Five For Friday: only 3 more weeks!

We have started a garden in the middle of our library!  Despite having a little bit of a flood one day, look at how much it has grown! And we moved Clifford so he now lives in the lobby.

#RapOnSummerSlide! Our district librarians started an initiative to encourage reading over the summer and slow down the summer slide. Use this hash tag on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram...along with a picture or video of you reading and/or rapping! 

This week my students were creating presentations about Internet safety based on their research from the week before. They had the option of presenting using iMovie, Storybird, A Web Whiteboard (using it to create a digital poster essentially) or an actual poster.  I love all the different presentations that they created and how independent they have become.

Today was Field Day! I was in charge of the chalk station and loved it! I bought the chalk on Amazon (48 pieces for $5!) and bought six sand castle buckets for $1 each from the dollar store, one for each color (yes, I like to be super organized!). Then I created these  labels to attach to each of the buckets!

 I've always dreamed of having a chalk station during Field Day and as much as I love technology and teaching with it, it was nice to just have a day where I could just enjoy the students company! I ran out of chalk before the third group of students came which meant a quick run to the store to buy more.

I recently found an awesome Summer  Calendar on TPT by Rowdy in Room 30  I will definitely be using it to organize myself this summer. My three big projects are:
1) Training for my fall marathon 
2) Taking a class on Differentiation through Harvard Graduate School of Education Professional Development Program - more on this next week!
3) Organizing all my lessons from this year so I am ready to roll come late August.   


Five For Friday

My second grade students used Storybird two weeks ago to collaboratively write their own stories. I have used this website with older students before but never early elementary and I wasn't sure how it would go. The students LOVED it! We started by writing a short picture book as a class modeling how to share ideas and take turns. Then the students partnered up to write their own stories. To see the collaboration that occurred and to hear the conversations and creativity they were having? I was blown away. Next year this is definitely a lesson I'd move to the beginning of the year because it's a great opportunity for them to practice their creativity and  collaboration skills with technology. 
This week the students researched to find the  three most important facts about internet safety and  digital citizenship that they think first graders should know. Next week they are going to be creating a presentation to share with the first graders. This is one of their last culminating inquiry projects for the year. ONLY FOUR MORE WEEKS! Where did the time go??

My first graders finished their assessments for my SLO and I am so proud of them! They are did such an awesome job and worked so hard on it! Thinking back to the pre-test it's amazing to think how they have improved in their tech skills. One example is in September I had to login in their computers to PebbleGo, now they just get on and log-in themselves - this is a HUGE timesaver and never a skill I had thought too much about before this year!
And since my end of the year meeting is approaching at the end of May and I have been entering and analyzing student data like crazy! I actually LOVE to make a great spreadsheet analyzing student growth. It's weird. I know. 

Last Thursday I saw Pitch Perfect 2. If you know how big of a Pitch Perfect fan I am, you know this is a huge deal! One of the neatest parts was seeing it a day before the official release. I wasn't completely sold until the end with the flashlights. But I'll stop there. Just trust me. Wait till the ending.

 I went to NYC this past weekend and it was AMAZING! Highlights included visiting the Central Park Zoo, going to FAO Schwarz (it's closing in July!), Momofuku Milk Bar (for Karlie's Kookies!), an underground Whole Foods (THAT was an experience!), touring the Museum of Natural History and finished with dinner in Grand Central Station. By the end of the day I had walked 15.5 miles! My legs were exhausted but it was such a great experience especially since it was only the second time I had been in NYC!

I discovered a tech filled blog I have to share. On Twitter (@teachvoacious) @alwayscomputing started to follow me. When I went to his page, he had a link to his blog. It is one of the best tech teacher blogs I have read.
1) It centers around elementary age students, including K-2.
2) It has great ideas that I'm itching to try in my own classroom.
3) It reassures me that kids struggling to log-in at the beginning of the year is normal but also shows how capable the students become as they get older and the year goes on.


Five For Friday: Teacher Appreciation Week

Super excited to share that the sticky note idea worked great for my assessment! I was a little worried because since it was an assessment I couldn't show the kids how to label the different text features. Instead I labeled a picture (which wasn't a text feature I was assessing for) and the kiddos did a great job with it! Once they were done they went on BrainPop Jr and learned about a topic of choice. 

