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.

Student Council is the Gift that Keeps 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 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:

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.