Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Urban Legends on Smore

During our Mystery Unit, we learned fact versus opinion. Each group explored different ubran legends that interested us using digital and print resources, and then we used our knowledge of fact and opinion to crete these tabloid like "papers" on Smore. Also, we took our knowledge of graphic sources to add meaning to our writing. Enjoy our Smores and let us know whther you think any of these are pure fact or pure opinion. We'd love to hear your ideas.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mystery Skype

Our Mystery Skype, that we did yesterday was awesome. A Mystery Skype is a Skype when you try to figure out the other persons' location before the other class finds out. We could only ask "yes" or "no" questions. We Skyped with a class in Riverside, Illinois. We guessed their location before they guessed ours.  The funny thing  about the  Mystery Skype was that they asked if we lived close to the city of Tuscaloosa. They always guessed cities that were near Tuscaloosa, but they never actually guessed Tuscaloosa until the end. 

It was really cool because we had maps to help us figure out their clues. The kids we were Skyping with were pros at Mystery Skype. They each had apple laptops. We each had a map that had a sheet protector over it, so that we could write on it with an expo marker, and our own devices. When they said it was by the Great Lakes, we started to guess all of the states that touched the Great Lakes. We also knew that the state didn't touch Canada. Illinois was the last state there was. Once we guessed Illinois, we began narrowing down their city. It took a long time to figure out what city it was.  We were surprised that they didn't guess our state and city before us.

At the end of the day their teacher tweeted that if you ever do and Mystery Skype to be very specific with your questions. By doing a Mystery Skype we were able to analyze clues, use process of elimination, and draw conclusions; those are important skills to learn for anything you do in life. To do a mystery Skype successfully, you need to be a strong communicator and thinker. We can't wait until we do it again.

Ellis Island Immigration Day 2013

 Last Friday we had Immigration Day. We got to experience what it was like to immigrate to America back in the 1900's. We all dressed up as immigrants and brought suitcases (backpacks, pillowcase, etc.) to make the re-enactment more realistic. First, we all sat on a boat (one of our teachers classrooms) for an hour with about 200 other people. About ten of the "immigrants" were first class and got to sit in the chairs instead of on the floor with all the other immigrants. They also got to eat cookies and got to drink punch. After the "ship" reached land, the first class immigrants got off. If you were first class and you easily passed through all of the examinations. Then, the teachers  slowly selected pairs of regular immigrants to get off. We had to go through exams and some people had to go to the hospital. Before you could go to America you had to go through Customs. These were the steps to becoming an immigrant. You had to go through Customs, Physical, Mental, Medical, Eye, and Legal Exams.

At customs we had parent volunteers and teachers check and make sure we were the person we said we were. If you didn't pass you were deported and had to go back to the ship.

Next was physical. You had to do exercises that proved you were worth passing through. If you were weak you would get deported.

Then, there was mental. You had to take a test that showed whether you were smart or not. You had to be a bright person to get passed that.

There is also medical. At medical you had to check and see if you were sick or had any diseases.

Next, was the eye exam. You had to make sure you could see properly. If you had crusty eyes you would not get through.

Last, but not least is the legal exam. You had to take a test in Spanish. At the end we went over the real meanings.

We learned a lot with this experience. We know how the immigrants felt: sad, angry, frustrated, scared, and excited. Sometimes it helps to experience it yourself. We know how hard it was not knowing other languages, maybe having a disease, or getting deported. If you did get deported, you did get to go back through, unlike the real immigrants though. The day was a lot of fun too though. Everyone was dressed up, and the teachers acted like the Ellis Island workers. I think everyone learning about immigration should do this because it makes the learning more real.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment.

The End of 2013 Global Read Aloud

 The end of the Global Read Aloud we learned that people around the world participate with the global read aloud. We got to connect with other classes around the world. It was so cool! A class in Sweden asked us questions and told us comments through Twitter. They are on the other side of the world! This was also a chance for everyone who read it to learn lessons: how to treat others, what it feels like to have Cerebral Palsy, and be different.You realize that some people can be so mean. Think of how many people learned these things! The world is definitely a better place because of the Global Read Aloud.

