My Partner teacher Mrs. Wilson Rocks! Mrs. Wilson and I teach two 4th grade classes of about 30 students. She teaches Math, Science and Social Studies and I English Language Arts. The partnership we have built over the last two years has been valuable. We share common philosophies on teaching and have a love for technology. We also both began a blog last summer, which has become a place for us to reflect, share and post our daily lessons.

Please stop by Mrs. Wilson's Blog and Check out the happenings and my surprise birthday party in Room 1!
Our state testing began on Thursday, April 12 with the students taking the ELA portion. That Monday I sent home letters to the parents asking them to write an encouraging letter to their child to open the first day of testing. On Thursday, students came in excited and eager to open their letters from their parents. Here are a few pictures I took capturing the moment! The letters were so heartfelt, and encouraging. It brought tears to my eyes when reading.

After testing was over and the all clear was announced by our assistant principal, we took a nice needed break outside each day.

Then on Thursday, April 19th my partner teacher Mrs. Wilson organized a visit from one of our local meteorologist Carl Arredondo. He spoke to the students for about an hour on what his job entails. He even told the students he wore make-up which was the one part of his job he didn't like too much. One of my students asked him if he wore make-up to look more "Macho". That night on the 6:00 news, he gave us a shout out, and even brought up the "Macho" comment made by one of my students. It was awesome!

Then to finish out our testing week, we took a field trip on Friday to the Audubon Zoo here in New Orleans. Here is a picture of my group. We had 8 chaperones total for the field trip, so the students were split up into groups of 3-4. Pictured is me on the left (yes I am as tall as the students), Mrs. Wilson (my partner teacher) in the back, Mr. Martinez (ELL teacher) and Mrs. Ahmad (student teacher).
 Here is a picture of me and an animal at the zoo who shared the same birthday on Friday, April 20. The animal turned 29 and me 33.
The best part of the day Friday was when my student teacher and my students organized a surprise
birthday party for me! Mrs. Ahmad baked about 5 dozen cupcakes for the students and me. It was so thoughtful and sweet! This was my first surprise birthday party ever, and one I will never forget.

Today was our last day of Testing! Can I get an OH YEAH!

We have three days left for this school week and then we will have off for Spring Break!

Tomorrow my Shining and Shooting Stars are going to be busy preparing and reviewing expectations for our upcoming centers for the Week of April 30th. They will also receive a visit from one of our local weathermen Carl Arredondo tomorrow morning, which was organized by my partner teacher Mrs. Wilson. Thursday we will again review centers and expectations, and receive a RIF book (Reading is Fundamental). Friday we are going on a field trip to the zoo, and we are celebrating my birthday!

I am really looking forward to the last three weeks not only because summer is drawing near, but because my students are going to be working collaboratively in groups on technology based learning projects to develop their communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking skills. They will develop innovative products using technology and be assessed on their projects. No more paper and pencil tests! Can I get another OH YEAH! 

Here is a look at my Technology Centers for the coming weeks! Click here to see my lesson plan.
Click here for the rubric.

What are you doing the last few weeks of school?
 The first tech tool I love is Edmodo. Why do you ask? It has developed the 4 C's, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking in my students this year.

Here are a few ways we have benefited from this awesome tech tool:

  • students having educational chats with their peers
  • backchannel during Mystery Skypes
  • communicate with our Trucker Buddy
  • collaborate with a 4th grade Class from Kansas and Colorado on James and the Giant Peach
  • paperless
  • students take quizzes, polls, and generate questions to go along with their chapter book
I plan to start a book club with my students over the summer, by using Edmodo as our way of communicating. 

Next Year
I will begin using Edmodo for book clubs starting in August. I love that students are engaged in their chapter book and are reading independently. They are focused and engaged when they go to the book club center taking their weekly quiz, polls, and answering their focus question. I plan to incorporate more vocabulary instruction through Edmodo and more project focused activities.

Class Dojo is my second and most recent tech tool that I love in my classroom. Class Dojo is an amazing classroom management tool. I recently learned about Class Dojo through Mrs. Owen's blog. Soon after reading her blog post I set up my two classes. The next morning at school I implemented Class Dojo during our center time using my iPhone as a remote. Instead of having students pull cards for interruptions or being out of their chair, I was able to take away points using my iPhone. This way I wasn't taking away from my guided group by correcting students at other centers, and students were constantly monitoring their points via the Promethean board. The best part about it is that I am able to award points for good behavior such as students helping others, hard work and participation. Check out Kleinspiration's blog for more background information on Class Dojo.

Do you use either of the tech tools I have mentioned? If so, how have your student's benefitted?
My last post I shared with you what my students are working on at their reading and technology centers. This post I would like to dedicate to the projects that students are creating at a few of the centers.

At center 6, this week students worked on the iPad to create a sideshow. They are using the keynote app to build a genius paragraph. Click here to see an example.

At center 5, students are created a Wordle. They have a choice to create a spelling, all about me, or character listing from their chapter book. It seems as if the spelling Wordle was the most popular. After they create the Wordle students save it, copy the html code, open their Kidblog, create a new post and paste in the code to their blog. Check out all those computer skills my students have mastered! How awesome is that? You can check out their awesomeness here!
For the past two weeks and continuing until the end of the year, my 4th grade "Shining Stars" and "Shooting Stars" will work collaboratively in groups on technology based learning projects and in guided groups with a teacher. My students will demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products using technology. They will also practice test taking strategies to prepare for the upcoming state test.

Here's a look at my 6 centers which students attend to for 2 rotations of 30 minutes.

At center 1, the Shining Stars work in a teacher led group facilitated by Mr. Martinez, the ELL teacher and Ms. DiFulco, the Special Education teacher facilitates the second class, to revise and edit a passage. They end the center with a Proofreading test on LouisianaPass and print out their results for a grade

At center 2, this week students determined the climax of the story by analyzing the plot. Here's a look at the anchor chart I used on the left and a chart I used to model how to determine the climax using the book Stone Soup. The activities for this lesson were taken from ReadWorks.

At center 3, students work in a teacher led group to analyze different resources, use process of elimination and learn to prove their answers by giving evidence to where their answer was located. This is a test prep center to prepare for Information Resources and is led by my student teacher.

At center 4, students interact, collaborate and publish their work with peers through Edmodo. Students take a Reading quiz, poll, and respond to a focus question on their chapter book. The Shining Stars are reading James and the Giant Peach and are collaborating with a 4th grade class from Kansas and Colorado. The Shooting Stars are reading Because of Winn Dixie. I am so excited I was able to get this book club together for the students through Twitter. Thanks to @JanWells and @Jmplus for their  and their students' participation.

At center 5, students expand their vocabulary by using a variety of tools such as tag board I created from Jasztalville's Blog, play,, and creating a Word Cloud using Spelling words on The Wordles students created came out great. They are hanging outside of my classroom. Sorry I forgot to take a picture!

Finally center 6, students will make a choice post on their blogs using Kidblog. Students are expected to write at least a 100 words and include a hook, transitions, and a conclusion.
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