With my second graders this week I was teaching about the importance of finding sources during research that are current (in the ten years) and how we can check to see what date the source was published. Well, going into it I was a little stumped because I feel like it's a fairly dry subject. But I also know it's a super important concept (and one that I was surprised they had misconceptions about - they were sure the older the source the more trust worthy it was since it had been around longer!). This weekend my sister said in a random conversation "Remember how those Dino books we had as a kid said that Stegasaurous's had two brains - one in their head and one in their tail?"
And there we go! I had the perfect introduction! (I also realized the Pluto planet controversy would have worked for this as well). 

To introduce the concept, I made up a story (I mean I remembered...) about how I loved Stegasaurous as a kid and I thought it was fascinating that they had two brains! So I decided to read about them, and found a book from the library...and the book from the library said they only had one brain! What?! I asked them why the two books, one from 1997 and one published in 2011 would have different information? And which one did they think was right?
Well they all thought the 1997 one was right. 
It was a great lead in to a discussion about copyright dates and having them decide whether certain websites and books would be good for research based on their publication date.
Above is one of the pictures I used to demonstrate the two books. Yes that is really me at age 7. I'm pretty sure they believed I had posed with my Dino book for my class picture. ;) 

It's Teacher Appreciation Week! Which means discounts at Talbots, a PTO Luncheon Wednesday and a Potluck Celebration Breakfast Friday. 

It also means sales on TPT! I always resolve that I'm going to  take advantage of the sales on TPT then I never do. Well this week I finally did! I bought some background by Kimberly Geswein   that I had seen advertised by Farley and I also bought some Melonheadz products! I have been dreaming about them for a while so this was the perfect chance!

I went on a field trip Friday to the Trash Museum! Yes it's a real place and it's kinda awesome. Best part was probably the room of trash but I also really got into making the flower collage out of scraps! 

Monday I spontaneously signed up for a 5.5 mile trail run. This is NOT something I would normally do. I like to know my races ahead of time so I can train and be all anxious the weeks before. Well I definitely did not have time to get nervous! I was just processing the fact I was actually running it! Since I normally do my long runs Saturday I figured I'd run there, run the race then run home. In all about 16 miles. Not too bad. 
Well the morning of the race my sister informs me it's about 8 miles to the race start not 5.6 like I thought. What!! 
Oh well! Off we went.
It was hard. It was probably one of the harder races I've run in a while. My sister and I pretty much ran together the whole time which was nice. She pulled ahead at the end when I had pretty much hit the wall but I had a final time around 46 minutes and my goal was 49 so I'm happy! 
Running home we decided to jump into the river and take a spontaneous ice bath...ahh that was heaven!


Five for Friday on the First of May

Earlier today I was writing my Five for Friday in my head when I realized it was also May 1st. Hello Farley! So I decided to combine them. I'm beginning with number one as the Currently.

I have been EXHAUSTED night I literally was in bed at 6:30 and woke up 11 hours later. 
This summer I am training for the New York City Marathon (!!!) and taking a class through Harvard's PD program about Differentiating. I'm hoping that through this class I'll be able to get all my lessons in order for next year. And I am always dreaming of adventures and happiness! It should be my motto! 

Next week I'll begin assessing my first graders on text features. Week 1 will be about just identifying text features and week 2 will be about being able to use the text features to answer questions. Mid year when I assessed their ability to identify text features I used a checklist and met with them when I could asking them to point out and find the different text features in books and on websites. Well that turned out to be a mess. I got the data I needed but it took way too long and I kept missing students. For the end of the year I decided I'm to do something different. 

I instead used a sticky note template to create a set of text feature sticky notes for each child. I'm hoping to have the students label books and the websites with these stickies, then I'll be able to quickly evaluate that they know where each text feature is located. Fingers crossed it works! 

This week my behavior focus was on what to do when you need help.

My second graders are finishing up their iMovie projects on Real World Problems and they did SUCH a good job! The students were so excited today asking "Can I upload it to YouTube??". Maybe. Maybe we just might. 
Second grade classes who had finished their iMovies went on and explored the site. They loved it! With wonders from "Why do bunnies hop?" to "What makes a rainbow?" to the ever popular "Who invented the toilet?" there is something for all students.

First graders this week used the text features on to learn about EXTREME WEATHER! They loved it! They especially loved watching the videos and seeing and hearing the force of the storms


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