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.







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Summer Reading to Beat Childhood Cancer

Hey Kids!

I hope everyone’s summer is going along swimmingly! I’m happy to report that a number of you have been blogging during vacation.  Woo-hoo!  Way to go!  I’m enjoying reading your posts from vacations to Atlanta to the Miami Heat to bucket lists.

Our favorite books

Our favorite books

I want to share a summer reading program with you called A Million Books for HOPE.  In reading Mrs. Rombach Reads  (an excellent blog by the way; check it out), I learned about this program which aims to raise funds in order to fight childhood cancers.  A Million Books for HOPE was started by 8-year-old Hope Veazey and her two sisters, Joy and Peace.  Hope was diagnosed with leukemia on July 10, 2013.  Her mother writes that reading has been a stronghold for Hope, distracting her from her hard days of chemotherapy and helping her to keep up with her days of missed class time.  To that end, Hope’s family teamed up with The Truth 365, a  campaign devoted to increasing awareness and research for childhood cancer.  According to their website, “cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children and adolescents in the United States. In fact, cancer kills 7 children every day in the United States. (Source: National Cancer Institute). Each year in the United States, approximately 13,500 children and adolescents 18 and under are diagnosed with cancer. That’s more than a classroom of kids a day.” (Sources: Center for Disease Control and Children’s Oncology Group).

The goal of A Million Books for HOPE read-a-thon is to raise money for pediatric cancer research by reading and receiving sponsorships for each book read over the summer.  Students can register and create a reading page which will keep family and friends updated on the number of books read over the summer and offer a way for these family members and friends to make a donation for every book read.  In addition, Barnes and Noble is offering prizes to students who raise $250 or more.  Every student who raises $250 will receive a Barnes and Noble gift card for $25.  Students who raise $500 will receive a $50 gift card.  You can find information about all available prizes as well as dates, deadlines, and reading logs  here.  Families can register as a team as well.  My family is on board!  I hope you will join us!

After you read a book, remember to list it on your summer log and leave a quick review of it on our Summer Reading post.  Also, it would be great to keep anyone who is sick in our prayers this summer.  Write their names down in your own little prayer book so you remember them.

How can you make an impact on this world this summer?





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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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Veterans’ Day

American Soldiers...Memorial Day 2010

Photo Credit: Beverly & Pack via Compfight cc

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”  Have you ever really thought about the words we say each morning as we pledge allegiance to the flag?  Our flag is a symbol of our country.  We are very lucky in our country to:

  • be one nation without civil strife
  • have freedom of religion
  • enjoy liberty and justice for ALL

Sometimes we take our freedom for granted.   Today is a day to remember all the veterans who fought, many giving their very lives, so that we may continue to have these freedoms today.  American veterans have also fought and served our so that others in the world could have these freedoms.   We thank these veterans for their service and for allowing us to live in freedom.

On September 11th, we wrote a post A Day of Remembrance.  Revisit this post and then visit The Learning Lair, Huzzah!, and/or Mr. Miller’s Class and see what students and teachers around the world are doing to remember our veterans and promote peace.

As we know from our studies of Medieval times, from this summer’s novel A Long Walk to Water, from last year’s novel Under the Blood Red Sun, and from the story of Malala, war is, sadly, a constant in our world.  Our class is trying to contribute to peace in some small way, and we have voted to hold a middle school dance to raise funds to dig a well in South Sudan.  We hope to contribute to peace in our world through dance.

 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal … a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance … a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to lose and a time to seek; a time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

We thank our veterans for this time of peace in our country and pray for peace throughout the world.

Do you know any veterans?  How has their service impacted you?

What can you do to promote peace in our world?


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Service Survey

Thanks to everyone who brainstormed ideas on how we can make a difference and help dig a well in South Sudan. We chose Water for South Sudan because the whole middle school read the book A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park as our summer reading book this year.
Here are some of the ideas we collected. We’d like to implement one on Make A Difference Day, celebrated this year on October 26th.  We hope you’ll help us decide what to do by voting for one or more of the ideas below.  Before you vote, watch the video about Water for South Sudan and its remarkable founder, Salva Dut.

What do you do to make a difference in people’s lives? Do you smile at people you greet? Do you volunteer? Help around the house? Let us know how you make a difference.


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

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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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