June 30, 2010

Classroom Activity: Sexton Mountain class of 2010 performs "Gotta keep Reading"

Early this spring, my teaching team and I came across a video of Ocoee Middle School in Florida doing a flash mob performance for Dr. Seuss/Read Across America Day. They had taken the words to a well known pop song and changed them to center around reading. The whole school had taken place in the flash mob and it was a hit on Youtube (over half a million views). We loved the idea and decided to use it as part of the end of the year send off for our fifth graders.

We taught our students the words to the song, then the choreography. Some of them took to it right away and had no trouble bursting out into song and dance in front of each other. For other students, it took us awhile to get them to open up and loosen up and perform in front of the other students. They all started to have real fun with it and saw it as a reward on Fridays when we got together to rehearse. Some of the students learned the actual music on their instruments so we also put together a band. We had one of our fabulous instructional assistants help the band with tuning and musicianship.

On the last day of school during the last day assembly for the whole school, the students were ready for their performance. It was a surprise and none of the other students knew the fifth graders were going to perform. The whole school enjoyed their fantastic performance. It was a great kick off to last day activities and a great send off to middle school for our fifth graders.

June 24, 2010

How I will use a blog in my classroom...


These words sum up all my reasons for wanting a classroom blog. I teach fourth and fifth grades and up until now, the only technology related link to the classroom was our class website. This was a great place for posting homework but didn’t allow any interaction between students, parents and teacher. I am hoping this blog will become a more dynamic venue for our classroom community to interact and communicate.

As the teacher, I plan on using our classroom blog to create a permanent record of what is going on in the classroom as well as a permanent record of classroom related materials. This could include everything from daily homework, projects, extended learning activities, celebrations, and helpful links to topics of study. This is for the students to enjoy, comment, and begin their own discussions of, but also a place for parents to feel involved in what is going on in the classroom.

The most important reason to create a blog for our classroom will be the ability to provide students with a meaningful audience and arena to share their thoughts and opinions through writing. Blogging involves a journal like style of writing but there will also be opportunities for students to share formal writing done in class and to accompany the writing with visual aids and enhancements. Students will be able to comment on each others’ work and posts by teacher and parents.