The Silver Lining?

Today's Ripple and Splash ~

Remaining positive can be a difficult thing to do as the dreaded EOG testing approaches.  Many of the forums I have been a part of this past week have been filled with lamentations concerning the stress of NCLB and NC standardized testing!  From the math workshops being frantically conducted in our county, to speakers and scientists at the 1st Annual Event of the NC Science, Math, and Technology Education Center, to the Annual Celebration of the Kenan Fellows, to my graduate class being conducted via Polycom with educators in Arizona and Missouri, the tone is dismal!  This year, above all others I have experienced, seems to be the worst!  Teachers are worried, kids are stressed, administrators are in a panic, and the entire school system could implode at any moment!

However, in an effort to provide teachers with tools they need as they review, our Principal asked that all projectors (we don't have one per classroom - YET)  be moved to the classrooms of 3-5 grade math teachers.  I created some wikis (Gr. 3, Gr. 4, Gr. 5) with math review sites and content, and several teachers have created great PowerPoint reviews to use with their SMARTboards.  Now, as you walk down the hall, projector lights are burning, ELMOs are displaying manipulatives to small groups, and kids are engaged in math!  Qwizdom sets are being checked out to review skills, and we have had to order more cords and splitters for the increased need!  Although not the seamless integration with Problem Based learning I hope will come, it is a start - a hook, so to speak!  Maybe, just maybe, after being "pressured" to use the technology, they won't want to give it up!!

Photo:  Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining 

Grab the Kleenex!

Today's Ripple and Splash:

Had read this story before, but it's so much more powerful with the music and pictures. It is touching and brings back to the forefront, the real reason we are teachers! (Thanks for sending the link Aunt Lynn)
Watch it here:

Photo: Children Playing


Finally, a chance to blog!  Ahhh.... Thanks to her great sharing abilities, my friend Danita, shared the fantastic alternative to YouTube for those of us in blocked schools.  I immediately put our great 5th grade rappin' math teacher's 6 videos up on TeacherTube!  Well that was a week ago, and already the videos have had over 5,000 views!  And lots of great comments from other educators!  Mrs. Burk, the rappin' math teacher is in the building!  Just as cool is that she had me video her kids performing the math raps in class and their video has had over 2,000 views!  We even had another educator comment that she was glad to see the raps in action with the kids after watching Mrs. Burk's own videos.  Very cool!

Another first for us occurred last week when my son's teacher, Mr. Mize (who is a totally awesome 3rd grade teacher, and also part of my Master's cohort), and I Skyped with our classes.  Mine, of course, was Mrs. Lopez's third grade class whom I had stolen (or she had generously shared) so I could teach 10 science/technology integrated lessons (check out their soil wiki here) I had developed for grad class.  Both Mr. Mize's class (at the opposite end of the county) and my adopted third graders had been studying soil, and were near the end of the unit.  The kids had all written questions for each other and took turns coming up to the microphone.  It was amazing!  They couldn't wait to explain what they had learned and it was interesting to hear the different activities that went on at both schools.  If only I had videotaped it!  We were so proud!  Can't wait to do it again!!

Photo:  Kids At Play