Saturday, April 14, 2018

Principal Lyons Goes Back to Kindergarten

Today I went back to kindergarten and had the joy of shadowing a kindergarten student for the day.  I was privileged to have the opportunity to shadow Paige in Mrs. Ashley Patelle's kindergarten classroom.  Ms. Katharine Trahan is the instructional assistant in the room.  Ms. Sarah Tully and Ms. Emilie Manna are also instructional assistants who provided instruction in the classroom too.   

All of the teachers are incredibly kind and have a talent for providing instruction that allows for kindergarten students to have fun while learning the state standards and benchmarks.   They all embracing our school philosophy of creating a lifelong love of learning.

I began my day with the before school program.  Students had me join in a game called "Going Bananas" which is a tag game.  The game also helped me practice walking in line since it has been a while since I was kindergarten. 

Then I joined the kindergarten line where students line up for the start of school.   Next, we put our bags and coats in our cubbies and put our folders in our mailboxes.  This was followed by some morning work on constant digraphs.  Every student in the room could explain to me what a constant digraph was and examples of words containing constant diagraphs.  

After moring work, the whole building was lead in the Pledge of Allegiance and with it being Friday the Students of the Week were announced. Students then went to the rug to have a morning meeting. During the morning meeting students see a displayed message from Mrs. Patelle. This is a time when students feel part of a community and our diversity is celebrated. In addition, we had a lesson on constant digraphs to finish the morning meeting.

We left the classroom following the morning meeting and walked in a straight line to the cafeteria. In the cafe, Mr. Musselman, from the Burlington Science Center, had a fantastic presentation on magnets. Students learned about concepts like force and poles.

When we returned from the classroom, we all sat down on the carpet for our mystery reader. I received a Dojo point for doing the just right thing by sitting "criss-cross applesauce" in my spot appropriately. Students love to receive Dojo points recognizing their appropriate behavior. Sean's dad, Mr. Murphy was the mystery reader. After the mystery read, Mr. Murphy stayed and joined us for a shake break. This motor break helps kindergarten students make transitions. All the students love to do the "Pop See Ko." We all had a snack next.

It was time for ELA after the snack.  We use the Fundations Program which is a multi-sensory structured program for learning phonics, spelling, and handwriting.  Students were very adept at knowing their phonemes and constant digraphs. 

The next transition after ELA was lunch and recess. I had a blast eating lunch with the students and playing with them on the structure. I think I went down the slide faster than most of the kindergarten students. We were all happy it was not raining or snowing so we could go outside. 

When we came back in from recess, we had a meeting on the carpet and we did the calendar.  This is a fun way to learn the common sequences such as the days of the week and months of the year.   We transitioned from the calendar to science/written expression.  There were four interactive or hands-on centers were students learned about the lifecycle of a chicken.  This was followed by ST Math which the students all told me is one of their favorite things.  Students use their iPads for this visual instructional math program.  ST Math helps develop conceptual understanding through engaging creative problem-solving.   Following math, we had a closing meeting where we came together again as a community to end the day.

Although I am in all the classrooms K-5 daily at Pine Glen Elementary School, nothing compares to seeing a school day through the eyes of a student.   I loved it how every aspect of the kindergarten day had a scientific research base.   Everything from the curriculum - such as the Fundations Program and ST Math - to the instructional practices in used for the science lesson had a strong research base.   Also, the morning meeting is a part of our social-emotional learning curriculum, Responsive Classroom, which likewise has a strong research base.  I also loved how the kindergarteners had fun throughout the day helping to develop their lifelong love of learning.

I must thank the people of Burlington for supporting Pine Glen and allowing us the resources to hire such amazing teachers as Mrs. Ashley Petelle, Ms. Katharine Trahan, Ms. Sarah Tully, and Ms. Emilie Manna and have the great curriculum to provide to students.  Thank you also to the parents of the Pine Glen community for allowing us the joy of teaching the great students like Paige, who teach us too.    

Friday, April 13, 2018

Day 132 - Mr. Schu Brightens Our Day - Mrs. Myer - Memorial School Teacher Librarian

This post first appeared on the BPS EdTech Blog

Yesterday, Mr. Schu, the Ambassador for School Libraries, visited with students and staff in the Memorial Learning Commons.  He spoke about how he came to be the Scholastic Ambassador of School Libraries.  He told us about his favorite books and authors.  Mr. Schu invited teachers, students, and the teacher librarian to come up and read from Mo Willems and Dav Pilkey books.  The Learning Commons, students, and teachers received signed copies of some of his favorite books.  Thank you so much, Mr. Schu, for a wonderful experience for the entire school community!!!  You have “touched our hearts!”

