Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Day

Today is We Day in Winnipeg! I was lucky to experience this last year and it is an inspiring day that you will not forget. 15 000 young people packed in to the MTS Centre getting charged up to make a difference. This year Bird's Hill School got even more tickets so the energy coming back to school tomorrow should be fantastic! You can watch We Day live via their webcast below.

"Great Things are done by a series of small things brought together." 
- Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If I was in the classroom right now...

...I would be doing the Cardboard Challenge. If you haven't seen or heard about Caine's Arcade, please check out the video below. You will be as inspired as I was by Caine and Nirvan. The Cardboard Challenge is taking place in many classrooms around the world and is inspiring children to use their imaginations and play. It doesn't get better than that.

As a result of the first video...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I Am is... {a great way to start the year}

 Welcome to another school year! Ok, it's September 19th so I kinda missed "the start" of the year. I am still at home with Emily, my baby. She is 5 months old already! It's a whole new world raising a baby which is why I am posting this "back to school" post on September 19th! I had planned to do it 15 days ago! I spend a lot of time with my friends that also have babies, I call them my mom-friends. Some of them I knew before they had babies and some I have met just because they have babies. One of my mom-friends, Natalie, shared some great finds she came across on youtube. I tweeted about this one song in particular over the summer because I thought it would be a great way to start the year. While I wouldn't be sharing the start of the year with my students, lots of my tweeps would so I wanted to make sure someone used it! Emily and I listen to it all the time and we are working on a crafty little computer project of our own based on this song. Stay tuned for that one. If you haven't heard this song from Sesame Street and Will.i.Am already, get ready because you will be addicted and dancing in your seat. I guarantee it. Enjoy, and have a great rest of September!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day. I hope everyone did something nice for the earth this weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Emily Scarcello :)

The wait was well worth it, Emily arrived! She was born on April 6, 2012 at 4:33 am. She weighed 7lbs 6oz and was 20 inches long. She is perfection and her dad and I couldn't be happier!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Eagles are Back!

Last year I followed the Decorah Eagles with my grade 2 class. We usually had them streamed on our projector through the day so we could see when they hatched and flew for the first time. The livestream of the eagles is back and they have already hatched. I have recently left our classroom on mat leave so I will not be able to follow along with my class this year but I thought I would post the feed here anyway so you could follow them. Happy Spring!

Streaming Live by Ustream

Thursday, March 8, 2012


On Friday we had AAA art. We're doing our performance with puppets and we're doing it on the book "The Lonely Inukshuk". The characters in the book are:
  • The Inukshuk
  • Tiriaq the weasel
  • Tuktu the caribou
  • Qinalugaq the beluga
  • Ukaliq the arctic hare
  • Siksik the ground squirrel
  • Nanuq the polar bear
  • Aqiggiq the ptarmigan
  • Tiriganiaq the arctic fox
  • Attaata the father
  • Irniq the son
The book was amasingly made by 15 kids and well probbaly their teacher helped them with ideas but I WOULD'T KNOW! The kids live in Nunavut in Whale Cove

Thanks for listening!   Reading!
-Rachel :)

Book Shopping - Best Job Ever!

