What happened today?

August 22, 2010, 4:49 am
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Welcome to Third Grade
August 16, 2010, 8:47 pm
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Hello to all of  my new students and parents!

I hope you enjoyed your summer vacation. I am so excited to start the new year! We will be very busy this year. I know that many students and parents are a little worried about third grade because we are in a great, big, new place for you to explore! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have. I am always available to help in any way that I can! I have the gift of getting to spend  over 9 months with you, and I want you to feel comfortable for the entire journey!

Here is a little bit of information about me. I am a graduate from Goodrich High School. In fact, I attended Goodrich from K-12!! My parents still live in the old homestead that was actually built by Dr. Gale…sound familiar? Gale Road is named after this important man in our local history! I am the youngest of 7 children, so believe me, I know what it is like to be picked on. I went to the greatest university on the planet Earth. Needless to say I am a huge Michigan fan! One look in my classroom and you can tell I am passionate about my team, and I am just as passionate about teaching!  I love attending events my students participate in outside of school as well, so please do not hesitate to ask me to attend. Many parents send in a copy of their child’s sport schedules.  I treasure any time that I am getting to know my students! Seeing them shine in all areas is a great way to form a lasting bond! The only time I cannot make it is…you guessed it…during  Michigan home games!

Kindergarten at Reid Elementary

My goal is to keep you informed of everything that is going on in our room. You will find your child’s Blackboard Site to be very helpful! I will post the newsletters, kids projects, our weekly work on the SMART Board and tons of links for you and your child to investigate in each subject area. Your child’s Blackboard site is the first place I would check. I am not in charge of posting things to my website, so I have no control over when an item is posted, therefore it tends to be out of date! The second place I would check is our blogs. This is the blog I use to write and model for students. We have several blogs we comment or create posts for, and It would be great if you commented on our blogs! Kids love to see the comments!!! Knowing other people read their blog help students  become better writers because they now have an authentic audience.

Here are some videos to help you with Blackboard Site and the blogs:

How to log into Blackboard tutorial:  Click here

How to leave a comment on a blog tutorial: Click here

How to navigate the blackboard site: Click here

Thanks for visiting our blog! I hope you found some useful information!

Junkyard Wonders- A Model for Teachers
August 9, 2010, 2:42 am
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My  favorite children’s author is Patricia Polacco. She has a way of inspiring me and my students to write. Her voice is so engaging and comforting.  My students beg to have me read her books! We read as many of her books that we can before my students publish their own family stories. I have every single book she has written. I really had a hard time choosing my favorite…until now!

Patricia Polacco ‘s new book  The Junkyard Wonders is a story that should be read by every educator. I believe that the teacher in this book is a role model for everyone that deals with children. She gets the most important lesson that all educators need to learn….the students need to come first.  Mrs. Peterson works on building relationships with her students. She creates teams that work together,  and the awesome effect is these kids  believe in themselves.

My favorite part of the book, that still brings tears to my eyes when I read it, happens after the kids are upset when the other kids say the kids in her class are from the “Junkyard” because they are different from the other kids.

“We’re all junkyard kids, even though you try to make us feel better about it. We’re throwaways,

junk, and everyone knows it.”

These kids know, no matter how wonderful this teacher is,  they still feel  that something is different about them. Then this amazing teacher says what I feel about my students:

” Oh, my dear, that’s where you are wrong,”

“Everyone of you is my wonder!…Don’t you realize what a junkyard really is?”…

“Oh, it is a place full of wondrous possibilities! What some see as bent and broken throwaways are actually amazing things waiting to be made into something new. Something unexpected. Something surprising.”

A junkyard has lots of possibilities, just like our students. This books shows us how to look beyond the labels, and look at ALL children as a “Junkyard Wonder” something unexpected, something surprising and a wonder to all of us! I love that her kids come first, even when the principal tries to ruin it…she does what any teacher that loves her students would do…she fights back for them. This book has inspired me to keep fighting for my students, to continue to put their needs first over the curriculum because as you find out in this book…put the kids first and the rest will fall into place!

