Thursday, June 19, 2014

MBC : Summer Learning!

Well it's official...It's SUMMERTIME!! Whoop Whoop!!

And for the first time in 5 years of teaching...and 5 years of being with my teacher husband... We have absolutely NOTHING to do! Neither of us is working on a Masters Degree, no wedding to plan, no extra programs being taken through school...NOTHING. This is going to be interesting :)

To start the summer, my wonderful hubby, Zack, was still in North Carolina finishing up their school year. (They got out on the 10th..followed by three workdays). Needless to say...I needed to find something to keep myself busy while being home alone. The great thing is Clover School District is offering a wide-range of courses and classes to help prepare teachers for the upcoming 1-to-1 iPad program that is being rolled out next school year. Sooo I found a class that I was super interested in and enrolled in it before Zack started his summer vacation also.

Clover is also encouraging teachers and students to use the My Big Campus platform as a means of communication and work submission throughout the upcoming school year. I enrolled for the "Basics" course. I have had a little interaction with the site...but never really gotten the chance to use it as a main source within my classroom. So, bright and early on my Summer day...I went to the high school and got myself ready for an exciting learning session...

To begin the session we went over all the wonderfull-ness that we were going to cover throughout our session. Needless to say it was ALOT! I was beyond excited. Having never really worked with the platform, I was really excited to see all of the different things that it was capable of. We started with a little tour of the actual website and program before learning how to make our own personalized profiles; Check Mine Out! Now, through my Math group and curriculum leader, Christie Reid, I had already taken care of this step and felt pretty comfortable!

After getting our profiles covered, we moved into understanding the various perks of My Big Campus. We looked into EduTalk (basically a Twitter on just My Big Campus), We looked at the Drive (basically a Google Drive on My Big Campus where you can hold documents, pictures, videos, etc.), We looked at the Calendar (and how you can share it with groups, attach activities, etc.), and We looked at the Library (where other teachers, educators, school-fanatics can put bundles together of lessons, activities, videos, and other wonderful goodness!).

Lastly for our morning session we looked into how to create Groups. This is where I went a little crazy. I have MAJOR ideas for using this platform within my classroom this year...Especially in the 1-to-1 iPad greatness! I made a few...understatement...groups. Teaching only Math next year (Whoop Whoop) I made a Pre-Algebra and Algebra group, then made a group for my Academy class, made a group of my 8-3 Team, and of course had a Math-Department group for our school and an 8th-Grade Math group for the district. Yeaa...This might get overwhelming ;)


This was the overall jest of what was covered throughout our morning session. The instructor is leading several other classes throughout the summer covering Communication, SchoolWork, Library, and the Drive. I plan on covering these courses to as my husband does his "man-things" around the house and in the yard this summer. So of course....I'll keep you posted. I think this is going to be a great learning experience for both myself and my students. I think My Big Campus is really going to help organize and provide some structure for the communication between myself and my students; as well as, the use of iPads within the classroom!

So, until I enroll for my next course...I'll be cheering on #USMNT in their World Cup appearances! #USAUSAUSA

Until next time.... :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Is It Really Over?

Well....this year flew by. I think that statement is even an understatement about how fast this year went by! They say every year goes by quicker; especially when you're new or when you're having fun :) However, I'm not sure a school year could, or can, get any quicker then what my 8th graders and myself experienced this year. To start the day Mrs. Reed, my teammie, and I decided to get a quick shot of our dress up! This was the one and only day you would catch us in dresses and heels!

Today was our final day with students...I know super sad :( We had our "Moving-On Ceremony" this morning in our district auditorium. This ceremony awarded the 8th graders for making it through the middle school years and congratulated students on becoming high school students. It was a fabulous ceremony put on by a wonderful Mrs. Ammons and many of our 8th grade students. We began our ceremony by having parents rise until all 8th grade students entered for the special event. Three students then presented the flags of the United States and South Carolina before we were led in the pledge of allegiance and national anthem by students and our 8th grade chorus. We were then welcomed to the ceremony and given a reflection of the year by two more students before teams began to call individuals up, across the stage, and to receive their certificate. We were the last team to go, being team 8-3 and by my opinion the best, and I got the privileged of calling my students' names. I was super nervous of totally butchering some names....but needless to say, I did pretty good! Only had one student smile and shake her head no when I stumbled across her middle name :) Whoops!

