Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back to School Night!

Normally Mrs. Yollis' class looks like this.

Tonight, Mrs. Yollis' class looked like this!

It was Back to School Night!

Parents came to hear about third grade!
Mrs. Yollis shared her website, where 
homeworkspelling words, parent information, and learning games 
can be found.
Blogging Buddies from Miss Jordan's class in Australia Skyped in to the meeting. The Australians gave a fabulous overview of the benefits of blogging. 

The parents were so impressed with your presentation! 

Parents left thoughtful notes for their child. With Dry Erase pens you can write right on the desk! Everyone loved it!

*     *     *     *     *

What are you excited to learn about this year?

What did your parents think of your organized desk?

Parents, how is third grade different from when you were in school?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to a new school year!

Here's a video greeting from Mrs. Yollis!

Here are some links to the summer events mentioned in the Welcome Back video:

1.  ISTE Insights ~ Learn about Promethean's Thank a Teacher Contest and what Mrs. Yollis learned at the Texas technology conference!

2. Photo from the family wedding in Montana. Notice I wrote a paragraph about my Uncle Don using the Step-Up to Writing Format that you learned in second grade! This color coded Step-Up to Writing paragraph format will be used in third grade, so be sure to review my example and refresh your memory. :-)

3.  Photo from my time at my family lake cottage in Minnesota! 

☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

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.  We will be learning about blogging and integrating technology in the classroom via the Student Blogging Challenge that starts September 8.

☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

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! 


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! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rewards of Classroom Blogging

This was originally published on SmartBlogs.  I'm hoping that  parents and teachers will read this article and have a good understanding about the benefits of blogging as we begin a new school year on Wednesday. 

I have been an elementary-school teacher for more than 26 years, and I am always on the lookout for meaningful ways to engage and motivate my young students. I started Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog in 2008 with the idea of sharing class activities with parents. Over time, the blog has grown to be the centerpiece of our third-grade classroom. It has become a true global learning community that offers myriad rewards for students, parents, and teachers.

Develop quality literacy skills  

When I first started blogging, I thought the posts would be the primary focus of the blog. I quickly realized that the comment section was where the blog came to life. As a class, we set high standards and expectations for writing, agreed to always have an adult proofread before publishing, and created a video to help teach commenting skills.

My students are highly motivated by their authentic global audience and take great pride in producing top-notch writing for their readers. It has been a pleasure to watch my third-graders develop into writers who are eager to compose quality comments on one of our five classroom laptops.

What has been even more exciting for me is the student participation from home. Although I rarely require a comment, students frequently choose to comment on either our class blog or our class photo-of-the-day project during their free time. Clearly, my students enjoy contributing to our online learning community.

Include parents in the learning

Parental involvement has strengthened and expanded the learning opportunities for my class. Twice a year, I run what I call Family Blogging Month. It is a great way to formally invite parents to join in the classroom learning via the blog. The family comments are always valued, and during FBM, I highlight several family exchanges on the blog in the hopes of encouraging more parents and family members to comment. Here are two posts that feature rewarding family contributions: 

Many parents work, but would love to volunteer in some way. Last year, I asked parents to become “virtual volunteers” for our blogs. A virtual volunteer is a person who supports the blog by commenting back to students. This type of interaction helps strengthen the home-school connection and makes the comment sections more engaging.

Integrate curriculum in creative ways

With classroom time at a premium, I look for meaningful ways to integrate curriculum; the blog has been the perfect venue. When my class read “The Great Kapok Tree” by Lynne Cherry for language arts, the students followed up their reading by researching a rain forest animal that was mentioned in the story. Each student composed a comment for the blog from the point of view of that animal. It was a wonderful mix of reading, researching, science and creative writing! During our biography unit, I had each student select a famous person to study. Students submitted a creative comment pretending they were that person. George Washington got a comment from Queen Elizabeth I, Mozart and Tchaikovsky were chatting; the blog comments truly brought these historic people to life! See more examples of integrated curriculum.

Build a digital footprint

I believe it is important to teach young children how to be contributing members of an online community. Building a positive digital footprint and practicing Internet safety are not simply one-week units of study, but are regularly taught and practiced via the class blog.

Connect with other learners

Of all the riches that blogging has brought to my class, the relationships we’ve built with other classrooms around the world have been the most rewarding. The collaborative projects we have joined not only support the educational standards required at my grade level but have also given my students a real understanding of other topics such as geography, time zones, cultures and friendships. I recently presented four global projects at ISTE with my blogging colleague, Kathleen Morris from Australia. Although we have collaborated for many years, we met for the first time when we shared Flattening Classroom Walls with Blogging and Global Collaboration in San Diego.

Happy blogging! 

*     *     *     *     *

What do you like about blogging?