Food for the Teacher’s Soul
August 5, 2010, 12:42 am
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Being an educator is one of the greatest blessings in my life. I absolutely love what I do. I am a giver and being a teacher I am asked to give a lot of myself, which I gladly do. Teachers give freely of themselves and sometimes I get run down. I  feel empty and need nourishment for my soul. It is a rare occurrence, in my life, that I just get to sit back and let people take care of me. The Reform Symposium allows me to do just that!  All the brilliance that exists in my personal learning network (PLN) is at my finger tips. I feel pampered! I am able to sit in my own home, wear my comfy clothes, wear no make-up and learn at my own pace.  That is such a wonderful gift! I do not have to pay to attend, fly to get there or beg for permission to go from my administration. I am able to catch those I did not make the live session,  and I can go back to watch all of them again. The amazing thing to me is the best professional development I am able to be a part of is the reform Symposium…and it’s FREE. I know my district has spent thousands on professional development that make me contemplate getting a root canal to avoid the boredom!

The Reform Symposium was food for the teacher’s soul because each session reached a different part of  a teacher’s soul that needs nurturing after the long, difficult school year!

The areas of the soul that are nurtured:

  • Relationships keep us going, and I believe is most important! Connecting with people, all people, makes life worth living. Having ideas or strategies to connect with thestaff you work with , and most important,  bonding with your students is  the Identity Day presentation! You learn so much more about how to be the type of school we need to be for students!  The focus George Couros has on students is amazing, and he  is a role model for all educators.
  • Many sessions nurture the creative part of my soul. I do many things in my classroom that the presenters share in these sessions, but I do not have a person that I can share ideas like this in my building. Seeing all of the different ways I can use these tools make my creative juices start to flow!  I use blogs with my kids, but Sue Waters opens a whole new world with her session Student Blogging.  Seeing other examples of book trailers in the session Creative Text Response by Judith Way has me seeing this in a whole new light! I have better ways to approach research in my classroom with the strategies Russ Goerend and Nate Kogan give in the session Research and its Movement from Analog
  • The sessions even nurtures the tree hugger in me! Shelly Blake -Plock has a session called What We Do that shows we really can go paperless and be MORE effective! I am so impressed with what he does in his classroom and it makes me want to back to high school…really!
  • Intellectual aspects of my soul are awakened  when I watch Kevin Cruetz and Higher Order Thinking/Technology Skills that shows how technology allows us to reach the higher orders of thinking of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The Nerdy teacher, Nicholas Provenzano,  relates teaching to movies in Everything I Learned about Tech Integration I Learned from Movies.  Tim Gwynn points out that we need to change how we teach because…This Ain’t Your Mother’s Classroom. Students roll in the classroom is not a passive one as Jerry  Swiatek shows that students can teach teachers.
  • My need to have support and give support is illustrated very well by Tom Whitby as he explains how  to create a Personal Learning Network. I am able to cheer on one of my favorite Twitter Friends Joan Young and her friend Lisa Dabbs helping the new teacher survive the first years of teaching, gain many tips for helping teachers that are new to our profession, and learn a few tips for myself!
  • My inner child comes alive when I watch how Maria Anderson supports my deep belief that playing is learning!
  • Being involved in a worthy cause is a need we all feel. It gives us that feeling that we are doing what we can to make life better. The closing keynote is worth watching over and over again because Steve Anderson gets you fired up to do something. Stand up and try to make the reform in education mean something. He is the reason I wrote this blog. As you can see, by my past posts…a blogger I am not!

This is just the tip of the iceberg! I have many more to session to watch and learn from. Please take time to learn from theses amazing educators. The coolest thing is even after you watch these videos there is a wonderful place you can get even more support! Twitter allows teachers to share ideas, learn new tools, get help and my favorite thing about Twitter is you can ‘meet” the most amazing people! Please visit the Reform Symposium to see all that is has to offer. If you want education to change you have to be willing to help in the fight, and this symposium will give you the tools to do so!  As Steve Anderson says in his keynote “FIRE UP!”