Silver and Gold

Welcome to the spring 2014 Student Blogging Challenge! (Hey, Kids! register here. )We hope to find some new friends and revisit some old friends this spring. I am reminded of a Girl Scout song I learned years ago, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

Last year, we met some blogging buddies at Huzzah! and in Mrs. Krebs’ class.

This year, we have recently been introduced to some students in the classes of Mrs. Rovira and Mrs. Emerick .  We hope these students will become our new blogging buddies, a.k.a. high tech pen pals.

Whether we call them friends, buddies, or pals, we hope to find more of them through this spring’s Student Blogging Challenge.

Making friends around the world

Making friends around the world


Making friends through service

Making friends through service

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
Muhammad Ali


What makes your best friend “the best”? 





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Making more friends: Serving Others and the 2014 Student Blogging Challenge

Today is a great day!  We have some wonderful news to report.  We are making new “friends” around the globe by serving others.  At the beginning of the school year, we wrote a post about a summer book we read, A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park.  It’s based on the true story of Salva Dut who was a war refugee from Sudan, immigrated to the United States, and eventually made his way back to Sudan in order to drill wells so that the people who live in remote villages can have safe drinking water.  He even drills wells for the villages of the tribe who attacked his family and village.  Last week we had a Glow-in-the-Dark dance with all proceeds going to Water for South Sudan.  We raised $174.60.  It costs $15,000 to drill a well, but we hope every little bit helps.  If we each add a drop, eventually we’ll have a full bucket of water.


Also in February, our whole school participated in various fundraising activities for Shelter Box, an organization that provides aid to families in the throes of disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, or earthquakes.  Like Salva, these people have lost their homes and must find a way to live amid chaos.  Shelter Box provides boxes which contain tents, propane stoves, water, clothing, and even coloring books for children.  Each class in our school tried to raise $100, so that together we could purchase a $1000 Shelter Box.  The 6th grade class sold Valentine’s Day candy and raised $450- this included our student Cooper’s donation of all her birthday gifts given as a donation instead of as presents to her; the 7th grade held a used book sale and raised $374.69; the 8th graders did chores around their homes and donated their earnings to raise $120.  Our elementary students worked hard, too:  grades K-5 completed these service projects, respectively: brownie bake sale; Hershey’s kisses for your Valentine and chores at home; bake sale; pencil sale and cookie raffle; penny war- grades 4 & 5.  We think our school may have raised enough to send two Shelter Boxes.  We find out the grand total tomorrow!

book sale 003
After working hard to help new friends around the globe, we’d now like to connect with new friends through the 2014 Student Blogging Challenge!  We are already registered as a class, and this week we will register our student blogs.  We’d love to connect with you!

Let us know how you make a difference in the world!

What service do you do to make the world a better place?

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Meeting new friends

Hey Kids!

We’d like to introduce everyone to some new blogging buddies, Mrs. Rovira’s 7th grade class in Southern California.  They are middle school students and are looking to connect with other student bloggers.

Mrs. Rovira's blog 001

After reading some posts on their blog, I know that Mrs. Rovira’s class is reading Red Scarf Girl.  I also learned that they are from Orange County, a place I’ve never been.

Here is a blogging challenge for our new and old friends:  What book do you like, and what place would you like to visit?   I hope all our family members will participate as part of our last week of Family Blogging Month.

Mrs. Donofrio’s picks:  Gone With the Wind– when I read this book as a sophomore in high school, I’d set my alarm for 5 am so I could read before school.  This year, 31 years after I read the book, we are planning a summer vacation to Atlanta, the setting of GWTW, and I can’t wait!

The White House
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Steve Driskell via Compfight


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Traveling to Nepal and climbing Everest

Photo Credit: Rupert Taylor-Price via Compfight cc
Mount Everest

People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.      ~St. Augustine

Hey kids!

Let’s travel.

Let’s wonder at the majesty of the mountains.

Let’s connect with some real people who live in Nepal or who are planning to climb Everest.  Through the magic of blogging, we can meet some students at the Maya Universe Academy Sagarmatha.  Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, this school serves 26 students.  The Maya Universe Academy runs three non-profit, community run campuses.  They are the first of their kind in Nepal.   According to their website, “In 2011, 90% of private school students were admitted to a secondary educational institution compared to 46% of public school students.”  The Maya Universe Schools began as a community endeavor to provide free, quality education to the rural Nepalese people.  Kids at these schools have lives similar to Sun-jo in our story, Peak.

We are also able to flatten our classroom walls and climb Everest with some mountaineers.  Visit Alan Arnette’s blog for a first hand account of everything Everest.  Mr. Arnette has climbed Everest four times as well as completed the Seven Summits.  His blog has tons of  information, videos, photos, and links to other Everest bloggers.  He can show you all his gear, break down the cost for climbing Everest, give you training tips, share some fun Everest facts for kids, and, most importantly,  relay his experiences climbing Mount Everest.  Mr. Arnette’s is the Everest of blogs!  You can spend hours climbing through his posts, reading and learning.

