“There is no hand so small, that it cannot make a difference in the world.” Though I’m not sure who said it, I fully believe in this quote.
Helping Hands Day at Mullen-Hall was one of the best days I’ve ever had while teaching. There were smiles on every face I saw, and the excitement in the building was palatable. Students were heading off into our community to make a difference, and they were incredibly proud to be doing so.
I finished writing out the post on our Books for Babies project, and it is live on the blog. Your children were SO well behaved and respectful in what turned out to be a very busy maternity department. I hope they came home and talked about not only the things they saw and learned, but the way they made others happy when they delivered their gift bags.
The project was a huge undertaking, but was completed in small steps. An elephant cannot be eaten in one bite! All of the students in Room 204 were committed to finishing on time with the utmost effort. You can see that in their persuasive letters, and you’ll see it in their photos.
Our next elephant is Wax Museum. We have been working in small steps, and are on target for a fabulous performance. Your ONLY homework this week is Wax Museum Prep. Please have your child come to school on Tuesday, the 28th with EVERYTHING they need for the 29th. We will be recording their performances much like we do for book talks. I would hate to record them without their costume and props, as it makes such a big difference. If you have questions about anything, this is the week to ask them!
We’re in the home stretch!!
June 7th and 12th we are heading out on driving field trips. Both trips will leave in the morning and will arrive back at the end of the school day. The 7th is to Aptucxet Trading Post in Bourne, and the 12th is to the Cape Cod Canal Visitor’s Center in Sandwich. If you are able to volunteer for either of these, we would appreciate it! We have 15 students to fit and every seatbelt helps. You are welcome to stay and chaperone for the day, or just drop off and pick up if that fits your schedule better. Thank you for your support, as always!!
Thank you to Carol DiFalco for snapping this pic of Mrs. Bell and I enjoying lunch with our favorite 3rd graders on Helping Hand Day!
All of my excitement last week resulted in a couple sweet surprises…
The folks at The Cape Cod Cookie Company sent along some cookies, which I was able to share with my teammates, students and family. They were SO delicious!! What a nice surprise, and we were all so very thankful.
Also, my neighbor Kerry brought over a gorgeous cupcake bouquet! She needs to start her own little Cupcake Company, as they were just as beautiful as they were scrumptious! It was fun sharing those, as well.
I just received a notice from XtraMath, that Abigail has completed her subtraction facts. This will be her second certificate of completion, and it is a big deal! The certificate represents the fact that Abby was able to answer all of her subtraction facts in 3 seconds or less. I know that Abby has been practicing EVERY SINGLE DAY, because I receive updates from the website. It’s no wonder she is able to do such a challenging task! Be sure to give her a compliment for all her hard work! Congratulations, Abigail!!!
The minute a group of important people paraded into my classroom with balloons and gifts, I was a goner. Hand to mouth, eyes filled up, shaking like a leaf, I knew something amazing was about to happen.
Photo from the Cape Cod Times. Click the pic to visit their article and see more photos.
Through a fog of excitement, I listened as Ernie Holcomb, our Falmouth Education Association President, read a proclamation of sorts. He was reading about my work in social media, with a particular focus on Pinterest and how it relates to my classroom and the classrooms of others. The National Education Association had somehow found me and my Pinterest boards, and all these folks were here to honor me? There were hugs, and tears, and a chorus of “Happy Birthdays!” from some of my students, (though my birthday is in January).
Besides Mr. Holcomb, I was surrounded by my principal, Donna Noonan, Superintendent Marc Dupuis, and members of the FEA, MTA, School Committee, Cape Cod Times, my awesome teaching team of Nicole Bell and Marjorie Price, and a few teachers who were able to slip in at the right time. My anxiety skyrocketed, and I was thankful for all the smiling faces and kind words.
It was only a matter of seconds before they had me seated in a chair, gift in lap, surrounded by my beloved class, all toting iPads. They were snapping photos and videos faster than you can say “cheese”, and they captured all of my teary, confused, overwhelmed, thankful smiles. It was around that time that I asked who I should be sending thank you notes to, and that’s when I finally heard what this wonderful group had been trying to tell me…
Taken by Sarah Nathan at the MTA. You can visit their article by clicking on the pic!
I was the surprise recipient of a NEA Pinterest Inspiration Box for my hard work sharing resources, strategies, and creative ideas with teachers all over the world. I was told that I was one of only 5 recipients chosen from a national membership of over 3 million teachers. I still don’t think that number has sunk in, yet. I took a few minutes to open the box (which is a BIG question these past few days – what was in the box??) and showed the kids the contents therein. Many of the items were chosen from my Pinterest boards, with me as a recipient in mind. Among other items, there was a Kindle Fire with an Otterbox case (good thing, I’m a bit clumsy), a Cyclops watch, a silver necklace that says Dream on it, a Staples gift card, a coffee maker, and a beautiful NEA bag that will be heading to Alaska with me this summer. The one that made me giggle was the gorgeous leather iPhone wallet case. You think it might be time for me to ditch the flip-phone? HEE!
