Avatar Explorations

Avatars . . . to be or not on my blog?  Edublog’s Teacher Blogging Challenge was all about avatars in Challenge #4.  My avatar has always been a photograph of myself. As part of the challenge I explored a variety of free web-based tools to create a virtual version of myself.  See my creations below:

Avatars are perfect for MBS students to use because they help protect their identity.  Children should not be sharing personally identifiable information on the internet. Avatars make it possible for students to create a virtual self that represents their real self.  Students can be creative and express their interests and personality through their avatar.

After creating several different avatars for myself, I decided to add the one I created with Voki to the left sidebar.  Press the play button and hear my message.  I liked being able to welcome parents to my blog and suggest ways to use it to spark a discussion with their child.

What do you think of my new avatar?  Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

MBS Ospreys Soar into the Future

A full-grown osprey has a wing span of up to 6 feet, but only weighs about 4 pounds!  I never knew how interesting these raptors were!  This fall Malletts Bay students chose the osprey as our new school mascot.  So, today Steve Costello from CVPS presented a slide show about Vermont’s osprey to MBS students.  It was fascinating, and we learned so much about the osprey!

Did you know that in the 1960’s osprey were nearly extinct in Vermont?  One reason they came back is because of a woman named Meeri Zetterstrom. Meeri noticed a pair of osprey at Lake Arrowhead in 1988 and worked tirelessly to help them nest and breed.   Steve documented Meeri’s story in his book Meeri Meets the Ospreys: A True Vermont Story of Love and Dedication.

Baby osprey facts captivated many students.  We learned that a baby osprey’s eyes are orange or brown and the adults have yellow eyes. You can tell a baby osprey because the tips of their feathers are white. Baby osprey grow fast . . . they’re born weighing 2 oz. and grow to 4 pounds in 12 short weeks!

We enjoyed the assembly so much we went right back to class and recorded our reactions. Listen to what we thought minutes after the assembly was over.  We learned a lot about the osprey!  Students can visit CVPS’s Osprey website to learn more about this unique bird.

Math Test Tomorrow!

It’s that time again . . . unit 5 math test.  Today we completed a review in class of the material on tomorrow’s test.  Unit 6 focused on long division, angles & coordinate grids.  To prepare for a math test we need to PRACTICE.  Students have the OPPORTUNITY to practice for their test and earn bonus points (5 points!).  They have two options to practice:

1. Make a practice test with 20 problems (Must contain a variety of problems).  The mathboxes and journal pages are a great place to find math problems for a practice test.  Students must complete the practice test and return it tomorrow to receive the bonus points.

2. PlayJeopardy and keep track of your work on a 5×5 grid.  See directions below.

Jeopardy Game Directions:

  • Open file by clicking on the words Jeopardy above
  • Click “Play slideshow from beginning”
  • Once you are at the game board, choose a place to begin and click on it.  You may get a warning (Security Alert-Macro) . . . the file is fine.  You can click on “enable content” or try to X out of the box.  The game should be ready to go!
  • Read question and answer on your game board (5 x 5 grid).  Remember to show all your work-not just answer.  Use back if you need more room.
  • To reveal the answer on the computer click anywhere in the question box and the answer will show up on top.
  • Click on the HOUSE button to return to the game board and select another question.  Questions already answered should be highlighted a different color.
  • HAVE FUN!!!!

Before and After the Spring Clean

I ‘ve been participating in Edublogs Teacher Blogging Challenge since January.  This week’s challenge asked us to update and improve our “About Me” page and add one new page to our blog.  Pages give important information about our class or school.  I added pages explaining homework, word study, math, and science units.  Pages are located on the right hand sidebar . . . check them out!

When I looked at my “About Me” page I realized it was sorely lacking.  It gave a brief introduction to my family, including a picture, and told about how I spend my summers.  The picture was old and didn’t include my pooches, Moe and Bella.  The bio didn’t tell enough about me as a teacher or a person.  A google search would have probably yielded more information!

