Remember to check out Bloglovin

You've probably heard it before, but Bloglovin is the new place to be.  Here's a link to my blog so that you can join as a follower.  Plus, there are so many new and exciting blogs to follow - I'm totally into reading all these new and exciting ideas.  It's a good thing that I'm on vacation so I have time to read all the new blogs I'm following.  Here's the link to my blog:

OR, you can press the Bloglovin button in the upper right hand corner of my blog.

Happy Reading!

Watermelon Toes!

Just in case you were wondering what my feet looked like....

Especially now that I have

toes nails - thanks to my daughter, Bethany.

You know you've gone off the deep end when your toes nails match your blog! 

Fabulous Field Trip to the Old South Meeting House in Boston!

On Wednesday, June 24th, the 3rd graders boarded two school busses to head on into Boston for our much anticipated field trip.  Our first stop was the Old South Meeting House.  Our tour was scheduled for 10:00, but as luck would have it, we were EARLY.  So we meandered across the street to see the newer statues about the Irish Potato Famine.  The kids were much more interested in the people sitting on the benches around the statue - that ended up being a quick visit; and it was back across the street.

Our tour guide at the Old South Meeting House was Erica.  She lead us into the Meeting House where the kids sat in the pews while Erica reviewed the history of the building.  The Old South Meeting House was built in 1729.  Benjamin Franklin was baptized in this building.  Most importantly, the colonists discussed their options when dealing with the taxes England was placing on them.  The final decision to have the Boston Tea Party was made here in December, 1773.

An interesting part of the building includes this octagonal structure above the place where a speaker would stand. (It's hanging from chains right in front of the window.)

We learned that this structure acted as a microphone by directing the speaker's voice out toward the audience.
Another amazing artifact is John Hancock's travel-size desk:
The most amazing artifact for me, was this vial of tea leaves which was saved from the Boston Tea Party.  When one of the colonists returned home from the Tea Party, he found tea leaves in his shoes, and he saved the tea to pass down to his family.  Check it out:
We spent about forty-five minutes at the Old South Meeting House, and we sat in the building where the Boston Tea Party was decided upon.  Wow, what a great opportunity to experience history first-hand!


Taking Readers' Theatre On The Road In School!

After many weeks of practice, the class took our three plays on the road last week.  There were 3 different groups of students who performed these 3 plays about:  George Washington, Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross.  Fortunately, there are 3 classes at both first and second grade levels so each group of actors spent approximately 10 minutes in each classroom performing their respective plays and answering questions.  After each performance, the students would rotate to the next class and perform the play again.  In all, each group performed its play 6 different times last week - that is a HUGE amount of reading and performing practice!

My students learned a lot from the experience.  Besides gains in reading fluency, the students made many useful observations about what it means to be a respectful and attentive audience.  For example, they were very overjoyed when the audience clapped for them, listened to them, asked them questions, and appeared interested in the plays.  After performing the plays, we discussed how important it is to be able to listen and pay attention.  Overall, it was a learning and educational experience for all of us.


Fantastic Five For Friday - June 21st!

Today is June 21st - the first official day of summer as well as the summer solstice - the longest day of the year.  That's why I'm sitting outside typing my weekly Five For Friday.  It's amazing to think that in far northern places - like Alaska - it will be light for 24 hours.  I wonder what it's like to have so much daylight and to have sunlight at midnight.

1.  We continue to read a chapter every day in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary.  This is truly a timeless story of a third grade girl who deals with getting sick during class, doing a book report, thinking that her teacher doesn't like her, etc.  After we read each chapter, we write a summary of each chapter in our blue books.  Additionally, I ask one to two questions so the kids can make connections to the story.  After we read the chapter about Ramona being sick in school, I asked the kids to write about an embarrassing time in school.  Needless to say, being sick in school is much more common than I realized.

