Friday, October 31, 2014

Friends with noends

This is me and my friends. We built this awesome house out of no ends. Do you have no ends at your house?  No ends are a really fun thing. you should get them if you can.  We use no ends In the enrichment room to make houses, spaceships and spiders.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Solar Collector

This is a structure I made with no ends.  It is a generator.  If light hits the balls it creates energy. I would like to know what other people build with no ends. Have you ever built with them?


In creative mode you can build awesome houses like these three pictures as you can see below.

Lego Request

I built this Lego creation. This is a Minecraft person with a full set of diamond armor and a iron sword.  I would like ideas of what to build next. Please put your ideas in the comments!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Creating Great Blog Comments

In second grade we have spent several weeks learning about the blogging format.  This month we had a chance to share the paper blogs that we created with our classmates as well as some classroom visitors.  Ms. Botzojorns, CESU Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Berry, RES Principal and Mrs. Redford, Teacher Librarian all spent time with us reading and commenting on our first paper blog posts!

Before we commented, we watched a great video about ways to make blog comments. This video was put together by Ms. Yollis' class in California.  Here is the video:

(This video was produced by students with the help of their teacher. To find out about the process which they made this video, you can check out their blog at: )

In the video, RES students were encouraged by experienced kid bloggers to think about these important steps when blog commenting:
1. Compliment the writer in a specific way
2.  Add new information
3.  Make a connection
4.  End with a question
5.  Proofread your comment

We found that by following these excellent guidelines we had some great commenting exchanges!  We hope that the RES community will use these guidelines to comment on our online blog posts in the future. In the month of November each student in second grade will have an opportunity to share at least one blog post on the Enrichment at RES blog! We cannot wait to read YOUR comments!

Big jaws

I made this thing out of mini no ends. You can make many things out of  mini and big no ends.Do you know what no ends are?

The base on space

These are some of my space setups .  

Clay creations

These are some pictures of clay that we made in enrichment.  What should we do next?

Monster Lake

A few days ago I was playing Minecraft. Minecraft is a world made of squars.I jumped under water and spawned zombie pigman and zombies and stuff.  Isn't Minecraft cool?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


In creative mode in Minecraft the first thig you want to do is build a home like this here is some pictures. Please comment. Do you like my pictures ?  Do you build in Minecraft?  what do you make?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Make believe stuff

We like to build stuff! It's our Honor to show you how we build our houses. We really like to build stuff Do you? By Estelle Sydney and Eva!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Linking Professional Development to Student Opportunities

This summer I spent two days attending some great professional development at a conference called E21.  A teaching colleague from another school invited me to attend with her so we could learn together. It was great! I was honored to be asked to collaborate, and I was excited to grow as a teacher.  A full description of the conference is contained here:

A snippet of the program description was:
Putting tenets of the maker movement into practice – collaboration, experimentation, invention, and play – everyone will take part in hands-on project creation. Participants will also attend talks and discussion sessions on topics ranging from making a creative laboratory space in a small rural school or library, girls/women and emerging technology, project development, and market introduction of inventions.

Learning About Makey Makey Kits-A Playdough Piano! Summer PD 2014
During my many classes I did explore, create and learn.  I got to see the maker movement in practice as educators learned by creating.  I do not believe that all of education should be 'create first, seek content knowledge later', but I see the value in giving students opportunities to explore materials and to make things often-- and NOT always as the summation of a unit of study.  Classrooms should be 'maker spaces' that give students room to explore and create.  As educators we should be looking for ways to give students room to inquire and discover through exploration.  Problem solving and investigation skills need equal learning time with content knowledge.  Students natural curiosity and wonder should be celebrated!  When I selected the tenets of the RES Enrichment Program several years ago--Think, Create, Collaborate and Share--I knew that content creation and creativity were important.  It was great to see these ideas through a different lens as I learned about the tenets of the maker movement.

Creating a Solar Powered Creature-- Summer PD 2014
I left the conference energized to find ways to put these concepts into practice in my classroom.  I also left with some great new education connections--some with plans to work together and others that I signed up to follow on twitter. 