So I updated my page.  One “About Me” page that got my interest was on Sue Water’s Blog.  She included subheadings and categorized the information she shared.  I decided to follow this format for my page.  While Sue’s page has much more information than mine does, I like how she organized the information.

I decided to include information about the following topics:

  • Looking Glass Blog
  • Information about myself as a teacher
  • Information about my family and interests
  • How I spend my summer.

These summer moments with my dogs and a good book, while few and far between, are very important to me.  I think my new page is much better and contains more information for my readers. Check out my new “About Me” page and tell me what you think!!!  I have tough skin, so please be honest.  Is there something you wish I had included?  What would make it better?

Balé Folclórico da Bahia

We watched in wide-eyed amazement as the acrobatic dancers of Balé Folclórico da Bahia began their rhymic movements at the Flynn Theater on Friday. The stage was flooded with colorful lights and soon dancers emerged from the stage and the stories began.   We were mesmerized by the stories each dance told. I was going to write a blog entry and even took pages of notes in my notebook throughout the performance so I would remember the details!  However, once I read what the kids wrote, I knew that was what this blog entry needed.  Our focus for these blog entries was VOICE … I’d say we definitely achieved our goal!

“The children from Mrs. Bouchers class and Mrs. Hunts class went to the Flynn Theater to listen and watch the Bale Folclorco da Bahia…but they did not know what they were going to be watching until the play started! When the kids of Malletts Bay School saw the first few minutes they knew it would be amazing….. there was Dancing, Singing, Drumming, Gymnastics, Tumbling,Taekwon Do to!!!!! The colors were green, blue, red, and yellow and orange all around!! There was a Queen dance, an African dance, a slave dance, a harvest dance. The music, the movement the amazingness all around you!!!!” – Katarina

“Boys did backflips & girls danced amazingly. There were many amazing dances & songs. At the end we got to get up & dance!” -Dasha

“Yes,there was a story in each dance, like for example in the second dance it was about a princess that was washing in the river and all the servants and the fisher men came and washed with the princess.” -Adell

Bale Foclorico da Bahia is the best play ever! These Brazilen dancers amazed every one there. The boys did backsprines, flips and awsome handstands!” – Tyler

“At the end,they took people out from the crowd(like our whole class) and danced with us to thier jamming music and Mrs.Boucher said she got so pooped after she danced to thier funky music. I really loved going to the flynn.” – Autumn

“One cool thing I thought about the play was that you could see the people singing and playing their instruments instead of them being back stage. I enjoyed the pretty scenery with the pretty, colorful and shiny lights, that really helped the show. The dancers were spinning, jumping and twisting all around the stage.” – Julia

“What suprised me is that one of the lady’s that was on the stage came over to were we sat and said come on and me and Mrs. Boucher went on the walk ways and other people came too and we did what the lady was doing and it was so fun! Mrs. Boucher really liked it too some people did’t get up.” -Shyanne

It’s Freezing in Here . . . Brrrrrr

icy waterdropMelting, Evaporating, Condensing, Freezing . . . water, water . . . it’s everywhere.  We’ve been investigating water in all it’s wonderful states!  This week we are wrapping up our unit on States of Matter. We’ve observed water change from a solid to a liquid, from a liquid to a gas, from a gas to a liquid and back to a solid again!

What’s the key to all these changes? HEAT!  Add it to a solid and it becomes a liquid; add it to a liquid and voila-it becomes a gas.  We learned we can reverse these changes by removing heat.  When warm air is cooled, water vapor condenses and becomes a liquid again.

This week we are connecting our knowledge of the states of matter to the water cycle.  The kids loved reading A Drop Around the World by Barbara Shaw McKinney.  They were amazed to learn that the water we drink today is the same water dinosaurs drank!  How can this be?  The WATER CYCLE . . . it cycles water all around the earth and has for millions of years.  Enjoy the video below of our last experiment on freezing.

Reading in the 21st Century!