Today we will visit Nepal and climb Everest vicariously through blogging.  After you travel to the Maya Universe Academy and climb Sagarmatha, leave a note for the students and climbers you encounter.

People with goals can do incredible things, like open schools and climb mountains.

Like St. Augustine, let’s marvel at the people we meet and the people we are.

What did you learn by visiting  the Himalayas and Sagarmatha?





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Edublogs Awards

Congratulations to our students Anthony and Audrey who have both been nominated for an Eddie in the Best Student Blog category!  We are thrilled for you!

We also extend our best wishes to all the nominated blogs in so many different fields.  It is nice to see hard work recognized.

In that vein, and in order to recognize more of our own students who have been diligently blogging for a year now, we are holding our own award ceremony next week.  Please vote for one of the student blogs below.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Good luck to all our nominees!

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Serving Others

The Unlucky Twin

Photo Credit: ReSurge International via Compfight cc

Part of our mission statement as a school states that we are “building a caring community that serves others”.  We try to live up to that standard by helping people in our local, national, and global communities.  Every year we send our accumulated 25 cent “lost and found” fines, as well as any other donations, to the Smile Train.  The Smile Train funds operations to fix cleft lip and cleft palate in developing nations.  The surgery costs $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes.  Every year for the last six years we’ve sent our money to The Smile Train.   We began this fundraising because the 7th graders read the novel Crispin: At the Edge of the World  by Avi; one of the characters in the story suffers from an untreated cleft lip.  Last year one of our students donated over $200 herself; it was money she had been saving for new clothes.

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, we held a fundraising baseball game at our school,     “9 Innings for 9/11.”  Families donated a few dollars to play baseball; we sold hot dogs and popcorn, held a bake sale, and ran a raffle.  We raised a little over $800 that afternoon and donated the proceeds to The Smile Train, St. Jude’s Hospital, Share our Strength, and Our Mother’s House.

This year after reading the book, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, we visited the website Water for South Sudan.  We talked about ways to help the people in South Sudan dig and maintain wells for drinking water, but we haven’t yet put any plans into action.  We are glad for this week’s Student Blogging Challenge to remind us about our resolve and brainstorm some ideas so that the children and families in South Sudan can have safe drinking water, something we in America take for granted.

What are some ideas that we can do as a middle school to raise money for Water for South Sudan?

Watch this video from Disney’s Bridget Mendler called We Can Change the World and be inspired to take one step at a time…

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Blogging Party #3!

We enjoyed our third blogging party this week as a result of our hard work all year.  Most students reached the 100 visitor mark on their student blogs.  Congratulations to Anthony Einhorn who received a shout out from the Student Blogging Challenge for having a Great Blogging Post.  You can read his post by clicking on the preceding link. 

In celebration of everyone’s accomplishments, we watched Night at the Museum with our own concession stand.  Afterwards, Mrs. Chonody, whom we met when she began commenting regularly on our blog, spoke to us about her travels around the world.  Her visit was so wonderful as it perfectly exemplified the goal of blogging to “flatten classroom walls”.  We learned of her adventures in Pakistan, India, Africa, and most recently the Vatican.  She shared many artifacts with us and also some delicious food!


Question for our class: What do you remember from Mrs. Chonody’s presentation?

Question for our blogging buddies and for our class: What country have you visited or would you like to visit?  What makes that country interesting to visit?


Mrs. Chonody Rocks on PhotoPeach

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Highlights of the Year

A highlight of the year: exchanging comments with Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood Red Sun, and movie producer Dana Hankins.

A highlight of the year: exchanging comments with Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood Red Sun, and movie producer Dana Hankins.

         Hey Kids!   The year is almost over. On Wednesday we’ll celebrate with our third blogging party to mark 100 visitors on all the students’ blogs.  We’ll finally connect with our #1 Blogging Buddy, Mrs. Chonody, who will regale us with tales of her travels.  Another highlight of the year was making contact with Dana Hankins, the producer of the Under the Blood-Red Sun movie, and then with author, Graham Salisbury.  I also appreciate all the posts, comments, and Skypes we shared with Ms. Smith and her Huzzahnians, almost half-way across the world in British Columbia, Canada.   Look through some of our older posts, pictures, and videos. What was the highlight of language arts for you this year?  

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Week 9: Student Blogging Challenge

Hey Kids!

The goal of this week’s Student Blogging Challenge is to visit new blogs thereby increasing your global connections.   How fun!   Please follow the directions for game one or game two.  If time permits, feel free to work on any student blogging challenges you have not yet completed.  Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL via Compfight cc
Imperial Federation, map of the world showing the extent of the British Empire in 1886

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Student Blogging Challenge 7

Hey, Kids! We are nearing the end of our blogging challenges. Visit the Challenge Site and write a new post.  You have freedom in Challenge 7 and lots of choices in Challenge 6.   Here’s another idea for a post as we near the end of our school year.

What has been the best part about blogging for you this year? 

Blogging ReadinessPhoto Credit: cambodia4kidsorg via Compfight cc

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