Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another Year of Student Blogging

I posted a Collaborative Project for Student Blogging in the last school year, and I'd love to revive that post now!

Student Blogging is the perfect platform for junior high students, especially, because they love to be the holder of power. Having others read their posts - having a real audience of readers, gives them the power that they desire. Hence, they learn an all important lesson: Words are powerful!
With 19 grade seven students this year, I have a variety of writing styles and levels. However, I have a few kids in particular who have really found their voices through their blogs and are even working on extra posts at home. Peers are helping each other edit the posts through the comments section (posts are by no means perfect - but works in progress) and I love seeing this collaboration and feedback in the students' comments to each other. I also enjoy seeing the silly little comments (once in a while) that is proof to me that they are engaging in the process by reading their classmates' blogs and having an online conversation about the content. As with many things, it can go overboard - but it's all part of the process. 

So, if you or any teachers you know are interested in blogging with your students and would like to have another class read and comment on your blogs - please fill in your information into the Collaborative Project document. It's one that I have created for us all to use. If you see a teacher there you'd like to collaborate with - contact them and get the ball rolling. As I said, I teach grade 7 and would love any grade 6-8 classes who are interested in sharing the blogging adventure this year!

Collaborative Project Student Blogging
Mrs. Mills' Mighty Minions - My Class Blog
Collaborative Project Student Blogging
Collaborative Project Student Blogging

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Does Your School Host A Math Night?

This year, our K-7 school decided to host a math night. Math is my favorite subject to teach and so I was super-excited to plan some activities for my students. We sent home notes to all of the students, giving parents the date and general info about what we were doing and asked for the slips to come back with the number of students who would be attending. This way, we had a bit of an idea as to how many kids to prepare for. It was apparent that the parents and students were interested - so off we went planning the activities!

Family Math Night

The whole vision for the night was to build parent engagement, and to try to break down some of the walls with the frustration that can result for everyone around math because the parent was taught one way and the students may be taught a different way. Many times, parents are trying to help by offering a different method, but the students get frustrated because "That's not how we do it in class." There are so many ways to solve a problem! They should be open to all of the possibilities!

We invited in an engaging math consultant to speak to parents about "the new math" that their children are a part of (about 25 minutes). The other 35 minutes was spent with teachers, parents and their children together, taking part in various math activities. I chose to prepare a math scavenger hunt for the 11 grade 7 students who chose to come to Math Night. Eleven out of 38! I was so excited that they came! At this age, you risk it not being "the cool thing to do". Anyhow, they came! For my scavenger hunt, I went around the school the week prior to math night, noting bulletin boards and displays in the corridors and made up little clues. Once students figured out the clue, they had to do some sort of calculation with the number, based on what we've been working on recently in class. For example:

"Fishing can be a job or a hobby,
Locate the digit in the ten thousands place,
If I were you, I'd check the lobby!"

There is a mural in the lobby with a fishing boat...and then students had to perform a calculation with that digit. I had a lot of fun putting it together! And, more importantly, students had a great time doing the scavenger hunt! They were literally sweating by the end because I had them travelling all over the school! It was awesome!

Other classes had SMART Board games or board games in their classrooms. One teacher prepared a handout with math sites for parents to take home with them. And, every child left with a little "grab bag" of math goodies (dice, cards etc.) a cookie and juice box.

Our little town had the best turnout the math consultant had seen and everyone left with smiles on their faces - staff, parents and students. It was simply a great night and I hope we do it again next year!

Have you ever held a Math Night at your school? A Science Night? I'd love to hear more!

Math Night
Math Night
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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ni Hao! I'm the newest GTC author- Andrea Ho

My name is Andrea Ho from Cheers To School and I'm the newest author contributor to GTC.

I am an American working as a Kindergarten teacher in an international school in China.  I just moved to China 2 months ago in early August.  I've been teaching for two years as a substitute teacher, teacher's assistant, and ECC/elementary teacher.
The Yellow star is where I live in China.  Many people say China looks like a chicken, so I guess I live at the base of the Chicken's neck.  
This is my first time teaching in China and overseas.  The student population at my school are mostly Korean (roughly 60-70%), American, Canadian, Japanese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and a few from South America, South Africa, and European countries.  Most of the students are business kids, diplomat kids, missionary kids, and staff kids.  Every grade has two classroom teachers.  This year I have a very small class-- 8 students total.

I love my new city (I'm close to Beijing), the people, the culture, and my new school.  I can't wait to share my experiences and ideas with you!

Looking forward to getting to know you and other fellow teachers from all around the world!


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