My new necklace. So perfectly fitting in a Dream Big classroom! Click on the pic to visit my Pinterest Boards.
Being the Googler I am, I searched for the other recipients and found one – Amanda Nickerson (HERE is her blog). My guess is that the three other awardees haven’t received the Publisher’s Clearninghouse-type parade in their classrooms, yet. It will be fun to search them out and congratulate them as well. With the caliber of teachers on Pinterest, I can only imagine how difficult it was to choose only 5. There are fabulous teachers doing amazing things all over the country, and I hope the folks “Out There” know that.
Photo by Sarah Nathan from the MTA. Click on the pic to view the EdTalk I did for the MTA on student engagement.
Thank you so much to the folks at the National Education Association (NEA). Your idea to honor teachers in this way had a profound effect on me, and I’m sure others will now explore the idea of using social media as a resource for professional development. Thank you also to everyone who helped to make this happen. From what I understand, there were secrets to keep, and keep them, they did! I was INCREDIBLY surprised and didn’t have a clue what was happening until halfway through the surprise. Nicely done, Secret Keepers, nicely done.
Update! Teacher number three: found! Josie Smolka from New Jersey! View her article, here!
Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a very busy child!! It’s funny, this time of year makes us feel as if the day is longer. We fit in more, because it feels as if the daylight outside gives us more time in our schedule. While it is really an illusion, it is a great feeling to get more accomplished with a little energy left over.
Your children are going to need their energy to power through these last 6 (!!?!!) weeks of school. They will need your support when it comes to organization, especially. They are being asked to talk about certain topics at home, bring in certain materials, and complete homework on time. While ultimately, most of the responsibility is on the student, I do know that the visible finish line will make that more difficult. They need you! Believe me, my own kids can see the finish line as well, and I’m using all my strength to keep them on target until June 21. It’s not easy, I know.
Baby books should be practiced for 20 minutes a night (at least). Work on expression, slowing down speech, slow page turning and tracking the number of readings on the sticky note. Bring it to school EVERY DAY!!!
Wax museum is right around the corner. Keep me posted if you need help, and send in a parent note if you do. I get a GAZILLION questions from the kids, but those are hard to sort through. Practice those speeches five minutes a night, and on Wednesday and Thursday nights, they are your only focus, so dig right in!
Field trips are on the horizon. If you are available to help, be sure your CORI is up to date. We love having the help, and the correct paperwork makes that happen. Buckle UP!!!
After reviewing student, teacher and parent surveys and data, the district has decided to move forward with the Math in Focus curriculum starting in the fall. A comprehensive round of training is in the works for teachers, and all students in grades K-6 will hit the ground running in September!!
Pencils are a challenge for us in the classroom. The only ones that don’t break in the sharpener a MILLION times are the Ticonderoga ones. If you happen to have some laying in around the house, consider sending them in. There are children desperate to do more writing. .
I am not sure if I will have the time to show the whole video in class (I will try) but Cecilia’s mom sent me an AWESOME link giving us a tour of the International Space Station. Check it out HERE!!
Last week our friend Miss Grace visited Mullen-Hall to teach us all about food chains and food webs. She had some great activities and we loved every minute. We thought that because her presentation used technology, we would use technology to thank her! This is our e-thank-you card on EDUCreations!
Today Maksim reached a milestone in XtraMath – he was able to complete all of his addition facts in under three seconds each. His efforts resulted in a completion certificate, and now he’s off to subtraction!! Nicely done!
It seems that centipedes love visiting Room 204! Last year, Caitlin found one playing in our sink. We had another one scurry across the floor during ELA this morning, which sent me running for our Critter Cage. We spent the morning observing him while we got back to work on our reading. Later, students were able to vote on a name, and they came up with Poison Money. Poison because I had told them that centipedes can sting, and Money for the CENT in CENTipede. Clever kids!
What an AWESOME day we had today in Room 204!!!! We were lucky enough to connect with Milo’s dad, who is currently floating around on The Knorr about 800 miles from the coast of South America. He is a scientist who is working with a great team to study all kinds of interesting topics – you can visit their blog here!
Our lesson focused on salinity levels, and how they can vary in different parts of the ocean. Before we Skyped with Milo’s dad, we spent some time watching videos to build our background knowledge. Check them out!
After watching the video, we were ready to get started! Follow our photo trail below to see how the afternoon went!!
Milo's dad gave us all the materials we needed, and we used our Ladibug to display the entire process on the SMARTBoard.
Students used their devices to capture the experience. We were quickly able to see how freshwater floats on top of the denser seawater.