We also got to watch a live chat with Sharon Draper and see her insight on the book, how she came up with the book, and what she likes about writing. She is really in love in what she does. She used to teach, and has written and published 31 books. Wow!
The Global Read Aloud is a brilliant way to learn and connect with other classes around the world. I think every class should participate. There are different books depending on your grade level. It is a better way to read , because you talk to other kids who might have seen something you did not. They can teach you new things too.  I think this is definitely a great learning opportunity for kids of all ages.I hope we will do it again next year!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

GRA: Sharon Draper Chat

 Last Thursday, we got the opportunity to participate in a live chat with Sharon Draper, the author of Out of My Mind. When we talked to Sharon Draper, other students from all over the world also talked to her through twitter and TodaysMeeet about the book Out of My Mind and how she felt about the book. We asked her questions like who is her favorite character in the book. We also asked her who would she would be if she were a character in the book. She said she would be Ms. V. She also talked with the founder of  Global Read Aloud, Mrs.Ripp about how she picked the book that was picked for the GRA 13. "I was so excited that my book was picked for the Global Read Aloud," said Sharon Draper. She told us about her new book and how many books she has written. She has written thirty-one books. Each book has been published. She also told us that she started off as a teacher. It took a long time for her to think of the characters' names for Out of My Mind. She always changed the character's name around a few times. She is in the middle of writing another book right now. All she told us about the book she is writing is that there will be a character that is nothing like Melody, the girl in Out of My Mind. She did say she would be eleven years old like Melody.

We are so excited to read her next book. Most of the people in our class our going to look for more of Sharon Draper's books. The book Out Of My Mind was very inspirational. What we most like about Sharon Draper is that she writes things that are realistic and not rainbows and unicorns.She is a great writer to us and she has inspired us to follow our dreams. She also taught us not to judge a book by its cover.

Blog you later!!!!! ~SC&TD

Friday, November 8, 2013

Creepy Science

On Halloween we did a day called Creepy Science. It was when we did these cool and creepy science stations. We did the Franken- Pickle, Goblin Goo, Screaming Quarter, Blast Off, Magic Potion, and Spooky Glove. In Franken- Pickle we electrocuted a pickle to see what caused the yellow sparks to erupt inside the pickle. Goblin Goo was were we mixed glue, borax, and water together and it created a substance that felt like goblin goo. The Screaming Quarter is when  we put a quarter on dry ice to see if it causes a reaction. Blast Off is when when we put 3 mentos in coke, coke diet, and coke zero to see what would happen. In Magic Potion, we mixed dry ice,green food coloring,and water. In Spooky Glove we put vinegar and baking soda in an empty bottle of water and then we put a glove on the top to see what would happen.

During Franken-Pickle we electrocuted a poor pickle, when it didn't do anything to us. Yellow sparks were inside the pickle and they didn't go exploding out. It was very interesting. Mrs. Abrams did that station and she was a British Einstein. It was so funny. Kids were talking about it the entire day.

During Goblin Goo we mixed glue, borax, and water. It created a gooey substance that we believe is called Goblin Goo. Mrs. Brewer did this station. She let us each take a little bit of goo. But be warned. If this is left on any substance that is not plastic, it will melt into the substance.

Screaming Quarter was when we put a metal object to a piece of dry ice. The oxygen was trying to escape, so it made a screaming sound.

Blast Off was when we put three Mentos into a bottle of Coke, Coke Zero, and Coke Diet. We wanted to see which explosion would go the highest.

Magic Potion is when we mixed dry ice, green food coloring, and water. We wanted to see if we could drink it, because we know that you can't eat dry ice. You can!

Last, but not least, there is the Spooky Glove. During Spooky glove we put vinegar in a bottle of water and then added baking soda. We put a glove on top and watched to see what would happen. The glove inflated.

Fun, exciting, and mysterious learning all wrapped up into one creepy day.

