Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are you coming to camp and visit around the campfire?

Yuck!  Ouch!  Get away from me!  Have you ever heard these phrases when you have been outdoors or better yet climbing into your sleeping bag for a peaceful nights sleep?  Squirm on over to today's WONDER and learn more about Creepy Crawling Critters
Also join us tonight for the fireside chat with Professor Bug.  We'll be communicating about insects -- all that buzzing, clicking and chirping they do.  The conversation begins at 8:00 ET and use the hashtag after your comments."See" you tonight.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Okay for Now

I just finished reading Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, and I have to be honest it did not hook me quickly but something kept me reading.  I loved Gary Schmidt's first book, Wednesday Wars so I was very excited when the sequel came out. Doug Swieteck now lives in what he calls "The Dump" his new home in Marysville, NY after his family had to move because his father lost his job.  The year is 1968 and I enjoyed throughout the book the connections with NASA and space missions as well as the  connections with Joe Pepitone and New York Yankees. The story is about Doug's life which is not easy and how he has to find his own space in the new town.  His space was not going to be in The Dump where his family struggles with their relationships as well as making ends meet although his mother's love is an endearing part of the story.  His space did not start out to be in his new school where he had a difficult time connecting with other students and teachers; however this ended up being one of my favorite story lines by the end of the book.  He did connect finally to Mr. Powell who works in the public library which is only open on Saturday. Together along with his new friend, Lil Spencer,  they explore the plates of John James Audubon book Birds of America. This part of the story was powerful for me, and I always wanted Doug to go to the library when things were difficult for him.  Finally Doug connected with his Saturday job of delivering groceries using a wagon to different families around the town. I loved this part of the story and Gary Schmidt did an amazing job with beautiful details describing the characters that Doug made deliveries to each Sat.  As I reread my post, and I have had time to think about the book-there were many strong story lines intertwined, and I am sure that is why I kept reading.  I will be interested to see if there will be any Newberry buzz about this book since Gary Schmidt is a past Newberry Honor winner.  We'll have to wait and see........

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Come Join Us Around the Campfire Tonight

Grab the marshmallows, the chocolate and graham crackers and come along with Wonderopolis tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET for their first virtual campfire conversations on twitter.  Hurry it's not to late,if you don't have a twitter account it's easy. Just google twitter and open an account-it's free and a great way to communicate with many people from all over the world. When you log on to twitter, use the hashtag  after you leave your comments.  Camp opened today with the wonder of What Does Poison Ivy Look Like?  I've already been to the grocery store and  ready for the conversation at 8:00.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Calling All Happy Campers

Tomorrow Wonderopolis is kicking off their Thursday camping wonders focusing on getting ready for outdoor camping skills including tips about taking a camping trip. Look out where you're walking, there could be a green scratchy plant along the path. Can you name all the items to the left? Do you know why those items would be helpful on a camping trip? Check out Wonderopolis tomorrow and leave a comment-I know I will. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Camp What-A-Wonder

Do you want to go to camp this summer?  Do you know a child that loves creepy crawling bugs, cooking on a campfire, listening to spooky stories, or has a secret hidden talent?  Then Camp What-A-Wonder will be perfect.  I am pleased to announce that Wonderopolis has created a virtual camp starting June 23 and every Thursday through August 11.  Not only are they having camp wonders they are also inviting parents to a virtual campfire. Campfire Sessions are a one hour opportunity at 8 p.m. ET on Twitter for parents to gather around the virtual campfire and discuss the theme of that day's camp.  Wonderopolis is giving every family a chance to go back and relive some personal camping experiences and create new memories and conversations through the virtual camp.  

 On a side note, all of my secrets are now out of the bag so enjoy visiting Wonderopolis everyday but especially on Thursdays!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wonderopolis in NYC

Have you ever had to keep a secret that was so exciting that you thought you might burst at the seams? Well I have had to keep a few secrets about Wonderopolis but now the word is out, and I can share their WONDERful news. I was invited to their national media release breakfast to celebrate Wonderopolis.  It was an amazing 24 hours in New York City, and I can't even begin to tell you about all the excitement.  I was honored to be interviewed by Jenna Bush Hager. She asked me several questions about how I incorporated Wonderopolis into my classroom this year. I loved talking about my amazing students and how we wondered daily. After the breakfast, I had the opportunity to talk to the media including People Magazine, Parents Magazine, and Family Circle.  I also enjoyed talking to members of Thinkfinity which provides free educational resources to teachers, parents and students as well as offering a comprehensive professional-development program for teachers on line. As I reflect, I am very thankful to Sharon, Emily and Laura from NCFL for inviting me to this event. It was one of those moments that I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real. I look forward to the next BIG announcement from Wonderopolis.......keep checking back-it's going to be lots of fun!!  Here is their teaser from twitter:

