The Glitter Came Out

Today the students were busy creating posters and displays for their presentation at the Pitch Event on Wednesday night.  They found the glitter!  LOL!!!  So much fun!!!

I have seen some very impressive presentations that the students will be sharing on their iPads or laptops.  They are utilizing Google Docs, Popplet, Prezi, Phoster, etc.  In Google Docs, students are creating links using QR codes so guests can read their stories or blogs on their own devices.  In Phoster, students are creating a book cover for their novel and fliers to advertise their craft class. The graphics they created in Phoster were then reduced in size a wee bit (with a little help from me) and then printed after inserting it into a Google Doc.  In Popplet we have massive maps of the gods from yesteryear.  Prezi is helping the students share their knowledge – things they have learned about gods and prosthetics – which guests will look at on presentation night.

I know pictures are being taken to document the process and those are going to be added to posters and trifolds that will be on display.

We are just a few days away!  Excitement is building!




An update on the progress for the evening – my 20% Project:  Tables have been ordered from our neighbouring high school as we don’t have enough and need to borrow just a few more.  Permission slips are going to be generated for the students so that we are all nice and legal when the students stay after school to prepare for the evening.  As there is quite a chunk of time, they can also do homework and eat their dinner as well as any final preparations for their project.  Attendance sheets need to be printed so that students will check in with us (so we know exactly who is on campus) and then parents will sign them out (so we know they have been safely collected to go home).

I prepared the tickets for the children that had pre-ordered food and distributed those.  I had six students order food and Missy had three students.  That brought in a nice wee chunk of money – over $100 – so we are 1/7 of our way to the $700 that we need to earn on the truck before they will start donating money back to us. 🙂

My fabulous parent volunteer came in on Tuesday and copied about 3000 fliers that were sent out to the elementary schools that feed my school and the elementary schools that feed Missy’s school.  They were sent out that day and should have arrived at the elementaries on Wednesday for distribution today in the student Friday folders.  Fingers crossed that they made it home to the families and it will generate more visitors to our campus!

On Tuesday afternoon, Missy came over to my school and we discussed where we could put the tables and how we wanted them configured.  We also did a little measuring to see how many we can fit in each area.  I will be sure to take pictures so I can post how it all looks when it is set up on the night.

Alrighty…I think that is enough for today and I will be sure to write next week so you can share in how it all went down! 🙂


We’re in the Newspaper!

So exciting! We made it into the OC Register! That should bring a few people along that otherwise wouldn’t have known about our event. 🙂

Check it out: Article

I can only see the beginning. Don’t have a subscription. Hopefully a kind person will bring me the blurb from the actual paper so I can see it all! 🙂

Week Five…It’s Almost Over!

I can’t believe this ride is almost over!  The kids are continuing to do fabulously and I really am just so proud of them.

I have been guiding them a little bit as I think they need that guidance.  I have been reminding them to start thinking about exactly what information they are going to share at the Pitch Event and what they are going to have on their table (posters, displays, decoration, etc.)  They were really engaged today as they were working and I know that this event is going to be fabulous.

The student that has been learning how to decorate cupcakes brought me some last night!  They were fabulous!!!  The decorations looked really great and I can tell that she has come a long way in her project.  Another student attempted to use the app I found for her to make her graph, but after playing with it together we were stumped as to how to enter the information correctly so it would represent her running times for her miles.  Because of this, she has resorted to good old paper and pencil.  🙂  I spoke with my boys that are doing the food review project and I am, thankfully, no longer fuzzy.  They have their plan to go out and eat and write reviews.  Today they were coming up with the items they would mention in each of their reviews…ambiance of restaurant, food presentation, taste, service, etc…  Sounds like they are on track!  I am eager to see where they choose to publish their findings.  Things are chugging along nicely.

An update on my 20% Project:  Last night at Open House we had three different food trucks than the ones coming to our event, but it was super helpful to see how much space they took up.  The original plan was to have the trucks on the blacktop and put the tables in the big open quad area in front of our outdoor stage.  However, after talking to my principal, our fearless leader, she suggested that we put the food trucks in the same place as last night and then put the tables up in the other quad area where the grass and trees are.  I think this will be great because between those two set up areas are lunch tables with umbrellas where people can eat their delicious dinners and we will all be in the one place…good flow!