~ SC & TD

Awareness Week at RQMS

Last week was Awareness Week at Rock Quarry Middle School. We took time to think about how we could make a difference in the lives of others. Monday was Red Out for drug awareness. Everyone wore red to support the cause. Tuesday was Gold Out for childhood cancer awareness. Even though people didn't have much gold, we pulled it off. People wore yellow if they didn't have any gold clothes. Wednesday was blue out for diabetes awareness. Thursday was our Pink Out day for Breast Cancer. Our teachers let us spray our hair with pink. . We actually did a fund raiser where we could bring $2 for a pink streak or $5 for our whole head. Everybody just about sprayed their hair pink. All the money we raised went to the Susan Kohmen Foundation. On Friday, it was black out day for Autism. Everybody somehow,  had black on their clothing. It  was awesome seeing everybody with black on. Everyday on the intercom, somebody talked about what we were supporting that day. Some people told stories on how that sickness affected them and their families. It was a week that we will always remember. I think that it touched us all and told us more about some sicknesses that are affecting lots of other peoples lives around the globe.
 ~SC & TD

Friday, October 25, 2013

GRA: Melody's Photo Albums

For one of our stations this week, we made Instacollages. Instacollages are where we create a group of pictures from the book Out of My Mind. We selected important events in the life of Melody.Once we made our illustrations, we took a picture of each of them and combined them  with an app called Instacollage. We put them together and made sure they were in order in which the moment took place, so it looked like a photo album.
 These are really cool because you can look at Melody's life in a quick summary. You see her struggles and accomplishments. You feel bad for Melody then happy again as you witness different parts of her life. I definitely recommend it for summing up characters and stories in a fun and productive way.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

GRA: Our One and Only Trading Cards!!!!!

 The past couple of weeks we have been making trading cards for the characters in the book Out of My Mind. We have been making the trading cards on some of the characters in the book. In case you don't know, Out Of My Mind is this year's Global Read Aloud book. We used an app on Mrs. Ramsay's iPad called Trading Card. Pretty basic name, but it is an awesome app. You can make trading cards on anything or on anyone. From fictional character to a real person. It is fantastic. Trading Card is one of our lit centers. We did this so, we could share what we thought about the characters. We analyzed and explained who the character was, the problem, the outcome, and the character's feelings. It really helped us feel the characters feelings. It made us realize how the characters lives and acts. Here are some of the trading cards we did in class. Blog you later!!! -SC & TD

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Update on Re-Takes and Re-do

In an every growing pursuit to provide students an opportunity to master content standards, my grading policy has adapted. Students are still permitted to re-take or re-do any assignment up until ten days before the end of the grading period. However, in order to increase student mastery, the sixth grade team has created this study plan and contract. Students will need to print this file, obtain the necessary signatures and complete their proposed plan of study. Make-up test can be taken during our Lunch and Learn sessions which will be announced each week.

This plan will assist students in the mastery process while developing important life skills such as organization, responsibility, and independence.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Trailers: Skyping

We Skyped with people in Hueytown Middle School to talk about the book trailers we are publishing. We gave them ideas and they gave us ideas on tools, books, and management tips. They told us what books they were doing, so we did too. In some of the book trailers, people drew it, took pictures of people who acted as the characters in the book that they were doing, or they took videos too. We really enjoyed when they explained what books they were doing. Some of them we hadn't even heard of! The ones that we did, but hadn't read, sounded really good. They got good ideas from us.We cant wait to see how there book trailers are going. Skyping was a great way to learn from people who aren't in our class...and it's fun! ~MD and TB

Spirit Week

Last week we had the one and only... Spirit Week. Spirit Week is when the students get to dress up in the theme that we have for the day.  On Monday we were supposed to wear our PJ's. On Tuesday, we wore spirit clothes to represent Rock Quarry Middle School. On Wednesday, we wore country or country. By that, I mean country as in "yehaw" and country as in red, white, and blue. On Thursday, we wore tacky clothes.. It was a strange school day. On Friday it was... drum roll please. (imaginary drum roll) Character Day!!!!!!! We had lots of fun. We got to dress up in strange and funny clothes and we got to express who we really are. Here is the strange part. The teachers even dressed up!!! Mrs.Ramsay went full out. Here is some more about it.

Monday was Pajama day. People wore all different types of pajamas. Comfy slippers, Pajama pants with a random shirt and so many more that would take too long to name. Anyway, we believe that this day was a great way to start of the week, and it was. People were excited to go to school. We know. Strange, right?

Tuesday was Spirit Day. We showed off our Rock Quarry Jag pride. We had a pep rally and the grade with the most pride got a spirit stick. 6th grade won! Not a surprise! People went full out. They painted their faces and wore blue tutus.