I absolutely love it when someone at school asks if anyone is interested in ordering some books for ... anything! My hand shoots up immediately. I love buying books for my classroom, I love buying books for myself, I love buying books with someone else's money! So this time the request was to buy some books for our upper elementary Literacy Lab. Teachers can sign books out to supplement and add variety to their classroom library. I started browsing the Scholastic flyer which always has the current popular series kids want to read. But I was feeling like these are the books they already know about, the ones they probably have, our library probably has and our classrooms probably have. I think it is important to have some of these popular books for the reluctant readers to hook in to but we need something more.
Lately in my classroom I have been witnessing kids really branching out with their reading. There are a couple of kids that are willing to try reading anything I suggest they might like (hello, awesome!). They read the books fast. Within days. This is fantastic for the other kids in our class that like to stick to the same series. They see students with other books that they can't put down and immediately there is a pile of sticky notes in the front cover declaring who gets to read it next. These students that will read anything also like to talk about what they read, telling the rest of the class what they thought of the book, encouraging even more reading. Fantastic!
As I was looking for titles that would inspire our grade 4-6 students I remembered a blog I was pointed to by a friend, Mrs. Loewen. Sal's Fiction Addiction is a blog written by Sally Bender, a fellow Manitoban. Almost daily, she writes a post reviewing the latest book she has read. Sally loves books and this is glaringly obvious from the passion she reviews books with.
I am reviewing her posts and creating a list and her passion is making it difficult to not order these books immediately, read them myself and share each of them with my class! Comments like:
"Here's a book that will stay with me for a long time, and I will be talking about it in classrooms visits. Once started, I just wanted to keep reading. Then, when I had to stop because I could no longer keep my eyes open, it was the first thing I picked up when I opened those eyes this morning."
"How lucky am I that I keep reading books that yell to be shared? After reading The One and Only Ivan, and fervently wishing that there was a classroom somewhere that I could share it with, Wonder rises to the top of my TBR pile! It is a book that packs a powerful punch and should be read in every fifth grade classroom...and don't stop there. It is a story that should be read and savored by anyone who loves books that will impact the way we live our lives. It is a 'wonder'!"
Her blog is most definitely worth checking out and following by email. I get her blog posts right to my inbox whenever she adds something new. Or, like I am doing today, scroll down and click the label/category you are searching for and get a specific list of the books in this category.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lots of New Books!

Well, not really lots of new books but it seems that way! Lately, many of our students have been discovering new books and authors that they love. The best part is that they are talking about these new books they love and the demand for them is spreading like wild fire! I must say, I am very happy to see something other than "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" floating around here!
We were talking at the end of the day about how we could share our new titles with our virtual audience using a web tool. A simple blog post is fine but a list we could add to continuously with our favourites is even better. As we were scrolling through the blog looking for a tool we had used in the past that would work for this, there it was, at the bottom of our page - our Shelfari! Of course! What better way than our Shelfari!
Mrs. Tresoor and I have been scheming about some "not a boring book report" tasks the kids could do when they are finished reading a book. I found this blog post that got me thinking about the cool ways students could respond to their reading. We want our students to be more accountable for what they are reading. We also want them to share what they are reading with their peers, just like they have been today, because we know how powerful peer opinion is when it comes to choosing a book. We both started with a "Now I am Reading..." chart in the room where students put a sticky note of the book they are reading. When they finish it, they give me that sticky note and put a new one with their title. Today alone, 11 sticky noes were handed in for new ones! Awesome.

The pile of sticky notes from TODAY alone!
 One of the "not a boring book report" tasks we have been planning to introduce was to write a book review on Shelfari (or chapters.ca or amazon.ca etc). Previously I have used our Shelfari myself, adding books that I read with my students, that my students read, that I read professionally and personally. This is probably why it sits there at the bottom of our blog, lonely and ignored. Now that I have used it with my students, they are more aware of it and will be much more likely to scroll allllll the way down there!
You can check out our Shelfari by scrolling down, all the way down (perhaps I should move it???) to the bottom of our blog. Or, you can click here. You will notice not all the books are children's books. I also post some of the personal reading I do here. I think it is important for my students to see me as a reader and see the books that I read when I am at home.
Stay tuned for the book reviews coming soon to our Shelfari!

Awesome 100/10 000 Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Friday we had our 100/10 000 day!!!! We had lots of fun choises like...
Wordle with 100 WOW words in it.
Clip together 10 000 paperclips.
Blog post with10 000 words in it.
Make your own costom made 10 000 dollar bill.
Find out the length of 10 000 pencils.

On peices of paper there were activities like.....
Where would you like to vist in the world?
Draw 10 000 tally marks.
Ways to write 10 000 using only number problems (Ricky only did it)
10 000 questions you have about the world.
How far would 10 000 steps take you?
Make up word problems for which the answer is 10 000

That was the best 100/10 000 day EVER!!!!!!!
P.S It was also dress up as your fav book character!


2 by 2 Digit Multiplication

I have discovered a new app for the iPad that I think is pretty neat. It is called ShowMe and it allows me to create a little lesson with sound that is recorded. I could send this lesson to all the kids in my class, their families and even post it here on the blog for them to refer to when they are working at home. Awesome!

