October Newsletter, 2015

Dear Families,

What a fun day we had today at Dead Horse State Park!  We learned about water conservation, ground water, and the nine sources of water, We played games in two of the stations, and pumped water in one.

I’m enclosing some pictures of the day.  It was a beautiful outdoor setting to learn about water through Project Wet.  We are continuing our study of water in the classroom.  In this unit, “Sharing the Planet,” we are making a power point of our learning.

In math we are doing many story problems involving division and multiplication. The students are great at sharing their strategies, and we know there is often more than one way to figure things out.

We are looking forward to our hiking field trip to West Fork on Thursday, the 22nd, as we will continue to learn about water.

Oops, I’m having technical difficulties.  Here is a picture taken in class..  Ask your child to tell you about it.  IMG_5629


Mrs. Joy’s Class – August 30, 2015

Dear Families,

It has been a great first month of school this year.  We started off with Tostada Math where the students work with possible tostada topping combinations, combo plate possibilities, restaurant floor layouts, and pricing for the Rosada Family’s restaurant.  We culminated our math unit with a very successful Fiesta on Friday.  For those parents that could make it, thank you for coming in.  It meant a lot to your child.  The students were so helpful in setting up our room for the event.  Thank you for all the food that was brought in, for your help in heating it up, and cleaning up the room afterwards!  Here you can see the students lining up to eat!  It was yummy!

FullSizeRender (1)

Mrs. Latham has been coming in to teach the students about the agriculture of Arizona.  We have been learning a lot about the difference between political, physical, and cultural boundaries.

Stay tuned for more classroom news, and have a great day!

November 30,2014 – Reflection – Week 7

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving celebration.  I turned 60 on that day, and it was an exceptionally great celebration!

Christmas Lights

We had a technology PD a few weeks back on how to create portfolios for all of our students.  I think it is a great idea to get started in Kindergarten and send it up through the grades.  Right now at our International Baccalaureate School, we keep a physical portfolio–a 4 inch 3-ring binder that takes up a lot of shelf space as the summative assessment/project is added 6 times a year, along with the rubric.

I like the idea of going on an interview and having the interviewer access your resume from the computer.  My stepdaughter recently interviewed for a graphic arts job in LA and she gave her employer her web address so they could look at her portfolio that way.  She got the job!

My resume is added as a page, but I accidentally replaced my About Me page.  I’m not sure how to convert my Word document (resume) to a PDF file and get it on my blog.  When you click on my resume, it downloads and then you have to click on it in my download file.  I need some help with that.

I really liked what George Couros said about blogging in response to people saying, “What if no one reads it?”  I agree with him that if we take the time to blog, we are writing better, and taking time to reflect on our own learning.  If that is all that happened, that is enough.

What have I learned in these almost 7 weeks?  I learned that working with technology is just like everything else that’s new to a person.  It’s scarry and uncomfortable at first.  It takes a lot of time and practice.  Then a person gets more used to it.  As the weeks went by, I found myself very engaged with the whole process.  Hours would go by with me trying to figure things out or getting lost reading ed chat tweets.

I feel a bit more in the know about a few things in education.  It is a great way to attempt to keep up with what people are talking about.  I feel more empowered; at the same time I’m very much a beginner.

What I need to do now is go back over through the articles, videos, and make some good, clear notes on how to do all the things we learned.  During the class, I found myself just jumping in.  None of this comes easy for me.  I feel quite a sense of accomplishment when I do figure something out.

Last week I said I want to convert my current blog to a blog with the students I teach and their parents.  So as soon as this class is over, I shall start blogging to the parents, put classroom activity pictures on, and take it from there.

Oh, an update . . . my husband was able to convert my resume to a pdf file on his computer, so I put it on my blog, and you can click on it and open my resume.

A great big THANKS to Todd and Thatcher for all the learning, support, and most of all the encouragement!

Week 6 Continued

i did add to my reflection for this week. So if you read it just go to the second to last paragraph of my first reflection for this week. Also, I’m very jazzed about either reworking my existing blog or creating a new one for the parents of my classroom after next week.

Reflection – Week 6

Tapped into some great articles the other night.


In this article a 15-year veteran teacher becomes a student for 2 days. She shadowed a high school student. Her “key takeaways” were:

1) Students sit all day and sitting is exhausting.
2) Students sit passively and listen 90% of the time.
3) Students feel a little like nuisances.

