Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Katie Alvarez: Increasing Global Awareness through Mystery Skypes/Hangouts

My best day from the class from this past year was watching my 4th graders participate in Mystery Skypes/Hangouts.  My goal was to promote global awareness.  The concept of Mystery Hangouts and Mystery Skypes has been around for a few years, so I am a bit sad that I am just jumping into the trend this year.  The good news is: I did take the plunge and it has been a great swim.  I can't wait to do plan more for next year.  The greater thing, my kids loved loved loved it.  Before I go any further on why this was my best day and what my students learned I will briefly explain how Mystery Skypes/Hangouts work...

What is Mystery Skype/Mystery Hangouts?
Mystery Skype is an education game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype.The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions.  The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions." (Mr. Kemp, check out this blog post at the link below for more information if you are interested in this activity).




Why this was my best day and How I saw my student grow...
1.   Global awareness increased.  They loved the end times where they could ask the other class questions about what's it is like to live in their location.
2.    They learned how to read an atlas and became aware of famous landmarks that may not have learned about in my current curricula.
3.      Deduction and questioning skills increased in positive ways.  Students wanted to make sure that they asked the best questions that helped them narrow down the mystery location most.  
4.      Engagement was high and students were excited about learning.   Gamification at its finest
5.      Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary was being used in running speech and writing.   That's a biggie!
6.      By answering the questions of the other class they became aware of their own state, county and town.  I was surprised by what they did not know regarding where they lived.  

http://mrkempnz.com/2014/11/what-is-mystery-skype-8-steps-to-get-started.html

Student Council is the Gift that Keeps on........you can fill in the blank

Amanda McAdams
Director of Elementary Education and K-12 Literacy at Lincoln County School District #2

During my 12 years as a high school student council advisor, I enjoyed many, many best days.  Approximately 40 students were in my class each year and we spent hours and hours and HOURS together outside of school on evenings and weekends. It was a family affair for some as many sets of siblings graced the student council room over the years.
Right now, what comes to mind is the final annual banquet my last year at Apollo High School in Glendale, Arizona in 2012.  Everyone one of my former student council presidents were able to attend and speak except for Nicole Brown. Even my very first president in 2001 was there, Bryan  Wong.  This banquet, or candlelight ceremony, happens every spring.  New officers are inducted as former officers “pass the torch/candle.”  Videos and slide shows are enjoyed by parents, students and faculty alike.
What was truly amazing was being able to sit back and relive memories over the previous 12 years.  As the wind blew my hair around to the sides and above me, images and feelings came flooding back as each president stood to speak briefly about their year, what was accomplished, and what their favorite moments were.  
Many mentioned our annual spring break trips to California (Alcatraz, San Diego Zoo, Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Big Bear, etc. Others mentioned planning and decorating dances.  Still others mentioned service projects like Adopt-a-Family, Race for the Cure, and canned food drives.  
An endless flow of tears streamed down my cheeks as I admired the amazing adults these students had become and how skills learned in student council had become a permanent part of their lives.

Why was it my BEST day?  Because I had a hand in the building of each and every one of the students there.  



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pamela Kennemore
Media Specialist @ Taylor Mountain BUSD

images.pngI would have to say that one of the more memorable moments in the past year, was when I was teaching the Code.org class at my site. We started with the fundamentals. Then moved on to “programing our friend” concepts, and the kids soared!

Then the Coding began!

Spark story sent to parents and teachers as a progress report: https://spark.adobe.com/page/AsGhx55d33s8r/

Light and Bright

Sunshine - Free vector graphics on PixabaySusan Taylor
6th grade Ripon


Really? How can I possibly narrow down my best teaching day...ever? Each day is a new opportunity to feed my personal passion for teaching and to help fuel the passions of my students. Each year, I reiterate numerous times, this message: My goal for you is that you have a career you love. One in which your alarm goes off, and you’re excited to get up and begin your day. If you have this, you’ll never work a day in your life.  While I didn’t coin this idea, I love to share the message.

The first time I share this message with a new class, I often see a weight lifted off the shoulders of some of my team. In my area, kids are being raised under the antiquated notion that they need to be doctors or attorneys...and if and only if they join the ranks of these professions, will they find happiness.


My message is counter to what they’ve been told. It brings great joy to see the light and bright expressions on their faces.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Amanda Bingham - Can't believe I'm getting paid for this!



File:RTuckerThompson.JPG - WikipediaSailing is my passion so my best day teaching was last year when I took my class on the R. Tucker Thompson. They were able to steer the boat, climb the rigging and hoist the sails. I work in a decile 1 school and it was the first time any of them had ever been on a sailing boat. They were buzzing for weeks and still talk about it whenever I see them!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ann Sielaff

Ann Sielaff
Third Grade Teacher

1.jpgWhen finding out I needed to write about “My Best Teaching Day Yet”, I jokingly told my friend and colleague who is here with me, “I haven’t had it yet.” I’m having a very difficult time thinking of one specific day in my years that was my best. I have some days that stand out because they were bad, some were sad, some had fun or funny events that took place. Like everyone else, we have good times, bad times, and in-between, and they all blend together like the paint spilled on our too-old carpet. But one day that stands out in my mind was a day when I went to school and implemented my version of Pernille Ripp. If you don’t know Pernille Ripp, I would recommend reading her. I heard of Pernille through a blog: Forever in First. Tammy, from Forever in First, has some of the best ideas I’ve stolen to date. She has introduced me to so many people (all virtually, of course). George Couros, Carol Dweck, Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome, to name a few.

    That day, I gave my kids voice. They filled out a simple survey. It was a survey of “What would you change”, “How do you like our classroom?” type questions. But that day led to a paradigm change for me. My classroom is about the students, not about me. It’s about growth for us all. Not that it wasn’t before, but I’m not sure it was. And this learning, from these professionals around the globe has led to places and activities I would never have imagined.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Future is Near

Carlos Perez
Middle School Math Teacher


... Future NEXT EXIT >>> | by ...Well, where to start?  If you haven’t heard already, Math is a subject not liked by many especially teenagers, pshhh!  When given the task to choose the best teaching day ever it was pretty difficult.  Having been in the education field for about ten years, I’ve had many moments of success and failure.  However, since becoming a teacher I’ve experienced a lot of moments where many of my students haven’t been challenged to think beyond being a middle school or high school student.  One thing that I’ve found myself focusing on is trying to connect real world scenarios to Math.  The dreaded question of “How/when am I going to use this is life?”  We had the opportunity to visit Junior Achievement of Arizona at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.  The students were to pretend they were applying for a car loan, creating a budget, etc.  I truly enjoyed connecting with the students and helping them think about their future and how their choices affect them and have good and bad outcomes.  Teachable moments is what I always strive to take advantage of. It is extremely rewarding knowing that I have pushed my students to work for not only for the present but for the future.