Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Which country should host the next Olympics?

Everyone out there in the world, the 7th graders at our school need your help!  They just completed an integrated Social Studies/Language Arts project creating videos to convince you to host the next Olympics in a country that they researched.  Now they need you to decide which video is the most persuasive.

To coincide with the 7th grade Social Studies curriculum of world cultures, students worked in teams in their Social Studies classes to research different countries.  Studies needed to find information on the history of the country's flag, national anthem, and popular tourist attractions, among other information.

In Language Arts, students worked to learn the different persuasive techniques that appear in advertising.  Some of the techniques learned included slogans, repetition, testimonials, glittering generalities, and bandwagon.  They learned how advertisers used these techniques to appeal to us and sway our opinions.

Once students completed the above, it was time to put what they learned together.  In Language Arts, students created videos using Animoto to persuade viewers as to why the next Olympics should be held in the country that they researched.  They needed to combine the facts learned from their Social Studies research with the persuasive techniques studied in Language Arts.  For some students the task was more challenging than others!  Despite the obstacles, students created very impressive and persuasive products.

Now we are looking to you to help decide which country should host the next Olympics.  Please view the top 11 videos on our Google Site, Olympic Videos.  After viewing the videos, please access the Google Form (also available on our Google Site) and vote for your favorite.  Voting will be open until March 15.  The winning country will be announced the week of March 17.  Everyone's vote counts, so please tell your students, parents, neighbors, friends, and other family members to vote as well.

We can't wait to see the results!  Thank you for your votes!

Photo credits: Sydney 2000 Olympics - Athletics . Photography.Encyclop√¶dia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 26 Feb 2014.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Analyzing Characters with Voicethread

Students in Mrs. Yeager's Language Arts class are using Voicethread to help them think deeply about the characters that they are reading about in their Reading Workshop books.  Each student created a Voicethread with text and audio comments to share information about their book's main character.  Then they shared their Voicethread with another student in the class who interpreted the information shared about this character and responded with further questions and comments.  The result is a conversation about different characters with higher-level thinking and deep analysis.  Below are a few examples of what the students have done already.  The conversations are ongoing, so new questions and comments will be added soon.

March Madness Enters the Library

March Madness is almost upon us.  If you love the excitement of March Madness and filling out your bracket, check out our bulletin board outside of the library and join us for the NLMS Library March Madness.  Can you guess which books have been checked out most this year?  The most circulated non-fiction and fiction books will compete for the ultimate March Madness championship.  Which book will be named the most popular?  Every four days we will advance one of our books to the next round of competition.  Get your brackets ready, and see if you can correctly guess the winner.

What is Digital Citizenship?

Students in my Integrated Technology classes are just beginning to learn how to define digital citizenship and  what that term encompasses.  To demonstrate their understanding of its definition, students created digital citizenship word clouds using TagxedoTagxedo also allows students the ability to make creative shapes with their word clouds.  See some samples of their work below.

Battle of the Books

Congratulations to the two teams that represented our school at yesterday's Battle of the Books state competition. Each team had to answer questions based on a list of 20 books that they read throughout the year. Battle of the Books is sponsored by WEMTA- the Wisconsin Educational Media Technology Association.

Representing NLMSIS in the middle school division were Jordan, Kaitlyn, Taylor, and Roxanne.

Representing the NLMSIS in the elementary school division were Ben, Ryan, and Shane.

The winning school will be announced next week. Best of luck to these students, and congratulations on an excellent Battle season.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

7th Grade Skype with Olympic Torch Bearer Jon Tait

Yesterday during Bulldog Time all 7th graders had a Skype visit from a very special speaker,  Jon Tait, a physical education teacher from the United Kingdom and an Olympic torch bearer for his country during the summer 2012 London Olympics.  Jon's presentation about the meaning and history of the Olympic torch and his feelings representing his country as a torch bearer were the focus of his presentation.  Students also had the opportunity to ask questions about his experiences- everything from what he wore as a torch bearer to how he was chosen to represent his country.  This was done using Skype's group call feature, allowing us to connect 6 Skype accounts at once.

Jon's presentation provided a perfect connection to 7th graders' current integrated Language Arts/Social Studies project.  Students are connecting what they are learning about world countries in Social Studies to their Language Arts study of persuasion.  Currently, students are in groups researching details about one country in the world.  Next week, they will take what they learned about that country and create a persuasive video in Language Arts that attempts to persuade the "Olympic Committee" to host the next Olympic games in their country.

You may wonder who are the elite members of the "Olympic Committee" that will be deciding which country is selected for the next games.  The answer is EVERYONE!  As soon as students' videos are complete, we will send out a link asking for you to decide which video is the winner.  Stay tuned for the completed videos at the beginning of March.

A big thank you goes out to Jon Tait for taking his time to share his experiences with our students.  His passion and ability to easily connect with kids really impacted our students.  At the end of the day as I passed students in the hall, I heard so many "thank yous" and "that was awesome." 

To learn more about Jon Tait, visit his Skype in the Classroom page or follow him on Twitter @TeamTait.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Integrated Technology featured in Mrs. Young's article about Digital Citizenship

I am very excited to share that I have officially written my first article for an educational publication.  I wrote an article entitled "A 21st Century Model for Teaching Digital Citizenship" which is being published in the February issue of Educational Horizons magazine.  This article is all about how I teach Integrated Technology and my philosophies about teaching topics such as Internet Safety, Cyberbullying, and Copyright.  You can read my article in full text on the Educational Horizons website until February 12.  Let me know what you think:

Access my article at:

Mystery Skype and Guest Storyteller

Today was a fun day in Integrated Technology. Students experienced their first Skypes.  In 5th hour, students had a special surprise guest speaker: Ms. Levinson from Miami, FL.  Ms. Levinson is a library media specialist and a storyteller who Skypes stories with students every Tuesday.  Today she read us
Believe Me, Goldilocks Rocks!: The Story of the Three Bears as Told by Baby Bear (The Other Side of the Story) by Nancy Loewen.  Students were entertained by the fractured fairytale where Goldilocks takes selfies while jumping on Baby Bear's bed and scares the bears when they arrive home and find her sleeping in the bed.  What a great way first Skype this was!

In 6th hour, students experienced their first Mystery Skype.  We used Google Maps to narrow the location of our mystery class.  What did we learn?  We were speaking with a group of fourth graders from Maplewood, MN.  Ms. Joseph's class did an excellent job asking questions and guessing that we were actually in a neighboring state.  At the end we shared a little information about our respective cities and even had some time to share what we were currently reading.

Students did such a great job today.  Stay tuned to find out who we will be Mystery Skyping with tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spanish Language Practice Using Photostory

Sixth-graders in Mrs. Hurst's Spanish classes used Photostory3 to illustrate and share information about themselves using the Spanish that they learned during the first semester. To complete the project, students had to write 13 facts about themselves in Spanish and then add audio to five slides of their choice. Students really enjoyed sharing the Spanish that they learned while also creating a rich multimedia project about themselves.  See some examples of their final products below.