Sunday, June 30, 2013

Favorites from the year: Earth Day

I love doing activities around Earth Day each year. This year I didn't get chance to do as much as usual but I'll share anyway.

One of the fun activities is "paper making." A couple of years ago a fabulous parent made the frames that I use during the process. Basically we grind up newspaper and construction paper scraps then add some extra water to make a good pulp. The kids put the screen through the wash tub with pulp, remove the top guide, flip it and then sponge the excess water away. Then they put it away to dry. The frame I have is the perfect size to fold into a card and then fit in the card envelopes from the office store. It was great that I had a couple of parents come and help with each class. That way we could work on other things while they waited for their turn.

Another activity that day was writing and recording group Earth Day videos using iMovie. The kids were divided into teams and they worked out who would be working on each section. This idea came from Heidi Raki. Here is the TpT file. Some of them came out really cute.

You can check out one of the videos (with the dangling puppet above) by clicking here.

One of my classes got a chance to make recycled items out of old stuff the day before Earth Day. To get inspired we read The Dumpster Diver. The kids had a chance to bring in old stuff that might be able to reused in some other way. I shared a bunch of examples of newspaper crafts and some of the kids ran with it making slippers, flowers and other items. A few students had something in mind they wanted to make and they scrounged what they needed. Other kids were just inspired by the stuff and came up with things on the fly. Each student (or team) wrote short "how to" directions for their item. A couple kids had enough time to create snap guides for their creations.

A neat activity that we didn't get to the this year is reading one of the Adventures of books and then writing about the life of another inanimate object from first person point of view.

So that's one favorite holiday from last year that I haven't written about yet. Hopefully some others will join in with Amanda too over at the Teaching Thief. What about you?


Saturday, June 29, 2013

July Currently

I'm going to join the couple day early crowd over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade because I have a few minute while I'm hanging out with my husband at the RC plane field. This is his new hobby and it is so cute watching him act like a kid.

Listening: obvious enough since I'm at the RC field. It is a beautiful evening to be out and there are only a couple of planes going.

Loving: My Dad is one of 8 and everyone is spread around the US. It was about 15 years ago that everyone got together and there have been quite a few additions to the family since then. One of my uncles has organized several fun events and one of my aunts had personalized T-shirts made for everyone with our names and number (age) on the back. Pink for the ladies and grey for the gents :-)

Thinking: it has been so nice the summer that I have not way overbooked myself. I like doing PD that I choose when I want and then relaxing and hanging out the rest of the time.

Wanting: ISTE was great and I was so excited to meet some people in personal that I have only known online. Now I have to do some processing so I will be ready to share with others.

Needing: another obvious one

Tips: I have been playing around with a few readers especially since google's announcement. I have definitely settled on feedly. I like the layout options, the ability to tag posts, and organize by some categories. It's also easy to add new blogs and even search for blogs within certain categories.

Now I need to go see what everyone else is up to.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Five for Friday

A quick post to join in the
I spent my week in Texas so I can't resist some thematic numbers
My husband and I went to an Indigo Girls concert (with Joan Baez) the night before I headed out of town. We had great seat and it was very enjoyable. We have seen them before but I always enjoy this concert venue.

It was great to spend Father's Day with my dad just outside of Austin. We went boating on Lake Travis and had a yummy dinner at The Gnarly Gar. I didn't get pictures of the two of us but I did get some sad looking pictures of the lake (my dad said it's down about 55 feet)

After leaving my dad's house I went to visit my two sisters outside of Houston. It was so great to spend time with them and my niece and nephews. Well my 14 year old nephew hung out in his room most of the time (I guess it's just the age) but the little ones are precious.
I have been participating in the Teach Like Pirate book study and following/making a few comments on Twitter with the #tlap hashtag. I was super excited this week to get a couple of nice thoughful comments from Dave Burgess and have him add me to his google+ circles (which I of course reciprocated). How cool is that :-) Obviously a super nice guy who must be excited with the impact he is making right now.
I am sooo excited for ISTE. I have been following tweets all week and adding things to my planner and calendar. It will be so nice to see old friends and get a chance to meet people in personal that I have only connected with online. I just drove over and checked into my hotel tonight so I'm ready to get started. I am going to Hack Education (an ISTE unplugged event) for the first time so I'm very interested to experience that.

Time to go check out what everybody else has been up to.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday website and Workshop Pins

It's late (I can't give up any quality visiting time with my family) but it's still Wednesday for another hour so here we go.

First up a quick website for 

A fun versatile site as have as grade level and purpose is Kerpoof. Students can make pictures, stories, movies, etc. all within one site. There are a variety of possibilities with suggested grade levels for each section. There is even a teacher sections with lesson plans and other ideas. As a teacher you can easily create logins for your students and then print up little ID type cards for them. It is certainly a great starting point for some digital storytelling. I don't have them time to go into all the different sections but go check it out.

starting page where students can log in

information in the teacher section along with a video

one of the picture options I used with our camping unit
Next up a couple of reading pins for

With all the need for evidence about reading this is something I want to make next year.

from Julie Ballew at A Literate Life

Here is another one about students documenting their thinking about reading but it more about self assessment. It was actually such a great post you really should go read the whole thing.

from Miss Bongers at Life in 4B

Making a T shirt seemed like a really fun way for students to share about their independent reading. Check out the post that explains about the process and shows other examples.

from Nancy at Teaching My Friends

I have gotten such pleasure out of reading all of Brandee Green's posts at Creating Lifelong Learners. This was a gem she posted recently. She even shared the needed forms - so sweet.

from Brandee Green at Creating Lifelong Learners

I am going to stop there with 4 minutes to spare :-)