Expert Projects

We have recently introduced a new element to our Daily Five called Expert Projects. Students can use one of their choices each day during Daily Five to work on a topic of their choice. They may choose to share knowledge from personal experiences or research using books, the internet or other people. These expert projects will be presented to the class as they are complete. Some have been shared here on our Expert Projects page as well as on the student's personal blogs. Students have to set up a plan, follow the expectations set out and work towards the rubric we created.

Daily Five is by far a favorite in our class, primarily because of the choice it gives students. When expert projects were introduced, at least 95% of the students jumped right in to a project. The freedom and variety that these projects offers is very appealing to them. Some students have already completed more than one!

While working on an expert project, students are covering a gigantic range of skills including reading/scanning for information, recording information in jot notes, organizing information, tracking resources, using a variety of resources, writing information in sentences using their own words, publishing work using a HUGE variety of tools (web 2.0 and good old marker and paper!) and speaking to an audience. Phewf, sounds like a lot of hard work. But they love it and have fun doing it so it doesn't feel like a lot of hard work.

It's a win-win for us all :)

Friday, February 17, 2012


We have no school on Monday because it is Louis Riel Day!!!!! Louis Riel is the founder of Manitoba and the leader of Metis people. That is why Louis Reil Day is sooo important!!


Amazing AAA (Triple A)

In AAA we were talking with Elder Jewels and Mr. Cer. Mr. Cers spirit name was Wawa Tay which meant sound of coming thunder. First we all sat in a circle, then Mr.Cer had an eagle wing that he passed around and you can only talk when you are holding it.  First we passed it in a circle to say our names. Elder Jewels speaks 5 different langueges. He is 70 years old, he has 6 sons, 6 daughters and 27 grandchildren. He said the the women were the leaders. He said when people get sick mostly because of fear. Next Elder Jewels sang a song and we had to close our eyes and think about a wolf. After we all opened our eyes and said what our wolves were doing, mostly everyone etheir said dancing or bringing them back home. Then we fished just in time for recess!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Groundhog Day Eve

Last week the students blogged on their blogs about what they are learning about the digestive system. We had a discussion today comparing some of their blog posts (without any names of course) to see which ones had exceeded, met or not met expectations. I think seeing posts side by side made it very obvious what they need to do to meet or exceed expectations!
To practice what we have just discussed, today they are posting about Groundhog Day. They have been asked to include:
• What is it?
• Where did it originate from?
• Who celebrates it?
• When is it celebrated/acknowledged?
• Why is it celebrated?
• What do you predict will be the outcome this year? WHY?

Check out their posts later today to see how they make out. Of course we always appreciate feedback and comments.

As a side note, on this Groundhog Day Eve we were treated to a beautiful view of fog and frost this morning. I remember this happening sometime last winter too. That time I happened to have my camera with me but not today. Luckily I had my handy-dandy iPhone with it's fantastic little camera!

-Mrs. Dent Scarcello :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Math Game called Who Has?

Today we played a game in math called Who Has? It is where the teacher splits the class in to 2 teams. She has cards for the 6 , 7 , 8, and 9x's. After that she hand everyone one card some people get 2 cards, then say someone started with 54, then they would say Who Has 6 x 4. The next person would be like I have 24 Who Has 6 x 7. Now I think you get the point and we have to do the 7, 8, and 9's too. After the team with the lowest time wins that round.  The team that won was Team 1 but I was on team 2.  AND THAT IS THE GAME CALLED WHO HAS?


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wacky Picasso Oil Pastel Art

This week we did a art project call Picasso! Its where you have oil pastels, but you'll need a pencil first and you draw half of your portrait side and half of your profile side. Then when you are done you outline everything with black oil pastel. Then you go on the the wacky oil pastel part, you can do whatever colour you want and the cool part is that you can put a under layer like I did. Like I put all the light colours there were on my portrait side with dark blue on top it looked cool. On my profile side it was all the neon colours underneath dark green. After you are done you take a Popsicle stick and scratch off what ever kind off design you want I did swirls, then you take more oil pastels and colour the background. Then you take the black oil pastel and outline  everything again then its done!! When they are done they look awesome and here are some pictures of them to prove it!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Expert Projects

We learned a new daily 5 choice it is called expert project!!!!!! It's were you pick a topic and I mean ANY topic. Then you pick a way to present it so here are a few examples of ways you can present, Prezi, Comic Life, Poster, Powerpoint, speech, audio clip, voki, wordle, tagzedo, and videos and movies. Then you present it to the class. I picked giraffes as my topic and I am doing a poster and a powerpoint.

