Monday, April 26, 2010

Socktacular Day

One of my favorite activities that I do with students is coming up - SOCKTACULAR DAY! This day is dedicated solely to socks, feet, toes, shoes, etc! The students love it as do I. First let me give a little background information on this annual festivity I do with my class. The original Sock Day was created by Mrs. Pam Seckinger, who I had the privilege of working with back in Phoenix. This teacher always had great ideas and activities and I'm happy to have borrowed this one. 

Let me give you the basics. First, prior to Socktacular Day I announce the actual date and discuss with students what we'll be doing that day. Additionally, I send home a note to parents to let them know what is going on. Students need to prepare a sock design (I usually give them a week) in the form of a person, creature, object, etc. I've seen some pretty amazing socks over the years. The students are able to enter their sock creations into a contest the day of Socktacular. The categories that I typically have are:
  • Original
  • Funniest
  • Beautiful
  • Cute
  • Crazy
  • Scary
Students can enter their sock into two categories. I then have other classes come in and vote for which they think is best in each category. The winner of each category receives a generous sum of class cash. 

While the voting is going on throughout the day, my class visits a variety of stations throughout the room. The theme of each activity at these stations have to do with socks. Did I mention I decorate the classroom with all of my crazy colored socks? I also invite students to wear their own crazy socks and we spend the day with our shoes off - not too worry....I stock up on air freshener that day.  

Some of the activities my students partake in are: 
1. Sock It To You Math - this station has math problems that have to do with feet. You know like 12 inches = 1 foot and so on. Students practice their measurement skills while keeping with the theme.
2. Wind Sock Art Project - I found an art project online where students create a wind sock. 
3. Big Foot - Students trace and determine the area and perimeter of their foot. After all scores are recorded for the class, they then determine the mean, median and mode of all students' results.

These are just a few of the stations I do and I'm constantly updating and changing them as I come up with new ideas. If you have a great idea for a station, let me know about it below in the comment section!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Teachers Who Inspire

As I finish my Masters program this past week from Full Sail University in Education Media Design and Technology, I am now flooded with more free time than I've had in over a year. However, my personality is one of that who likes to stay busy so I've decided I needed something new to spend my time on. Hence my blog - The Art of Possibility for Teachers has begun.

As educators, we always have those fellow colleagues who work with us or who we find online that inspire us. During my years of teaching, I have found many who have helped shape my teaching and continue to do so. I would like to take a moment to pay homage to those teachers. 

When I first began teaching in 2004, Mr. Coley's website was one of the first 5th grade classroom webpages that I came across. It was because of him, that I ended up creating my own website for my class! Not only did he inspire me to do that but he also provided many great ideas such as Roving Reporters, Club Ed and using a classroom economy. Additionally, he uses his website to showcase student work, which I just think is a fabulous idea! Even 6 years later, I find myself cruising back to his site to just refresh or check out his new ideas. Mr. Coley's inspires me still to this day and was one of the leading reasons I wrote my thesis on using technology to improve parent/teacher communication. He is not only an inspirational teacher I'm sure to his students but also to educators everywhere!

Many teachers are aware of this amazing teacher, Mrs. Newingham! Not only does she have a wonderful website, she also is a featured blog writer for Scholastic, Inc. Her ideas are revolutionary and make me wish I was a lucky student in her class. Always willing to share her ideas, she is one teacher I wish could work with to see in action. Whether you are interested in ways to use your classroom library more effectively (check out her page and resources on this!) or you are trying to find a way to make studying the states more interesting for you students, she has you covered! I'll admit - this past week alone, I have purchased the social studies books she uses off of Amazon, the CD from the publishing company and hats galore from Oriental Trading to make my U.S. State tour just as amazing. Not too mention, I'm busy creating travel tickets for my students. All in all - Beth Newingham is beyond inspiring and well worth your time in checking out!

There are so many more teachers out there who inspire me and I could go on and on, however I will discuss just one more. (But of course provide links to all the others). ;-)

Danny Pezzotta - Planet Bravo
Mr. Pezzotta is no longer a classroom teacher but instead has branched out and started his own business on teaching technology to kids. I have been lucky enough to know him since he was hired on to implement formal technology instruction at our school. However, over the past year he has inspired me time and time again to be a better teacher and implement technology in numerous ways in my classroom. Always willing to take the time out of his extremely busy schedule, Mr. Pezzotta has assisted me with numerous projects in the classroom including helping to create a formal excel payroll spreadsheet for my classroom economy and providing tech support for many of my own classroom projects. While he no longer gets to work directly with kids but is more behind the scenes, my own students have been indirectly inspired by him through his brilliance and willing to help me become better at what I do. I highly those that live in the Los Angeles area look into his company and summer programs for kids.

Links to More Inspirational Teachers:

Stay tuned for a new posting on using wikis for Literature Studies...
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