After the ceremony, students, parents, and teachers, attended a small reception in the cafeteria. We were offered punch, lemonade, water, and cookies. It was put on by our P.T.O. and was very nice for the newly named high schoolers! I did get the chance to snap a few selfies with some students and athletes before they all cleared out for the day, and the year.




I have to say that I will miss this team. Not only is it emotional every year when school gets out for the summer, but this was my first 8th grade group. It was my first class at Clover Middle School. It was my first 8th grade class. It was my first Math and Science class. It was my first class in South Carolina. It was a lot of firsts for me this year, but I have to say I don't think I could have picked a better group of students to spend them with! This group, as with all my students and classes, will have a special place in my heart. :) (Ok, that's enough sappy memories!)

As a final note leading into summer, I'd like to share a video in hopes that some students are helped throughout their summer away from school. I don't think the video needs any introduction other's Kid President and he's up to helping other kids again and doing a fabulous job at it:

Of course I'll be busy this summer. Getting professional development credits, organizing my room, and just basically trying to become the most amazing 8th Grade Math teacher ever. Soo...needless to say I'll keep you updated... Until then.... :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Week After Testing is Finished

The year is coming to a close...and this 8th grade group is finished with testing! So, as a teacher of Math and Science I think to myself, "What would I be interested in as an 8th grader whose done testing?" I had to do a little research of activities and work for us to try since in North Carolina testing is so late, I never really found myself with a week free to do "fun" things that my kids would be interested in, enjoy working on, and still be educational related to what we covered throughout the year.

My third period, or PreAlgebra group, were actually still covering exponent rules. So, needless to say they weren't to happy with me. We actually tested the final chapter on Thursday. (Yes, I know, mean ol' teacher made the kids take a chapter test on the second-to-last-whole school day of the year. Whoops!) I did have some pretty cool things to use after seeing this website on Pinterest. My kids actually liked making the little books, and they used them faithfully!

My fourth period, or Algebra group, just took their EOC (End of Course) test the Wednesday before we went to Charleston and this was their first week "off" of new material. They got the "easy" Math activity for the week. I also found this one on Pinterest, but the link got removed since pinning it and then bringing it back up for printing and coping. Soooo...I had to research and find another website that had what I was looking for. Found it here! My kiddos were divided into five groups of four. Each group got their own "version" of the project and everyone got their own bird within the project. The overall activity reviewed pieces and characteristics of quadratic functions. Earlier in the year we discussed vertex, axis of symmetry, zeros, and more all surrounding quadratic functions and this was a fun way for students to review these pieces and have a little relaxing project making. Here's some of the posters my kiddos made:

The kids really seemed to enjoy this! They really liked seeing the different ways that all the birds traveled and figuring out which bird hit which pigs. I also got to see their artistic talents when they drew their birds!

My sixth and seventh periods, being Science, really needed something fun for the kids to work on. We covered force and motion right before the PASS tests and I felt like we needed to go back and hit it again since it was kind of covered with review material at the same time. We started the week off by watching this video on force and motion and how it impacts car crashes:

After the video we discussed what was important in thinking about the information we know about force and motion, and now about the impacts of crashes. Then students were told that we were going to use that information to create something that would hold an egg and then be dropped down the stairs of our hallway. Students could use anything to hold their egg except a parachute. Students were given this background information and this instructional page in order to make their container to drop their egg in. Students brought in materials for the next couple of days and put together their idea of what would protect the egg. On Thursday we dropped the eggs in their "safe-places" to see if students' ideas worked. The containers ranged from bubble wrap, stuffed animals, peanut butter jars, marshmallow fluff, and more. Here's some of the groups with their containers:


We're Ready to Drop!
The kids really enjoyed this! Actually all ten groups, five within each of my two classes, had successful launches. All the eggs survived with not a single crack! I was pretty impressed with the creativity and unique-ness of their ideas of what to drop the eggs in. I'm super glad I tried this with them and they really enjoyed getting this engineering time in before heading home for the summer!

We are down to three half-days this week. I'm looking forward to my first "Moving-On" Ceremony with the 8th graders on Wednesday. It's our mini-graduation for them before they leave us to move on to the high school. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I don't get emotional. I'll definitely post pictures next week!
Until then...... :)