This was probably the most teched-out lesson we've done all year long! My students ROCK!
Freshwater Floats. Saltwater Sinks. The colors matched those we saw in the online simulation videos!
Skype cooperated, and we were able to see Milo's dad, who connected to us via Skype on satellite. Some students snapped photos to document the experience.
If you look closely, you can see Milo's dad lower a bucket down to collect some seawater. He then tested the salinity which came out to 25g per 1,000ml. That means there is Amazon River freshwater floating in the Atlantic Ocean 800 miles off shore! CRAZY!
Oh NO! We lost the video and audio feeds, and resorted to typing back and forth. Every student had an opportunity to ask a question, and Milo's dad answered all of them! I was SO impressed by the questions my third graders asked (see below)!!
After our Skype session, it was time to test the salinity in our own water sample. A few drops were put into the refractometer, so we could see the salinity level.
Every student had a chance to take a peek into the refractometer and see what the reading was. Mrs. Brooks' eyes were WAY too old to read those tiny numbers, but my students all assured me that the salinity level was 30g per 1,000ml.
Students were given an opportunity to snap a few more photos for their records.
Soon, everyone started blogging about the entire experience. We will include our blog post links here when they are published!
In the meantime, our stirred-up water sample will live on our windowsill. We're all curious to see what happens to it!
Listed below is the chat we had with Milo’s dad on Skype. Check out all the great questions and interesting answers we received!!
Suzy Brooks: How long is the Amazon River?
Suzy Brooks: That was from Michelle
Milo’s Dad: Thousands of miles long. It is not the longest but it is the one with the most water coming out of it!
Milo’s Dad: Great question Michelle!
Suzy Brooks: How big is The Knorr and does it rock a lot, asks Gabriella.
Milo’s Dad: Gabriella. The knorr is 279 feet. It ususally rocks but we are having very calm weather! Lucky us!
Suzy Brooks: Do you do science experiments about water all by yourself? Mia would like to know.
Milo’s Dad: We are a team out here! All of us work together, just like you did with you lab experiment about salinity! Thanks Mia!
Suzy Brooks: Maksim would like to know how many people are on the boat all together?
Milo’s Dad: There are 44 people on board. About half operate the ship, and the other half are scientists
Milo’s Dad: Great question Maksim!
Suzy Brooks: Have you seen any animals while you are out on the ship? Davhid was wondering.
Milo’s Dad: Davhid! How are you? We saw sperm whales just this afternoon. And we’ve seen lots of flying fish!
Suzy Brooks: Shelby asks… How long have you been on the Knorr so far….
Milo’s Dad: We’ve been on the Knorr for 29 days, and we have 16 left! It is a pretty long cruise. I miss Milo and his sister and mom quite a lot.
Milo’s Dad: Good question Shelby!
Suzy Brooks: Abigail asks what the lowest measurement of salinity is that you have gotten so far.
Milo’s Dad: The salinity measurement measurement I just made it the lowest! And you were with me to see it! Good question Abigail.
Suzy Brooks: A question from Sam – What is your favorite part of being on the ship?
Milo’s Dad: Thanks Sam. I’m an oceanographer, so being on the ocean is the coolest part of my job. Imagine if you were a musician? It is like playing a concert out here.
Suzy Brooks: I’ve never seen a whale, says Adam. He’s wondering how big it was, and how many there were? What does it look like?
Milo’s Dad: It is hard to say how big the whales are exactly. They are mostly underwater! Adam, you should consider taking diving lessons so you can check them out for yourself someday
Suzy Brooks: Cecilia can’t help but wonder how far down from the top the fresh water is in the ocean?
Milo’s Dad: Neat question Cecilia! The freshwater is about 20 meters down? How many feet is that?
Suzy Brooks: Ben would like to know how many miles have you voyaged so far? Milo is guessing about 60 feet.
Milo’s Dad: We have travled about 5200 miles. That is the distance from Boston to Tehran!
Milo’s Dad: Milo is correct!!!!!!! about 60 feet!
Suzy Brooks: Wow, what a long distance! Okay, we have all asked questions, and we’re going to have Milo use the refractometer next before we wrap up for the day. Thank you SO much for a great lesson!!
Milo’s Dad: It was my pleasure to communicate with you all today!!! Sorry the video was brief, but it was great to see you all (Milo in particular)!!!
Milo’s Dad: Good luck with the refractometer!
Suzy Brooks: Thank you!!!
Milo’s Dad: Your questions were all so great! I can tell you are learning a lot in Mrs. Brooks class!!!
Suzy Brooks: awwwww, they are smarty pants! Have a great evening!!! Bye!!
Milo’s Dad: Bye bye!
I am a FableVision Ambassador, and this morning I received the following poster from them. I thought it was worth sharing. I hope you are all enjoying vacation with your families as I am, and I will see you soon!