What happened today?

Thank You Therapy Dogs
December 30, 2010, 3:20 am
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We are very lucky to have a group of therapy dogs visit our classroom. The dogs and their owners volunteer their time to allow my students to read to them. Being able to read to Annie, Maggie or Lily is a treat for every child. The dogs are the ultimate reading buddy! No matter how the child reads their reading buddy enjoys the attention. My struggling readers get the same kisses and nudges the “better” readers do. This is a huge confidence builder for every reader! There is no questioning or assessing how fluent the reader is…it is reading at its best! This is for pure enjoyment, which is a grade level expectation in the state of Michigan.

Reading should be an enjoyable experience, and these amazing therapy dogs and their wonderful owners make it the best part of the day. I am so grateful for the experience you allow my third graders to have. The effect you have had on my students is not something I can measure on a test , but I know that it has made a HUGE impact on my students! When I have a student that would hide under the table during reading workshop in September run up to me and beg to be the first to read…you have given that child something he will have for life…a love of reading!

You can see the joy in the faces of each child! We love to have you visit and we look forward to reading more books to you in 2011!  We are so grateful for the time you spend with us! It truly is priceless!


Having Fun in Room 300
December 29, 2010, 7:15 am
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Recently one of my students wrote a blog post thanking me for always doing fun stuff. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that post. When you see the smiles in the videos you realize that school is a fun place to be. I do get a lot of people that question why my students are playing games or working in groups. I think these videos show why…they are engaged learners! Having students engaged in the learning process is overlooked by many people.

There is a push to practice skills over and over again so that we can do well on tests. My concern is not that the child does well on the test, but that the child truly understands a concept. I have found that worksheets do not accomplish this goal for many students. Many students need to have many different experiences before the concept is understood. I believe that if  the child understands the concept…the tests scores will come. When students love going to school, then I feel I have done my job. If students are bored, then I have more work to do.

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Top 100 Classroom Blogs
December 13, 2010, 10:10 pm
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I have had many educators ask me, “Why do you blog?” The reasons to blog are many, and the reason I blog changes with each post. The main reason I believe in blogging is that it gives children an authentic audience. I started this blog to communicate with parents, but now I use it as a way to model how and what we can blog about with my students. The list of blogs that are in this article written by Alexis Brett  is a great resource for educators to use.

When you look at the blogs on this list you will see what I mean about blogs being used for many things.  There are blogs that are a reflection of what we do as educators, blogs that are primarily written by children and blogs to share ideas. I think every educator needs to start using this valuable tool, and using this list is a great place to get ideas on how to use a blog!  This list is separated so that you can see what Kindergarten classrooms do …yes they can blog too, all the way up to high school and college. Please peruse this list and try to use blogging in your classroom! I have found that blogging is the best thing I have my students doing! They love to blog and they see themselves as writers!