If you want to learn more about Ramona and other books by Beverly Cleary, check out the author's web site at the link next to the picture of Ramona.
2.  We finished reading the newest Scaredy Squirrel book by Melanie Watt.  Now the kids are writing their own Scaredy Squirrel books using a similar formula as the author.  For example, Melanie Watt starts each book with a warning such as "Scaredy Squirrel suggests your use hand sanitizer before reading this book."  The kids are doing an exceptional job, and I'll be including pictures of their books later in the week.
3.  I read Borreguita and the Coyote by Verna Aardema to all third grade classes.  Later in the day, we watched the Reading Rainbow DVD of the story.  I'm hoping that this will become an annual end of the year tradition because I love saying "baaaaa" like the lamb in the story and talking like the coyote.
4.  I have been reading my dog blog quite a bit this week.  I'm always thinking that the students will get bored of hearing me read from it, but they seem to love it.  I actually think that I might start using my dog blog to teach social skills like sharing, using good manners, etc.  For some reason, having a dog tell you what you should do, is more effective than having a person tell you.  Here's a link to my dog blog: 
5.  The fifth graders had their graduation today.  It was amazing to see my former students looking so grown up and ready for middle school.  It seems like just yesterday, they were in third grade.  Time sure does fly.
Happy Summer Solstice!
p.s. When I was looking for a just-right picture for the summer solstice, I came across this book with the same name by Ellen Jackson.  On, the book has a five star rating - might be worth looking into for next year, especially if we're still in school until so late in June.

Borreguita and the Coyote - Es un libro excelente!

As the school year winds down, I've been looking for some fun and educational books to share.  I highly recommend Borreguita and the Coyote by Verna Aardema.  This story takes place in Mexico and tells how an adorable lamb outsmarts a clever coyote.  In addition, this is a Reading Rainbow book, and there is a DVD to watch as well.  Enjoy!

A Wonderfully Historic Trip to the Woburn Public Library

The Woburn Public Library is home to an amazing museum with many rare artifacts.  Besides having an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, there is also a document called "Bloody Butchery, British Troops."  This document details how many colonists died in the first battles of the Revolutionary War in Concord and Lexington.  Another amazing fact:  the first person to die in the Revolutionary War was from Woburn.  Here is an original copy of the Bloody Butchery document from 1775:

Another fascinating artifact was these book that told the history of New England:

Additionally, there is a piece of the coat Abraham Lincoln was wearing the night he was assassinated:

We also learned that post offices were found in taverns which are similar to a restaurant.  People needed to pick up their mail at the tavern.  Here is a picture of Woburn's first post office.

This is an artist's rendition of how a tavern would have looked back in colonial days.

This flag lists the battles that Woburn soldiers were heading to during the Civil War. (check back later)

Last, but not least, here is what a phone looked like.

Compared to a cell phone, this phone is like a dinosaur.

These pictures highlight our library museum adventure.  If you have any questions, please let me know because I would love to revisit the Woburn Public Library Museum.


Fabulous Five For Friday!

This week went by in a flash!  I'll still give you five highlights of our fun-filled week at school.

1.  On Monday, the kids copied over their paragraphs on something that is near and dear to their heart.  First, I read a book by Harriet Roehmer called Uncle Nacho's Hat, which is a story from Nicaragua.  The story tells about Uncle Nacho's hat that always finds its way back to him even when he tries to throw it out. Then we discuss that we all have something that means so much to us that we could never part with it - like a special stuffed animal, a comfort item from when you were a child, etc.  Now that the final copies are done, the kids will be sharing their stories and bringing in their special items, if possible.  One of my students plans on bringing in her little sister next Tuesday - now how sweet is that?

