Friday, November 30, 2012

Mystery Skype With Long Island, New York!

On Wednesday, Mrs. Yollis' class enjoyed a wonderful Mystery Skype call with Mrs. Parisi's 5th grade class in New York.

These two teachers met at the Google Teacher Academy and planned the adventure then! (The class recently connected with another GTA teacher for an online chemistry lesson!)

*     *     *     *     *

The greeters opened up the mystery call with a warm welcome! 
Excitement was high!

Even Beverly eagerly awaited the grand geographic game. She grabbed Sean's compass rose so she would know which way was north, south, east, or west! Good thinking, Bev!

*     *     *     *     *

Yes or No questions were asked and answered by three students who were the Inquirers.
The entire class worked together to try and solve the question: 
Where is the mystery class located?

Abbey and Heather applied their typing skills as Clue Keepers
Clue Keepers type the clues so the class can see what has been asked and answered.

The typist started with the date!

Notice (below) that the states WEST of the Mississippi River have been removed. That is because the INQUIRERS asked if the mystery class was west of the Mississippi River and the answer was NO.
 A Mystery Skype is a great way to learn about geography and practice logical reasoning!

Other students used the big blue atlas. As states were eliminated, a dot was placed to show they were out.

Google Mappers used Google Earth to locate the mystery state. They listened for clues and then zoomed in on the location. The students learned that the mystery state bordered the Atlantic Ocean.

Clue Keepers kept track of the clues. This station was located right next to the Inquirers who were asking the  yes and no question. Through logical reasoning, the  class narrowed down the search. After a few questions, the class determined that the  mystery state was in the northeast section of the United States!

Both groups of students asked thoughtful questions.

The students from New York asked questions like:

Are you west of the Mississippi River? Do you border a foreign country? Do you border Arizona?

Although the New Yorkers guessed our location first, the Inquirers kept asking and the Clue Keepers kept crossing off states. 

Finally were able to ask, "Are you from New York?"  

*     *     *     *     *

 After the mystery was solved, we compared our two schools using Google Earth:

The New Yorkers had a bigger play area than us.  The also had more sporting fields than we do. They had two baseball diamonds! The New Yorkers live on an island, and we live on the mainland.

The New Yorkers shared a Hurricane Sandy wiki that they'd put together. Here is a link to their first hand experiences. We'll be exploring it as a class next week.

Thanks, Sean, for being our class photographer!

The Californians would love to know:

What does Long Island Sound look like? Does it have waves or is it more flat like a lake?

What grades do you have at your school?
(We both have a population of around 600 students, and our school is K-5.)

On average, how many days did people go without power during Hurricane Sandy?

What do you think of the Mystery Skype idea?

What was your job and what did you like about it? 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Edublog Award Nominations

The end of the year is coming soon, and that means it is time for the annual Edublog Awards!
According to the Edublog Awards site:

The Edublog Awards was set up in response to community concerns relating to how schools, districts and educational institutions were blocking access of learner and teacher sites for educational purposes.  The purpose of the Edublog awards is promote and demonstrate the educational values of these social media.

Here are Mrs. Yollis' Edublog Award Nominations: 

Best Class Blog:  4KM and 4KJ

This fabulous fourth grade blog out of Victoria, Australia, is a model for what educational blogging can be. Run by the talented @kathleen_morris and @kellyjordan82, this blog features engaging lessons, meaningful tech integration, and educational videos that share and enhance learning.  Their classroom blog comes alive with rich discussion in each and every comment section. This is classroom blogging at its best!

Best Student Blog: Come Somersault With Sarah


Each year, I  nominate a student blogger from the prior year who has continue to excel with blogging. This year, I am proud to nominate fourth grader, Sarah, for best student blog. She is a model blogger who posts regularly, incorporates her own photography, and shares her talent for piano and violin through videos recorded by her parents. Sarah demonstrates proper netiquette by making an effort to comment back to visitors who take the time to leave her a comment.

Best Educational Use of Audio/Video/Visual/Podcast: Mr. Avery's Classroom Blog


Mr. Avery and his students create fantastic green screen videos that are used by classes around the world. The videos are produced throughout the year and present educational content in clever ways.

Best Library Blog: The Bulldog Readers

Julie Hembree is a modern librarian who incorporates traditional library skills and digital media. She models her love of learning, creates award winning book trailers with her students, and connects her library with the world. We should all be fortunate enough to have such a dedicated and talented librarian at our schools!

Best Ed Tech / Resource Sharing Blog: Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom by Kathleen Morris

This wonderful resource is rich with useful tips, tools, and advice for all teachers. Kathleen's blog offers a fabulous section about educational blogging, another that features tech tools for teachers, and a useful web 2.0 tools section for global collaboration projects. Kathleen publishes frequently and the comment section often offers additional information and ideas from her global audience.