The next day after reading this I was much more aware of how long my students sit. I normally walk around the room constantly, while they sit and work, either on the floor with a partner or at their desk. Now I’m giving a movement/exercise break of some sort after 15 or 20 minutes.

Kristen Swanson mentions that a Gallup poll of the State of America’s Schools surveyed 600,000 5th-12th grade students. Only 1 in 3 had high levels of hopefulness,school engagement, and well being. She asks what about the system isn’t meeting kids’ needs.


Many people are questioning the curriculum and its relevancy, as well as how school life relates to real life. (How many things do you remember from your K-12 education?)

She makes a great point about our assessment system–that it gives kids the ability to opt out when the assessment is over. “What if every score were replaced by GOT IT, and NOT YET?”

When I give my math assessments, I make it a practice to require students that missed more than a couple to take it again, after some reteaching.

She also mentioned David Perkins new book, Future Wise: Educating Our Children for a Future World. Some of his chapter titles include: Learning What Matters in Learners’ Lives, Learning Beyond What’s Settled and Known, Making What’s Worth Learning Ready for Life, and so much more. (It is a MUST READ for me!)

To be continued later this week. . . Back again.  Shared my blog with my principal this weekend. As I was going through my reflections with her as well as the widgets I created on the side, I realized how much I have learned since the beginning of this course. I am grateful for that!

Enjoyed listening to some talks from the global end conference–a wealth of resources to check out.  Am anxious to check out the Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners. Also want to learn more about project based learning as that’s what we do in second grade after each science or social studies unit.  My students picked a person from history to research, tell about their life, tell what contributions they made, and then present it to the class. I was so impressed by the posters that came into my classroom as well as two power points.  My second graders said it was fun!

Reflection Week 5

I did manage to record this a few days ago using Sound Cloud.  Now let’s see if I can successfully post it.

I intended to record my students when they were practicing their lines from the play, as I mentioned on the recording above. . .  Just checked it out and it worked!  I always feel like it’s a major miracle when my use of new technology works for me!

It was not an easy process.  It took lots of time to get it figured out, and then I couldn’t get it moved over from my iPhone to my blog.  Realized my phone doesn’t have the dashboard of my blog on it.  So I sent it to my email, then right clicked on it, copied it, and pasted it into my blog.

All pretty amazing.  I feel like I need some more practice with it to get fluent.

Just felt spent today when I got home after 4.  The two plays were a success.  One student’s father is a firefighter,  and he brought in three other firefighters to watch the play.  Twenty seven adults came to see it.

Another success today was the “pumpkin pie” made in a ziploc bag at each group of 6 students, topped with whipped cream.  (First they had crushed a graham cracker in a cup.)  The best part is all the students’ comments.  “Thank you.  This is the best thing you have ever made!”

That’s all for now.  I may try recording some of my students reading a passage this coming week.

P.S. If you’re curious about the recipe . . . 1 and 1/3 c. milk, 1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix, 7 and a half ounces canned pumpkin, 3/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

Reflection Week 4

Well, that was fun!  I think I have added my photos to the group.  I’ll double check that.  I got them on my blog, but I ended up with an extra “FLIKR  More Photos.”  Don’t know how to get rid of that.

Sorry I missed the Jerona meeting.  I was thinking it was next Friday.

Using FLIKR seems like a fairly easy way to put classroom photos on my blog. There are several steps, but it doesn’t seem that hard.  Todd, I really liked the video that showed your computer and exactly what you were doing to make things happen.  That kind of visual support really works for me, as I can go back to it as many times as I need to.

I’m looking forward to a change of pace next week, as we are doing two plays during the Reading Street review week.  My lowest two groups of readers will be performing The Brememtown Musicians (from the reading anthology), and the three upper groups will perform Stone Soup all happening next Friday.  We will also make Stone Soup in two crockpots and serve it to the parents after the play.

And, since I teach at an International Baccalaureate school, we are doing a project at the end of our social studies unit, which will be the homework for the next two weeks (in addition to nightly reading and the fluency reading).  Independent research projects are encouraged after every 6-week science or social studies unit.  This particular unit is called, “Where We Are in Place and Time.”

My students will be choosing a person who lived from the early 1800’s to the present, describing their life and saying what their contributions were.   They may be as creative as they want in presenting the information to the class.