Wednesday was Country or country. Okay, listen to us very careful. It was country as in cowboy boots, cowboy hat, and the words "yehaw" or country as in red, white, and blue. Most people choose country "yehaw."

Thursday was tacky day. It was a strange day. People wore some of the strangest and ugliest clothes. Most people wore tacky clothes. That is pretty much all to be said about that.

Now, the one and only.................. CHARACTER DAY!!!!!!!! This was the most exciting day of the week, at least in our opinion. People dressed up like princesses, witches, heroes, movie characters, and so many more. It was the best school day ever!!!!!!

That was pretty much all of spirit week. We had lots of fun and really hope that we can do something like that again.

Blog you later!!!!!        -SC & TD

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Global Read Aloud- Everyone Getting Together

The Global Read Aloud is when students and teachers anywhere in the world get together and read the same book(s).  It is really cool because people all around the world get to experience the same emotions while reading a certain part of the book. It doesn't really matter which chapter you're on, we'll all be on the last page, sooner or later. Together, we get to experience the exact moments in the book when the character finally fulfills his goal, or when something tragic happens. The Global Read Aloud allows people, some who don't even speak the same language, to understand each other through the book.

This year, for the Global Read Aloud, Mrs. Ramsay's class(and many others) are reading two books;  Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Out of My Mind is about a girl named Melody who has cerebral palsy, a condition where her body can't function properly. Even though her body has problems, her mind functions perfectly. Melody hates having her thoughts stuck in her head. She wants to be able to speak her mind, but her condition prevents that.

Wonder is about a boy named August who was born with a horrible face deformity. Everywhere he goes, he is always stared at. When August comes of age to attend fifth grade, his mom decides to enroll him in Beecher Prep. School instead of homeschooling him this year. August is scared because everyone at the school will stare at him.

Melody and August both want to be perceived as 'normal'. So far, both books are very interesting. The Global Read Aloud has been a great experience for me. It is really fun chatting with classes all over the world about these two special books. I will be sad when the Global Read Aloud ends, but I can't wait for a new one next year! ~MS

Book Collages 2013

Here are the Book Collage projects created by 1st/2nd period. They were a lot of fun to create.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Book Trailer and Scanner Collage Book Project Rubrics

We are currently working on book projects which will have students showing evidence of mastery of multiple ELA standards. The honors classes, along with students from Hueytown Middle School, are creating a collection of Book Trailers to recommend and promote reading in both schools. The on-level, sixth grade class is creating Scanner Collage Book Projects (some examples can be seen here: Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3.

In our class, the students create the rubric and design the projects with Mrs. Ramsay's help.

Here is the rubric for the Book Trailer project and the Scanner Collage project.

Friday, September 20, 2013

FYI- Progress Reports, Grading, and Projects

Here are a few reminders regarding grades, projects, and progress reports:

  • Please take a minute to review my re-take and re-do policy.
  • Each grade does not have the same weight. Please see our class syllabus for details.
  • Any tests that need to be made-up or re-done, can be done on any Friday up until 10 days before the end of the grading period.
  • Please sign progress reports and return them to school on Monday.
  • With my guidance, all class projects are student-designed and assessed by a student-created rubric. All students have a copy of these rubrics. This practice ensures that students have ownership of their learning.
  • A majority of work on projects will take place within the classroom with my supervision and guidance. I will regularly meet with each student one-on-one to answer questions and provide the support that he/she may need.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dot Day 2013

On Monday, September 16th, we celebrated International Dot Day along with 1.2 million other people from 82 different countries. Dot Day is about figuring out how you are going to make your mark on the world. Making your mark on the world is what you are going to do to make people  remember you and make the world a better place.

We did lots of fun activities that showed people how we are going to make our mark on the world. We read the book that started it all,  The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. The book is about a girl who thinks that she can't draw, but her art teacher tells her she needs to just try. The girl, Vashti, draws a dot. The teacher then tells her to sign it. The dot becomes a big hit and the girl encourages others to try too. Even though the book is called The Dot, it's not really about literal dots. It is about finding out who you are, trying new things, and encouraging others to share what is special inside each of us to make a difference in the world.