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Day 131 - Keys to Literacy in Action in the Art Classroom - Ms. Chang - BHS Art

This year we had wonderful training on Keys to Literacy. I learned helpful techniques to better engage students in reading and writing in my classroom.

Here is a link to the school system's blog with loads of resources and samples:
I was a test pilot for the Scholastic Art Magazine this year and worked to incorporate readings and discussions from these magazines. The students found the articles interesting and engaging. I would highly recommend the magazine as it offered insight into contemporary and historic artists and gave the students relevant articles and high-quality images of a wide variety of works of art.

Below is the template that I used for two column notes and a student sample based on an article about the sculpture " Fearless Girl".


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Day 130 - Thespians In Action - Mr. Daley - Fox Hill Grade 4

This post first appeared on Mr. Daley's Blog

Today, my ELA students performed two plays demonstrating their reading, speaking, and acting abilities. As part of our ELA curriculum and common core standards, Grade 4 students learn about "the structural elements of drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text."

One group of kids performed "The Jack and the Beanstalk Trial," while another performed "Above the Clouds." Students' preparation was clearly evident during their performances. Below are some candid photos of our "thespians in action!"

"Jack and the Beanstalk Trial"

"Above the Clouds"

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Day 129 - Using Two-Column Notes for Researching & Writing from Sources - Mrs. Graham - BHS Teacher Librarian

This post first appeared on the Burlington Keys to Literacy Blog

When it comes to analytical research papers, students often struggle with dissecting complex secondary sources. Solid research-based writing, though, necessitates not only that students comprehend critical articles, but also that they can synthesize the ideas from them with their own analysis of the primary source. Two-column notes provide students with an entry point into secondary texts by focusing their reading. Such notes are also a quick and effective way to evaluate students’ comprehension and to identify students’ misconceptions.

Mrs. Shalkoski’s junior English class, for instance, used secondary source information to enhance their examination of “John Proctor as the Tragic Hero in The Crucible.” In their two-column notes, they recorded key tragic hero traits, which could later be turned into topic sentences, on the left. We then modeled a think aloud for the first two paragraphs of a critical article, having students identify text-features and select quotes that could fit the right-hand-side of the chart. Students then collaborated in groups, annotating their texts, discussing “big ideas” and key points, and recording salient details. Doing so allowed them to draw connections, synthesize ideas, and substantiate their arguments. Ultimately, they used their two-column notes as a starting point for their analytical essays.

Recording research in two-column notes also helps students to clearly organize their points to develop summary writing. In Ms. Duhamel’s Spanish I class, students used two-column notes to research and record the characteristic of animals, which they then turned into cohesive summaries written in Spanish. Similarly, her class relied on two-column notes in investigating a famous Spanish speaking individual of their choice. They then presented a biography of their individual to their class in Spanish using Google slide presentations. Selected individuals included Paco de Lucia, Julia de Burgos, Octavio Paz, Pablo Picasso, and Roberto Clemente, among others. Duhamel noted how these projects pushed students to learn and utilize vocabulary and grammar structures in their writing and speaking that they typically might not encounter until Spanish II or III.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Day 128 - Pine Glen Kindergarten Students’ Favorite Books Commercials! - Mr. Donoff - Instructional Technology

Pine Glen Kindergarten students enjoy a good book and wanted to share their favorites with you. In addition to creating posters these persuasive writers presented in front of the camera to create “mini commercials”. Green Screen technology provided a great way for students to explore media creation. Superimposing students onto digital backdrops of their books, students presentations provide some very convincing reasons for reading their favorite books!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Day 127 - Legoland Field Trip - Mrs. Duncan - Francis Wyman Kindergarten

This post first appeared on Mrs. Duncan's Blog

We enjoyed our field trip to Legoland today.  Students participated in a workshop where they built a top and a handle with a gear to spin the top.  They were quite the engineers!  We spent the rest of our time admiring amazing Lego creations, building with Legos, playing/climbing in the play area, and watching the short 4D Lego movie.  The students seemed to have a lot of fun and may ask you all if they can go again sometime!  We want to say a special thank you to Mrs. Fragoso, Mrs. Miminos, and Mr. Boossarangsi for chaperoning on such a fun trip!