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Class Size Matters PSA

As a part of my online graduate studies in the area of Educational Technology, my assignment this week was to create a PSA (public service announcement) as a part of my Digital Storytelling class. The topic of the PSA was up to each student. I chose to do mine on one of my top three “hot button” issues – class size. (My other two areas of concern are class technology for students and teacher prep time, in case you were wondering.)

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Women’s History Submissions

The class worked so hard on their Women’s History Month assignment. The following students have been selected for submission to FTA’s Women’s History Month competition:

Essays:

Posters:

Videos:

“Leaders”

“Artists”

I appreciate all of the hard work of all of my students. More information will follow as to when the awards ceremony will take place.

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SBAC Test Practice

testing My class will be taking the state test (SBAC) on:

  • Friday, April 10th
  • Monday, April 13th
  • Tuesday, April 14th
  • Wednesday, April 15th
  • Friday, April 24th
  • Tuesday, April 28th
  • Wednesday, April 29th

Please make sure your child is at school and on time, have had a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast. There are practice tests online which we will be using in class and in the lab. You are welcome to use them with your child at home. You do not need to input any information, you can use the practice tests with “GUEST” in the fields. All you will need is to select your child’s grade level.

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Thoughts on Women’s History Month

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My class has recently begun to investigate women for women’s history month. As a teacher, much of what I do is based on my own experiences as a student as well as my professional training and work experience. One topic of importance to me is choice. As a student the ability to choose was huge for me. A teacher being interested in my thoughts was important. I did my best in those sort of student centered classrooms. As a result I often ask my students for their opinions and their thoughts on what we study, and take those into consideration when planning. I have always preferred democracy in my room, but it certainly isn’t a pure democracy. I am the teacher and I have to decide on what is best for my students even if it goes against the popular opinion of the class. It would be foolish of me to do whatever they want to do, as clearly not ALL ideas from 9 year olds are the best ones.

So here we are on the subject of women’s history, and like I typically do, I allow my students to choose, after a class discussion on the topic and a couple of Brain Pop videos to give them ideas. I was immediately bombarded with requests for Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Zendaya, Becky G, Jessie J…and I was immediately concerned. My knee jerk reaction was to not allow those and I did reject only one (Nicki Minaj) because I felt she would pose content that may be inappropriate for children. On the whole I was conflicted about it considering contemporary entertainers. It is false to think that only women from the past who have made social change in some way are the only ones worth studying. Entertainers have done many great things and I did not want to rule them out. At the same time I wanted to be sure my students had a subject who would have published material about her life and her accomplishments. I ruled out a few others who, while I did not recognize their names (and I am pretty hip for an old lady) a brief search did not provide much detail on them.

The theme of Women’s History Month 2015 is “Weaving the Story of Women’s Lives.” Students need to recognize a woman’s contributions to the past or present. That is pretty broad. We are in the beginning research phases of this project and I have already had some students change their subject, mainly because they could not locate enough information on the person to complete the planner I had given them.

At the moment we still have a rather interesting combination of women, that include Katy Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Helen Keller, Hillary Clinton, Danica Patrick, Judy Blume, and Eva Peron. I enjoy supporting the choice of my students and I am looking forward to their writing and projects.

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Black History Month Contest Results

Hello Families!

This month I worked with the class on our social studies project for Black History Month, which was a contest hosted by the Fontana Teachers Association. (Unfortunately I was unable to attend the awards ceremony so I do not have complete results. As soon as I do I will update this post to reflect them.) There were 4 categories and I entered the following students:

MULTIMEDIA (Board Builders)

Tied for 1st: Denise and Brandon
2nd Place: Bella

VISUAL ARTS (POSTER)

Third Place in Visual Arts: Wyatt

VIDEOS (PaperSlides – Links to the videos are private and can be provided to parents if they contact me.)

FIRST PLACE:

SECOND PLACE:

THIRD PLACE:

ESSAY

Angel

Angel

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Women’s History Month

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Hello Families!

The Fontana Teacher’s Association has announced their next contest and it is Women’s History Month (March 2015). I have spoken with the class about this and have begun to get them thinking on who they would like to become an expert on.  I am providing you the information I have received from the FTA so that you can better support your child as they investigate who they would like to select for this social studies project. I have instructed the class that I will not be asking them who they have selected until Monday, March 2nd. No two students will investigate the same person, so we have a variety of women studied. This project will be completed by Thursday, March 19th.

FTA Women’s History Month Flyer

FTA Women’s History Month Guidelines

I came across an excellent article on Scholastic regarding Women’s History Month that I will be using to aid in guiding the class on their selections. This article directed me to The Makers website, which is an incredible resource for information and inspiration.

I am requiring that each student write an essay on the woman they have selected to research. Then the students will work on either a PaperSlide video, Board Builder, or poster to coincide with their writing. This IS NOT a homework assignment. This is classwork we will be doing in the area of Language Arts, Social Studies and Technology. I am asking for as much support as possible in aiding your child at home as they research and build their projects.

The woman your child selects to report on need not be from the United States. The theme for this work is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives” and is not specific to the US.

On a related note, we had quite the showing at the Black History Month awards held this week, with many of our students placing! Regretfully I was not able to attend, but I have requested a list of who placed in each category and will be posting that here as soon as I know. If your child’s digital work was submitted (PaperSlide video or Board Builder) and you would like to see it, please contact me. Essays and posters are presently not in my possession, but as soon as they are returned to me I will send them home with your child.

Please do not hesitate in contacting me via Class Dojo, email or in the comments below. Thank you in advance for your assistance and support!

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Virtual Manipulatives

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Hello Families,

I just wanted to share an app I found to use with the class for our work with fractions (it will also work with decimals and percents, so it will certainly come in handy for more than one use.)

The app is simply called “Virtual Manipulatives” and is absolutely free.

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I found the app very intuitive and easy to use. I demonstrated it with the class today as we compared fractions. I will have them using it on my Apple tablets as I am able. (I wish I had 31 tablets so they could each use it during a lesson!) I did look for this app in the Google Play store on my Android tablet, and unfortunately it was not available. There was one called “Equivalence Tiles” (also free) but it is not as nice as “Virtual Manipulatives.” It does get the job done though if you need manipulatives to help your child with their fraction work.

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The interface and usability was perfect and made the app very fun to use. The kids were excited to see it and definitely made the fraction lesson a whole lot more fun.

Please don’t hesitate to message me on Class Dojo, send me an email, or make a comment below if you have any questions.