What happened today?

I just made a new Voki. See it here:
February 3, 2011, 6:21 pm
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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!

Science Alive
November 23, 2010, 10:44 pm
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We are so blessed to have an awesome PTO in Goodrich. Our PTO works very hard to bring amazing programs to our school each year! This is my FAVORITE thing we do every year! I am an animal lover, and most students are, too. The people at Science Alive do an incredible job with the animals and the students. The presenters are so patient and knowledgeable. My students learn so much from them each time they visit our school.  We are impressed with the Science Alive team because they keep records on what animals we have seen and ones we have not, so it is never a repeat.

Thank you so much PTO for bringing this amazing program to us every year! We love it!!! We want to thank all of the parents that support the PTO. Without your generous support we would not have the opportunity to view such amazing things in our classroom! It is very cool!

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What is happening in room 300?
October 18, 2010, 9:12 pm
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The Principal’s New Clothes: A Lesson in realtionships and Measurement
October 5, 2010, 10:09 pm
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OuThe Principla's New Clothesr school has a new principal! We are blessed to have a principal that loves to visit our classrooms. I think building a report with children is so important, especially for the principal. Students need to see the principal as an important part of our building , not just a person that sits in the office all day…and Mr. Ellis is just that type of principal!

Mr. Ellis asked if he could come in and read to the students,  of course we all invited him in. Watching him read the stories and interact with the kids was great…I got the feeling that this is the right fit for this principal and the kids LOVED it.

After he finished reading the book I asked him if he would mind if we took some measurements so we could make him some new clothes. I let the students decide which measurements we needed and they decided on the arm length, leg length, the chest and the hips…that was it. Part of me wanted to push for more measurements, but I wanted the students to have to think critically, so we wrote these measurements down. As they were taking the measurements, Mr. Ellis and I both knew that they were not correct, but again, I wanted the students to figure that out on their own. We thanked Mr. Ellis and after he left the room we started our creations.

I love this activity because students learn, in a meaningful way, what it means to create items using a scale. We have been looking at several maps of Michigan, so to help them understand what a scale was we started talking about our maps and I asked,”Is this how big Michigan is?”  It took a little discussion, but we finally agreed that Michigan was much larger than the maps we had. Many students started to see that these maps were all different sizes…after some searching one student found the map scale at the bottom of one of the maps…and the light bulbs came on! After learning about map scales I said that is what we are going to have to do to Mr. Ellis…we need to shrink his measurements.

As a class we decided that an easy way to “shrink” Mr. Ellis was to make all of the inches we measured into centimeters. Once we decided what our scale was going to be I brought out the scrapbook paper. This made their day! All the colors and patterns they could put together made them excited to create their new designs. I learned a lot by watching them measure. I also saw a lot of problem solving. The scrapbook pages were too short for some of the measurements (on purpose) so it was interesting to see how students solved this problem. What was wonderful was the kids started to realize that they needed more data…”How wide do we make the arms? How wide are his legs? How long is his shirt supposed to be? And my favorite…who measured the tie? It is only 3 centimeters according to our scale! That is when we stopped and had a discussion of what we could have done differently. It was an awesome discussion! Students started to talk about how they measured. If it was close they just went to the next number or if it wasn’t too far past the number they just rounded off. Students learned that we need to much more accurate in our measuring and many students shared their strategies of how they used their ruler.

Great learning took place that day! It continued after the creations were finished. As you can see they are all different sizes! We decided that if we were all accurate…they would not be so different!

Thank you Mr. Ellis for teaching my students the importance of measuring accurately and for being an awesome principal for our building!

Click on the link below to see our awesome creations!!