Saturday, October 31, 2015

Picture of the Week! 

Our picture of the week has quadrupled!
I am giving you 4 pictures of the week this week.
We are learning how to write opinions and we are going to apply that to our 
picture of the week this week.

Look at the following photographs that show each of the 4 seasons.





STUDENTS: Which season of the year is your favorite?
I want you to give reasons and evidence to support your opinion. 
I expect you to write more than one sentence.
In my comments though, I will just be focusing on your 
opinion since that is what we are 
focusing on this week in English.

See you at the edge- Mrs. Shelby 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

After School Enrichment: Are You Ready to be Scared Silly?

Did you know that the average American consumes 116 pounds of sugar every year!

Scientists may go into SUGAR SHOCK during this experiment!

How much sugar is in your favorite Halloween candy?  (1 teaspoon is equal to 4 grams of sugar.)

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar!
Use your imagination and write a non-fiction text about sugar.  You will write about the topic from  the first person point of view...that means you are writing from the perspective of sugar!!

Dear Humans, Love Sugar
Below is a list of questions that you should answer when you are writing!  Remember you are writing from the first person point of view - you are SUGAR!

What is your name?
Why are you important?
What do you look like?
What do humans know about you?
What you do want humans to know about you?
Who likes you?
Where are you found?  (Be Specific!)
What are three facts about you?

Have fun!  Be creative!  Don't go into Sugar Shock!  
Special thanks to Inspire Me ASAP for this great unit.  It can be found at

See you at the edge!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Social Studies Writing: Ward and Anthony, Who They Are To History

The prompt for the week of October 27th is in red.  Before you can answer the prompt, you must complete 3 stations:

  • Susan B. Anthony QR Task Cards
  • Nancy Ward Reading and Timeline Examination
  • Susan B. Anthony Reading and Timeline Examination
and you must spend at least 20 minutes on a rough draft or a graphic organizer about the prompt.

Nancy Ward was a Cherokee Indian born at a crucial time in Cherokee history.  She was raised by her mother and her father.  At a young age, she realized that her Cherokee people were in turmoil with the English.  Ward wanted to find ways to keep peace between the Indians and the English.  In her early teen years, Ward married a Cherokee man name Kingfisher and went to the battlefield with him.  She earned the title of 'Beloved Women' which was the highest honor a Cherokee woman could have.  

Susan B. Anthony was educated by her father.  When the economy collapsed, her father lost most of his money so Anthony began working.  She worked as a teacher to help her father with money.  When she began teaching she realized that woman were paid less than half of what the men were paid.  She thought this was unfair and began a movement to give women the same rights as men.

After reading the information and exploring the timelines, answer the following questions in paragraph form:
1.  Did Nancy Ward and Susan B. Anthony ever know each other? How do you know?
2.  Do you think that Nancy Ward's life choices had an impact on Susan B. Anthony's life choices? Please provide a 'why' to your answer.

See you at the edge...

Keep Sharing: Reflections from Student-Led Conferences

Our 3rd grade team just participated in our first ever Student Led Conferences.  WOW!  What a blessing that there are incredible teachers like Melissa at Inspire Me, ASAP who have gone before us and forged a path by which we could build student-led conferences upon.

Data Binders have been used in my classroom for the last 2 years - as long as I have taught 3rd grade.  The binders included pre and post test data, data from our school testing, and goals set for each standard.  The students recorded the data and set their own goals.  The binders were of great use and truly helped the students understand their growth.

BUT this year, I added the Leadership Section necessary in order to have successful Student-Led Conferences to those binders.  The binders became Leadership Notebooks and the students use them daily in the classroom to clock-in, record AR word counts, record homework, record Lollipop Moments... THEN they got to share their Leadership Notebooks with their families at Student-Led Conferences.

The conferences were wonderful.  I was completely amazed and proud of the 3rd graders in my classroom.  16 out of 17 families showed up for the conferences.  The conferences lasted at the least 45 minutes.  It felt like time passed quickly.  The students were quite proud of themselves.  They shared the Conference Packets that they had prepared with their families.  When I say families, I mean parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters - they all came to hear what the 3rd graders had to say about their growth, their learning and their goals.