I am happy to report that this professional development has led to some great opportunities for students at RES.  Through my new connections on twitter I found a link to the Vermont State Science Fair and an opportunity to bring professional development and an Inventor's Workshop to our school. (Here is the link to my plans for our first RES Cougar Cub Inventor's Workshop: )  My vision is that families will see the power of this type of learning and get to share it with educators at our school and engineers from our community.  I also created plans to collaborate with another school in our district on an inquiry science unit. We will build in more inquiry and creation and then give students an authentic audience through our collaboration as educators!

As a teacher, I value opportunities to learn and grow and I hope that by sharing my passion for learning new things with students and our school community that they will be energized to constantly learn too!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Geology Collaboration

For the month of October I am collaborating with the third grade teaching team, Mrs. Redford teacher librarian, and third graders on a geology project.  We are asking: What is the impact of water on the land around Richmond Elementary School and how can we record and share this information with others?  After brainstorming areas that we wanted to study, students explored these areas with their scientific observation skills --  measuring the impact of water as well as drawing and taking pictures of their findings.  Next we will be using this collected data too create a visual technology presentation using Movenote.  

Exploring outside presents awesome opportunities for students to use their natural curiosity about the world around them.  By collaborating with other teachers we have gotten the chance to explore in small groups, allowing us to make the most of our time together.  It has been great to view students really connecting with the land around us. They are developing a sense of place as they make  connections with our science curriculum.  These past few third grade enrichment blocks have been a great addition to our learning!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Enrichment Room is OPEN for PLAY

Kindergarteners excitedly enter the enrichment room pointing out all of the centers that will be open for exploratory play this week.  After five weeks of introducing new centers each week....we are excited that everything is OPEN FOR PLAY!  Our process of the guided discovery of spaces in the enrichment room allows students to feel very comfortable as they explore and discover together.  I find that although this slow introduction is hard in some ways(why isn't the kitchen open yet???!!!), it is very beneficial to our learning for the rest of the year.  Students understand the expectations at each center and can play and learn with few adult reminders.  As the teacher this allows me to really focus on working with students to learn about them and their interests.  Play is such an important part of our learning and I welcome this chance to play as much as students! 

We are performing puppet shows, painting, creating art on the chalkboards, writing, drawing, building with Legos and No Ends, exploring the fairy house, cooking imaginary meals in the kitchen, playing house, creating a restaurant and a shop, exploring the classroom library, and creating stories in the Fairy House and Water Mill! We are learning together as we think, create, collaborate and share in this playful environment! Each week centers will be added or changed, and we will explore in directions based on student interests.

Enjoy some playful moments captured over the last few weeks! (Some first and third graders had to join in!)

Exploring the Writing Medium of Blogging

Students in second grade enrichment classes are learning about blogging. After viewing a few sample blogs  students set to work creating their own 'paper blog'. Here are some of the sample blogs that we explored on our internet journey (of course there are thousands of blogs out there, but these were a few that connected with interests that I knew many students would be excited about):
Student in UK made a blog about her school lunch because she was unhappy: 
Second Grade blogger from Iowa
Seven Year Old blogger from Australia

Although the central idea of blogging is around using a technology medium to share with others, we are using a step by step process that begins by breaking blogging down into the key components-- many of which are not unique to the use of technology.

We began by first creating a blog title page. We are thinking about the following questions: what should our blog look like? What should it be called? How does the appearance encourage others to read it?  Students used color, pictures and interesting surveys to make the static part of their blog attractive to their reading audience. They mentioned many items that they noticed in the blogs we reviewed to make their decisions.  Classes loved Mr. Godfrey's survey, and pictures to connect with the blog topic were also popular.

Next students created their first blog post on paper. Students were free to write about any topic that was interesting to them. This choice in writing was engaging, and was a great way for both students and myself as the teacher to make connections with student interests.

This week we will use our paper blogs to practice commenting and responding to comments. Armed with all of these great skills we will have a group of second graders prepared to share and learn through blogging! I can't wait to see how these skills translate over time to the development of communication about RES learning with parents, our local community AND a global community!

My goal is to facilitate the creation of an authentic audience that can witness and celebrate the greatness of RES students! I believe that blogging is one avenue to accomplish this goal. Stay tuned for details about student blogging on this blog over the next few weeks!