Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Back at it again...

Well fast forward to 2019 and here we are in Port Orange teaching STEM at Cypress Creek Elementary.  I wanted to write about a situation that occurred a few weeks ago and has me thinking.

I prepped the STEM classroom with Lego WeDo sets ready on the tables, objectives posted, calming music playing while the 4th graders walked in and then I heard it, "Oh I already know how to do this. I know what we are doing. I can do it." It struck me right in the heart. Legos, how in the world could you already possible know what we are going to do-Legos have a million and one in possibilities. How can anyone else get a word in if you already know and are you going to let me do anything?

How many of us walk in to any number of situations and think yay I know this. Then it came to me, if you walk in to a situation and think you know it all, you won't learn a thing.  Seriously, take a minute to let that sink in. I talked to the class and shared my thoughts.  We talked a few minutes about learning new things and I pointed out their teacher talks about the growth mindset in class.

Maybe just maybe we can take a moment and not know everything.  After 25 years of teaching I am amazed at how I learn from students every day and even teachers.  I recently attended the Get Your Teach On conference in Orlando.  Saving that one for another blog post but let's just say I am still learning.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Top 10 for 2016-2017

Well that school year flew right by...
I decided to maybe do a Top 10 of my absolute favorite STEM activities from the year, after all I have like 9,000 photos saved on my phone. Yes, you read that correctly 9,000 photos. New plan Top 10 for the last 10 months and we start with September. So take a wild ride these next few weeks as I catch you up on the BEST year ever...being the STEM Special Area teacher for Cypress Creek Elementary.

After talking about being a digital citizen and getting to know one another the first few weeks the 1st challenge was posed to the intermediate students.  They had to make a crayon organizer out of available materials.  We needed to have a common definition of organized and what better way that Kahoot!  It was so much fun showing various pictures and hearing the oh my! and what? when the kids saw them and had to decide is it organized or not.  After that students were given  list of available materials and the planning started.
How big was the organizer going to be?  How would it organize the crayons? What about color pencils?  How would you decorate? maybe label? oh the possibilities were endless.
Since we only have 35 minutes it took a few sessions but the results were amazing!  More to come on that.  One of the materials was toilet tubes and from he donations received my trusty assistant made sure they were all cleaned up for the students.  Isn't she just the best ever!  The kids love having her volunteer every Wednesday and she absolutely has the BEST time with the kindergarten kiddos.
The primary students took part in  #globalcardboardchallenge  One of my favorite teachers, Amy Spies introduced me to Caine's Arcade.  Caine is an exceptional young man that used problem solving, creativity and perseverance to make the world a better place.  If you have a moment watch:

The challenge was to make something, anything out of cardboard and the wheels were turning from the word go.  Ethan was on a mission.  He wanted 26 pieces of cardboard and Ahma was on duty to help cut those pieces of cardboard.
Finished product: a set of alphabet cards and he was so proud of them.  Ethan is a kindergartener with a little sister and I know those cards were put to good use.  I was so impressed with his will and determination through the whole process.  It was going to be an amazing year.
Cypress Creek has PLC weekly for teachers to meet, learn, and collaborate which gives special are an extra 20 minutes with each grade level.  I had a buddy that let me borrow a set of Build to Express kits and I am telling you it turned out the be the BEST thing ever!  The kids loved building, creating, talking, sharing, and groaned when it was time for "diassemble and clean-up." 
Seriously this smile is worth a million LEGOS right?
Caleb loves our custodial staff.  He is the most helpful young man and created a scene of custodians.  I couldn't wait to share it with Mr. Gerry and Ms. Lori.  You never know the impression you leave with a young one.  
Back to the crayon organizers and cardboard challenge, it was a workshop of materials, movement, and you could feel the energy.  The students were impressive with their thinking, their willingness to help one another, and their creativity.  Cameron wanted to create an arcade game to score points by throwing a ball.  Aha got in on the action and it was so cute.
Cameron's next steps are to add point labels and he has some work to do.  One thing I learned quickly was storage! Where was I going to store crayon organizers and cardboard projects for all these students.  Just a glimpse into the storage room.
The T is STEM is for technology so where is the technology?  Up comes Goformative and it is a game changer.  I need to do a whole write up to give it justice. So make sure to check back.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring Break 2017

