Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Student Bloggers :: A Survey

Help build a list of student bloggers. 
Thanks, Mr. Theriault, for setting this up!
It will be a great resource for teachers and their student bloggers!

Click here to enter your student blogging information.

Click here to see the list of student bloggers. 

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving ~ 2013!

Reminder: This is the final week of Family Blogging Month!
This  week we had a wonderful time preparing for


One way we did that was by measuring and
 mixing up the ingredients 
for our own loaf of pumpkin bread!


We enjoyed a manifold of activities this week! Students wrote about their Thanksgiving feast in a cornucopia, dressed a turkey book report, baked delicious pumpkin bread, and decorated the pumpkin bread to look like a turkey.

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We also read 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. 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

*     *     *     *     *
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 21, 2013

Incredible Stories!

Our new language arts unit is called Incredible Stories.

Here is the definition of incredible:

incredible (in kre də bəl)

1. impossible to believe

✽     ✽     ✽     ✽     ✽

 Dogzilla, by Dav Pilkey, is the first incredible story in the unit.

In this fantasy, a monstrous mutt emerges from an ancient volcano after the irresistible scent of barbecue from the Mousopolis Annual Cook-Off drifts his way. Like the movie character, Godzilla, Dogzilla terrorizes the town. The citizens of Mousopolis drive the colossal canine out the city is a humorous the dastardly dog a bubble bath!

The best sentence in the silly story is this one, full of word play:

The Big Cheese tried to catch up to the hot dog with all the relish he could muster.  

Dav Pilkey is a real wordsmith!

✽     ✽     ✽     ✽     ✽

In class, we have been making up and telling incredible stories. 

You're invited to leave an incredible story of your own in our comment section!

Try to use some:

Alliteration : repeated beginning sound  
Example: panicking pooch

Word Play : using words that have more than one meaning in an effort to be humorous

 Quotations : use punctuation correctly 

"What are you, man or mouse?" asked the Big Cheese. 
The Big Cheese asked, "What are you, man or mouse?

 Three sentence stories are acceptable!

We look forward to reading your incredible story!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Valuable Vocabulary : Tweeting A-Z

Twitter offers many educational opportunities!

Two weeks ago, we started a collaborative project via Twitter with our English blogging buddies in Mrs. Monaghan's class

For 26 days, the students will tweet out interesting vocabulary words they would like to share with their cohort. (Wow! That's an impressive word! Students, what exactly is a cohort?)
Welcome to Vocabulary Tweets A-Z
Each school day, students will work with a new letter of the alphabet. Pupils will brainstorm words that begin with the letter-of-the-day and a final word-of-the-day will be tweeted out. Words come from independent reading, curricular content, or our good friend, the dictionary

Dictionary skills are strengthened via these Twitter tasks! 

Brainstorming Examples:



Each tweet includes the wordpart of speech, and a definition or context clue.  (Context clues are the words around an unknown word that help a reader unlock a word's meaning.) 

Here was the first tweet from Mrs. Monaghan's class:


And then they offered another A...

We responded with our first tweet! 

A is for alliteration! 



We've been using the hashtag #vocabaz to keep track of our words!

A HUGE thank you to Mrs. Monahgan and her class for thinking of the project and working with us on this transatlantic enterprise – it’s a great verbal work-out for the start of our day

Join us in our tweets – tweet us with your own alphabetical contributions using #vocabaz to:



What are some valuable vocabulary words you like?

What other projects could be done using Twitter?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day!

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On November 11, America celebrates Veterans Day. It is the day we honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Veterans Day is a national holiday! 

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

 U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Veterans: Men and women who have served in the armed forces.
Soldiers: Men and women who are currently serving in the armed forces.

     ★          ★          

Here is a link to a wonderful BrainPop video entitled
Armed Forces. What did you learn about America's Armed Forces?

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In class, we are sending holiday cards to active military personnel. Chance and Nate are in a Cub Scout Troop, and they provided the cards for the "Holiday Cards for the Troops" project. 

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Are any of your relatives or friends veterans?

Please tell us about them and thank them for their service to America!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Video: Mrs. Yollis Talks About Commenting!

I am passion about educational blogging. In my 27 years of teaching, I have never seen anything have such a positive impact on learning as educational blogging. 

Not only does blogging improve reading and writing skills, it is also a great place to help children build a positive digital footprint and learn how to contribute to an online community.

Below is a video I recorded with my friends, Ms. Holly Clark and Ms. Tanya Avrith. They use Google HangOuts to record teachers sharing innovated practices from their classrooms. Their show is called EduSlam, and I highly recommend checking it out. These two ladies have a plethora of professional development waiting just for you!

  I spoke about the power of blogging and the steps I use to teach commenting skills. The comment section is where our blog comes to life. It is truly an online learning community!

Here is a video with some students talking about what they love about blogging. Perhaps they can persuade you to blog with your students!

