As far as Halloweens go, yesterday's party was the ending to an active day. After a classification activity and an observation activity, students costumed up for the parade and subsequent party.
I have had the opportunity to meet with our district superintendent a couple of times in the last week (After visiting our classroom, last Friday, he now calls me The Caveman.). I have also been interviewed in regards to the state of the district, the direction we have taken in the last few years, and where we are headed.
In Monday's meeting at the administration building, Superintendent Ridder asked select teachers, "What is the first thing someone should see when entering a classroom?" According to one participant, the answer, was, "Kids." After some chuckles, I added that, upon entering a classroom, I would look for the joy of learning. I want to know that students are acknowledging their progress, and they are loving their school experiences. In education, we refer to engagement, meaning that students are fully into a lesson, learning what they are supposed to learn, collaborating with one another if needed, with no distractions.
"Now we're getting somewhere!" exclaimed Dr. Ridder.
He then proceeded to ask the group more about some 21st Century Skills. He suggested that we consistently promote behavior as our primary goal from early childhood to high school. Before hitting the academics, he postulated, we must get behavior right. He cited communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity as the crucial methods in which Joplin Schools should unify. Interestingly, Ridder wants to see these behaviors in both the children and the adults!
This outlook seems spot on. My hope is that Room 404 already leads in many ways in these areas. In last week's conferences, many parents shared that their children were talking about the lessons and activities we do in our room - some that surprised me. I hope it's obvious that extra effort has been placed on every single one of these areas in Room 404. Happily, Dr. Ridder told me, "You know what you're doing," acknowledging my veteran-teacher status.
Those are the types of things that drive the behavior, the engagement, and the joy of learning in our classroom. We don't always hit our targets, but it's a work in progress. Won't you join me in fostering these same behaviors at home and abroad?
One hundred congratulations to ZAYNE for his efforts to master basic multiplication. ZAYNE earned his new status of Multiplication Master by scoring 100% on three timed multiplication quizzes.
Multiplication skills make up the foundation of much of our Math for this year and the future. Students are encouraged to "over-learn" basic facts to make future lessons easier. In fact, we will take timed quizzes every day next week!
In our efforts to bring Lewis and Clark into understanding, we took the class outside to measure the actual footprint of the famous keelboat. We attained a pretty good picture of the 8' x 55' wooden watercraft. A glance at the gym wall also gave us an idea of the height of the 30-foot hinged mast that was positioned in the center of the boat. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark called this boat the barge in their journals. We remarked the needs of the expedition to have a narrow, flat-bottomed boat that could effectively carry several tons of supplies, Indian trade items, and foodstuffs, as well as a majority of the men traveling with the group.
It's always a treat when former students return for a visit.
Once a Hoggatteer, always a Hoggatteer!
In the first of these snippets (the one on the left), students explain the the assistant principal the process of designing a boat for a purpose. They also made a case for teamwork. At right, students begin the process of loading the first boat with dinosaurs.
Below is a great shot of a fully loaded boat reaching its capacity (left), until its remarkably fast sinking (right).
The boat design project combined the following:
I love it when a plan comes together.
Cadin Jones wants to be an engineer with the U.S. Army when he grows up. And he's already planning on doing what it takes to get there — going to college.
For the article in its entirety, see the Joplin Globe website.
The plans had been made, discussed, and modeled. The only thing left was to test the final products. Teams made their ways to the aquarium of science for testing. They were amazed at the results.
There was some screaming, some cheerleader tumbling, and some dancing before we returned to the school just ahead of lunch time. It's probably a good thing that there was some bubble wrap on my desk just waiting to be popped when we got back.
One thing that made it worthwhile for me, personally, was getting to see former student DANIELLE, who now attends a different school. DANIELLE's teacher allowed her to walk across the stands to get to me and give me such a warm greeting that could melt a pharaoh's heart.
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