I have managed to get approval for our flier from the district communications manager and he has had his secretary send along the information for each school and how many fliers they need.  This is amazingly helpful as I had already started phoning the schools to get this information…saved me a good half an hour. 🙂  The best parent volunteer in the world is coming in on Tuesday next week to prepare all of that for us and we can pop the fliers in district mail and the secretaries will be able to get them to the teachers for them to put in the Friday Folders (each elementary school does Friday Folders where all the communication goes home at one time and the parents know to look in the folder).  In addition, our communications manager forwarded the information to the local newspaper.  She turned around and started asking more questions to find out about the background of the project.  Hopefully she will write this and we will get additional advertising and more of the community will attend the event!  Super exciting!!! 😀

My students are going to have one more Friday and then they will have the Tuesday the day before the Pitch Night Event and the day of the event to prepare.  I expect they will start feverishly making signs and posters for their display…I expect.  We will see if that happens!  I know they are going to blow my socks off!  Can’t wait!!!

More next week!!!  Happy Friday everyone! 🙂

Student Accountability & Remind101

So I have a little confession to make…I am a wee bit frustrated!  The kids are to blog once a week about their progress, etc…and today I checked their submissions and only twenty-two out of thirty-seven kids have done this.  I give them time in class to get started and ask that they have it done and submitted for publishing by the time they go to bed on Friday.  This is to prevent any weekend homework because I don’t want them to have that…unless they impose it upon themselves because they choose to work on their 20% Project (which some of them are doing).  I have spoken to them about getting their reflections done as it is a record for them that they will utilize when they do their final reflection to present to the class.  I don’t want them to struggle at the end to remember the six weeks.  I need to come up with a plan to make sure they get it done!  Hmmmmm…I shall ponder this!

Their blogs, the ones that are being done, are really good.  I think that they will find them useful to help with their final reflection.  The kids are learning to make adjustments and really plan their next steps and I think this is huge for them!  It is a life skill that they will need forever!  I left comments on all the students’ posts and then texted them via Remind101 to let them know to look at their comments.  More on Remind101 in just a minute!  The majority of the students are really enjoying their projects and it is so very cool to see their personalities and passions shine in this way.  There is one student who is not too happy at the moment so I will need to check in with him and make sure that I help him and his group get themselves to a point where they have an ultimate end goal and how they will get there.  I am a little fuzzy on what they are doing exactly as they just changed their idea due to an injury of one of the members of the group.  Definitely need to check in with them.  I have a feeling the student who is not as happy with the project joined the group to be with his buddies but wasn’t super passionate about their idea…I shall have to see!  He also believes that it is a high school project.  I think this is because the only evidence of any other students doing this (on the web) is that of HS students.  I commented on his blog that students from all grade levels including elementary school are doing these projects too…just adapted to fit their age. 🙂

Before I talk about Remind101 I have a little update on my 20% Project: I have the flier that we want to send out to all the students at our middle schools, in addition to the surrounding elementary schools, in to the DO for approval from our Communications Manager.  I hope to hear back from him tomorrow or Tuesday.  I might have to chase him down a little as I want to get these fliers out in plenty of time and so I need to hear back from him soon!  My teacher partner and I are planning on an afternoon at my site to measure it out to see how we will place the tables for the evening event and where the trucks will be able to park.  We are thinking we will have the students in the quad with their tables and the trucks on the blacktop.  We shall see how it all shakes out when we get together to mull it over!  More on that later!!!

Alrighty – Remind101!  Best. Invention. Ever!  This is a texting service that is web based and also has an app.  You sign up, they give you a phone number and you have the students use their device to text the number with the magic code to register.  This adds them to your list and you can send a whole class text or a text to a group of three or more individuals.  Parents can also sign up to receive the texts which is great – they see what their kids are receiving.  Because I am also the advisor to a club, I have those students sign up too.  For each group you create it gives you a different code for the students to input when they text to join.  Another reason to love this service…they can’t text you back!  Check it out!!!




My best friend, who is doing this project with her students at her school, got the kids into their blogging last Friday.  It was the first time so she had them put in the magical code so they could join her class.  Then they started typing away and logging their thoughts and feelings, accomplishments, struggles and plans for the next time.  So awesome!

I love using Kidblog with my students as it is quite user friendly and they are able to navigate it quite easily.  I also love it because all posts and comments MUST be approved by the teacher before they can be live for the readers of the world!  For a mere $5 a month (cheaper if you pay for the whole year at once), more students can blog and more blogs can be written as you are provided with more server space.  Also, students can choose their own theme to make their page more theirs.  Here’s a link that gives you the breakdown for the pricing.

The code that I referred to above is genius.  Once you have created your class, you go to your settings, get the magical code and when the students want to create their account, they just put that in after they click on the “Students” button.  They are automatically connected to you and your class blog without any hassle.  Of course, they need to create their screen name (I encourage nicknames or just first names only for security) and choose a password that they will remember.  Kidblog is also linked with Google, so if your school uses Google they can create their profile with that.  We do have accounts with Google here in my district, but I like that they get to choose their screen nickname and/or just put in their first name. 🙂

Get out there and write and have your students write!  Happy blogging!


