Friday, September 19, 2014

Teaching Commenting Skills

WHY have a classroom blog?

Here is a video I made with my second and third graders about the value of blogging. I hope it convinces you to start a class blog!

Blogging has many parts: the post, the comments, and the sidebar.

If you do a good job with all of the parts, your blog will be more interesting.

Today we will focus on quality comments!

Content is key!

In our class, we evaluate our blog comments. A one-point comment is a general comment that doesn't add very much to the post.   Example: I like your blog. Please visit mine! 

A two-point comment adds something to the comment conversation. A commenter might compliment the writer in a specific way or add new information. Another idea is to make a connection. Maybe the post reminds you of an experience that you've had. Share that connection!  Try to end your comment with a relevant question. That way, an interesting conversation can develop.

What should I say in my comment?

Here is a video made by Mrs. Yollis' students called How to Compose a Quality Comment!  It offers FIVE tips to help you take your comments to the next level!

We like to open our comments with a greeting and end with a closing. We choose to do this as it makes it easier for us to follow the conversation within a comment section.

-For Advanced Bloggers-

Some bloggers like to use HTML code to make their comments better.  Learning to write HTML code, or HTML tags, is a somewhat simple way to take your comment to the next level.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a language.

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To write HTML code, use the following symbols:

Important: Do not add a space between the HTML tag and the word or sentence.


1.  To put text in italics, place this HTML code around the text:



The sentence will look like this when published:

Bloggers should always proofread a comment before publishing.


2.  To make text bold, place this HTML code around the text:


The sentence will look like this when published: 

Bloggers should always proofread a comment before publishing.



3.  To make a hyperlink, it gets a little tricky.

Use the following HTML code around the URL and add your own link word/words:

  [The URL is the address of the web page. It starts with http://www…]

The HTML code below:


Will become this hyperlink when published:

                                                                 Mrs. Yollis’ Website

Sometimes it is hard to remember the HTML codes. I keep an HTML word document on my desktop with all the common codes, especially the one to create a hyperlink. Here is a video demonstrating how easy it is to a create a hyperlink if you have the code set up in a Word doc.

If you like to add fun are those codes!

What did you learn about quality commenting? 
 Why is it important to proofread a comment before pressing publish? 

Have you ever had a conversation in a comment section?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Marvelous Masterpieces With Mrs. Ranney

Today we had a special visitor, Mrs. Ranney! She is a good friend and colleague of Mrs. Yollis. 

We were talking about the two parts of a sentence, the subject and the predicate.

A subject tells WHO or WHAT the sentence is about.

A predicate tells what the subject did or does.


Mrs.  Ranney introduced the class to a masterpiece sentence. 
A masterpiece sentence is a descriptive sentence with a lot of detail.

Mrs. Ranney finish the following sentence for us:

The bear _______________________________________.

Here is her masterpiece sentence:

The enormous brown grizzly bear waded into the freezing water to catch a delicious salmon swimming upstream


Can you make any of these subjects into masterpiece sentences?

The tunnel  ___________________________________.

Stan ________________________________________.

My camera ___________________________________.

Snoopy _______________________________________.

Thanksgiving __________________________________.

Mrs. Ranney and Mrs. Yollis _______________________.

Leave the class a your masterpiece sentence in a comment!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Join Our Photo Project!

The world is a magical place! 

If you are observant, you can capture some great images on your digital camera or phone. Here at Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog, we invite you to be a part of our class photo-of-the-day blog called

Yollis' 365 Project 

~ Daily Digital Documentation ~

To contribute to this online digital community, 
just email a photo to Mrs. Yollis at:

Be sure to include the following FOUR items:

1.  An interesting photo.
It does NOT need to be taken on a specific day. However, the photo must belong to you. Only submit photos that you, your family, or your teacher has taken. (A smaller file is better, around 200 kb is a good size.) Try not to include too much personal information in your photo.

Not sure how to take a good photo? Here are some tips from my third graders:  How to Take a Good Photo or Video

2. Attribution.
Who took the photo? Who wrote the text? It is important to credit the photographer and writer of the photo-of-the-day. Feel free to include a hyperlink back to your blog! This helps build community!

3.  Text to complement the photo.
Write a few sentences explaining the photo. Here are some possible questions to include when composing your description:  Where was the photo taken? When was it taken? What is special about the subject of the photo? Are there any facts you could share so we can learn something new via your photo and text? 

4. End with a question. 
Think of a question or two you could ask that would start a conversation in the comment section. Ask OPEN questions that cannot be answered using yes or no. This is a great opportunity to get some feedback on your photo or gather new knowledge about the subject of the photo. Invite readers to make up a story about your photo. 

Be sure to check back and see if your photo received a comment. It is good blogging netiquette to respond to a comment.

