Friday, March 28, 2014

Reading Around the World with our 7th Graders

Students in our 7th grade Language Arts classes just completed their Read Around the World unit. This unit gives them an opportunity to read a variety of books set in different countries and understand how children from different cultures are similar and different from them. Students were able to read at their own pace and choose from a variety of titles. Some students were even able to read all of the available titles and over 1,000 pages! Amazing job, 7th grade! View the video below to see the impact that this unit had on our students and to view the variety of titles from which our students were able to choose.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Olympic Video Competition Results

The results are in.  Thanks to all of your votes, we are ready to announce the winner of the 7th grade persuasive Olympic video competition.  Which country should host the next Olympics based on your votes?  Read on for the results.

With 322 total votes, here are the final results:

Congratulations to Madagascar for winning the worldwide vote! If you missed their video, check it out below.

Even though time is up to vote for your favorite video, you can still watch all of the top 11 videos if you missed them.

Great job showing your creativity and persuasion skills 7th grade!

Math Stories with GoAnimate

Our 6th grade students used GoAnimate for Schools to create their own animated math stories to share what they have learned thus far in math by either creating a story that demonstrates how to apply a mathematical process or to create a problem for others to solve.  View some of our students' creative examples below.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Skype with Ice Dogs Author Terry Lynn Johnson

Today 5th graders in my Integrated Technology class had a very special surprise.  We Skyped with Ice Dogs author Terry Lynn JohnsonIce Dogs tells the story of teen musher Victoria Secord, who must overcome many obstacles after the death of her father and being stranded with her team of dogs in the wilderness during a snowstorm.

Johnson's presentation today not only got students excited to read Ice Dogs, but it also opened students up to the sport of dog sledding.  She shared with us stories of her past experiences as a musher and some of the equipment and gear mushers use.

Johnson also talked about the writing process, emphasizing the importance of revision.  Here is how her first draft of Ice Dogs looked after it was returned by her editor.

She had to revise six times before her book was completed! 

Then, Johnson read the beginning of Ice Dogs

After only a few pages, our students were hooked!  We decided that this would make a great class read-aloud.

Finally, our Skype session ended with a little trivia game and some Q&A.  Students had to guess what the words on the card meant in the sport of dog sledding.

Then, students had time to ask Johnson some questions.  Our students wanted to know what inspired her to be a writer and musher and how she became interested in dog sledding.

This was one of the best author Skypes that I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of.  Johnson's presentation was not only informative, but it was exciting, engaging, and got the kids hooked.  I cannot wait to read this book aloud to this group of students.  This was a fantastic way to get kids to learn more about the sport of dog sledding as well as interest them in reading and writing. A special thank you to Johnson for her enthusiasm and sharing her exciting experiences.