Getting ready for a FANTASTIC 2017-2018 school year!

I am beyond excited! This year is going to be fantastic! Last summer I had foot surgery and started the year not being able to walk… then with a larger than ever group of students (almost 90 a day), I found the year to be a busy whirlwind… needless to say, this blog was a bit “neglected”. I am determined to do better!

Let’s start with a “welcome tour” to the classroom! I have made some changes to the layout of the classroom so returning students will note differences. New friends, I hope you enjoy this brief “tour of the room” video:

Now starting a new year would not be complete without a bit of reflection… So here’s “how I spent my summer vacation”:

  • I ran one college course for teachers this year on phonics fundamentals and a summer book study for teachers across the state on Disrupting Thinking. These endeavors kept me busy and growing as a professional.
  • As an ELA leader I worked on designing a phonics scope and sequence for K-4 teachers. It was a HUGE undertaking and I’m proud of the work my “partner” and I have done. I look forward to this helping any child!
  • I was honored to co-present a session with a fellow educator from NY for teachers at the International Literacy Association’s annual convention in Orlando.  I got to meet the authors of Disrupting Thinking and was a “guest sketchnoter” at Tanny McGregor’s ILA session.

    (Sketchnoting is a fantastic way to process and synthesize what we hear and read… I use it as a learner and encourage students to use as well. For more info, here’s an article I wrote on it for the Ohio Journal of English Language Arts)

  • While in Orlando, I enjoyed Universal Studios with teacher friends I met from Illinois and went to Disney for 3 days with my best girlfriend!
  • As my own children are grown (my youngest is turning 23 today!), my husband and I have enjoyed time with each other and friends. I have enjoyed driving around in the sun in my jeep, my patio and small pool, and READING! I have read so many great books this summer…many of which I can recommend to the children!
  • I also tried to keep up with the “summer book club” option I offered 3rd to 4th graders and did some participating in a summer book club of my own.


Passion Projects!

Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 2.00.21 PM.pngIndependent study projects offer students a great deal of choice in their learning. The challenge however is when do I fit it all in? Since Passion Projects focus primarily on research and presentation standards (which fall under writing and speaking/listening standards), they are not part of the curriculum that I am responsible for. For this reason, I do not include these as part of the in class work we do.

Needless to say, they hold so much value and in the past students who have taken the initiative to do one have found them to be VERY rewarding! Check out our Green Room Virtual Museum to see! (note that some projects load VERY slowly!) Here are a few where video was used in sharing what was learned as it is a popular choice:

Please note that Passion Projects are intended to be done independently and at home. (If a student wishes to use Green Room resources or materials they will need to schedule a time during their recess to come in and work). Class time will not be devoted to these projects, however I will be virtually available for students to ask questions so access to their school Google accounts from home is a must.

To be eligible for a passion project as a 3rd grader, students must have earned at least a “Level 5” responding to text badge and must sign a contract. 4th graders are always welcome to do one on their own!