 Who knows better than anyone what the day is like when Spring Break starts at 2:05? A teacher of course.  However we need to use every minute given to us to share and teach our students.  It just so happens to be a challenge for teachers to find something so engaging the students can't help but learn and then walks in  An online whiteboard where you can write, share, collaborate and send in or post your whiteboard images. A special thanks to Cassandra Stewart for sharing the possibilities during a DLTL meeting.
Our 3-5th graders will be taking the state test on the computers and I have planned several lessons on technology to get them familiar with the computer and mouse.  I used a math picture puzzle from @mathmashup to have them solve using the math principals they know.  They received a link for a clean whiteboard from me through Seesaw.  
Their next task was to solve and then download their image to Seesaw so I could see their progress.  It was amazing!
 Do you even see a friend helping another get to use the features ofAwwapp and then posting to Seesaw?
As far as our kindergartener friends and 1st graders, I thought it would be fun to get the green screen out and let them tell you their plans.
Check out the video here: 
Our leaders Dr. L and Becky P. are amazing and every year they put on a staff wide picnic thanks to Christ the King Church which uses our school for their facilities.  We have such  great time laughing and celebrating the end to another successful nine weeks.
Mrs. Nuzzo led us in a prayer to thank Christ the King for their time and dedication for this wonderful lunch.
Church members cooked and fed us all.

There were various games on the tables and we enjoyed a little time to let our hair down.
Did I mention the church also gave out gift cards to 3 lucky winners?  
We enjoyed a yummy treat from Ritter's Frozen Custard after the picnic.
Richard is our hard working Principal Secretary but oh so much more! I know I learned my first few years to make sure to friend the office staff, custodians and cafeteria workers. Richard has the pulse of the school at any given time. There are so many behind the scenes for which none knows he puts it all together and without the gratitude we should have for him. He is our district 2016 Superintendent's Outstanding Achievement Award winner and we are so very blessed to have him with us. I made a promise to myself I would catch this blog up over Spring Break so the first one is the hardest step right? Stay tuned...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Red Ribbon Week 2016

Last year our Guidance Counselor retired and we were blessed to hire Rachel Jeffreis.  She is amazing! A guidance counselor spends hours planning Red Ribbon Week and it can influence a child between making bad choices and better ones.  I was so excited to get around all week and take come of the cutest pictures of our otters and even some of their parents as we celebrated.

Monday was I’m “RED”y to be me
Wearing red has always been a staple of the week but it was a sea of red and made a heart proud!  Don’t get me wrong I do love the uniforms but there is something about all the kids coming together for a cause. 

Tuesday was Good Character is my SuperPower
There were super heroes galore. Here I am with my teacher BFF Mrs. Mussard.  We make a great super hero pair!  

I had to take Wonder Women selfies especially with the cutie kinders.

  I have to say Kindergarten students and families go all out.  Is it because it is there 1st year at school and everything is new.  Are parents on top of every occasion?  Maybe but there were plenty of super heroes throughout the school to show their good character. 

Wednesday is Pair Up and Increase Confidence
Twins Day was a 1st for our school in 10 years.  Yes, this is year 10 for Cypress Creek Elementary. Cuteness x2 was a treat.  How cute are these teachers Mrs. Nuzzo & Mrs. Walker.  There aren't words for how appreciative we are for our Business Partners and these bestie dressing up as Kona Ice workers was adorable.  
  So this is one of my all time favorite people, Coach Glover.  I have bus duty with him in the afternoon and asked about the George Clooney stapled to his shirt pocket.  Just as serious as he could be, "It is twin day."  Oh my! he had me laughing out loud and smiling from ear to ear.  What a sense of humor Coach has! It is so great to be surrounded by such amazing people!

Thursday was Decades and Decades of Good Choices
You know you have school spirit when the parents dress up to participate right?  We have the best parents at CCE.  Kids are learning by watching us right?  We were modeling decades of good choices for sure. 
Here are some highlights from around the school.