Best Individual Blog:  wwwatanabe  

 Tracy Watanabe is a dedicated and talented educator. Her blog is filled with detailed professional development posts, useful tutorials, and information about peer coaching and 21st century learning. She approaches each post in a thoughtful way, and I recommend everyone subscribe to wwwatanabe.

Best Hashtag:  #comments4kids 

This Twitter hashtag is invaluable for connecting student bloggers with teachers and students all over the world. Whenever the class or a student blogger has a new post, a quick tweet using #comments4kids will result in quality connections for my class. A big thank you to @wmchamberlain for the fantastic idea!

                   Best Educational Use of a Social Network: Student Challenge

The Student Blogging Challenge is open two times a year and is a wonderful way to learn about blogging and connect with classrooms all over the world. Each week a menu of challenges is posted and learning is self-paced. A big thank you goes out to Sue Wyatt (@tasteach) for volunteering to run the Student Blogging Challenge!

Best Individual Tweeter:  @RossMannell 



Ross Mannell is a retired teacher in Australia and is one of the best supporters of student blogging that I've ever known. He uses Twitter to connect with bloggers worldwide. (Like Tracy Watanabe recommended, I'd love to see a new Edublog category for Best Blog Commenter. Mr. Mannell's contributions to classroom blogging are tremendous!)

Lifetime Achievement:  Sue Waters

Sue Waters is an incredible person! She works for Edublogs, but is always available to help a teacher out with a tech or blogging question no matter what the blogging platform used. She is a dedicated worker, a passionate educator, and she possesses a positive problem solving attitude. Her blog, The Edublogger, is a phenomenal resource for teachers, and her years of service to others deserves this lifetime achievement recognition.

The nomination close soon! Find out how to submit your nominations and get voting details by clicking here.

What do you think of my nominations?

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Mrs. Yollis' class has been preparing for Thanksgiving!

    Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. This year, Thanksgiving will be on November 22, 2012.

    We've been making candle turkeys, baking delicious pumpkin bread, decorating the pumpkin bread to look like a turkey, and reading a funny fable about a slow-thinking turkey named Thomas T. Turkey.

    The story is about how Thomas T. Turkey gets three invitations for Thanksgiving. He is ignorant about traditional Thanksgiving feasts. He wonders what people eat at Thanksgiving. The invitations use word play, so Thomas has no idea that he will become the main course if he accepts any of the invitations. (Word play is when a writer uses a word or phrase that has two meanings.)

    Here is a funny example that we wrote in class. Can you spot the word play?

    Dear Thomas T. Turkey,

    We would love to have you for Thanksgiving dinner this year! Come early, the chef has promised a special recipe just for you! You'll be stuffed at our house! Just wait until you see what we're having! Bring your family along too! You will be the guest of honor, and we'll have a special place for you at the dinner table.

    Thomas,  Thanksgiving will not be the same without you!

    Your comrade,

    Bobby Bobcat

    Enjoy some photos from our class projects over the last two weeks!

    Happy Thanksgiving ~ 2012 on PhotoPeach

    What are you doing this Thanksgiving?

    Make up an invitation for Thomas T. Turkey. Use word play!

    What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Our Collectors' Collections!

    Reminder: November is Family Blogging Month!

    Mrs. Yollis' third graders read The Talking Cloth, by Rhonda Michell. The main character, Aunt Phoebe, is a collector of life. Her home is filled with souvenirs from her travels around the world. In class, we started talking about collections. It turns out many people have collections of their own. Some people arranged their collection in a mathmatical array! 

     *       *       *       *       * 

     Mrs. Yollis' Rock Collection

    Photo by Mrs. Yollis

    Like Aunt Phoebe, I like to bring home a souvenir from my travels. Wherever I go, I search for rocks. Not just any rock will be included in my collection, the rock has to be heart-shaped! I discovered my first rock about fifteen years ago. At first I thought it would be difficult to locate heart-shaped rocks, but with a keen eye, it has been easy to do. My favorite rock is one that I got at Zion National Park. When I look at one of the rocks in my collection, it takes me back to the location where I found it, and that fills me with happy memories.  

    *     *     *     *     *

    Collin's Coins

    Photo by Collin 

    My collection of coins is  precious to me. I have made an array with my collection, and they are in order from quarters, to nickels, to dimes, and to pennies. I have been collecting them since I was 2, but these are not all of my coins. Some of the pennies are even from 2012! Some are from the early 1900s and 1800s! My favorite coins are my dimes because I have the most of them. Below the neon yellow flashcard are some of my coins from foreign countries. My favorite coins out of those ones is my peso and euro (year-o). My parents also keep some African money in a scrap book. If you look closely at the top there is a large coin. Does anyone know how much the coin is worth or who is on it?

