Posted in Grit, perserverance, traditional topics, non-traditional teaching

Midway Demo Days

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 4.25.54 PMMidway is being remodeled, so I’d estimate 1/3 of the building will be torn out and under construction (rotating through end of year) which means no A/C. We aren’t the only school dealing with old buildings and no A/C. My daughters have come home each day flushed and sweaty after a day in their stiflingly hot middle school on Spokane’s South Hill.

Our construction crew (yes, they are OURS. A long term gig, an open invite to coffee in their trailer. For real) is working with creative air flow recirculation strategies but because of horrid air, we can’t use cool air from outside. There has been no outdoor recess or PE, and will be no gym, (until January) and no library (I run around to different classrooms to teach.) The teachers and students, (with the exception of the temporary portable classrooms which are new and have A/C) are wilting. 

They manage to stay engaged and do what they are told and when it’s my turn to teach them I’ve been telling them:  “Look. You’ll hear of other students across the city with their ‘cool learning spaces’ and their ‘gymnasiums’ and ‘librarians who let them check out books,’ their *dry clothes* but you will have SO MUCH MORE CHARACTER. When life doesn’t work out and you are slapped with broken promises and plans it will all just ROLL OFF YOU because you will have had THIS YEAR. You are learning to have GRIT!” 

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That many of us were actually covered in physical grit is beside the point.
I sincerely hope our air will calm down, for o many reasons, but I remain dazzled by the workability we’ve created. 

Also, in library news, I’ve taught students to place holds, but given the circumstances of the library/music room, it could take a while to dig out your books from crowded, covered shelves, or the storage unit outside. You’ll need to be patient about that too!

Our teaching crew on the last morning of the first day of school. We aren’t sweating yet!!! Look how fresh we are!


Posted in Awesome Apps, traditional topics, non-traditional teaching

If Hancock Could Have Tweeted

As the fifth and sixth graders round out the Spring 2016 Social Studies, we find ourselves studying American Patriots and Greek Heroes and Legends. What better way to create relevance than to plop them onto a social media site?! Or at least a pseudo-social media site.

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We are having them fill out the basic information first: The birth places, the approximate year of birth (the aristocrats had birth certificates, the commoners, not so much) the “networks” (Daughters of the Revolution, Boston Tea Partiers) before filling out their favorite TV shows and movies (Game of Thrones? Lincoln?) The actual transferring of the written research content to electronic format will be a learning curve.. and, oh, with the sixth graders I have been creating tweets from famous historical personalities and asking the fifth and sixth graders to guess who they are:

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5th grade:

I’ve changed my mind. I’d really prefer you just give me liberty.

@Jefferson Honestly, do you think my signature is too big? I don’t want it to stick out.

@Clark have u seen this? ugh. Last six months, wasted.

6th Grade

@Poseidon, Does this skirt make me look fat? Oh, man. I keep forgetting. #turntostone

@persephone.Did you feed Cerberus this morning? I don’t want to go near the Styx.

I’m bored today, let’s go start a war. @ZeusHey dad, can I borrow some thunder bolts?

Posted in traditional topics, non-traditional teaching

Old media and new media!!

I loved this week of further developing our writing in the “spooky” stories we started last week. And without my telling him, a fourth grader went and grabbed a dictionary both for word meanings and spelling! I can not tell you the levels of joy this brought me! And third graders going through frustrating learning curves (really?! Three capcha codes!?) to access their gmail accounts and write me notes!? They were so proud.


Continue reading “Old media and new media!!”

Posted in Awesome Apps, Best Books, traditional topics, non-traditional teaching, writing

On Creating a Creepy “Voice”

This Halloween week was about scary stories: both reading them and writing them. We (4-6th graders) used Storybird ( and searched “creepy” artwork, then started writing! Here’s a quick synopsis via “book trailer” of “The Graveyard Book” narrated by Author Neil Gaiman (also author of “Coraline”):

Also, here’s a link to an excerpt I read from the first chapter of “The Graveyard Book.”

I read it with a flashlight under my face and played creepy music. Then we wrote!!

Here’s our targets by the end of the next two weeks which I have slated for the young Stephen Kings to complete their projects:

I can use a variety of technology tools to organize and present data and information.

I cancreate an original response to a writing prompt and establish a tone appropriate to the task.
Check out the book (the real physical copy; all the Mead elementary schools should have it! And read it with a flashlight under your chin!
photo 3photo 2(P.S. Grade 3 classes did a screen-time study after a reading of Goodnight Ipad and first and second graders worked on National Geographic Online–the Halloween games section 🙂