After reading and discussing the book, we did our Dot Day stations. One stations was a Tagxedo ''me dots." A Tagxedo is a word cloud. In Tagxedo, we typed 30 words that describe us and our name three times. Then, the computer would put all of the words into a dot shaped Tagxedo.

Next, we did personalized dots. Our personalized dots (recycled jar lids) that later become unique magnet that were abstract representations of ourselves. That is why we had to bring the metal jar lid in.  The dots had to represent us.

We also blogged on KidBlog.  In the blogs, we had to blog about Dot Day and how we want to make our mark on the world. We all had great ideas on how we could begin making a difference now.

Next, was dot to dot which is when we did the activity called dot to dot. It is lots of dots that are numbered and we had to draw lines from number to number.  Some were even no-dot, dot-to-dots. They were very challenging. 

Also, we wrote on the wall how we are going to make our mark. We wrote on the wall that had Idea Paint, of course. Last but not least, we had our Dot Day Café. At the Dot Day Café we had dots, skittles, and smarties. They were all shaped like dots. It was delicious!!!!!!!

Well, that was pretty much dot day. We learned about how we are going to make our mark on the world, that Dot Day is an international holiday (not one that Mrs. Ramsay made up). We learned that we all have different personalities that we should be proud of.  Well,  I need to go and have some more fun in class. (I know, right? Fun in class) Blog you later. 

Make sure that you check out the awesome, dot-tastic" slideshow below.   ~SC and TD  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Retake and Re-dos Policy

As I am sure that you are aware, Rock Quarry Middle School is moving towards Standards Based Grading. My grading percentages and retakes-redos policy was mentioned on my syllabus.  However, I wanted to take this opportunity to make you aware of some of the specifics.

In order for students to achieve the highest level of mastery, they may take the opportunity to retake or re-do an assessment on a standard. Assessments include projects, products, quizzes, and tests. Any of these may be re-done or retaken by the student. The highest level of achieved on this work by the student will be the grade counted in a student's total average. However, when you visit iNow at Home, you will see all of your student's attempts. The lower scores will be dropped from the final average, but by showing all of the student's attempts at mastering a standard, progress can easily be seen.

These retakes and re-dos must be completed and turned in no later than ten days before the end of the grading period. Retake and make-up tests will be give on Fridays. It is the student's responsibility to continue to complete assessments to reach for highest mastery.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

English Language Arts Syllabus 2013-2014

As teachers, we find value in reading. Reading improves vocabulary, writing, comprehension and reading skills. Reading young adult literature allows students to make connections through literature. Not every title is appropriate for every student. In addition to appropriateness, family values may vary widely. We encourage our students and parents to be involved in the book selections our students make and to look for opportunities for conversations.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Class Reading

Throughout the school year, in our English Language Arts class, we will be reading a wide variety of texts across many different genres. Typically, we will have an ongoing literature study. In today's digital society much of our reading is moving to a digital format. That being said, I realize that many of my learners have devices where they can download an eBook version of the books that we will read in class. This is not mandatory, but it would give your student the opportunity to notate in his/her eBook as we read through the books in class. Similarly, if your student would like to have his/her own print copy of the book, that would be great as well. Although this is not a requirement, having a personal copy in print or digital format would give students an opportunity to have the same text at home and school with their specific notes.

The first book we will read is Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson. After completing that, we will be joining thousands of other students in the Global Read Aloud (more about that exciting project in another post) by reading the book Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. A partner text that my honors classes will be reading with Out of My Mind is Wonder by R. J. Palacio.

In addition to our whole group literature, genre, or text studies, students will continue to read something of their choice. Students may bring print or digital versions of whatever they are reading to class as each student strives to grow as independent readers.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BYOD: Bring Your Own Device

I wanted to take a minute to make all of you aware of the digital device policy for 6th grade. Students at Rock Quarry Middle School are allowed to bring their digital devices to school. That includes devices such as smart phones, iPod Touches, Kindles, iPads, tablets, Nooks, or laptops. These devices need to be internet capable.

