In the words of Charles Dickens via Tiny Tim Cratchet, “God bless us, everyone!”
Here is the list of winners for Best Class Blog for 2014! We are in the first place spot! We won Best Class Blog *Student Challenge Winner* and we are so EXCITED!
Do you remember reading Under the Blood Red Sun last year? Do you remember the bookmarks we got from the movie producer, Dana Hankins? Do you remember our Literary Tea Party and dressing up as characters from the novel? Do you remember the author, Graham Salisbury, and the producer, Dana Hankins, commenting on our blog? All very exciting moments for us! Fortunately, the folks who made this movie remember how much we enjoyed the novel, and they have not only voted for our blog, but they have invited all their Facebook friends to vote for us as well! Super cool, right?!
Hey Kids and Friends of Kids!
Thank you to our blogging buddies at Huzzah! for nominating us for Best Class Blog! We are so very excited! We are hoping that our blogging friends will vote for us by Dec. 15th by clicking on the badge above. After you have voted, check out the other nominees in categories such as: Best New Blog, Best Individual Blog, Best Student Blog- where our own Chrissy has been nominated, too! Please vote for her as well!- Best Teacher Blog, Best Librarian Blog, Best Administrator Blog, Most Influential Blog Post, Lifetime Achievement and nine other categories.
Since beginning to blog two and a half years ago, we have learned a lot, and we have learned from the best, especially from the folks at Edublogs: Sue Waters and the Student Blogging Challenge. I always say that I have purchased cars for tens of thousands of dollars and not received one hundredth of the customer service help that we have received from Edublogs for $30 a year. Here is what makes the support team so great: they get back to us within hours EVERY TIME!, they often fix whatever problem I am having, they provide very clear directions for a way I can fix my error, they do it all in a polite, positive, and efficient way, and they challenge us to improve our blog with ten weeks of tasks, twice a year.
From the outstanding class blogs we interact with, we have learned how to-
- write quality comments and posts- check out Mrs. Yollis’ amazing 3rd graders for advice
- embed photos- thanks to a Skype visit on a Saturday morning with Ms. Smith at Huzzah– imagine how kind to give up a Saturday morning to help someone you have never actually met?!
- use photos as links- thank you, Mrs. Rombach
- use videos in our posts- still on our to-do list- but excellent motivation from Mr. Webb in New Zealand!
We are so honored to be in the company of these all-around outstanding blogs and the teachers behind them. Please take a moment to VISIT THESE BLOGS, and the many others who were nominated, and then leave a quality comment for at least one class or one student. Blogging is all about reading, writing, thinking, learning, and sharing. Let’s do it!
It’s amazing to me that in our society Christmas has become controversial. Last week someone I know on Facebook posted a story supporting a name change on a school calendar from Christmas Vacation to Holiday Vacation. Lots of schools and towns struggle over displaying Christmas trees. Many businesses are afraid to let their employees say “Merry Christmas” in fear of offending a customer who does not celebrate Christmas. It is strange that a day that marks the birth of a Man whose sole purpose on this planet was to bring love and peace to ALL people has become, for some, a means to spread division and fear among people. I want to feel comfortable saying “Merry Christmas!” to people I meet, and I want others to feel comfortable saying, “Happy Hanukkah!” or “Happy Kwanzaa!” or “Happy Ramadan!” Those greetings mean that one person is trying to share peace and joy with another, not that one person is trying to denigrate the beliefs of another.
I am so very grateful that at our school we can read wonderful literature, written by a very diverse group of authors, that celebrates the joy of Christmas. We read poems, essays, plays, short stories and informational text all with a Christmas theme. We have studied these poems, and many others, over the years:
“On a Pallet of Straw” by Langston Hughes, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” attributed to Clement Clark Moore , “The Bells” by Edgar Allen Poe, “little tree” by e.e. cummings, “December” by John Updike, and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. Often we use the lyrics of Christmas songs and carols as poems to analyze and annotate. “The Grinch” has great metaphors, hyperboles, and alliteration!
I also love to read “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, “A Christmas Carol” (abridged for middle schoolers) by Charles Dickens, and “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” by Francis Pharcellus Church. We have read and delivered oral presentations about Christmas traditions around the globe and throughout history as well.
All these readings remind me that people everywhere, and throughout history, have celebrated Christmas with good cheer and peace toward men. That is the legacy of the birth of Jesus.
So to combat some of the “bah, humbug” that is bound to creep into our celebration of the season of light, I share with you songs and stories that remind us the Spirit of Christmas is everywhere. God bless us, Everyone!
How can you BE THE LIGHT this Christmas?
Welcome one and all to the most merry of occasions, the annual Medieval Fair! By decree of the Queen, we again host jousters, jugglers, jesters, mummers, dancers, artisans, and merchants of all sorts who will entertain, amuse and beguile you with their trades. Come along with us and see from start to finish the makings of a Medieval Fair worthy of the court of the finest nobility in the land.
Medieval Fair 2015 on PhotoPeach
Do you have any shopping or entertainment traditions for the holiday season? What do you do at school or at home to celebrate the winter holidays?