Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January Marches On

Looking out at the snow and thinking about how freezing it is today, it's hard to believe that we need to start thinking about our end-of-the-year field trip! We will be heading back to Camp Common Ground at the beginning of June for our traditional overnight. The ANESU has some forms for unsupervised volunteers to fill out and will cover the cost of your fingerprints (if they are not already on file with central office) if you are willing and able to join us for this fun trip. I really hope the paperwork and background check aren't too big of a deterrent. We need chaperones to make this trip happen! We have been strongly encouraged to begin the chaperone-finding process now. The tentative dates are June 1st and 2nd and we are waiting on a hard confirmation from CCG. Once we get that, I'll let you know for sure.

I'm not sure if your student has mentioned it to you, but our guppy population is growing like crazy. I hate to do it, but the research we have done suggests a bigger tank is needed to ensure the safety and comfort of our finned friends. Indeed, it is like Downtown Tokyo in there right now and that's not really fair to the animals. If you or someone you know has a larger aquarium we can use/buy, please let me know.

Hopefully, you heard all about our trip to the Flynn last week. We had an awesome time. The production was out of this world; lots of physical comedy and out-and-out hilarity. I think it was a really great way to cap our Shakespeare unit, which has been uber-engaging for just about everyone. We were lucky enough to be able to take part in both the performance and a companion workshop with a Flynn educator because we applied for and were granted a Cultural Routes Grant from the Vermont Arts Council that took care of the cost of our bus. We certainly wouldn't have been able to get there without it, field trip budgets being what they are!

Last week, the kids started using the Chrome app Seesaw to create a feed (similar to a Facebook, Twitter, or Insta) of their learning products. We are using Seesaw, an educational app that I discovered thanks to my online professional learning network, in place of our digital portfolios, which are in a little bit of a limbo-type state as we migrate everyone's emails and user accounts over to the new @anesu.org domain. The Innovation Team, of which I am a part, is also trying to determine which standards we want students reflecting on, which is also part of the temporary holding pattern. Anyway, I printed out a letter to send home on Friday and plum forgot to go get it from the printer. I'll send it home this week; it contains instructions for how parents can view what your students are putting for evidence on this private, secure site. The gang really took to it, so now I am devoting time every Thursday for Seesaw so that we are constantly reflecting. I've also created a reflection checklist based on the list of transferrable skills that the Agency of Education generated. This will help students choose points of reflection and growth each week.

Speaking of reflection and growth, I had two really great professional development happenings recently that I want to let you know about. The first is that I applied and was chosen to be an ambassador for the Polar 3D printing company, which means that we will get a(nother!) 3D printer and be able to share our educational uses of this awesome tool to the broader world. It's a(nother!) chance for us to be a leader in a really exciting new educational movement. So, that was Thursday... On Friday, I got word that I had been chosen to receive a scholarship to be a part of the Engineering is Elementary teacher training program offered through the Museum of Science, Boston. This entails a trip to the Museum in April to participate in a professional development strand as well as all sorts of curriculum materials for us to use back here at MCS. I am also constantly evolving my science practices as part of my work on the Agency of Education K-5 Science Professional Learning Team. We meet once a month to up our own science teaching games as well as think of how we can help our colleagues around the state to do the same. I talked to the kids about how we need to make our own opportunities, excitement, and learning happen and am proud to have been able to share these examples with them, not only because they show the value of putting yourself out there but because they directly benefit the work we do in Room 110!

Please make sure you LIKE us on Facebook! It is a lot easier to post photos there than to get them into this blog (weird, I know) and I add snaps on a daily basis, especially when we're up to cool stuff (which we usually are).

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