Most importantly, here are the things that the students said about the conferences...

We have been on fall break since Student-Led Conferences.  I look forward to seeing my students on Tuesday.  I look forward to talking with them about the goal that they set with their families for the 2nd 9 weeks of school.  I look forward to the next set of Student-Led Conferences.  What a blessing to be a teacher who can grow and learn just like the students.  See you at the edge.

Math: Pool Party

Will is having a pool party in his new pool.  He wants as many kids as possible to be able to fit inside.  If every kid stands shoulder to shoulder, how many kids can fit in his pool?  How big is his pool?

R:  Read the word problem.
D:  Draw a picture.   
(Remember that you can use the X's to make an array to show the area.)
W:  Write an equation.
W:  Write a sentence.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Keep Sharing: Inviting Parents to the Student-Led Conferences

Is is possible to over share in today's social media world?  If so, then I will proudly call myself an 'over-sharer' just for this week.  This is what happens when you give a teacher a fall break - she has time to think and share!

When it was time for Student-Led Conferences, the students were given a letter that they were to complete themselves.  They were given no help, no editing or spelling tips - they were just asked to be honest and draw some sort of super hero cartoon.  Here are a few of those letters...
No one wants to get stuck in the middle of anything!  Love that comment!

Love that he didn't want his mom to find out about the 2's but wrote her about them in this letter.

Love that the cartoon includes a shout out to Student-Led Conferences.

It is a 'kid parent' conference.  She gets it.

Love how the cartoon shows Student-Led Conference success right from the start.

If you give students a chance to shine, they will shine.  These students created invitations too good to turn down.  Families all arrived at the designated conference times and delighted in all that the student's had to share.  It was a great moment in 3rd grade.    

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Keep Sharing. Couldn't See the Edge. Reflecting on Writing.

These 3rd graders think reflection is just a piece of the writing process.  These are just 3 of 16 students that were asked to write a paragraph about one food chain within a food web.  Check out the original post here.  Needless to say when the first paragraphs showed up on the blog, I was not blown away by the quality of writing from these students.

It was at that point that we spent some time in our class discussing the words self-discipline and to the edge. We discussed our jobs and what a good paragraph looks like when it is completed. When I say we, I mean the students.  They brainstormed each area on their own, divided into groups to talk about each area and then jigsawed to share their ideas with the class.

After all this, they wrote again.  The 2nd time around, the writing greatly improved.  BUT the best pieces of work are the reflections.
This is not even a readable sentence.

Now, we have a paragraph.

Then she figured out that what she had at the beginning was not a paragraph - growth!

Absent or didn't get the first draft on the blog.

A paragraph.

Used her 'how will I improve the next time' recording sheet in order to reflect on how this paragraph was different from her last paragraph.  She found a way to reflect even without the first draft.  She grew.

No punctuation.

There are sentences in this paragraph with punctuation.

He recognizes that he didn't have a paragraph when he began.  He realizes that he could have done more the first time around.  He grew.

That is what pushing to the edge is all about - growth.  You can't grow unless you can reflect.  None of this was in my lesson plans for the week.  When I saw the first writings and saw that the students thought they had done well, I knew we had to stop and reflect.  While this whole reflection lesson threw our pacing guide out the window, the end result will benefit the students far longer than keeping up with the pacing guide.  In the end, it's not the subjects that matter, it's all about teaching the child.  See you at the edge.

East Chester Staff Development: Keep Sharing. That's It.

If you are an educator or an instructional should read what George Couros has to say on a regular basis.  In his blog post, Why YOUR Sharing Matters, Couros states that educators can have an impact just by sharing.  By sharing, we can help others continue to grow and learn.

The East Chester Staff Development Powerpoint is available just by clicking this sentence!

