Tuesday, November 29, 2011

If You Designed Your Classroom, What Would It Look Like?

For today (and maybe for the next few days) I want you to think critically about what learning should look like and be like. While you are moving on to the high school next year, you still have a lot of background knowledge about school here. Here is what I want you to consider:

  • What worked for you in the classroom? What didn't?
  • What would you have changed? How would you change it?
  • What was it that you learned that was really important and needs to continue to be taught?
  • What was taught you did not need to learn?
  • What furniture arrangements worked well for you, if any?
  • How would your dream classroom look? What kind of furniture, technology, ect.?
  • How would your dream school look? What would it have?
  • What kind of instruction did you learn best from? Do you prefer lecture, reading, worksheets, activities, projects, other ways?

The assignment is  (choose one):
  1. Design a classroom, from furniture to curriculum, that you would want to spend 174 days in next year.
  2. Design a school that you would want to spend the next four years in. (include classes, common areas, etc.)
I want you to create a physical representation of the classroom/school. I want you to design the classes/subjects you would learn and include major learning objectives for them.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Think critically about what would be the best learning environment for you.
  2. Design your ideal learning space.
  3. Share your thoughts with others.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Seperating Mixture Write-Ups: Mrs. Ripp's Students

Below are five different science procedures written to explain how to separate a mixture. Since you have performed this experiment before in 7th grade (and in 5th grade too) you should be able to give an expert opinion on which method written by the students would be easiest to follow.  Leave a comment on the best post and explain why you think his/her method is the best of the five.

Eric's Post

Nate's Post

Sophia's Post

Abby's Post

Kyra's Post

Free Rice 2.0

 FreeRice.com is a quiz site and a way to help the World Food Programme end hunger. For every answer you get right, ten grains of rice will be donated. While this may not seem like a lot of rice, it adds up. An added feature is that you can now pick from several different categories of questions.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We Are The Solution/Pledge Against Bullying

We Are the Solution is a video and site created by students at Edward Town Middle School, located in Sanborn, New York. Watch the video then go to the  site if you wish to sign the pledge to help stop bullying.

Since YouTube is blocked at school,  here is a link to the video on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Story Postcards

My students have been doing some creative writing. I decided that they should share their stories with their parents and so I gave them this opportunity. The students drew a scene from their story using paint and then I printed the pictures out using card stock.

I then had the students write the first paragraph of their story on the back of the card along with their mailing address so they could be mailed home. When parents receive the card they will have the opportunity to ask the student what the paragraph is about and then the students can share their story.

Math Benchmarks for 7,8

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Examine The Age of Exploration Through Comments4Kids

Class, it is time to stretch yourselves a bit. Today you will be looking at some blog posts by high school students in a Modern World History Class. Pick two different posts to leave a comment on. Make sure you don't leave a drive-by comment. Copy your comment and the blog post URL to a post on your blog and publish it when finished.

You may want to leave your blog address on your comment so it can be tracked back.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Comments4Kids Wednesday

The real value of using technology in your classroom is not:

  • student engagement- If you want better student engagement, design better lessons.
  • the "cool" factor- see above
  • 21st century skills- Identify what that means first, then we will talk.
  • parent involvement- Do we really need to make more excuses for unengaged parents?
  • learning how to keyboard- I won't even dignify this one with a response #oopsIguessIjustdid
The real value of using technology in your classroom is:
  • creating connections- We learn so much through others that are different.
  • sharing- We are smarter than I.
  • conversations-A post is an attempt to start a conversation, a comment makes it happen.
Technology is not only about doing old things in a new way (although  there is nothing wrong with that). Technology should be about creating opportunities for us to learn from others when that would be impossible without it.

Today let us find some real value with our technology. 

  1. Leave two excellent comments on your peers blog posts. 
  2. Leave two excellent comments on students blogs outside our community. (See Below)
  3. Copy and paste all four comments to your blog and include the URL of the original post.
  4. Publish your post. 
Mr. Boylen's 8th grade students have been doing some writing too, give them some good, critical comments.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Our Own Intereactive Art Museum!

Mrs. Smith (our Art teacher) and I have teamed up to create an interactive art "museum" for our students' work.

Mrs. Smith chooses are work that she thinks best illustrates what she is having her students do. She then puts it on the "art museum" wall.The student creates a video explaining about the work, what they did, and what they learned.

Here is the QR Code for Alex's video. If you scan it with a smart phone you will be taken to the video.
Here is the QR Code

Now when someone comes along and wants to know more about the art work they can simply scan the code with their smart phone and instantly start watching a video of the artist explaining his/her work.