make them my own.