Week Three Has Come and Gone

The 20% Project machine is chugging along nicely!  The kids are doing amazingly and I love reading their blog posts.  I just finished reading their Week 3 musings yesterday and I am so impressed.  They are making those tough choices, making changes where necessary and learning so much about their subjects and themselves in the process.  The best part…”I am enjoying this project more than I thought I would.”  My skeptics are turning the corner and starting to enjoy the process too!  You can’t beat that!!!

I have decided to take on a 20% Project of my own.  It is putting together our Pitch Event Evening.  I would love to have the kids involved in this part and maybe that is something I can work on for next year.  But for right now, I have the steering wheel on this.  Food trucks have been booked and they have agreed to donate a portion of their earnings to us so we can share the money between students who are doing projects that are raising funds for good causes.  Fliers have been made to pre-order food items for the students that will be presenting and their families.  An invitation has been created to send out to the community – I hope they will join us! 🙂  Good food and awesome presentations by my students and my best friend’s students…can’t go wrong with that for an evening out!  I have a few more things to accomplish on my list, but I know it will all come together and I am getting more and more excited for this event the closer it gets.

Speaking of good food…we have some deliciousness coming to our school for that evening event…The Grilled Cheese Truck, The BaconMania Truck, and Mustache Mike’s Italian Ice Truck! YUM!!!!!!!  Check out their websites…links below!

Image  Image   Image

BaconMANia’s Website

The Grilled Cheese Truck’s Website

Mustache Mike’s Website

I know I said last week that I was going to collect the students planning papers to see what their process was, but I completely forgot.  I should probably read my previous posts so I know where I left off and do what I said I was going to do!!!  I am as bad as the kids! LOL!  However, upon reflection about that over the past few days, I have decided that they need that paper as it is part of their process and I feel good about checking in with them and knowing where they are by having those personal chats.

I had to touch base with one of my groups today as a member of that group has broken his hand.  I knew they were planning on doing physical tests as part of their experience of eating bad foods and recording results of those physical tests.  I want all of them to have an equal experience in this, so have asked them to rethink some aspects of their project.  I know they really want to eat…so I am sure they will come up with another plan around that so that all three of them can by fully involved.

This Friday I will be checking in again with the students and see where they are in their process.  I also need to remind them of how much time they have left to work so they keep that in mind as they get closer to the Pitch Event!

More next week!  Thanks for reading!!!


Kids At Work: Week #2

Kids At Work: Week #2

The students are in the thick of it and working hard on their 20% Projects. So many wonderful ideas and awesome collaboration happening. I took some pictures today of the kids diligently working: YouTube tutorials being watched to learn from – sign language, how to build muscle to sustain a handstand, and prosthetics moving with the use of electromagnetic pulses from the brain. Calligraphy practicing was happening. Fliers were being created to advertise an art camp for special needs students at a church. Popplets of mythical gods’ family trees being made. And soooo much more!!!! They are truly engaged in what they are doing and this thrills me beyond belief!

One of my teams is attempting to contact their philanthropic company choice to see how the money they raise will be utilized. I hope they hear back from them soon. They did include in their email how much they love the work the organization is doing, that they will be raising money to help the sea turtles and that they are on a deadline…so fingers crossed for a reply.

I had to remind my students that they need to plan their weeks so they have an idea of what they are going to accomplish each week. As I wandered around to check in, the majority of the students had done this. I kept reminding them it was a fluid plan and that things can be changed, but they need to think things through so they have their end goal in mind and how they are going to reach it. My plan for next week is to collect their packets and see exactly what they have written as I have only glanced at snippets. That way I can address any needs that I see within their planning packets. This thought occurred to me as I sit in my fellow 20% Project partner’s classroom because she is collecting their papers right now. Very good thinking on her part! 🙂

I also need to remember to emphasize that the community will be invited to their pitch evening so they need some sort of presentation to put on their table to share with our guests. I will also do this next week.

Last week was the first week that the students blogged their progress. I gave them a rubric to guide them in my expectations for their weekly posts. Their writing should take them about ten minutes as it is a brain dump of what happened during their work time, any changes they had to make and any struggles they faced. I also hope they share how they are feeling about this project. Their requirement was to have it complete by their bed time. I got the funniest email asking “What if I don’t go to bed until Sunday?” My response was that he had to email me on the hour every hour until he went to bed. Anyway…the point of me bringing this up is that about twenty of the students had it complete at some point over the weekend. The rest had to be reminded on Monday. This hopefully will not happen again today and they will get it all done. An adjustment I made was that I reminded them at the beginning of their work time and I told them that I would warn them when they had ten minutes left so they could at least get their blog started before they left class. We shall see if this helps with a higher percentage of completion on the day it is due. 🙂

Thanks for reading…more next week!