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.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

PreK Students Write a Book

Our PreK students are slowly learning their first sight words.  I try to incorporate these sight words into typing activities in the computer lab.

This week we reviewed the sight words "I", "can", "see" and also reviewed numbers 1-20.

We assigned each PreK student a specific number 1-20.  Then, students each typed "I can see ## _______." After typing the beginning of their sentence, they practiced dragging/dropping pictures into their page.  Because we have less than 20 PreK students, the early finishers we able to type a second page.

We printed each child's page and combined them to make one class numbers book.  Now the students have their own book to peruse in their classroom reading loft.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bot Building

The third graders had their first experience with building bots today.  This opened up great conversations about circuits, insulators/conductors, vibration, and friction.

We cut the head off toothbrushes, added batteries and vibrating motors, and off they went.  Spontaneously, the students created tracks from old cardboard.  They also used the chalk ledge to help give the bots direction.  We tried to have our bots vibrate through paint, but we concluded the paint was too thick.  Next time we will water down the paint and create bot masterpieces.

What a fun day!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Connecting with our Grads

What a wonderful morning spent with our new friends in North Carolina.  We connected via Google Hangout and took turns asking each other yes/no questions to try and determine our schools' locations.  This was a great way to reinforce our knowledge of states/capitals, national landmarks, and geography.

The best surprise was when the North Carolina students learned their teacher actually graduated from our school.  It's such a small world, and we are proud of our graduates.  Thank you for making a difference in the lives of the next generation.

Bicycle Safety

Our firsties created bicycle safety posters to hang throughout all hallways.  They've been learning the "rules of the road" during PE class.  Later this week the first graders will participate in the annual Bike Rodeo.  They will put their knowledge to the test as they navigate a variety of obstacles on their bicycles.

Finally....the hiatus is over

This year I changed roles and changed classrooms.   I followed my passions out of the fourth grade classroom, down the hallway, and right into the computer lab.

I always enjoyed integrating technology into my fourth grade classroom and often could be found experimenting after school with robots, movies, and app smashing.  When the opportunity to move to the computer lab presented itself last spring, I jumped at the chance. I was ready for change.

Although this is my sixteenth year in the same school, I instantly felt like a novice teacher wet behind the ears.

New classroom.  New lessons.  New students.  New curriculum.  New relationships.

Over this school year I've learned and I've grown.