(You can see more details about our projects on the "Expert Projects" page of this blog.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

An Awesome NHL Opportunity

Last night I went to my first Jets game. Unfortunately they lost but it was still fantastic to be there. My mom and I noticed that when the Jets came out, a little girl carrying a flag skated out with them, skated around and stood on the blue line for O Canada. We immediately thought, "what an awesome opportunity!"
When I got to school this morning, Ms Wasney told me that there is a contest kids can enter to be that person! The program is called the Scotiabank Skaters Program and hockey players between the ages of 7 and 14 can apply HERE. You could be that kid!!
You can also check out the experience one boy had being the Scotiabank Skater at this Winnipeg Free Press page.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Instagram + Animoto = An Awesome Team!

Since I got an iPhone last year, instagram has been one of my very favorite apps. It can easily be used on an iPod as well but photos will be uploaded once you are connected to the internet. Instagram helps you apply fabulous filters to your photos, add comments and share them with your instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc networks. Many other web 2.0 tools have started connecting with instagram allowing you to easily use your instagram photos for other things. For example, Blurb is a photobook creator that connects with your instagram account to create a paper book of your photos. When the various tools talk to each other it just makes things easier.
I noticed today that Animoto, my very favorite slideshow tool now connects with instagram to create videos! It was easy peasy. Here is a video of my Holiday Instagram Photo Journal.

Publishing Tools

Just as we are getting back at it, 2 great links came my way via my Twitter network. Both relate to some great new ways to publish student work that we are going to look at this term. These come from GlennW and Mrs Ripp. You can check out their full posts by clicking their names. Some of the most exciting ones in my eyes include:
  • Flipsnack - A free site with Premium features, Flipsnack will quickly convert uploaded PDF documents into a cool virtual magazine with flipping pages and it’s easy enough for even adults to figure out. You can view and share the online version in a variety of ways including Facebook, Twitter and html embed codes.
  • Issuu - Issuu is another tool that kids can use to upload almost any document format and create a virtual flipping book. Like Flipsnack, you can share or embed whatever you upload.
Mrs. Ripp's post was about alternatives to a "book report" and more interesting ways students can be accountable for their reading:
  • Blog about your book; reflect, ask questions, see if others have read it.
  • Create a wordle about the word associations you had with the book
  • Sell the book to your classmates, how can you get them to read it - written or oral - try this even if you did not like the book, can you still convince others?
  • Write a letter/email to the author (even if no longer alive). Tell them what you thought of their book.
  • Create a VoiceThread discussing your book's message.
  • Pretend you are the author on a Voki and tell us about your newest project.
  • Use Shelfari to post the book and then explain why you chose to post it.

A Proud Teacher and Welcome 2012!

Welcome to 2012! We all had a fanatstic break that came just in time. Yesterday we talked a little through the day about the good things that happened over the holidays. In some cases, I already knew what had happened for my students because they blogged about it over the holidays :) Nothing could have made me more proud and satisfied than to see my students wanting to write about authentic life experiences on their holidays! This makes the time and effort that goes to setting up and maintaining tools like student blogs worth it. Yesterday we got another surprise when Mason put through a post about his trip to Palm Springs. It was a surprise because I didn't know he was away but more so because he made an Animoto of his trip! Another proud moment because he is a) blogging on vacation, and b) using a tool (Animoto) that I have shown him but not necessarily used with him. He remembered it and figured it out on his own.

My holidays were fantastic, so much happened! I love it when Christmas is right at the beginning of the break because it leaves a whole 2 weeks for travel, visits and projects. This year it was visits and projects. At our house we are doing a big renovation and our whole main floor has been gutted! This means no kitchen and no bathroom, yikes! I was also able to spend time with my 4 nieces and nephews from Kenora snowmobiling, skiing, skating and at the circus (at the Manitoba Museum). Mixed in with all of this were some visits with friends and quiet mornings (away from the renos) with my new Steve Jobs book. It was great to come back to school feeling refreshed and ready to get going with some new ideas.

Have a great 2012!

-Mrs. Dent Scarcello :)