What are some blogging benefits you see?

Dr. and Mrs. Strange Visit!

Last week,  we enjoyed hosting some special classroom visitors. Dr. Strange and his wife, from Mobile, Alabama, were in our neck of the woods, and the two stopped by to say hello and spend some time learning with us.

Dr. Strange and Mrs. Yollis had never met face-to-face, but know each other through blogging. 

Mrs. Yollis "met" Dr. Strange through educational blogging. He teaches at the College of Education at the University of South Alabama. His preservice class, called EDU310, helps teach new educators how to integrate technology meaningfully in the classroom. 

As an educator of educators and a lifelong learner himself, Dr. Strange was interested in seeing how young students are using blogging and ipads to enhance learning.

First, we learn a little about the Alabamans. Students asked open-ended questions and our visitors responded. An open-ended question is a question that cannot be answered with a yes or a no response. Open-ended questions require more thinking and are generally more interesting.  

After the introductions, the students broke up into groups. Some students worked on typing skills for five to ten minutes. Here we see a student giving a demonstration about how the AlphaSmart typing program works. Look how her fingers are exactly on the home row! Go girl!

Several groups of students were working on a project using PuppetPals Directors Cut. Although this version isn't free, the class enjoys the historic puppets and sets that come with the version. 

Mrs. Yollis' Labrador retriever, Buck, is a popular PuppetPal puppet. Here students show Dr. Strange how they can use the iPad to copy the photo of Buck from our 365 Blog, import the photo into PuppetPals, and then trace around Buck to make him a talk show host puppet!  Here you can see that Buck will be interviewing Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and President Lincoln. I wonder what the topic of the show will be? The PuppetPal video will be published soon!

Here are Two PuppetPal videos created last year!


Students who weren't creating a PuppetPal project were blogging. Some great conversations are happening in the comment sections. 

Here are some links to view some fabulous conversations in the comment sections!

Family Blogging Month
How to Write a Compound Sentence (Lots of Pilgrim Facts!)
Positively Perfect Plurals

On our 365 Blog, sometimes the comments disappear. :-( 
If the comments aren't visible, try a different browser or try again later. 
365 Blog: Marvelous Millie (Mrs. Talley's dog)
365 Blog: Flat (The recess balls are telling their story!)
365 Blog: Tree Transformation
365 Blog : Rainbow Cake (Mrs. Morris' birthday cake!)

Alas, it was time for Dr. Strange and Mrs. Strange to leave. We hope we meet again in person or in our blogging online community!

What did you enjoy about the visit?

What would you like Dr. Strange's teacher to know about blogging?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to Write a Compound Sentence!

Remember: November is Family Blogging Month! 
This is the perfect post for family comments!

Mrs. Yollis' students are always trying to improve their writing skills.

*       *       *       *       *
 A compound sentence:
  1. Combines two shorter sentences (so has TWO subjects)
  2. Joins the two sentences with  a conjunction (and, or, but, so)
  3. The comma goes BEFORE the conjunction.
*       *       *       *       *
 Here are some sample compound sentences, and they are all about Thanksgiving!
(Hey, that's a compound sentence!) 

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, and many families gather for a traditional feast. 

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, but they had really planned a trip to Virginia. 

 The Massachusetts winter was extremely cold and  harsh, so everyone had to work together to survive. 

The Wampanoag Indians helped the struggling Pilgrims, so they were able to harvest crops for their first feast. 

Modern Americans dine on turkey and stuffing at home, or they make a reservation at a local restaurant.


In the comment section, tell about your plans for Thanksgiving. Be sure to include at least two COMPOUND SENTENCES.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Our First EdCamp

Last weekend, Mrs. Yollis attended EdCamp Online. It was the second EdCamp she had attended. She enjoyed the EdCamp idea so much, she decided to bring it to her third graders.

At the beginning of the week, students posted ideas for sessions. A discussion about the EdCamp started in this EdCamp Online blog post. Here is a screenshot of a few comments written by the third graders:

There were several sessions offered. Throughout the day, students put tally marks next to sessions they'd be interested in attending in the afternoon. 

Like in other EdCamps, students were told that if a session wasn't meeting their needs or wasn't what they expected, they were free to move to a more appropriate session. 

When our EdCamp open up after lunch, everyone made a choice. It was very exciting!

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Learning about looming!

Several EdCampers were drawn to the drawing session!

One group explored our new World Book Online Encyclopedia!

Cursive lessons were a real crowd pleaser. 
Mrs. Yollis' animated cursive site was useful!

A couple of students explored shortcuts on the computer!

We ended our EdCamp with the tradition slam. Student stood up and shared something they learned from the session they attended. 

The EdCamp was a great personal learning event! The class decided that we would hold them every Friday!

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What do you think of the EdCamp model?

What did you learn in your session?

What session will you propose for future EdCamps?