In our classroom, we will use digital tools on a regular basis to support individual student learning. If your student brings his/her device to school, please remember that he/she must take responsibility for it. When in class, their devices must sit on their desks the entire class period. When not in use, the device must be face down on a student's desk. If it is a device that opens, such as a Chromebook or netbook, it must remain on their desk closed until they are given instructions to begin its use.

In our class, we will use devices for different types of assessment (formal and informal), writing, publishing, communicating, creating, and collaborating.It is exciting when students learn how much the tools that they use in their everyday lives can positively impact and support their learning too.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

RamsaysClass on Twitter

Research has proven that one of the most powerful learning tools for middle level students is the ability to socialize.  We are fortunate to live in a time that provides us with the opportunity to learn from anyone, anytime, and in any place. In our digital world, social media is extremely prevalent. It is imperative that students learn how to make safe and wise choices when they interact online.

My goal is to prepare them for their lives outside of the classroom walls in today's digital world. We will spend the beginning of the school year learning about netiquette, online safety, and cyber bullying. The students will be developing lifelong habits while in the safety of the classroom. Just like we wouldn't ban pencils from the school if one student writes on the restroom wall, we do not want to prevent students from expanding their horizons by supporting their learning using a tool which can broaden their horizons and cause them to take ownership of their learning journey.

With that in mind, our class will be connecting with students from all over the world through our class Twitter account. You can find us at where you also will gain a peek into our daily activities. Please be aware that I am the only one with access to this account. I will approve and monitor everything that my students tweet out as well as anything that other students tweet to us. Twitter is a powerful tool where students can reflect on their learning, compose stories, participate in book chats, write poetry for an authentic audience, set academic goals, and probe other students for deeper understanding of content.

This is my sixth year to tweet with my classes. It is always astounding how much learning is generated in using a simple tool like Twitter. We hope you will join us in our learning journey this year as we tweet away.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Welcome to Sixth Grade!

Dear Parents and Students,
            Welcome to sixth grade! I am your English Language Arts and/or Reading teacher. I am a nineteen-year teaching veteran, educational author, writer, and National Board Certified Teacher. I have been eagerly anticipating the beginning of a new school with you; one that I am confident will be highly successful. My class is a student-direct learning environment where students have a voice and choice in their learning with the support and guidance from me that each student needs, wherever they are on the learning continuum. Every practice in which we engage is supported by proven research for best practices in promoting the highest level of success for each student.
            Many of the traditional teaching methods that you may have experienced in the past will look different than the practices in our class. Much of our learning will take place with the support of digital tools using digital age literacy to increase a student’s growth, motivation, and enthusiasm for learning. My students will be connected with students from around the world to collaborate, connect, and learn with throughout this entire school year. Although our learning may appear different, students will be held to high expectations and challenged on whatever level they may be on each of the content area standards. In this type of environment, students take ownership of their learning. I feel very fortunate to get to witness how each student blossoms and grows in this type of learning environment.
            In order for our students to have the highest degree of success, I know that we need to build a strong relationship between home and school. I have arranged several different mediums where we can communicate, and you can stay informed of our classroom learning activities. First, we have a class website, This site contains important information about procedures, routines, and units of study. As school begins, additions will be regularly made. For classroom activities and news, you can visit our class blog,, where we will post more specific activities, giving you a window into our classroom. I will write the first several posts, but then the students will take ownership in writing and publishing the blog posts, under my guidance. Please take time to sign up for alerts when a new blog is posted by filling in the “Follow RamsaysClass by Email.” I know that you will not want to miss any of the exciting things going on in our class. Also, for a further connection, please consider following our class on Twitter, @RamsaysClass, for current insight into not only announcements, but also insight into the learning that is taking place in our classroom and through our global connections.
            I know that you know your student extremely well. In an effort to increase my knowledge of your student so that I can better plan instructional practices to support his/her learning, please take a moment to complete the following survey:
            I am thrilled as we embark on this epic learning adventure together!

Mrs. Ramsay, NBCT

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

FES at the Alabama Educational Technology Conference

This year, we were invited to speak at the Alabama Educational Technology Conference, which was held on June 13 at the BJCC. We conducted two different Student Showcases. The first one we shared the amazing Global Read Aloud Project and the second one we explained how we use blogging to strengthen ourselves as learners. We had a fantastic time sharing and teaching teachers about the awesome ways we use technology to support out learning in our classroom. Below is a slideshow of us in action. It was so much fun getting to be ambassadors for our school.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Good Digital Citizenship Tips

Today, we reviewed some of the ideas about digital citizenship that we talked about the first week of school. We had a greate discussion and thought we would share some of our ideas with you. Do you see anything we should add? If so, please leave it in a comment.

