Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kreeger Academy - Eiffel Tower

Gemma is helping me out with my EPIC Academy Quests this summer... 

My daughter is with me today at school and I am pretty much caught up on everything I need to do to finish up this school year.  I decided to get on Epic and complete this quest series that I started a while ago.  My daughter loves Paris, and my brother (her Uncle) is there right now visiting.  Last night, he and his fiance were able to go to the Eiffel Tower.  She asks me tons of questions about it, and so I thought this would be a good opportunity for her to learn all about it.  
First, I had her read a short book about the Eiffel Tower (she just finished up Kindergarten)  Then, I gave her some classroom supplies (straws, glue, scissors) and told her she could decorate the Eiffel Tower anyway she would like.  She decided to create a rainbow pattern.  Then we watched a short video about the Eiffel Tower (for kids)  and then I asked her to give her picture a title and write 2 facts she remembered either from the book or video.  The last thing we did was use Google Earth to pull up the coordinates for the Eiffel Tower.  I let her use the chromebook to type "Eiffel Tower."  She was delighted to see the computer zoom in to the place we were just learning about.  She figured out on her own how to change it to the street view and I showed her how to take a screenshot.  She was so excited about all of this and wanted me to take pictures to send to her Uncle.  
I was so proud to see how easy something like this was to do even with a Kindergartener and I can't wait to show the K-2 teachers how to use Google Earth.  I think this tool can be used with any grade level.  

See pics below ..... IMG_5890.jpgIMG_5893.jpg

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Teacher Mom

Sometimes being a teacher mom is hard...... but other days like today ..... it's easy! 

I wanted to take my daughter (who is my student this summer) to the Statue of Liberty.  I love being able to practice with her, and them implement these same lessons with my students.  We read a story in my class about immigrants who had to come through Ellis Island and I usually take this opportunity to teach my students a little about New York and I take them on a virtual field trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  
To get my daughter interested in the topic, I first allowed her to do something that she loves (art).  I found a kid friendly how to video for her to watch on how to draw the Statue of Liberty. She watched it several times, pausing along the way and eventually came up with a pencil sketch that she traced over with black sharpie.  Then we got the paint out and she painted her picture with blue skies and of course a light green Statue of Liberty (we had to talk about mixing paint to get the right color green)  
While the paint was drying, we read a short informational text passage about the Statue of Liberty together.  It was a little over her reading level, so we read it together.  She answered the comprehension questions by herself.  
We found a 360VR video on youtube.  She used the VR headset to take a virtual FT to the Statue of Liberty.  Her comments were "it's SOOO big!!!"  That was my exact same thought when I saw it in person in 2007.  I thought it was a really cool moment..... she said "Whoa there's a boat!"  In her reading passage they mentioned that people ride a "ferry" over to Liberty Island.  She has never been on a ferry and didn't understand what it meant.  I guess she thought they were talking about a "fairy."  Anyway, the VR experience helped her understand that vocabulary word.... which I think is awesome!  
I love how VR allows students to experience the world and see places they may never get the opportunity to see in person.  It is so much better than simply watching a video or seeing pictures.  Something about putting on the headset makes it feel like you can reach out and touch it.'
After the VR experience we ended the lesson with writing practice.  She had to write a paragraph about the Statue of Liberty using information from her reading passage.


Monday, May 7, 2018

My Why.....

If you are a teacher..... Y'all..... Please watch this video and get your tissues ready!  

This time of year it is easy to lose sight of our why?  Why did we become a teacher?  Why won't these kids behave?  Why won't they just do their best?  I said today to my husband and coworker...
I'm over this school year.  

We probably all have students in our class that remind us of Arthur.  The kid who nobody loves, nobody looks after, they kid who gets left behind.  But then, you come along and he latches onto you.  You love him, nurture him, discipline him, and refuse to leave him behind.  

When I saw this today, it gave me encouragement to finish strong with my group of students and to make this last month the best month of the school year.  

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Chicago Baby!

