And the Eddie goes to…..

Hey Kids,

Do you watch awards shows on t.v.?  The entertainment industry has tons of awards they pass out every year to outstanding performers in many fields.   I can think of the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Tonys, the Golden Globes, the CMAs, the People’s Choice, and the Kids’ Choice Awards right off the top of my head.  Writers vie for the Pulitzer, the Newbery, the Caldecott.  The Nobel Prize recognizes accomplishments in science, literature, medicine, economics, and peace.

Well, don’t you think it’s time that teachers and students get a little recognition?  The folks at Edublogs sure do, and to make sure that happens, they have created their own award:

The Eddie

Use the above link to nominate your favorite blogs, bloggers, and posts.

We would like to give a friendly shout out to our friends at Huzzah!  image

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for nominating us!  We are thrilled and humbled by your kind words.  We would like to let the world know that if it were not for Huzzah, and the intrepid Jan Smith, we are not sure we would have survived our first few months of our blogging adventure.  Huzzah is an inspiring blog with unique concepts, both in content and presentation, in each post.  Not only is it plain to see the creativity, work ethic, and high standards that occur in class on a daily basis, the genuine love of learning that passes from teacher to students kindles the “lighting of the fire” that is education at its finest.  One needs only to read through comments left by students and teacher to see them engaged in such topics as: destination imagination, inquiry questions, back channels, the Dalai Lama, or Glocal.  Very often I have never heard of the words used to describe what the Huzzahnians are doing in their classrooms; I am always impressed not only by the content, but also by the style of communication from Ms. Smith and her students.  All of the students are stellar in the quality comments they write, and we have had multiple occasions to use Faith’s blog and comments to us as an example of truly inspired writing.  Here in Florida, we are learning about writing and blogging from the very best practitioners, who just happen to live 2,727 miles away.

Learning across the miles!

Learning across the miles!

imageWe also discovered some new blogging friends this year.  Mrs. Rombach Reads is filled with excellent book suggestions and cool gizmos and gadgets on this class blog.  My students love the worm on the hook, and like a fish, we have been caught.  This week Mrs. Rombach challenges her students to add 9 items to their student blogs and she offers them tools like Voki and Padlet to help them on their way.  Truly, reading outstanding blogs like this and following the student directions is how I learn to improve my own class blog.  And just look at her clever title to this week’s post, Who Let the Blogs Out?  (I keep singing and adding in woof, woof, woof, woof on my own!)  So fun!  Mrs. Rombach, thank you for helping us learn!

There are SO MANY wonderful blogs out there.  Whenever I can, I travel to blogs, always learning as I go.  My kids are loving discussing Minecraft with Mr. Miller in California.  I still have a goal, which I will get to soon, of adding video to my posts, thanks to the live action window into Mr. Webb’s classroom in New Zealand.  We also got a chance to Skype with Mrs. Emerick’s class, Making Waves in Sixth Grade, last year.  So cool.

In my quest for knowledge, I am also trying to navigate the world of Twitter.  Through this outlet, I have met even more educators and read their words of wisdom on their blogs.  One of my favorite posts was about harnessing the power of social media and was written by teacher Derek Oldfield.  I have also been blessed to meet. via Twitter, Joy Kirr, a plethora of information and, like Jan Smith at Huzzah!, kind guidance and help.

No matter where they are  or what their subject or grade level, these teachers are kind souls who want to learn about and connect with, and help others learn about and connect with, our world.  They are most deserving of their own Award.

Thank you, Edublogs, for the opportunity to share  the wonderful teaching and learning with the world.  Good luck to all the nominees! We’ll be looking for you on the red carpet!

Thank You to Our Service Men and Women

On Veteran’s Day we honor those who served, and continue to serve, our country.  

Happy Flag Day!
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: John via Compfight

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

As President Kennedy suggested, “Actions speak louder than words.”  What can we do to live by the words “Veterans Day”?  How can we genuinely express our gratitude and appreciation to the men and women who dedicated their very lives so that others may live in peace and with freedom?

One way we decided to to show our appreciation as a nation was to create  Veterans Day.  

What are some tangible ways you can honor our veterans?

  • Thank a veteran in person or in writing.
  • Provide a service to others in honor of those who serve.
  • Learn about Veterans’ Day.
  • Visit a veterans or war memorial.
  • Pray for our veterans and the people they are helping.
  • Donate to a charity that supports veterans.
  • Display the American flag at your home.
  • Sing the National Anthem respectfully at sporting events.
  • Wear red, white, and blue on patriotic holidays.

Can you think of any other ways to show appreciation to our veterans? 

Have you ever done something to show appreciation for our veterans?  

What have you done to serve others?

Serving others through Bingo; providing a goat and baby chicks to a poor family.

Serving others through Bingo; providing a goat and baby chicks to a poor family.

Serving others rice, one grain at a time.

Serving others rice, one grain at a time.

Serving other through tabs; collecting tabs for Shriners Hospitals.

Serving other through tabs; collecting tabs for Shriners Hospitals.







A Class Act

Hey Kids!

Who is one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Billboard’s youngest ever Woman-of–the-Year, and the youngest artist to win a Grammy for Album of the Year?

Taylor Swift discusses books, reading, and writing with students.

Taylor Swift discusses books, reading, and writing with students.

Yes, that’s right.  It’s Taylor Swift, or as my 14-year-old son is known to call her, T-Swizzle.

Out of the respect I have for this artist since watching her Scholastic video Reading Opens a World of PossibleI will call her Miss Swift.

At age 24, Miss Swift has already won seven Grammy Awards.  She has written ALL her own songs.  In fact, she considers writing to be the most important part of her job.

Last week we watched a conversation she had with six individual students, ages 11-15, about writing, reading, and books.  In addition to the students she sat with, Miss Smith also invited two classrooms into the discussion via Skype.

Miss Smith and the students addressed such heady topics as dystopian societies and feminism as well as the current and important topic of bullying, especially appropriate as October was Bullying Prevention Month.   While talking about their favorite books and Taylor Swift’s writing process, the group discussed point-of-view and poetry, and used such terms as metaphor, rhythm and rhyme.  At one point Miss Swift described herself dancing by saying “I look like a baby giraffe learning to walk.”  A simile in action.

The songwriter has been keeping a writing journal since she was 13-years-old.  She spoke about writing her ideas down whenever inspiration hits and retold the story of collaborating with Ryan Tedder on the song I Know Places.  Similar to all writers, Taylor creates a rough draft of the song, her voice accompanied by a piano, on an audio file; she then heads to the studio to polish it by creating a track using background bass and drums.  The finished version stays true to the draft, but is enhanced by the additional work.  Compare this to all writing: rough draft, revision, finished product.  Listen to both versions and the entire conversation by clicking on the photo above.

In her Scholastic conversation, Taylor says, “Books train imaginations to think big.”  She and the students discuss books with impact, which range from Percy Jackson to  Stargirl.  Add your favorite to the board!

Scholastic video-interviewed quite a few other students, teachers, and parents to learn about how their favorite books “open a world of possible”.  Watch and listen to their ideas about books.

On Thursday of this week Usher will also talk about books with Scholastic.  What celebrity would you like to sit down with and have a book chat?  What books would you discuss?  What would you say about your favorite book?

Taylor Swift chats with one of her guests during a Scholastic book talk, Open Possible.

Taylor Swift chats with one of her guests during a Scholastic book talk, Open Possible.

Watching Taylor Swift talk books, reading, and writing.

Watching Taylor Swift talk books, reading, and writing.