2.  On Wednesday, we had our fantastic field trip to Woburn center.  I'll be posting more about that.  On our field trip, we ate lunch at Library Park, and after that, everyone needed the bathrooms, especially us teachers.  Right across the street is the Police Station - insert lightbulb here.  So we walked across the street, and as luck would have it, a police officer came out of the building.  I explained our situation to him, and he said there was one single boys' and one single girls' bathroom inside the door.  With 60 kids, he said that we'd be there forever.  While he called in to the station, I realized he was the Police Chief when I saw his badge.  Amazingly, we were able to use the bathrooms in the locker rooms of the police station.  How accomodating is that!  We all used the bathroom and went on our way - all of us are very thankful to the Woburn Police.

3.  The children's librarian from the Woburn Public Library came to talk to the students about the summer reading program.

4.  I started reading the new Scaredy Squirrel book by Melanie Watt.  It's called Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping.  I love Squaredy Squirrel - check him out if you haven't done so yet.

5.  We had our monthly character assembly today.  All the teachers, paras, lunchroom staff, lunch monitors, etc. received a Goodyear t-shirt that says STAFF on the back.  This was all a surprise for us!  Now I have a beautiful orange t-shirt to show you when I take a picture.

Happy Weekend!

Field Trip to Woburn - First Stop - the Mayor's Office

On Wednesday, June 12th, the third graders trekked to Woburn center for a field trip.  Our first stop was the Mayor's office in City Hall.  Woburn's mayor is Scott Galvin, and he has been the mayor for two terms (each term is 2 years).  The mayor was exceptionally kind and welcoming to all of the students.  First, he posed for pictures with groups of 8 students at a time.  After that, the students went downstairs to the City Council Chamber where they were treated to a snack of a frosted donut with a drink.  Then the mayor spoke to the boys and girls about his job, and he gave every student an opportunity to ask a question.  Here are some of the answers to the questions:

  Mayor Galvin plans on running for another term because he thinks being the mayor is the best job of all.   

  The mayor used to be a lawyer, but he no longer practices law.

  He gets to be in parades, and he is in charge of the whole city of Woburn.

Here is a picture of Mayor Galvin in the City Council chambers:

After hearing from the mayor, City Clerk William Campbell came down to talk about his job.  As the city clerk, Mr. Campbell goes to all City Council meetings where he writes down everything that happens.  Mr. Campbell also used to be a lawyer. 

Here are Mr. Galvin and Mr. Campbell (on the right) in the City Council chambers:

In addition, Mr. Campbell invited us to his office to view the inside of the room that holds all records for the City of Woburn.  The boys and girls learned that these are not World Records but records of births, voting, death and marriage.  Mr. Campbell also let the student see a very old book that contained the names of people who voted back in the 1600's.  I love the old way of writing - it looks like calligraphy:

Thank you Mayor Galvin and Mr. Campbell for giving us the opportunity to learn and to see city government at work.  Also, thanks go to Mrs. Bruen (Claire's mom) for arranging the visit to the City Clerk's office.

Discovery Education

Teachers:   You know by now that Discovery Education is a fantastic way to incorporate digital media into your lessons every day.  Did you also know that you can become a DE Star Educator?  Becoming a Star has lots of perks in the DE community.  Here is a link with more information on becoming a Discovery Education Star:

How might your lesson planning change if your students had access to Discovery Education at school and from home with their own account?  Coming… Fall 2013!
Peter Roketenetz

Director of Educational Technology

Woburn Public Schools



Saving Yasha - A Book Worth Reading!

Today I read the book Saving Yasha by Lia Kvatum.  Additionally, this book is a National Geographic Kids book so it is non-fiction with plenty of beautiful photographs.  I know that I am always looking for a just-right, read-aloud, non-fiction book; and this fit the bill perfectly.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed the stories and had plenty of comments/questions. 

If you would like to see a video about moon bears starring Yasha and the other bears in the story, check out this link:


Check it out - Kids are experts in lots of areas - fashion, sports, camping, etc.!

