Monthly Archives: September 2013

Bi-weekly update…

The past two weeks I have focused on getting routines in place.  It is important that the children know what learning options they have to work on while I meet with small groups for text discussion.  Last week we did points “for real” but since we missed a day of meeting due to the schedule changes from Wednesday’s Peaceful School Bus sessions, I knew they would not get their 100 points.  Tomorrow I will go over points with each child as some will be in for a “shock”. I have learned quickly who is managing their time effectively and who will need to work on self-monitoring more.

Talk about text last week went extremely well!  I had the children “grade” themselves on how prepared they thought they were on a scale of 10 and then after how much they think they “participated” on a scale of 15.  I was quite surprised by how many were “hard” on themselves and rated themselves lower (so when you see their “lower” score, know it was their honesty!)  Our discussions were rich and they were referring to specific points and examples in the text for “evidence”.  It was quite exciting!

If you are interested, Miami Township TeleVision asked me to do an interview and then followed up with some action in the classroom (they taped during the AM 3rd grade group.)  You can check it out at: 


Another FABULOUS week for us!

What a week!  I have to admit that two Parent Info Nights wore me out a bit (ok…maybe it was the kids!) But what an exciting week it has been!  This week we worked on a big text comparison project. 3rd graders compared 5 “pourquoi” tales and 4th graders compared 5 short articles about technology.  After reading and “making notes” (similar to ELO’s), they were given a “key question” to answer.  The question was about one commonality between all of the texts.  Part of what they were asked to do was support their answer with evidence (I’m teaching them to “quote” text…beginning stages).

Each day began with a “Daily Dive In”.  This week I showed a different Norman Rockwell painting.  Then we worked on noticing what was in the painting and what we thought.  Here too the goal was to support our thinking with evidence.  In the most simplest form: “I see ________ so I think _________.”  It has been quite insightful reading their daily responses!

The other big thing this week was the arrival of our 3 chromebooks!  (See the completed project page on Donors Choose for more info).  We are learning to simultaneously comment on one Google document…talk about great digital literacy!  The hardest part though was taking turns!  The 3rd graders commented on a quote; the 4th graders read an article about a dog that rescued a woman from being trapped for 27 hours in rubble on 9/11, then wrote their responses.  (Many 4th graders are still waiting their turn, but you can see what we have so far: Quotable Quotes – Google Drive and 911 dog hero response – Google Drive)  We cannot thank our donors enough for making this possible!!!

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Our week in review…

While MAP testing really impacted a sense of routine and schedule this week, we did spend some time just hanging out and reading:

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One of the lessons I was able to do with almost all of the students was a review of synonyms and antonyms using an interactive application called “NEARPOD”.  They used iPads in small groups as they reviewed the concepts, answered questions in a multiple choice “quiz” and provided me with instant feedback on my teacher led app.  This lesson format of course was a BIG hit and one I will be using as often as I can create the interactive sessions for it! 100_6873  100_6877

Other lessons for the week (to be made up next week with students whose schedules with me were interrupted for testing) include “discourse about discourse”, mixing it up with grouping, and going over our rubric for quality written work (4th graders only at this time on the rubric.)

Donors Choose

So my interest in this organization actually peeked when I won a gift card through an Edutopia twitter contest to use on Donors Choose.  Combine the opportunity the organization provides teachers to generate funding and the desire to learn the children walked into the GREEN ROOM with last week and I became inspired.  Ideas for digital literacy started rolling as they gathered around the tech devices I have in my room (that I purchased myself).

So I started one project to get iPods for audio/visual collaboration and thanks to some great Loveland families and a temporary matching donation code, it was funded in one day!

Now as we await the arrival of our iPods, I did some “research” into Chromebooks and thought these tools would allow us the ability to access online resources at a small cost so I set up another project for increasing digital literacy. AND until Sept. 8th, when someone donates to this project and enters the code INSPIRE, the Donors Choose board of directors will match their donation dollar for dollar!