Here is a wonderful annotated example from Allison, one of my third graders. Be sure to include these four elements when you submit a photo. 

Photos and text must be approved by Mrs. Yollis.  :-) 
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For bloggers who are interested, the above email will set up a post in the Blogger platform. This is an easy way to collect and publish photos. 

To set this feature up in your Blogger account, go to: settings>mobile and email>email>posting using email. Add a "secret word" and you will have an email to share with others. As you can see, I set my setting for "Save email as a draft post". I approve everything before publishing. 

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Here is a link to the Yollis' 365 Blog which has been building for three years!

Check out some of the photos and text for examples and ideas.
 Feel free to leave a comment on a photo that you liked! 

We hope you will join our international, collaborative project in 2014! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rounding Video Tutorial

In class, we have been working on rounding numbers!  Here are the rules for rounding:

Radical Rounding Rules!

1. Underline the place value position to which you are rounding.

2. Write which two tens or two hundreds the number is between.

3. Draw an arrow to the neighbor on the right.

4. Think:  ♬ ♫  "If the neighbor next door is 5 or more, round up, round up!" ♫ ♬ 
     (If the neighbor is a 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 round up. If the neighbor is a 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0 round down.)

5. If it's not, round down!

6. Circle the correct estimate/answer.

Here is a video tutorial we made last year to demonstrate the rules for rounding!

Watch the slide show and try the quiz to practice 
your rounding skills!

Rounding Numbers! on PhotoPeach

Rounding Numbers! on PhotoPeach

You can also head over to Splash Math for more practice!

How did you do on the rounding quiz?

How about asking a rounding question
 in your comment?

Once others write comments, look for question you can answer!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Learning About Educreations and Problem Solving!

In class, we have been learning how to use logical reasoning to figure out math problems. Here are the steps for solving a logical reasoning hundreds chart problem:

First, read the entire math problem. Second, underline important clues. (Some clues were very useful, while other clues didn't help very much.) Third, use the clues to identify numbers that are in or out. Next, circle numbers that match the clues, and cross out numbers that do not match the clues. When you reach your answer, REREAD the clues to make sure your answers is correct!

We are also learning how to share our thinking using Educreations. 

Here are a few Educreations modeling the logical reasoning process. These are our first Educreations, and we would like to get better at them! 

Kate, Asha, and Derrick made their first Educreation.

 Nick. Sydney, Ethan, and Ruby made an Educreation:

Troy, Winston, and Leah made an Educreation:

Mrs. Yollis even made an Educreation! Here is her presentation about clues that involve the SUM of the DIGITS. 

 Here is an Educreations demonstrating the answers to Mrs. Ranney's challenge!

 What are some math patterns that you like? 

 What are some tips you can offer for making a great Educreation? 

Check back later this week for more Educreation additions! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Do You Know Your Number Forms?

Mrs. Yollis' class is learning about numbers.  They have learned about:

STANDARD FORM:    2,345 

EXPANDED FORM:   2,000 + 300 + 40 + 5

WORD FORM:  two thousand, three hundred forty-five

Here is another example of the three forms we learned:

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

In the comment section, make up a number and write it out in standard form, expanded form, and word form. 

Challenge someone to a number!

Remember:  Do NOT use any personal numbers or words in your comment! No addresses, no phone numbers, and no last names!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Welcome Back! 2014-2015

Welcome back to a new school year! 

 Here's a video greeting from Mrs. Yollis!


Here is the photo I mentioned in my Welcome Back video. After many days of practice,  Buck was able to master the skill of dock diving! 

Go, Buck! Go! 

Photo by Mr. Yollis

Such JOY!

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Parents & Students

 Here are some links for you to peruse as we start our year of learning together:

A.  This blog is the centerpiece of our classroom community. It is a wonderful space for sharing and learning together. Here is a link to an article I wrote about the benefits of classroom blogging. I hope you'll have a chance to read it before our Back to School Night.

B.  We also have a class Photo-of-the-Day blog! Anyone is welcome to contribute a photo or comment throughout the year.   Join our 365 Photo-of-the-day project!  :-)

C.  I am proud to tell you that I am a finalist for a BAMMY Award in the category of Elementary School Teacher of the Year. I will be flying to Washington, D.C. in September for the national awards ceremony! Here is a link to my BAMMY nomination page.  Being a finalist is a true honor!

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If you are a new or returning student, please leave a comment telling me about yourself. What did you do over your summer break? What adventures and experiences did you enjoyed?

If you are one of our blogging buddies, please introduce yourself to my new class. Where are you from? What have you been up to?

Remember to proofread your comment with a parent before you publish! Students must always be supervised on the Internet! 


If you are not sure how to comment on this blog, watch this video tutorial! It will walk you step by step through the process!

Happy Blogging!