The kids have been working diligently on their expert books, and we share two books every day on the rug.  The books have a cover page, a table of contents, 3 chapters, at least one illustration and a conclusion.  I am so proud of the creativity and hard work the kids showed in their expert books.  Here are some student work samples:

This is Bryan's Table of Contents - he's an expert in football.

Here is a page from Danah's book about ice skating:

Here are Ainsley's cover as well as a page from her book about parakeets.  She has a parakeet named Milo, and she is crazy about her pet.

I got this expert book idea from Kathy O. who writes the blog - Third Grade Doodles - there's a link to her blog under "Blogs I Follow."  I highly recommend checking out her blog and her products at TPT.  Here is the link for the expert project:


Five for Friday, June 7th

Fly By Like a Butterfly For a Fabulous Friday!

We have had a tremendously busy week.  Here are five happy highlights.

1.  On Thursday, we had field day.  The weather was perfect - sunny and in the 70's.  The gym teacher, Mrs. Hale, did an excellent job setting up the 18 activities which were manned by excellent volunteers.  In addition to the 18 stations, the kids got two slushes and enjoyed the music provided by a Goodyear parent, Mr. Wilson.  Here is a picture of the hockey center in the gym:

2.  In computer lab, the kids are busy finishing their portrait poems.  I am happy to share one of the finished products with you.

In addition, here is the link to this activity, if you would like to check it out yourself.

3.  On the rug, the kids are sharing their expert books.  As a class, we made a list of expert topics.  After that, the kids wrote their own books complete with a table of contents, three chapters, pictures and a conclusion.  The books came out tremendously well.  I am going to write an entire post about this activity later, along with the link, if you would like to buy it for yourself as I purchased this activity on Teachers Pay Teachers.

4.  Additionally, the kids finished their Science ABC Vocabulary books, and those came out great - I'll post more pictures of those later as well.  Again, here's the link if you missed it last week:

5.  Today was Retro Day.  The kids and teachers could dress like people from the 90's, 80's, 70's or 60's.  The kids had a lot of fun with their clothing.  There was even a parade around the school so that everyone could see the different outfits.  I wore a pair of overalls that were actually from the 90's.  Gee, it doesn't seem that long ago, and now it's considered "retro."  Does this mean that I'm getting as old as some of my clothes?  Maybe I need to go to Marshall's and get some updated outfits - now there's a great idea - shopping! 

Happy Weekend!  Remember to eat some delicious watermelon!  One of my favorite new combinations is:  arugula, watermelon and feta salad topped with balsamic vinagrette - delicious and healthy!


Fridays are watermelon shaped, too!

Hello everyone!  I'm just writing a quick note to wish you a Happy Friday! 
Today, my students will be taking Science, Reading and Spelling tests.  We're also going to Computer Lab to finish up our Portrait Poems for our class books.  This afternoon we will have Book Buddies. 
Next week on Wednesday, we have our field trip to the Woburn Public Library.  On Monday, June 24th, we have a field trip to the Old South Meeting House and the Boston Tea Party Ship in Boston.
Our last day of school is Wednesday, June 26th, and this will be a half day; dismissal will be at 12:00.  Lunch will be served.
It's busy, but it's fun!


Cleaning the Filter in your LCD player

When I use my Promethean Board, I kept getting a message about needing to clean my filter.  So, of course, I want to know how to clean my filter.  I kept asking the technology people who know that I always have at least one question.  Well, I finally wore Dave down so he decided to see how to clean the filter.  It's actually quite easy and doable.

1.  Find a chair to stand on.

2.  Locate the side of the LCD with a rectangle (it's the side opposite of the one with the round opening).  Here's Dave demonstrating:

3.  Push the tab to the left and remove the rectangular door.

4.  Pop out the filter located right inside the door.  Brush off and/or blow out the dust (a good amount of dust found its way into my filter).

5.  Put filter back in the LCD; put the rectangular door in place; and you're done.

Dave suggests cleaning the filter about twice a year. 

I bet my LCD feels cleaner and lighter now.
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