Our reader’s workshop has gone digital!  When I reflect on my own reading habits, it’s surprising how much internet content I read daily.  Our children live


in a very different world than we grew up in. Today’s children have grown up with internet access from multiple devices. Several students in our class got iPodTouches for Christmas. Emal brings his in everyday to read his ebooks. He takes notes on digital sticky-notes while he reads. Today, another student told me she was selling her Nintendo DS because she got an iPod Touch, and it can do a lot more than her DS. Another student shared his new DS with me today and was showing me he had Skype on it and could video conference when wifi was available. It’s easy to assume in this technological world we live in that our children will learn how to read and write (yes, write!) on the internet. However, like reading a book or writing a story, reading and writing on the internet needs to be taught and practiced.

IMG_1512So . . . during independent reading, each child has a “netbook” day.  On their assigned day they have the choice to read online.  I bookmarked several websites for students to locate and read interesting articles on the internet (check out ‘Online Reading Links’ on this blog).  One very popular site is TweenTribune.  This website is designed for 8-12 year olds (i.e. Tweens) and contains interesting, current internet articles in all subject areas.  Students can comment after reading an article, but comments must be a minimum of 25 words. I approve all comments before they are posted.  This connection between reading and writing helps develop active reading strategies (ex. connections, questions) and critical thinking skills.

hindenburg 2I am also trying to weave digital content into guided reading too.  Students participate in guided reading groups every other week.  Recently, one group was reading about the Hindenburg disaster.  I shared with them footage of the disaster in an effort to bring their nonfiction article to life. Students then researched one survivor from the Hindenburg to learn their story. We are now in the process of creating a Voicethread (ask your child to share with you) where they assume the role of their survivor and tell the story from the survivor’s point of view. Stay tuned for a blog post in the near future sharing this wonderful project. Think about the deep level of comprehension and understanding these students gained from this technology infused reading group!

IMG_1517On the writing side, we have also started blogging about our independent reading in lieu of a hand written letter in notebooks. When we blog about our reading and share our thinking, we are writing for a wider audience. Not only will students receive comments from me, but also their classmates!  When I was growing up, there wasn’t an internet, let alone the ability to create internet content.  Once the internet became popular, I never dreamed I’d one day be able to publish internet content, but look at me now . . . I write comments, articles, and post resources on a daily basis.  This is the world we live in and it is the norm for our children.  I believe my job is to prepare them for this new world. . . .a new world that is evolving even now as I write this blog post!  Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with me!

Image Attribution: Flickr by History In An Hour Rupert Colley

Happy New Year

On Monday, the bell rang at 8:30 and cold children streamed into the Lighthouse.  Where did that balmy weather go?  Excited chatter filled the halls as everyone got ready for the first school day of the new year.  After taking care of our business, we began our day with a GREAT morning meeting.   “Knock-Knock,”  a fun and engaging greeting, got our morning off to a silly start.  Next we spent time sharing about our vacations.  It was nice to have time for a relaxing morning meeting.  It sets such a positive tone for the day.

Right before vacation we spent some time writing poetry and setting goals for the new year. Action verbs and descriptive adjectives brought our winter poems to life!

    Snowflakes by Shyanne
    Beautiful snowflakes falling from the sky,
    Slowly dancing and turning and spinning in the cold,
    Coming and going and falling on my eyes,
    I stick out my tongue and there they fly.

    Snow by Katarina
    Snow, puffy, soft, smooth and cold,
    Come inside and drink hot cocoa,
    Warmth and coldness have been with you.

    Snow by Betty
    The sun shining down on a white wonderland,
    Creates a dazzling, magical world of white,
    A snowbank glistening in the sun,
    Creates a vivid picture in my mind,
    Of what Antarctica must look like in summer.
    Dazzling and glistening under the bright protection of the shining sun.

Students decorated a snowman and wrote their poem and goal on the back. We hung them around the room. They look great!  Most of the pictures in the slide show below were taken by your children 🙂 . . . they are budding photographers!