East Chester Elementary Educators have been called to Keep Sharing.  We have a desire to continue to grow and learn.  We know that effectively communicating to someone else forces us to pay attention and learn more (Clive Thompson).  We are going to Keep Sharing.

The comments posted below are the ways that East Chester models reading or math, creates assessing or advancing questions, sets goals for reading or math - how we...well...

It's not the subjects that matter, it's all about teaching the child.  The comments below are from educators who make sure the learners are keeping up, who aren't afraid to change the lesson plan, who set high goals, and who love teaching the child.

We hope you find something that challenges you to continue to grow and learn. What we have to share matters.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Keep Sharing. 3rd Graders Peer Review about Paragraph Writing.

As educators, we know that when we communicate with someone else we pay more attention and learn more.

In February, our 3rd graders will be challenged by an extended response question that will require them to write in paragraph form using prior content knowledge as well as knowledge about the writing process.

We are encouraging our 3rd graders to communicate through opinion paragraphs about various topics of interest in reading, math, social studies and science.  More importantly, we are asking them to reflect on their own writing and then on the writings of others.

Peer Review is a strategy that requires one 3rd grader to read another 3rd grader's writing and then provide a review.  This constructive feedback is then shared between the reviewer and the writer with the hope that the writer and reviewer both grow.  A good peer review can reveal what the reviewer knows about writing.

This 3rd grader understands that a strong paragraph needs a closing sentence.

This 3rd grader knows that a first draft is important to a final draft.

This 3rd grader knows that you need a strong ITT (introduction of topic).

These are 3 strong examples of Peer Reviews that show that the reviewers understand the necessary qualities needed in order to be prepared for the challenge that awaits them in February.  Peer review allows students to communicate with one another.   With this communication, they pay closer attention to the writing and then learn more about themselves as writers.   Keep growing.  Keep sharing.  See you at the edge.

Monday, October 5, 2015

EDU638 Guest Blogger: Veda Turner

Servant Leadership

John Maxwell stated, “If you want to be the best leader you can possibly be, no matter how much or how little natural leadership talent you possess, you need to become a servant leader.”

According to Wikipedia, Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership
1.  A Person of Character
2.  Who Puts People First
3.  Skilled Communicator
4.  Compassionate Collaborator
5.  Has Foresight
6. Is a System Thinker
7.  Leads with Moral Authority

10 Principles of Leadership
1.  Listening
2. Empathy
3.  Healing
4. Awareness
5.  Persuasion
6.  Conceptualization
7.  Foresight
8.  Stewardship
9.  Commitment
10. Building Community

These characteristics are by no mean exhaustive. They should not be interpreted as a certain manner to behave and they do not represent the best method to gain aims. Rather every person shall reflect, if these characteristics can be useful for his personal development.  A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.  Servant Leadership builds a sense of trust that would assist with the culture and climate for the school.

Enrichment: Can you begin with the end in mind?

Think about your Adaptations and your Food Web unit.  Write a paragraph about this animal using your vocabulary.  It is an informational paragraph.  

  1. Start with a topic sentence that tells what the paragraph is about
  2. Add at least three supporting sentences with details about the topic
  3. If you need it, use a closing sentence to restate the topic.
Here is an example! Begin with the end in mind.  Think before you write.  Do not write incomplete sentences.  Be brilliant!  See you at the edge!!

Social Studies Writing: Begin with the End in Mind

George Washington was the only president in United States history to have been unanimously elected.  He was elected to the presidency twice.  His presidency founded the United States Navy.  He established the nation’s official money.  George Washington created the Supreme Court.

Tutankhamun was only eight or nine when he became ruler of Egypt. Tutankhamun died when he was only 18.  King Tut is well known because his tomb had everything in it when it was found.  Along with a golden burial mask, King Tut's sandals were also found in the tomb. These had paintings of his enemies on the soles - so everywhere the king went, he trampled all over his foes!

After reading the information about George Washington and King Tut and using what you already know, write an opinion paragraph about the following prompt.  Which leader had the greatest impact on history, George Washington or King Tut?