Finding Joy in 6th Grade has created her first Linky party with a Giveaway.  
The Linky Party is "What Will I Definitely Do Next Year? "

I've been out of school since May 17th and just got back from Destin, Florida on our first family vacation of the summer and of course I am already thinking about what I will definitely do next year with my 4th graders. While there are so many things I plan to do, here are a few things that I definitely plan to do next year.

The first is getting my students involved in Edmodo.  I began using Edmodo with my 4th graders two years ago and decided to put it to the side this past school year because I wanted my students to devote more of their time in Kidblog publishing their writing pieces, commenting on other students' blogs and making their own blog posts. Throughout this past school year, I started to regret this decision and now I am definitely getting the students involved in Edmodo for the upcoming school year.  I love using Edmodo with my students for the following reasons:

  • It is a great communication tool.
  • Students can practice responding to texts, videos or other's posts and get immediate feedback from teachers or their peers.
  • Collaboration with other classes on book studies
  • Communicating with our pen pals.
  • Back channeling during Mystery Skype Calls.
  • Communicating with our Trucker Buddy.
Edmodo is a wonderful technology tool to keep students engaged and as it states on their homepage "It's where Learning Happens." 

 This past school year students did respond to reading, but not enough. I would like my students to respond to their reading everyday and I plan to implement this into our daily centers as well as during our reading lessons. Students responding to their reading helps them develop a deeper understanding of the text as well as make personal connections. During the end of this current school year while reading The Lemonade Wars I had students respond to their reading by writing a summary of the chapter, answering higher order thinking questions, making connections and writing using vocabulary from the text. This upcoming year I plan to implement this at the beginning and continue throughout. You can check out an example of one of my student's notebooks here.

Finally, I plan to keep my class WIKI updated with homework using google calendar. You can check out my class WIKI here

What is your Passion? 

This was the question that students thought deeply about and delved deep into over a two week period in my classroom. 

I began with introducing the project to students, and then saying that over the next two weeks students would think about what they were passionate about and reflect on their passion in their notebooks. Students were given two questions a day over five days for a total of 10 questions. Then at the beginning of the second week students took their notes and typed up their Passion questions on a blog post via our Class Kidblog. Finally, on Monday students presented their passions. 

We began by opening our classroom up like a museum for 3-5th graders to walk through and view our passions and ask questions. A few students even showcased their passions.

It was the last day of school for students on Wednesday and we planned a fun-filled Field Day. Of course though, it rained here in southern Louisiana, so our field day that was planned for outside ended up indoors. However, it ended up working out fine and the kids had a great time.

We changed up two of the games to fit indoors and the kids loved them. Some of the games included Cone On Cone Off, Musical Chairs, Sack Races, Dress Up Relay, Hula Hoop Relay, and the three legged race. Just click on the links to access the  Field Day Schedule and the Field Day instructions. These were created by a colleague of mine Mrs. Bourg. Thanks Mrs. Bourg for the fun-filled field day activities. I hope your students enjoyed them as much as ours.

Here are a few pictures from our day:

Hula Hooping around our necks. 

Three-Legged Race

Here I am giving instructions for the three-legged race. I was in charge of the Hula Hoop relay and the three-legged race. 

Summer Vacation has begun! 
What an honor it was on Tuesday, May 21 to receive an award for District Teacher of the Year! I am proud to represent Estelle and the District. It is truly an honor to be recognized for my hardwork and dedication to my passion of teaching. My colleagues have inspired me to be all that this award recognizes.

A school wide assembly was held on Tuesday to honor not only me but our growth as a school and all the hardworking teachers and staff at Estelle. Two representatives for Blue Bell ice-cream came to award me with a letter from the CEO, a book of the history of ice-cream and a cooler with 4 gallons of my favorite ice-cream Cookies and Cream. Also, in honor of me they gave all the students at Estelle an ice cream sandwich. How awesome is that!

Here'a a picture of our principal, Ms. Gilbert on the left and the two representatives from Blue Bell.

A picture of me with my three boys who made a surprise appearance to see their Mommy get her award. 

A picture of me with my parents and sons.

The end of the school year always bring lots of fun activities and events including field trips. The 4th grade team and I planned a few field trips for our students including a trip to- 

Zephyr stadium to see the New Orleans Zephyr baseball team play which ended up being rained out. Although, we ate lots of great ball park food. The nachos are always my favorite!

 A ride on the Creole Queen down the Mississippi river to the Chalmette battlefield.

Finally, just my 4th grade class participated in a BioBlitz hosted by Jean Lafitte National Park and National Geographic.

Here are a few videos I created using Animoto to view our field trips:

Creole Queen/ Chalmette Battlefield

 Jean Lafitte National Park BioBlitz

What field trips do you go on at the End of the Year or throughout the year?
The end of the school year is drawing near, 7 days to be exact, and this is our final full week of school.This week's lesson are packed with inquiry based technology lessons with differentiated outcomes with students blogging, commenting, creating slideshows, videos, Wordles, and typing papers and bio poems, and also using apps to create stories, to discovering animals in our habitat and more. Each day I plan to blog about our technology lessons to showcase the awesomeness of my Stars.

