Screens Arrive in Rm. 202!

Remember back in 2012 when I did an iPad Scout with my 5th graders?  Seems like forever ago, and we’ve come a LONG WAY since then.

For instance, I’ve now taught another 5th grade, as well as 1st and 2nd graders with iPads and it’s amazing how much these kiddos know about how to do things, how to troubleshoot, how to help each other and also what ideas they come up with that I hadn’t even considered!

So as we were ready to pull out our iPads for the first time this year, I was interested in how much I would need to explain before we could get going.  So I asked a simple question as our warm-up this week:

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I’m not sure if you can read what’s on that chart, but these kiddos came in to Rm. 202 with some SUPER smart thinking about how to be safe, productive and smart with their iPads.  They told me things like wash your hands, put it on a table when you’re not using it (and not the floor!), use your headphones, be quiet, ask the teacher and do what you’re supposed to do.  I mean come on–those are all the things I was going to say!  It was so easy to begin our work much more quickly since kindy had put in so much time and work previously.  GOTTA APPRECIATE THAT!

When my next question got lots of “yes” hands, I was again super happy.  Aside from just knowing how to take care of their new device, they also knew how to do things with it!  Aside from just knowing basics like being able to turn it on, put it to sleep, swipe the screen to get started (when it is sleeping), etc., they knew about apps that I wanted them to use (for example, Notability and eBackpack–the LMS we use in our district) and how to take pictures and then use those pictures to demonstrate learning.  I’ll give more examples of that in later posts (like how we went on a letter hunt and built our names!), but for now we just have two words for our kindergarten teachers:

I really cannot express my appreciation more for how easy they have made my job of getting starting with iPads this year.  They are ready and they are excited!  And I’M EXCITED to see where we’ll be able to go with this sturdy foundation that’s already been built.  🙂

Goodbye, Mr. Lacy! 

One thing I mentioned that made our 100th Day both fun and busy was that we celebrated our custodian of 9 years, Mr. Lacy. He has been such a happy addition to our school, and it’s already weird to not see him pushing his tennis-ball-stick down the hall fixing the smudges off the tiles.

Since he was such an important fixture in our school, we had to figure out a meaningful way to send him off in style (I know I say “we” like I had something to do with it–I did not; my amazing students and their specials teachers did all the work and I just went to enjoy the assembly).

Ok, wait, I guess I did do something, but it was teeny–like suggest to my students what we should do as our part of the goodbye scrapbook. Then they got busy and did all the creative stuff with making their body and a speech bubble with wishes for him for retirement. Apparently it’s no secret that he used to be a boxer; many kiddos wished him time to do that again. 😊  Sorry–didn’t end up with a picture of the final product.  Oops.  Forgot to take one until after it was delivered.  Imagine pages and pages of those cute little 2nd grade bodies.

Aside from that part, Mrs. Kesler worked with everyone in music to learn a song to sing to him.

The staff collected to treat him with something to do, too–a big ole smoker along with the supplies you need to make a barbecue feast. The PTO gave him a gift of a certificate for meat from his favorite butcher; he will be happy and well fed!

It’s funny how big a difference little things like a kind smile, a jolly laugh and a clean school can make.  Lacy definitely showed he loved us in everything he did, and we will miss him!

Veterans’ Day 2014

If there’s one thing we do well at Robinson, it’s make memories!  (Wait, who am I kidding–we do so many things well!)  From the Halloween parade to the Holiday Sing-Along and the end-of-year staff vs. 5th grade kickball game–fun is part of our culture!   Besides fun, though, we know how to make meaningful memories, too.

Today was one such day.  🙂

It’s Veterans’ Day, and as we have for the last few years, we had a fabulous assembly planned—well Mrs. Kesler and her very talented cohort had a fabulous assembly planned–and our kiddos were a big part of it.  They have been working since August and this year it did not disappoint!

The day began in the gym, and once we were all settled, some 5th graders led in a procession of our guests of honor: veterans from every branch of the armed services.  I’d love to say I had a video of this, but I just couldn’t take one–partly because of logistics, partly because of respect, but mainly because I wouldn’t have been able to see the buttons on my iPad through the tears in my eyes.  Our kids gave a standing ovation while they came in, and sang a medley of all of the branches’ songs.  Very powerful.

Then, in turn, each grade level shared a special patriotic song they’d been preparing with Mrs. Kesler in music.  I know I’m a little biased, but first grade may have been the best (don’t tell my 2nd grader!).  Here’s their performance (get ready–it’s pretty great!):

The rest of the program was very special and included many other songs, as well as videos with words of wisdom from some of our visiting veterans.   🙂

We had some conversations in our classroom as well, and wrote letters to some important veterans in our lives.   Mr. Raeber, Nate’s dad, and Mr. Wehrle, Amelia’s grandpa, were both in attendance for our special day and so we wanted to make sure we said our thank yous in a special way.  Check out our kiddos’ kind words:

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I didn’t get to catch Amelia and Mr. Wehrle because they were at the reception following the ceremony, but I did get to snap a sweet picture of Nate and his dad outside our classroom.  Mr. Raeber was in the Navy for 24 years!  Thank you for your service, sir!  We appreciate you!

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A couple of other sweet things happened during our day that I just had to capture and share, too. 🙂  Kylie came in this morning telling me about a special locket she had that held pictures of her grandfather who was a veteran, but who had passed away recently.  Her mom had pinned that locket to her sleeve, and so he was here with us, today, too.  Wow.

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Later on, after our assembly during Writer’s Workshop, kiddos were brainstorming how they could include Veterans’ Day topics in their work.  Millie was inspired to write a song. 🙂  Darn it–I should have gotten her to sing it.  Instead, I just have the lyrics–written on a flag!

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What a great day of celebration and remembrance!  🙂

How did you celebrate Veterans’ Day?