  1. Keep personal information to yourself. You MUST stay safe!
  2. Don't threaten anyone. Bullying isn't acceptable at any time.
  3. Only say nice, kind, friendly things. Don't say mean and insulting things to others. It still can hurt their feelings even if you can't see their faces.
  4. Don't give out where you are at what time. You don't want people to know that your house is empty or that you are somewhere justing hanging out woth friends. It's not safe.
  5. Always log out of whatever tool, app, or program you are using. You don't want someone to post inappropriate things from your account.
  6. Make more than three letter passwords so that others can easily figure it out and get into your account. A combination of letters and numers are usually good.
  7. Think before you type or speak. Once it is put out into the Internet, you can never really get it back.
  8. Don't give any pictures of yourself to anyone you don't know. You must stay safe!
  9. Keep your actions age-appropriate. Ask parents before you log-on to any websites that have inforamtion that may not be appropriate.
  10. Do not invite people to meet you. If you are on social media, you don't want others to know where you are if you are with friends. If that person is not someone you know in life, never agree to meet with them. Things can be different than what they seem to be.
  11. Remember that teasing that you do may appear to others as being mean or a bully. Be careful what you say online.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Our Sweet Lab

When we studied chemical and physical changes, our class did a awesome lab. A physical change is when something changes in size, shape, or state of matter. Chemical changes are change in temperature, color, a release of gas, or solid is formed. We went outside and we partnered up with someone of our choice. Before we went outside, we got all of the supplies/ingredients. We got a small, zip lock bag, a larger one, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, ice, milk, and our brains. After that we tried to guess what we were going to do. Mrs. Ramsay had been giving us hints all week.  We poured a half cup of milk into our bags. After that, we poured some sugar into the same bag. Everyone agreed it was a physical change. No one saw a change in in color or temperature. We also didn't see a release of gas or a solid being formed. After that, we put 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, zipped the bag, and put it into the bigger bag. The class still thought it was a physical change because the color or temperature did not change. Next, we put the sandwich sized bag in a gallon sized bag. After that, we put in ice and salt. When we added the salt it was a chemical change because the ingredients were colder than before, much colder. Then we shook and shook until a huge chemical change! It went from a liqud to a solid. After that we talked about the changes that happened while we ate our sweet lab! This was such a great way to really learn and experince the differences between chemical and physical changes.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lab: Acid or Base?

Our class did a science lesson on acids and bases. Acids are sour, and bases are bitter and sometimes slippery. We can use some stuff like red cabbage juice and litmus paper to measure acids and bases. If the litmus paper or some red cabbage juice turns a bluish purple color it is probably pH of neutral. If the color is like red, pinkish red, or purple it is probably a pH of an acid. If the color is like violet, green, and blue it is probably a pH of an base. Some examples for an acid are lemon juice, soft drinks, vinegar, tomato juice, and sour milk. Some examples for a base are soup, baking soda, plaster, cement, and some dyes. Also acids have high concentration of hydrogen ions, and bases have low concentration of hydrogen ions. Acid give up hydrogen ions (H+), and bases give up hydroxide ions (HO-). When the two react with each other, they neutralize each other.

On our project we used some red cabbage juice, and we had different kind of acid and bases. There were about 10- 20 items to test (of course not tasting it), and we used the red cabbage juice. We each had a piece of paper, and we had to write what the item was and predict if it's an acid or base, what the color is going to be, and if it's strong or weak. When we tested it turned to a color, and you had to record your onservations on your lab paper.