We're just a few days away from announcing our SUPER SPECIAL SUMMER SURPRISE! Hint: Think of summer adventures past, present and future! :-)  Wish I could tell you more, but it is another secret!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

RX for Education-Consider 21 Century Skills

I found this chart the last few weeks of the school year, and I took a snapshot and left it on my desktop.  Now that I have a few days to reflect on the chart although it is developed for the medical field, I believe it could be RX for Education in the classroom as well.  I have to say the IN column really does a great job of summarizing my first year with our class set of iPods.  I believe iPods or any type of technology allows teachers to reach beyond paper and pencil and move towards the 21 Century Skills. As a seasoned veteran teacher, one of the things I am proud of at the end of my year was the ability to change my teaching style along with the integration of iPods.  Change is never easy but I will tell you as I look back and reflect on this list, I believe that it is important to take some time this summer to stop and consider how to integrate the 21 Century Skills?  I do feel strongly however observation should NEVER be OUT.  The power of observations are an integral part of my classroom, and I wish it was not on the NOT side.  One easy way is to integrate technology into your classroom is to use the link to  Wonderopolis.  It is an amazing website that posts a WONDER everyday that as a teacher/parent you can extend, enhance and enjoy learning something new with your students/children.  I would highly encourage you to check it out because it is a WONDERful site to explore!  Check back soon........exciting WONDER news coming soon!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Apps Connected to Blooms

You might remember that I mentioned that I love searching for graphics in my blog.  I found this amazing site that allows you to type the text and choose your favorite Snoopy characters.  I created the graphic above and it was fun-check it out.    

Summer vacation has started for me and one part that I love about summer is taking time to explore all the bookmarks that I marked during the school year when I didn't have time to explore. I was on twitter today and found this great link showing how apps connect to Bloom's verbs. I was so impressed with this chart that I plan on using this to help me when looking for new apps and actually match the apps that I already have on our class iPods. I am excited to spend time with this chart during the summer days.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

#102 Blog-Thank You!

To think that I have written 102 blogs in less than a year.  Many friends encouraged me to jump into the world of blogging, and  I met with them this past Saturday morning for the Central OH Bloggers breakfast which is why I am celebrating #102 because I wanted to keep up with my 48 Hour Book Challenge. All my friends had encouraged me to start a blog but until I found my niche I knew that I couldn't do it. And then came along an iPod grant that changed my teaching and has allowed me the opportunity to connect to the blogging and the twittering world.  As I look at my stats, I honestly have to say I never thought IT would happen-what is IT?  Here are my top 5 posts.  IT could be my wide variety of posts.

IT would have to be Wonderopolis and how WONDERful their site is!  Once I found it, my class and I were off and learning about amazing daily WONDERS!  I love it for so many reasons but most of all the wide variety of WONDERS, the integration of the WONDERS throughout our day, and the connection between home and school.  If you haven't checked it out, you should!  Check out this milestone video it was one of our class favorites and very appropriate for today's blog post.

IT would have to be the learning curve/hill/mountain that I went on this year along with my class and integrating the iPods.  I am thinking differently about my teaching trying to connect to 21st Century skills along with researching different apps and how to implement them into my class.

IT could also be the wide variety of people who have read the blog - THANKS to all of you!

Finally IT would have to be the passion that I have for the opportunity to work with children everyday to build their curiosity and allow them the chance to explore beyond their limits.  Thanks everyone for reading my #102 blog - come along for another 102 IT is going to be WONDERful!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Final Thoughts: 48 Hour Book Challenge

This was my first 48 Hour Book Challenge and for me the best part was the bloggers breakfast that kicked off the challenge Saturday morning and yes Bill the granola and fresh fruit was wonderful!  You're right again :)  And also the community that I am lucky enough to be a part of in Central OH.  We had 12 people and all of them I have followed on twitter, but I had never met five of them before the breakfast.  You know how much fun it is to put a face to a twitter name.  I loved every minute, and I walked away from Cover to Cover conversations with 8 new book titles after looking at everyone's pile of books that they were purchasing. By the way the hot titles included Those Darn Squirrels, Emerald Atlas, The Fourth Stall, and Horton Halfpott.  I am excited to find the new titles and start reading; however I am not sure this week will allow me much reading time with graduation and helping Anna get ready for Germany.  Thanks to Mother Reader for hosting this event!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book #3 and 4: 48 Hour Book Challenge

