Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Reading Celebration!

This morning about 80 pajama-clad 2nd Graders made their way to the gym.  They carried their favorite book and a blanket from home.  They had just finished their first unit of Readers Workshop and it was time to celebrate! 

I got each class to pose for me on their way in!

Ms. Rempfer's Class
Ms. Russo's Class being silly.

Ms. Ford's Class

Ms. Willson's Class

Members of the Second Grade team worked over the summer to learn about Reader's Workshop (something I loved using as a teacher)!  In September they armed themselves with take-home book bags, Post-It notes, anchor charts, and a leveled library.  After finishing Unit 1 (students learned to: make connections, make predictions, decode tricky words, use context clues, and also use simple reference materials), they had nothing but great things to say for this new way of looking at Reading instruction. They feel that with Reader's Workshop students are "thinking about what they are reading", "reading independently", and "sharing what they are reading".

Back To The Celebration!!

Blankets were spread out as the children settled in to hear a story read by special readers:

Mrs. Ricci and Mr. Thomas!

After hearing two amazing stories, the students got to read in partners or in groups.  I stopped by the groups to find out what the students like about Readers Workshop.  They, of course, had lots to say.  Here are some answers to the question, "What do you like most about Reader's Workshop?":

"I like when I read with Ms. Rempfer and I move up levels."-Annika D
"I like when I get to share a story I read with a friend."-Michael E.
"I like when we write about the stories we read."-Michael B.
"I like that I get to choose my own book to read!"--This is the answer I got many many times!

When the students returned to class, a snack was waiting for them!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bueller? Bueller?

Ferris Bueller famously took a day off way back in the 80's.  Ferris wasn't the first student to play hookie, nor will he be the last.

Unfortunately, we aren't all living in a hilarious 80's flick (even though it would be AWESOME). Missing school isn't all stolen hot rods, trips to museums, and parade-float hopping. Every time a student is absent from school he/she is losing vital instructional hours.  And what if that same student is chronically absent?  Even more hours lost. 

We have decided, here at Silver Run, that attendance is a problem that we would like to try to fix. Our old ways of catching students up after they have been out just hasn't worked. We tried "While You Were Out folders, we sent work home with siblings, we have parents come collect work.  Thos alternatives have NOTHING on having the students in the classroom everyday. We would really like to decrease the number of our students that are absent at all.  

Teachers have accepted the mission happily!  Many have created in-class attendance policies and procedures.  They presented students with the guidelines and also some incentives to having perfect attendance.  The really cool part is many teachers have created visual displays to keep the students engaged in tracking their attendance.  I wanted to use this blog post to highlight some of the visuals that you can see around Silver Run.

The RtI Team (Ms. Upham, Mrs, Dragotta, Mrs. Fralick, Mrs. Merki, Mrs. Drastal, and Mrs. Vai) is showing an octupus outside of their classroom.  The grade level tentacles grow with perfect attendance!

A tentacle close-up.

Mrs. Renzi's students keep track of their attendance and other classroom data using their data tracker folders.  Each days', weeks', and months' is also tracked and displayed.

Mrs. Renzi's data tracker wall

Daily Attendance

Weekly and monthly attendance.

Mrs. Ismail is tracking attendance inside of her room, and outside is displaying the number of late arrivals and early dismissals.  There is also a reminder that "Every minute counts for student success".

Right outside of Mrs. Ismail's classroom.

Attendance data being displayed Mrs. Ismail's classroom. 

The 4th and 5th grade Resource Room Teachers (Mrs. Martinez and Mrs. Johnson) are lending a hand to increase  attendance too!

Hands are moved when a student is absent.  Hand on the board at the end of the marking period=prize!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Prez-enting Polygons

This week, Mrs. Tapp's class discovered Prezi!  Mrs. Mackall and I introduced Prezi as a way for students to present information that they have learned in class. 

After a very brief introduction on the different features of the site, the kids were off on their own.

Their challenge, was to create a Prezi that could explain what a polygon is to a younger student.

Here's one student's polygon Prezi:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Anchors Away

You can't walk into a store or flip through a catalog without seeing something with an anchor on it! 
Don'e get me wrong, I love the trend.  I love all things nautical. (Just a birthday is coming up).

We are even seeing the anchor trend in education too.  More specifically, the ANCHOR CHART.
I'm a big fan!

I was talking to Ms. DuBois about Anchor Charts and one thing she found was that charts that she created with her students were used by her students more times that ones she made on her own.  When students take part in creating an anchor chart, they are taking ownership of their learning. 
Here are some examples of Anchor Charts I have seen here at Silver Run:
Mrs. Martinez's Room

Ms. DuBois' Room

Mrs. Vai's Room
Perhaps my favorite Anchor Charts are charts created by students themselves.  Mrs. Martinez had one of her students, Sean R., create an Anchor Chart for Mr. Zeller's Room.  Sean is a student who is a terrific artist who struggles in Math class.  What a great way to validate a student, by giving them the opportunity to help other students!

Below are Sean R.'s Anchor Charts

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Read Across America

It's only fitting that during Read Across America week, I highlight Silver Run's Librarian Mrs. Roberta Barber. 

She has transformed our library into a "shrine" to the one-and-only Dr. Seuss.

This is not just decoration mind you!  This is a contest!  Mrs. Barber designed a contest where the students are reading as many books as they can.  Those books turn 'states' and the students are literally reading across America.

Of course my favorite part of the Library this week is the Photo Booth.  Mrs. Barber brought in Dr. Seuss disguises for the children to use and decorated a screen for the children to pose in front of!  I caught a few people in the booth today!

Photo booth props

And what Dr. Seuss celebration would be complete without Thing 1 and Thing 2? 
Ms. DuBois and Mrs. Martinez

I even got in on the fun today!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Groovy Groover

Susan Groover!  
That name needs an exclamation point.  I could dedicate a seperate blog to just her and what she does in her classroom daily.  She is a teacher that I look up to greatly.  She loves teaching and it surely shows in everything she does.  Just step into her classroom and the love of learning is evident everywhere! 

I was in her room yesterday, showing her and her 3rd grade counter-parts a tool that I thought they would enjoy, and she showed me something that just made my day.  Her niece Alison is battling cancer, and through Susan, the students in her class have gotten to "know" Alison.  They ask Susan about her all the time and are very concerned for her.  The students created this video message for Alison to make sure she keeps "HOPE" alive and Fight, Fight, Fight.  They are so very proud of this video, so if you recognize any of these singers, tell them you saw their video!!!

I'm so happy I know you Susan, and am thrilled to call you a friend!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


One of my favorite parts of Silver Run is how much student work is displayed for all to see.  Most teachers have rotating displays of student work right outside their classrooms! 

One teacher in particular has students work displayed all over the building!!!  Of course that is Ms. Buono our super-amazing Art Teacher.  She is such a special part of the Silver Run Family.  Below you will find some of her endlessly creative projects she has done with the students.

All of the projects that are displayed are displayed with the lesson that accompanied the project.  It's amazing to see how the students transform what they learned into beautiful works of art!!

Ms. Buono also expands her art classes outside of the school, taking monthly trips to the Riverfront Renaissance Center.  Here, students are allowed to view the Center's current exhibit and also create artwork with a volunteer from the Center.

Besides her duties with the students she also ensures there are many beautiful things to look at and admire in our school building:

Wether it's getting us ready for Spring by the Main Office...

Reminding us that our current focus rule is "Be Safe"....

Giving us hope for future flower season....

Or inspiring us to open a book...

Ms. Buono always makes sure Silver Run is a beautiful place to learn AND work!
Thanks so much Ms. Buono for ALL you do!