Thursday, December 20, 2012

                                  Holiday Greetings

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Today is a SNOW DAY!  With that said I figured it was time to finish Christmas cards, bake sugar cookies, scrapbook, and of course write a new blog post.

This week at school we were very busy finishing our unit on Europe.  One of the many highlights of this unit is to make gingerbread houses.  The making of gingerbread is very common in many European homes.  On Monday our class looked like a house making factory.

I have a feeling that there was a lot of tasting also!
"Lets see what else should I add?"

 We were all so proud of our finished projects.  It was hard not to snitch more of the candy during the clean up.

My students are very creative.

 This week in music we sang Christmas songs to Mrs. Brown's kindergarten class, Ho, Ho, Ho!

Who is Santa and his elf?
Boys chorus

Merry Christmas to our friends and families!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

             Sounds of Christmas are in the air!
It's the month of December and no matter how much I tell myself to slow down and enjoy this time of the year, one thing after another seems to keep me busier then I want to be.

I have signed my class up for two different projects, a global classroom project called Christmas Around the World and a Christmas card exchange project.  I thought both of these sounded exciting especially since our current social studies unit is a study of Europe.

Christmas Around the World

Through this project students will learn about the Christmas traditions of others around the world.  Students are sharing there family traditions through skype, voicethread, and twitter.
They are sharing stories, videos, and photos.

I found out about the Holiday Card Exchange through a site called  We were assigned 30 classrooms throughout the US and Canada, we will exchange holiday greeting cards with one another.  We will also be sending cards to the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, MN.
The theme this year is snowglobes, thanks to Mrs. Friederich for making the patterns that we used for our cards. Our card shop has been very busy this week creating masterpieces.
We are very proud of our creations!
            We anxiously wait for our greeting cards to arrive!
Special delivery, our 2nd card of the week.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

                              Where is Mrs. Friederich?

On Friday Mrs. Friederich wasn't in school.  Where was she, Mrs. Egesdal didn't say.  Then at about 2:15, when we were coming in from recess, our skype was ringing.  Mrs. Egesdal said, "Answer it." Guess who it was?
It was Mrs. Friederich!
 But where was she?  She asked us to get out our draft books and to take notes and try to guess her location.  Here were her clues:
  1. I am not in Forest City, IA
  2. We flew west
  3. I am in a different time zone
  4. It is lunchtime where I am (I am hungry)
  5. Home of the Portland Trailblazers ( Noah knew it now, because he likes sports)
"That's right I am in Portland, Oregon"   We were very excited about this and had a lot of questions.
Mrs. Friederich and her tour guide (Mr. Friederich) took us on a picture walk of downtown Portland. This is what we saw:

 Then Mrs. Friederich told us that she had an assignment for us.  We were supposed to write a story about why we thought she was in Portland and not at school.  (What an assignment from Oregon?)
Here are some of our ideas:
  1. Her daughter must go to school there.
  2. She just wanted to get away
  3. She is on vacation to study
  4. She wanted to get away from Forest City for awhile
  5. She went to a big city
  6. They went to visit relatives
  7. She went to see an old friend
  8. She wanted to see another town 

We will have to wait until Monday to find out why she was in Portland instead of being at school.  Mrs. Friederich said it was time for her to eat lunch and that she would see us on Mon.  We will have lots to share.

Friday, October 19, 2012

                           Blogging, Blogging, Blogging
We have started to blog!   I was nervous at first to begin this project but after three weeks it is going much better. 

Our first step was to blog on paper.  Here is a great resource and one I have used often

Paper blog examples

We then discussed the best way to comment on a blog.  We also watched a video of students explaining how to blog, thank you to Mrs. Yollis for this informative video. Next we generated positive comments, then used post-its to comment on each others blogs.  The students did such a great job on this part!

I decide to use kidblog, it is a safe and positive blogging platform for students and I have read of a lot of teachers using it.   Here is the link to our blog.                                                   
I chose to have the students start by writing about their favorite food, it was fun to read both the blogs and students comments.

Some might wonder why students should blog.  I found the following blog that does a great job of explaining why students should blog

Thank you to Mrs. Ripp for posting this.

Have fun reading, I sure do!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

     This week we embarked on a new experience, a Global Read Aloud.  This unique experience was started in 2010 by Mrs. Ripp.  Her goal was simple, "Use one book to connect the world."
      Students will need these global connections in the future.  My students are learning to connect via Skype, Twitter, Edmodo, email, and kidblog.  There are over 250 classrooms worldwide participating in this project.  The book that I chose to read was The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, it is based on the true story of a silverback gorilla named Ivan.
      After viewing the book trailer, students logged on to Edmodo to make predictions about the book, they also explained if they thought they would like it or not.
Making our predictions using Edmodo

"I think Ivan is a gorilla in a zoo and the zookeeper does not keep the cage clean."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Skyping is underway

We have started to skype with other classes in the US.  This year I am using the yes/no format which makes it a little harder.  So far we have contacted with 4th and 5th grade classes in Calabassas, CA, Valparaiso, IN, and Cincinnati, Ohio.  We are on our way to a 50 state skype!
Saying good morning to Mr. Thompson's class

Students at the mic answering yes/no questions
Mappers working to find out where in the US is Mr. Thompson's class
We are looking forward to many more skypes including one to the country of Chile.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs,  the room is crawling with Bugs!
Investigations, Inquiry, Insects, these are all words we are using in science.

Why would we start the year investigating milkweed plants?
Because monarch caterpillars LOVE it.

Insect vocabulary
  • exoskeleton
  • antennae
  • pupa
  • chrysalis
  • thorax
  • metamorphosis
  • nymph
  • phermones
  • abdomen
  • larva
  • camouflage         
We were busy writing in our science notebooks which is what all good scientists do.   

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

                          Welcome Back!
It's great to be back at school with a room full of eager to learn students.  As I begin my 20th year of teaching (wow) I am excited about all of the opportunities that lie ahead.  All veteran teachers often think about the changes in education.  Technology is the biggest change for me and last year I dove right in.  This year I have a SMARTBoard and I continue to learn many fascinating things on twitter.  My class has already asked about skyping which we will start soon.  Thanks students for a fabulous first day.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's been a week since I said good-bye to my students, wow hard to believe!  The end of the school year is always bitter sweet, the kids are ready for vacation, but I am never ready to say good-bye.  This was such a great year!  My class was one of the best that I have had and we learned so much together.  I dove into technology head first often with their help. 

We enjoyed many mystery skypes and also 2 author skypes, which you can read about on my blog.  My goal for next year is to skype with all 50 states and South America.  

As a teacher I never truly take the summer off.  This time is spent preparing for next year, I have a long list of tasks for the summer.  My list includes reading The Daily Five, The Book Whisperer, Real Revisions, Bigger Than a Breadbox, and  The One and Only Ivan, to name a few.  I also want to learn more about the video slideshow maker Animoto.  Hopefully I will get it all done before August.

During the school year many friendships were made, Jessa, Melissa, and Olivia enjoy time outside.

                         Lessons were learned, measurement is always a fun hands on activity.

                            Life long memories were formed, thanks for another great year!
Have a splendid summer!

Monday, May 21, 2012

May is field trip month!

We made our annual trip to Pilot Knob State Park last week, it was a beautiful day!
Riley holding his arm load of eggs for the relay.

Logan's turn.
Then it was time for operation egg drop.  Students constructed a container that an egg could survive in after being drop from the tower.  Read about Pilot Knob and its tower here

Students anxiously wait for their egg project to fall.

Mrs. Happel at lift off

Yes, there were survivors!

View from the tower, beautiful Iowa country side.