Student Taught Great Depression Lesson

Bud, Not Buddy.jpgOur class is reading the book Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. This story takes place in the years of The Great Depression.  I (David) thought about doing a project on the years of The Great Depression to build our background knowledge for the book. I told Mrs.Ramsay that if we could do something that involved a whole team, it would be really great. I came up with the idea of making a illustration of a topic og causes of  The Great Depression. Each team could do a different illustration and then we could publish them on InstaCollage. I thought if we watched a Brain Pop on The Great Depression everyone could think of a cause to illustrate about.
Now, it was my turn to be the teacher. First, I started to tell everyone about my plan. After, they agreed to my plan, we watched the Brain Pop video on the casuese of the Great Depression. Once we were done watching the video, I told the class if they could think about some topics on the video. We made a list of all of the casues on teh board as a class. Then each team chose one of the casues.  Once we were done writing the topics down on the board, I had to make a drawing so each table could failrly choose a cause and make an illustration. If I didn't do the drawing that would not have been fair to the other tables. Once each table had a topic, each table had to illustrate their topic. When everyone was done with their illustration we had to make those pictures into a InstaCollage. I had some help from Luke to make the InstaCollage becasue he had some experience usig that app. Once we were done with that, we printed the collage for the ahllway and pubished it on our website. After we finished this lesson and project, we all saw the Great Depression in a different way.

Book image from:,_Not_Buddy

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Innovation Day- January 2013

Some people may ask "What is Innovation Day?" To our class this isn't a foreign subject. Innovation day is a day were in the classroom the students can choose any topic they can learn about and create a project to teach their information to the other students and the teacher. We organized Innovation Day by informing the students of what Innovation Day is and how they can display their projects.

This year, the students covered many topics from Ancient Greek to Narwhals.  Some examples of the projects are how sound waves travel, and demonstrations of different styles of art. Normally the teacher teaches and the students learn,but on Innovation Day the students are the teachers. Innovation Day teaches the students learn about many different subjects at the same time that aren't even in the curriculum. Innovation Day teaches students how to learn new things while controlling their learning. After all of the students are finished with their projects they present them to their peers and teach them what they have learned.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Let's eats rocks!!!

Mrs. Ramsay told us we were going to make rocks and eat them. We were all really surprised and excited. On Thursday, we did a rock cycle simulation. We got to help her with the poject. So first,we had to get sediment (jumbo marshmallows) into a riverbed (flat pan). Do you know how sediment becomes sedimentary rock? Well this is how, minerals and sediment get pushed down with pressure and becomes sedimentary rock. WE got to come up and put lost of pressure on top of the layers of sediment. More and more layers of sediment came and created that pressure. The more pressure that is added the deeper a rock goes. That's when heat ios applied and it becomes a metamorphic rock. Minerals mix (chocolate chips, sugar, vanilla) into the rock as as the heat increases it becomes magma. Magma boils up and shoots out of the volcano. When magma exits it becomes lava. Lava is magma that is outside a volcano. Then it cooled and hardened and it became igneous rock. Those are the rocks that we ate. Yummy! 

You can make your own rocks at home too. Here are the incredients.
1 bag of chocolate chips
3 bags jumbo marshmallows
3 cups sugar
1 cup of vanilla
1 pan
1 mixing spoon
2 sticks of butter

We're sure you will enjoy eating rocks as much as we did.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Innovation Day: January 2013

This month of January we did something called Innovation Day. "What is that?" you may ask. Innovation Day is a day when students are teachers and the teacher is the student. On this day we teach others and make a project about what interests us the most. We also have to tell what we made and tell a bit of it's history.

Before Innovation Day we had to plan what will my classmates be learning from us, what I'll be creating, and how will we present it. First, we searched or thought about a topic what interests us the most. We wrote our topic on our Innovation Day plan sheet. We used the planning sheet to help us organize what were are going to do on Innovation Day. After that, we had to think what we'll be learning and what my classmates will be learning. Next, we brainstormed what were we going to make or create. What we made had to go with our topic. Last, we had to know how to present our topic.

On our Innovation Day we did all kinds of things from Ancient Greece to model cars, from art to fish, and historical dolls to a replica of WW1. Our class took some time to present because a storm hit our school. Everybody eventually presented. Each time someone presented, the class had to write on a piece of paper what they learned from that person. The teacher even learned something new from the students. At the end of each presentation there was a Q and A which is questions and answers. There were at least 3-4 classmates who asked a question. We gave everyone a big applause after the presentation and Q and A. So that is how we spent our awesome Innovation Day.

I can't wait until we get to do it again.