    *     *     *     *     *

    Abbey's Animals

    Photo by Abbey

    I treasure my collection is stuffed animals.  As you can see, I have large ones and small ones. Some of you might recognize five of them in the front. They're the Sausage Racers for the Milwaukee Brewers. The sausages are from different parts of the world: Bratwurst, Polish, Itailan, Hot Dog, and Chorizo. (tree . see. oh) Have you heard of them? Out of the large animals, I cherish Mrs. Sparkles the best. I love her because she is as white and soft as a cloud. In conclusion, I fancy my collection more than anything in the world. 

    *     *     *     *     *

    Photo by Jenna

         I collect dolls and I just love to play with them! I have all sorts of different kinds of dolls. I started collecting when I was really little. I started this main collection because when I was really little and I got my first doll I played with it a lot. Then after each year, I would keep on getting dolls on my birthdays or on holidays. Now, I can’t even keep track of them all. The ones in the picture aren’t all of them because I can’t keep track of them all. I got the dolls mostly on my birthdays or on holidays from friends and relatives. I can, however, name a couple of locations where I got some of them from: the purple doll is from Olivia’s Dollhouse and the two dolls that look kind of old are from my grandma who passed away. My two favorites are the ones I got from my grandma. They are my favorites because they help me remember her when I was really little. That is how I remember, cherish and get my dolls.

    *     *     *     *     *

    Photo by Mallory's dad

    Mallory's Doll Collection From Around the World

    My collection of dolls from around the world is special to me.  I have this collection because of my great-grandmother, Elayne.  She was a travel agent and traveled all over the world. Every time she visited a foreign country, she brought an immigrant doll back for me.  I have dolls from Russia, Israel, Ireland, India, and Spain. When she visited the fiftieth state, Hawaii, she brought  a hula dancer for me.  I cherish all of them because they have traditional clothes and beautiful colors. However,  my favorite doll is the nesting doll from Russia.  I like it the best because it was my first one so I've had it the longest.  This doll collection will always be very important to me.

    *     *     *     *     *

    Photo by Savannah's mom

          I love to collect coins from our country and from foreign countries.  When I went to Europe I was fascinated by all the different coins.  I started saving coins from all the countries I visited.  The coins in my collection are from:  Switzerland, London, Fiji, France and the United States.  My favorite coin is a silver dollar from the United States because it the biggest and shiniest coin.  I love collecting coins.  I wonder where my next coin will come from?

    *     *     *     *     *
    Photo by Bennett

         My Skylander collection is very special to me. Skylanders is an adventure video game. Anyone can collect Skylander figures and put them on a portal. A portal is a pedestal that lights up. Once they're on the portal you become that character and can compete as them and defeat Lord Caos (kay • ohs). I collect Skylanders because I like to  defeat Lord Caos. I started to collect Skylanders when I went to my friend, Lucas' house. He had the game, and it was really incredible, so I started collecting them. Some Skylanders I've saved my allowance for and others I got as gifts. My favorite Skylander is Chop Chop  because he has a decorative sword and a magical shield. I cherish my Skylander collection.

    *     *     *     *     *

    Photo by Kiernan's mom

         I collect colorful rocks, sea shells, foreign coins, poker chips, and Taiwanese dollars. I collect these small, medium, and large items because I like unique and shiny treasures.  I started collecting when my dad gave me some coins from Taiwan. My favorite is the 100 dollar bill from Taiwan because it is red with Chinese writing on it and an enormous temple.  I got these items from different countries, places (like the beach), and my family. I can't wait to add new treasures to my collection.

    *     *     *     *     *

    Photo by Sean's mom
    Sean's Priceless Pennies

    I treasure my collection of souvenir pennies. My family and I started collecting souvenir pennies when we went on vacation to Las Vegas and Hearst Castle. A souvenir penny is a penny that has been pressed flat and stamped with a design from the tourist attraction. I was really little when I started collecting, but I always liked looking at them and decided to continue to collect them whenever we visited a new place. I look for penny machines everywhere we go now. It is a great way of creating memories of our trips and vacations to a lot of fun and great places. I have pennies from:  Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Sea World, Universal Studios, Morro Bay, Knott’s Berry Farm, Santa Barbara and my favorite is from Sedona, Arizona. The penny has a rattlesnake on it and they call it “The Arizona Guard Dog”. I store my penny collection in a souvenir coin album. So far I have collected 108 pennies, and I hope to collect  more on our future family trips.
    *     *     *     *     *

    Do you collect anything?

