Friday, April 19, 2013

Testing Seipelt Style!

Our school always does a wonderful teacher/staff dance to pep the kids up in advance of our state testing. It is such a stressful time, for the kids and us, but this is a great way to lighten things up and make sure the kids feel happy and relaxed. The kids danced with us after this now!

Thanks go especially to our PE teacher Mrs. Geis and our Music teacher Mrs. Hutzel for choreographing, writing lyrics, recording the music, and videotaping. 

Click the link below and enjoy!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Video Newsletter and Laurie's Board

Below is this week's fifth-grade video newsletter. I was so impressed with what the students shared about all of their classes and their learning, I wanted to share it on the blog. Figurative language is so fun to teach! =)

Also, my colleague @lkbteacher, creates wonderful bulletin boards to give book recommendations to the students at our school. She includes a cute quote, colored book covers, and even written recommendations from students. I can't tell you how successful this has been! Students are always trying to check out or borrow the books that she recommends! =) (I love to see Savvy, The One and Only Ivan, and Out of My Mind on her book board!)


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

WONDERful Precepts and Connecting with Students Over the Summer

Now that Spring Break is officially over, several things have occurred:

1. I seriously miss my ample reading time! Over break, I read and read. If that could be my full time job, wouldn't that be wonderful? I am still reading, but not as much.

2. Testing mania has set in, as we prepare for our Ohio Achievement Assessments, less than three weeks from now. This is the point in the year where you begin to feel worried, due to the pressure to "get high scores", that you may have spent a little too much time allowing students to read and recommend books. (That idea gives me the chills.) According to many teachers who have allowed independent reading to be a large part of their reading instruction, high test scores are a natural byproduct of meaningful reading in the classroom. I know the more my students read, the more successful they are. However, a part of me knows that many of these standardized tests do little to tell me what my students can or cannot do - so, what will the outcome be?

3. My classes picked up reading where we left off in Wonder. I am thrilled that they still continue to love this book, certainly the longest book they've ever had shared aloud. This is a book that easily connects to my students. They love to give their opinion of how they would have acted in certain situations or handled the same problems Auggie and the other characters faced. Many of them, yesterday, felt Jack was justified in hitting Julian (I couldn't completely disagree), but many took a surprising stance - that it was both right and wrong - and that incidents like these in life are much more complicated, more complex, more "gray" than they first appear.

4. Lastly, I have been thinking about Mr. Browne's precepts, which appear throughout Wonder. I love them. My favorite precept is "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind." from Dr. Wayne Dyer. I have tried to instill this in my students this year. Choosing to be kind is not always natural, can be hard for kids, but is so important. I also loved how Mr. Browne connected with his students over the summer. In the book, the students at Beecher Prep have these precepts to take home with them in June. In the summer, they are required to mail Mr. Browne a precept of their own on a postcard. I LOVE this idea of keeping in touch with students - in some way - over summer break. I would like to do one related to their summer reading - maybe ask them an important theme they've discovered from their reading or an important personal connection they've made?

So, friends, the question do YOU connect with your students over the summer? Please share any ideas of ways you communicate with your class of students over the summer. I think we should all be inspired to connect with our students, even when they are away from us and even into the future, when they may not be in our physical classroom anymore.

Mr. Browne's precepts (rules to live by), from Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  1. "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind."   —Dr. Wayne Dyer
  2. "Your deeds are your monuments."   —Inscription on ancient Egyptian tomb
  3. "Have no friends not equal to yourself."   —Confucius
  4. "Fortune favors the bold."   —Virgil
  5. "No man is an island, entire of itself."   —John Donne
  6. "It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."   —James Thurber
  7. "Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much."   —Blaise Pascal
  8. "What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful."   —Sappho
  9. "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can."   —John Wesley
  10. "Just follow the day and reach for the sun."   —The Polyphonic Spree
  11. "Everyone deserves a standing ovation because we all overcometh the world."   —Auggie Pullman

Monday, April 1, 2013

Summer Reading Bonanza!

Last week, I had a meeting at the district office, so I missed my building's monthly Building Leadership Team meeting. On the agenda that morning was discussing our plans for a summer reading program - a first for our school. When I returned later in the day, I found out that I had been put in charge of planning our school's summer reading program because I had missed the meeting! Can you imagine? In all honesty, I think I got put in charge because everyone knew I would have been the first to volunteer anyhow.

Now...the question is...where to start? I am reaching out to you, my Nerdy Book Club friends, to find out if you've ever planned a school-wide summer reading program. Or maybe you've just planned one for your own class or own kids?

I would really appreciate any inventive ideas or tips to make it a successful program this summer!

Here's to reading ALL SUMMER! Thanks friends.