Friday was Team Up to spread Kindness
Team Jersey day is always a favorite and of course it is the school wide walk-a-thon as well.  There were too many cuties to not share so sorry if this is overload.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Chairs are Here

The chairs are here! I really like the blue and lime green color.  With teaching STEM special area and seeing the whole school we had to make a decision on chairs.  We decided to go with the medium size chairs.  I have to say it is a bit funny when the 3rd graders come in and say they are little chairs.  I think they are just right.
Check out the new chairs with the desks. I really think the classroom is coming together. 
Of course you need to see the classroom from both views.
But the smile on their faces, I think these kids like the new chairs.  
First thing first is digital citizenship and the best app to showcase work while showing responsibility is Seesaw.  The primary students used Draw & Tell to complete a directed drawing of a school bus.  In Seesaw we recorded their favorite part of the school day.  It was too cute.  I love how directed drawings turn out to be such unique pieces of art!
Big smiles after finishing the project.
Everyone is so engaged and really making the effort to design wonderful pictures.

Intermediate students explored the capabilities of Buncee. Bungee is a more friendly version to showcase presentations with amazing fonts, animated pictures, and a library of visuals that will have you creating for hours!
Alexa wanted an otter since it is our school mascot.  We tweeted out a request and do you know that within 12 hours there were 3 newly added otter pictures/animations for students to use! Seriously Buncee is a company that listens to their users and it taught these children a very powerful lesson on social media.
Bungee fans are seriously engaged in finding just the right element to add to the page.
I have to say seeing the whole school every 6 days is quite a feat and I have really found the students to be so many things whether it is sporty, kind, or funny.  I think each and every one of them is amazing and I am hoping to showcase their talents throughout the year here on this blog and throughout the school year.

Monday, October 10, 2016

First day of school!!

 What a beautiful day to start the 2016-2017 school year!  
 What do you start the school year with in STEM? Digital Citizenship of course!  The way the schedule works out I see K-5 everyday for 35 minutes and every 6 days I will have had the whole school.  VERY different than what I have taught for the past 23 years.  
 After Digital Citizenship what better way to see what they learned than playing one of those Lab Activities from SMART.  The kids loved it!!
 Didn't matter if they were 5th graders or 1st graders they LOVED the desks and yoga ball seats.  Definitely a WIN!!
 The classes loved the touch screen feature of the SMART board.  It was like second nature for the kids.  
 In my introduction to STEM, yes that is a Buncee, I talked about what STEM means after all it is a new special area.  These are kindergarteners and they were amazing! Yes it was the very 1st day of school.  They were soaking it all up. Too amazing and love, love, love this!
I created a Beginning of the Year Buncee to find out a little about my students.
I gave them some information on me and then showed a picture that I left up for a minute and then asked some detail oriented questions to see how observant they were and found myself smiling throughout the days.  
Well the end of the day came and I made it. 6 introductions to STEM class. We talked about what the year would bring science, technology, iPads, robots, building, Legos, math, measuring and do you know what they perked up the most at hearing...robots! Oh the robots and coding I have in store for these otters!  Check out Bryce and that smile.  
By the way they don't even know that I was lucky-blessed:) to get an #edcampimpact grant.  I attended #edcampmagic and #edcampvolusia.  I attended a session on robots where Bryan Miller from Wonder Workshop talked about Dash and Dot.  There is a team robotics competition and I was hooked.  My grant will purchase 2 more Dash & Dot robots with accessories, a Sphero, and an OSMO coding kit.  Robots oh yes we are going to code and learn so many things. I can't wait!
 Here is one of my friends from last year modeling how to hold the iPad the proper way when traveling around the room.  She was an excellent model to help teach the others about proper care and responsibility.  We have 768 students using these iPads and I am so proud of their actions.  I can't wait to share projects throughout the year using various apps and how I am using Seesaw with the whole school.  I am still working through this and how to share with parents.  I know one mountain to climb at a time.
 What is Tanner doing? Holding an egg in a blue cup of course.  Let me explain, Kayla Delzer is a rockstar teacher and this is her post on the Great Egg Test.  Kindergarteners are new to our school since we do not have a Pre-K program and our 1st graders had some experience on the iPads last year but what better way to teach everyone the importance of iPad responsibility.  I talked to each class and sent them on their way with an egg in a cup.  See it represented an iPad in a case and the class was responsible for caring for the egg and we would talk about their progress.  
 I had to include this photo.  Some background: 4th grade, talked about being a digital citizen, and then play the SMART Lab game for review.  Do you see that cutie in the middle?  He was so excited and so competitive AND totally engaged...all of them! I captured this moment and I just know it is only the beginning for what this STEM classroom/lab has in store for our future.