I am so excited to be traveling to Chicago this summer for the Badge Summit!  The event will take place June 23, 2018 at Columbia College Chicago.  I will be traveling with a team of 5 people from SCS to Chicago to tell others about my experience with Epic Academy and to meet other folks who are using a badge type system in their district.  I am very excited about this professional opportunity, but I'm also very nervous about traveling and being away from my family.  I am looking forward the the experience and I will be posting about our trip here on my blog!  Stay tuned! 

Survival Mode

Does anyone else fee like this right now, or is it just me?

We have one week left, actually 4 days until students and staff are out of school for spring break!  How can it be?  It seems to have gone by even faster this year than ever now that I have my own little one in kindergarten.  Anyway, ready or not, we we get back from spring break it will be time to hit the road running as we prepare for the end of grade testing.  Yes, like it or not, they will have to take EOG's.  So, how do you keep your kids motivated to learning during those weeks?  I used to be the drill and kill type and just practice question after question from eog type practice tests, but I quickly got burned out and bored as a teacher.  Can you imagine how the students feel if this is what they do every day?  If you are looking for fun motivational ways to keep your students engaged while at the same time practicing for their EOG's here are a few things I have tried in my room that are student and teacher approved!

5th Grade ELA Review 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Olympics 2018

I have always loved watching the Olympics, both summer and winter and have always tried to incorporate the Olympics into my classroom during the Winter Olympics.  I thought everyone would be really excited, but honestly this group I have this year doesn't seem to impressed.  Most of them told me that they have not watched any of the Olympics and some even told me they didn't even realize they were on right now.  Why is this I wonder?  Could it be that the kids are more into their electronics?  Could it be that many households only using streaming devices such as Roku or the Amazon firestick to watch TV?  I'm not sure, but I will make it my mission over the next two weeks to get these kids pumped up about the Olympics!!!!  

Reading: So today, we started with a BrainPop video  and then we read a Winter Games- Close Reading Passage from TeachersPayTeachers.  This resource is awesome because it exposes the students to nonfiction reading and it can be used digitally with Google Classroom.  

Math: Another cool resource I found is 2018 Winter Olympics by the Numbers.  Each image in the Olympic slide show is accompanied with a numerical fact. Teachers, this is where you can get creative.  You can have students of every grade level work with these numbers based on your standards.  I plan to have my students write the numbers in expanded form using multiplication in my lesson.  

Science:  Ever wonder the science behind some of your favorite Olympic Events?  NBC Learn has teamed up with the National Science Foundation to produce a 16-part video series that explores the science behind individual Olympic Events.  I can't wait to share some of these with my students!  The curling one is my favorite!  Click here to check them all out!  

The video below shows my students doing the Kagan Structure - Quiz Quiz Trade.  During Flex Groups I had them read a passage about the host city, Pyeongchang and then I used some common core question stem cards. Of course I played the Olympic Fanfare and Theme while they mixed around the room finding their next partner.  

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

iPad Apps for Education

What are you favorite apps for education? 

My son and daughter both got an iPad for Christmas this past year and I am trying to encourage them to use it for something other that YouTube Kids.  I think there is probably some benefit to them watching toy reviews, I get annoyed that they would rather watch other people open and play with toys than play with the toys they have.  The only benefit I have found from them watching those type videos is that is keeps them entertained and it does increase their vocabulary and spark interest in their own creative play.  However, I would like them to use their iPads to help reinforce math, reading, science, and spanish.  I want them to use their iPad's to create their own videos/projects.  I mean, they are only 3 and 6, but I am a firm believer in the #kiderscan and #preKcan movements. 

Right now we are using ...

PBS-Science and Play
Duolingo (for Spanish) 

I also need some technology time management ideas.  My daughter who has learned how to read has figured out how to change and set the timer on the youtube kids app.  Before we would limit her to 15-30 minutes at a time.  She used to give it up just fine when the timer when off, because she understood that time was up. Now, we still try to limit her time, but she will not just hand it over when we tell her it's been 15 minutes.  I end up just taking it away and making her cry.  I love technology, but I do believe there at their young age their needs to be a balance.  I don't want her to be glued to a screen all evening.