This week to celebrate President's Day and to tie in citing sources. Students created bio poems on a president. Using their social studies textbook, students located the president that corresponded to their class number. Then using the following bio poem template found at Classroom Magic students went to work using Google search engine to find out more information about their president.

Here's the sample bio poem I created to model for students on our current president Barack Obama:

optimistic, hopeful, intelligent
son of Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham
born in Hawaii
44th president of the United States
He doesn't like ice cream and worked at Baskin Robbins as a teenager.
challenged by the economy and helping struggling families
who cares deeply about his country

You can check out their bio poems on their blogs here. After students typed their poems on their blogs and saved their draft, they used the Kids President's Finger painting app (FREE) to locate their president color it, save it and then insert it into their blog.

Finally, to wrap up the lesson students students created a bibliography using noodle tools.
My first subscription has been delivered! Thanks again to all my donors through Their generous donation will enable my students to be in touch with the outside world.

One reason reading nonfiction may be so important is that it helps students develop their background knowledge, which itself accounts for as much as 33 percent of the variance in student achievement (Marzano, 2000). These subscriptions will not only help in increasing their background knowledge, but also help to increase their vocabularies.

Another great advantage of these subscriptions is the transition to common core implementation will be smoother for both students and teacher.

Once again I'm so thankful to all my donors, and my students and I are looking forward to our future subscriptions.

Carnival season and the week before Mardi Gras is always a fun filled time at school with lots of events and activities planned for the students. There are always lots of parades in the city and in our local area on the weekends and on some weeknights. It is also a tradition to have King Cake which is always a plus for the students. Everyone is always excited to see who gets the baby in the King Cake.

It is also a great time to teach students how Mardi Gras originated in New Orleans and discuss the meaning of traditions and culture throughout our lessons as well as share this wealth of information with others as we did through a Mystery Skype and by writing letters to our pen-pals in New York. 

We skyped Mrs. Egesdal's 4th grade class in Forest City, Indiana. We gave them 8 facts about Mardi Gras, showed them a King Cake, and even demonstrated a second line including some Mardi Gras music. 

In this picture below, you can see the Mardi Gras masks students colored and cut out to wear for our annual PreK & Kinder parade and to wear during our Mystery Skype.

Here are the bead dogs we made to include with our letters to our pen-pals in New York.

 A picture of the students hollering for beads from some of the PreK students.

And of course our cheerleaders whom I coach marching in the Little Rascals parade.

Last week, we had a special visitor who is a cousin of one of my students. His name is Drake Nevis and he plays football for the Indianapolis Colts.

According to Wikipedia, Drake M. Nevis (born May 8, 1989) is an American football defensive end for the Indianapolis Colts. He is considered one of the top defensive tackles for the 2011 NFL Draft. He played college football at LSU. 
Nevis attended John Ehret High School in Marrero, Louisiana, where he recorded 72 tackles (17 for losses), 18 sacks, 25 quarterback hurries, eight forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles as a senior. He received Class 5A first-team all-state honors and a SuperPrep All-American selection. Regarded as a four-star recruit by, Nevis was listed as the No. 9 defensive tackle prospect in the class of 2007.

It was just a coincidence that one of the boys in my class had a Colts jacket on the day he visited. He was able to get a picture with Drake.

Over the past few weeks my 4th graders have completed a few projects. They include participating in the weather or not project by Projects by Jen, creating a timeline of their life including a milestone for each year, constructing a float to represent someone from black history or an explorer, and will soon write letters back to their pen pals including making a brochure to teach them a little about the history of Mardi Gras and making them a bead dog.

Each week, I choose a new student to be our weather person for the week. They take one of our class iPads and use the Kids Journal App to record the weather in our city using the link to our Weather Bug, which is a camera located on the top of our school that records the weather outside. At the end of the week I email our week's worth of journals to Jen. She posts them here or you can go straight to our link here.

Here is a look at a timeline created! She did such an awesome job.

Here's a look at some of the floats created by four students in my class. They chose MLK, Christopher Columbus, Hernando de Soto, and Harriett Tubman.

This week we will begin writing our letters back to our pen pals in New York, and telling them about the history of Mardi Gras, King Cake, and our notable bead dog. I am also excited because we will make bead dogs to send them from beads caught at parade.

Here are a few links that I will use this week.

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