I have to confess I am not going to do very well  on my hour count for the challenge but I am ok with that because honestly I haven't read 4 picture books in a long time so I am happy.  On a side note, I planned on reading late into the night however my daughter and I had a chick flick movie marathon until 1:30 this morning and that was worth every minute!  So here we go book #3 was an easy read but a difficult visual discovery.  It reminded of  Highlights Magazine for those of us old enough to remember the seek and find in that.  The name of the book is Look!  A Book!  (A Zany Seek and Find Adventure). On every other page there are cutouts, so the reader reads the page, looks for pictures and when you turn the page it focuses on three small special pictures.  The three pictures also rhyme which is fun.  For example:  A goose!  A moose! A pool of juice!  There is also a fun surprise at the end of the book! 

Book #4 Climbing Lincoln Steps (The African American Journey) is perfect for my social studies indicators!  The books starts with the importance of Lincoln Memorial and continues to build with the key moments in African American history.  I learned about the famous opera singer Marian Anderson who sang on the steps but had been denied many times until Eleanor Roosevelt spoke up.  The time line also helps the reader starting in 1861 to 2009.  I found a podcast interview with Suzanna Slade the author also which includes Martin Luther King's historic speech, "I Have a Dream."  It is a must have if this is part of your SS curriculum.

I am off to get ready for Central OH bloggers breakfast-I sure am hungry and it will be my first time to meet many of the  bloggers so I am excited!

Friday, June 3, 2011

2 Poetry Books: 48 Hour Book Challenge

I am a little nervous about the 48 Hour challenge because I have a very busy weekend getting ready for next weekend with our son's graduation, and our daughter leaving for Germany however I am going to do my best. The first book that I will kick off next year with is called Sports Jokes by Pam Rosenberg.  The table of contents list all the sports that my students typically play in addition some horse racing, bowling and fishing jokes.  I have always started the first few weeks of school with jokes about sport's and how important it is to build TEAMwork, so this is a perfect book for the start of the year.  

The second book that I read, I picked up for the title.  I love the title:  Around the World on Eighty Legs and would be great for predictions and inferences.  Some students might even know that the title came from Around the World in 80 Days which would be a great conversation also.  This picture book could be used for so many reasons.  First the author chooses every continent but North America and takes the reader around the world learning about different animals from the region. Second the facts are written in poems, and they are all different types. Next, the poems teach the reader new facts about why that animal lives in that location. Also I love the illustrations they are fun and interactive! I would use the poems for reading and word study strategies throughout the year.  Finally the last page of the book is a Menagerie (great word) Chart of more interesting and fun facts.

  When hiking mountains in Peru,
  up craggy peaks in blazing sun,
  your Samsonite will never do.
  (To lug your luggage won't be fun.)
  So travel light- enjoy the view!
  To suit yourself. I'll carry none.
           I'll pack 
                                                 an alpaca.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

48 Hour Book Challenge

 I have been asked to join the Central Ohio kidlit bloggers for breakfast Saturday morning to kickoff the Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book Challenge which starts this weekend, so I needed to gather my books. One of the hardest parts of the school year for me is having to choose what to read..........this year my focus has been on technology including blogs and twitter.  I know that is still reading but it isn't siting down and reading the newest and greatest books which I still love to do.  So on my first day of vacation, I went to the best little library around which is in my small town of Ostrander.  As I walked in with my reader's notebook, the librarian Brenda, said hello and welcome back!  I had kept a list of books to read including the following titles:

*Six Sheet Sip Thick Shakes
 *I am the Book
 *Energy Island
 *How Did that Get in my Lunchbox?

If you have not heard, at most local libraries, if they don't have a book you would like to read there is a program called:  Search Ohio and that allows all participating libraries to share their books.  It is an amazing program because my library is smaller than most large cities, but I still can get almost any book that I request.  It's fun to see where my books come from:  Cleveland, Cincinnati etc.  Here is a picture of the new books that I found today- I can't wait to begin reading them this weekend.