Blogging Tip: Sometimes comments disappear when using Chrome. If that happens to you, switch to another browser like Firefox. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July, America!

This post was first published on July 4, 2010

By Mrs. Yolli

July 4th is Independence Day in America!

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This document announced America's independence from Britain.

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Four years ago I was with my family on the Fourth of July, and we had a special event planned for the day.

My family had three old, tattered flags that needed to be retired. So on July 4th, we had a retirement ceremony.

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The United States Flag Code states: "The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."

*     *     *     *     *

First, we sang some patriotic songs!

Then, my cousin Jon gave a short speech. Finally, we retired the old flags to the fire. 

Last year, my class learned how to fold an American flag

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What did you do on the Fourth of July?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

White to Brown :: (Summer Writing)

My former third graders are choosing to write summer vacation stories in their Google Drives! They share the Google Doc with me and leave a Google Doc comment asking to be published. I love having a connected learning community! Here is a great story written by Shayna highlighting adverbs! 

White to Brown
By Shayna

One day, a white pug named Eddy Wrinkleface walked happily down the Muddy Hill St. He tried as much as he could to avoid mud puddles. Eddy just got a bath, and he didn’t want to get another when he got home.  To Eddy, taking a bath was like eating jelly beans that were flavored like barf. He hated them more then being fed spoiled food. It was almost 9:00 and Eddy just wanted to get home and eat his dinner. 

Suddenly a big dark shadowy figure moved towards him. As scared as a baby pup, he tumbled into a big pile of mud. Then two big lights came on the enormous figure, blinding poor little Eddy. Then the figure hit Eddy making him very dizzy. Weakly, dirty Eddy tried to stand up. But he was hopeless. He flopped down on the floor again. Eddy barked as loud as he could, trying to yell for help, “Help! Help!” But his voice was as wimpy as a noodle. Then he heard a siren coming towards him quickly. To the rescue, came the animal control truck. They picked up Eddy carefully and put him in the truck.

But then, one eye came open, and then another. Eddy woke up finding him in a vet’s office. Still covered in brown mud, Eddy barked. Hooray! His voice was back. He stared over at the big desk in the room next to him. He saw a lady with a big phone.

The lady said, “Mr. Wrinkleface, is this you. We would like to tell you that your poor dog is in the recovery station after a delivery truck hit him. He was put under anesthesia and should wake up soon. If you can come get him tomorrow, that would be great.” Then the lady hung up the phone. This time, Eddy actually wanted a bath. The mud was spreading all over him. After two minutes, he was totally brown. From the tip of his nose, to the end of his tail was a full coat of brown mud. Eddy soon fell back asleep.

The next morning, the bell rang loudly at the veterinarian's office. It was Eddy’s family there to pick him up and take him home. Eddy was tired and dirty. He couldn’t wait to get home. Eddy jumped up excitedly and barked. The vet took the family to the room Eddy was in.

“Here he is. As good as new!” The vet said pointing at Eddy.

“I’m sorry, Miss, but this isn’t our dog.” explained Mr. Wrickleface. Our dog was silky white, not brown.”

“Oh dear. My mistake. Let’s look at room four.” Said the lady. Then they all walked away.

Eddy sat down with a frown on his face. What was he going to do? He got up and ran out the door of the pet care building and slowly walked off into the middle of nowhere. With no clue of where to go, Eddy stumbled off in disappointment.

Eddy decided to write a letter to his family and leave it at the front door of his old house.

Dear Family,

I see you no longer have interest in me. I could tell by the way walked away from me. I am off to find a family that wants me. But don’t worry. I will surely never come back.

Yours Truly,

Eddy left the note at the front door and hurried off. Eddy had no luck of finding an owner. He had to sleep in the dumpster too.

The next day, Mr. Wrinkleface stepped outside to pick up the morning paper. To his surprise, he found a note. It read:

fjsghpa rhf apijhg pairhfpasrihg pajht pariuthp9q ytiaerhg iuhasrigha srgj as hkgjajgaos hfoasjhgfiasjgfiasjjhf  aosjfhdjfnakjfh asjhfkljs dhfkjs dhgk ljsdhjhsg kjjfk kadhf djh

ejfhk jjdhglk sj
rkfkjs (Eddy never new how to spell)

But then, Mr. Wrinkleface realized something. “That’s Eddy’s signature. Everybody get out here! Eddy left a note! We have to find him.”

The family went out looking for Eddy, but they didn’t find one pawprint.

Farther into town, poor Eddy found himself walking alone in an empty village. A car drove by and over a big puddle of rainwater, splashing all over Eddy. The mud disappeared. He was clean at last. Then he turned around and saw his family. They all ran towards Eddy and gave him the biggest hug ever given to a dog. Then they took Eddy home and lived happily ever after.

What do you think of Shayna's story?

What a great way to showcase adverbs!