Today students conducted an author study on Jacqueline Davies, the author of the Lemonade War. Students worked collaboratively with their partner using the Jacqueline Davies website to develop 5 questions using the information on the site. Then students presented their findings choosing the outcome being either a blog post, slideshow or a video. I was surprised and excited to see most students chose to do the video and some even turned it into a mock talk show. Their personalities really shined.

Here's some students examples of each outcome:

Blog Post



   To wrap up our week, we had a field trip planned. However, this is the second consecutive Friday that it has rained when we had a field trip planned. Today though the rain was so bad that we ended up canceling the field trip to the Creole Queen and Chalmette Battlefield and rescheduling for Wednesday. Wednesday it should be a beautiful day for students to enjoy the ride on the Mississippi river and tour the Battlefield.

So, instead of a field trip students began blogging about their passions. You can check them out here!

We also wrapped up our week with finishing the chapter book The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies. We read this chapter book in three weeks time incorporating lots of pre-reading, during reading and post reading activities as well as lots of group work during reading workshop time.

     If you are looking for a new book to read with your 4th graders, I definitely recommend The Lemonade War. This is a great read to introduce or tie in economic vocabulary, business terms and even math problems,  as well as discuss family relationships. It also has a wealth of captivating figurative language within the text that makes for an engaging chapter book. 

Each chapter begins with a business oriented term which I made as our word of the day. After completing the chapter for the day, students discussed why this term was a good choice or not a good choice as the title of the chapter giving text evidence to support. During reading I supported the text with questions from the Leslie Preddy's site. Students turned and talked as I monitored discussions and scaffolded when needed.

Here's a look at a student's pre-reading work in their notebook. 

Finally, to conclude the reading for the day students worked in collaborative groups choosing from the following tasks on the board such as: ( Each day students are to choose a different task, completing all 4 tasks by Thursday.)
 1. Vocabulary Finder- Choose two words from the chapter to define, locate its part of speech and write a sentence

2. Question Writer- Answer 5 basic recall questions from the chapter.

3. Summarizer- Write a 3-5 sentence summary of the chapter.

4. Connector/Illustrator- Complete the following sentence stem- My favorite part was ....... It reminded me of ......

Here's a student's sample:

Early Finishers: Students completed a Fakebook page on one of the main characters Jessie or Evan.


The pin that inspired me

to create a lesson of discovery using the website Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids.

Essential Question: How does each symbol represent our country?

Students will work collaboratively to discover the answer using the website. They will then use the information gathered to create a slideshow using the Keynote app to present to the class.

Have you had Pinspiration?

According to Reading Rockets,  research says that children who don't read during the summer lose up to three months of reading progress and that loss has a cumulative, long term-effect.

So, how do you promote summer reading? 

I started by going to our local library, Jefferson Parish Library, and asking for library applications for my students to get library cards. They librarians were happy to assist me with giving me a stack of applications to bring back to school to hand out to my students. Within a day or so I had about 10 library applications filled out to bring back to the library, and then within another two days the cards were ready. The students were thrilled to receive their library cards today.

Next on my "To Do" is to find a 4th/5th grade level summer reading list to send home before the end of the year, which is soon approaching on May 22.

To all my blogger friends, I'd love for you to share a copy in the comment section of your summer reading list.

Here are a few additional links to promote summer reading:

Scholastic Summer Challenge 

Barnes and Noble is offering a FREE book for 8 books read.

Reading Rockets

Happy Summer Reading !

Mr. Hughes over at Educator's Life is hosting his second annual Teacher Appreciation Challenge. The challenge is to focus on a teacher you work with that you would like to acknowledge. Click on the link above to acknowledge someone you would like to show appreciation to during Teacher Appreciation week. 

    I would like to highlight a long time colleague of mine, Carlos Martinez. I have taught with Carlos for close to 11 years. We began as partner teachers teaching 4th/5th grade and then both worked as ELL teachers for three years. Carlos currently teaches 3-5th grade ELL students during the ELA block. He facilitates the English/Writing lessons. We work cohesively in planning lessons and differentiating instruction for our students.  I appreciate all of his support through the past 11 years, and the many strategies and techniques that I have learned from him. Carlos has a great rapport with students and always makes his lessons engaging by giving real life examples. Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and passion for teaching. You make a difference and are appreciated!

After a week of rain in southern Louisiana, today turned out to be a chilly but beautiful day. It was a great day to take a walk and participate in a training event at Jean Lafitte National Park. Friday, May 17th my students will participate in a BioBlitz at the park working alongside scientists to collect various insects. They will perform various methods to locate the insects such as log busting and using aerial nets to sweep trees. Then they will analyze and identify the insects found. The coolest part is they will use the app Project Noah using our iPads to record the specimens found. They will be able to upload pictures, identify the insect and update their location.

So, today I took part in the teacher training for the BioBlitz to accustom myself to the methods of locating and capturing insects. I am no bug lover, but it was really cool!

Here are a few photos from my day:

Here's me holding one of the aerial nets used to catch insects. It's almost bigger than me!

A spider found with another teacher's aerial net. 

This is what Mrs. Wilson and I found in our net and on the ground nearby, some snails and a worm. 

Is it a millipede or a centipede? 

A cricket

Park ranger Stacey sorting through some leaves.

Mrs. Wilson scooping for some macro invertebrates. 

Here's a few things we found. I know it's hard to see but there is a snail, two beetles and two baby crawfish. 

I am looking forward to our class field trip.
Stay tuned for pictures! 
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