    What do you think of our vocabulary? 

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Former Blogger Wins Local Writing Contest!

    Jonah, one of Mrs. Yollis' former students from the 2008-2009 year, has continued his journey as a writer! He was one of the original bloggers on this site. Here are some links to some posts Jonah wrote from our archive:  My Visit to Washington, D.C. and What is Community Service? Boys in Action.

    First Place
Jonah (and friend)
     Jonah (and friend)
    Under 18 Years Category

     Jonah recently won first place in a community short story contest! According to the local paper:

    In his winning entry, "Once upon a hundred," 12-year-old Jonah uses The Acorn Fiction in a Nutshell contest as the centerpiece of his story. Midway through his 100-word essay, the boy cleverly pens a quiz that leads to a very creative conclusion. “I just like writing and wanted to challenge myself. I never wrote anything that short before, so it’s something I wanted to try,” Jonah said, acknowledging that a good short story requires much more thought than he expected.

    Here is his winning 100 word essay! 
    “Once upon a hundred”
    My best friend and worst enemy, a blank paper, sits facing me and laughs at my confused expression. I am faced with the impossible task of writing an extremely short story when I have too much to tell. I’ve wasted 38 words for an introduction. What will entertain the reader in exactly 44 words?  Scenarios.
    You awake in a meadow. You hear thunderous hoof beats in the distance. You will turn to find . . . a buffalo stampede!  You have 25 words to defeat them. Now 16.
    You begin to play your enchanted flute. The bison vanish. Overcome by joy, you stop reading.
    — Jonah, age 12

    What do you think of Jonah's short story?

    Have you ever entered a writing contest?

    Here is the 100 Word Challenge Blog. The 100 Word Challenge is not a contest, but each week they have a fun challenge! 
    Join the fun! 


    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Mr. JR.'s Science Stop: Matter Matters!

    Today Mrs. Yollis' and Mrs. Ranney's second and third graders teamed up with Mr. JR's high school chemistry students via a Google Hangout.   The high school students gave a fabulous science demonstration about matter.

     The two main topics of the session were science lab safety and learning about the 
     pure forms of matter called elements.

    Click on the Periodic Table of Elements to enlarge. 


    Mrs. Yollis met Mr. JR at the Google Teacher Academy in NYC,
      and they planned these science segments when there.

    ✵     ✵     ✵     ✵     ✵

    First, Mr. JR came on and introduced himself. Next, we got a chance to meet a few of his students. They all talked about the importance of being safe in the science lab.

    Meet Kevin. He showed us how to to be safe in the lab by wearing safety goggles and having short sleeves.

    Meet Grace. What do you notice about Grace? Is she ready to safely work in the lab? 

    Finally, Mr. JR had his students demonstrated how elements react when placed in a Bunsen burner flame. Look at  all the different colors the elements turn when  placed in the flame. Fireworks come in different colors based on what elements are added!

     During the science session, Abbey, Heather, and Chloe typed notes for the class

    Here are the important main ideas and details 
    typed by the talented trio:

    Notes for Matter:

    1. When matter is pure it is an element.
    2. Sodium is an element. It is salt.
    3. Today they talked about lab safety.
    4.  Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
    5. Always tie back your hair so it will not catch on fire.
    6. No long sleeves because your clothing can catch on fire.
    7. Shoes. No bare feet in case something spills.
    8. Kevin and Grace gave us a demonstration in their chemistry lab.
    9. Elements are like fingerprints; they are all different.
    10. Matter is found as a solid, a liquid, or a gas.
    11. Be observant. Notice color variations.
    12. Lighting lithium nitrate can be interesting.
    13. We saw flames from the Bunsen burner in the dark!
    14. We’re seeing a lot of different chemicals reactions. When they go into the flame they show different colors.
    15.  Copper makes flames green. Copper is found in pennies and the Statue of Liberty is made of copper.
    16. Purple fireworks are made of potassium. Potassium is found in bananas!

    Some vocabulary terms that were written on the board and discussed before the demonstration.

     Here is a video of Mr. JR's lesson. Watch how different elements react in the flame from the Bunsen burner. Each element is different, like a fingerprint.

    Check out these colorful chemical reactions!

    At the end of the HangOut, we chanted our matter motto for our new high school science friends:  
    Matter matters because it has mass and takes up space. 

    ✵     ✵     ✵     ✵     ✵

    Mrs. Ranney has a wonderful post with all the matter experiments done during this unit. There is a slide show and a fabulous video. Watch the students turn a solid and a liquid into a gas! 


    ✵     ✵     ✵     ✵     ✵

    Do you have any questions about matter for Mr. JR and his chemistry students?

    What was your favorite element?