G/T Christmas Card Exchange

The 2nd and 3rd grade classes participated in Jen Wagner’s Christmas Card Exchange in December.  This month they were busy pinning all the zip codes from the places we received cards.  The 3rd graders posted the map to their personal blogs while the 2nd graders took home a printed copy of their map.  Students created their own class Christmas card in TuxPaint to send.  Each student drew a gingerbread man themed image to use on the card.

2nd Grade Images

3rd Grade Images

The Accent Gave It Away

Today my second grade Gifted/Talented students from Texas participated in a Mystery Skype with another second grade classroom from Maine. (I discovered this teacher through the Elementary Teachers 40HTW Club on Facebook. The 40HTW is a year long professional development community led by Angela Watson. Participating in this course has been more than worth the investment in time and money.)  This was the first Mystery Skype experience for most of my second graders.  In a Mystery Skype, the students take turns asking each other yes or no questions regarding the state they are located.  We were stunned when the classroom we were skyping with guessed our location in only two guesses! When we asked how they guessed us so quickly, they said they knew we were from Texas because of our accent! My students decided the next opportunity we have to Mystery Skype, we are going to speak with a British accent.




School is back in full swing after a two week holiday for Christmas.  I did some serious reflecting over those two weeks, mainly due to a comment made by a student.  I had almost the entire grade level in the computer lab where we were watching some Christmas light shows and playing quick games.  I displayed this light show featuring the Star Wars theme in honor of the boys in the class, then after a quick game, followed it up with this light show featuring the theme song from Frozen for the girls.  The girls were singing at the top of their lungs while most of the boys were grimacing with their hands over their ears.  It was rather amusing to me, so I was chuckling to myself when the student said, “Look, Mrs. Peery is smiling! That is a first.” I know the student was jesting, but it still caused me to think about how my students view me.  I have been wanting to “poll” my students for a while now, and decided the beginning of a new calendar year was as good a time as any.  I created a polling sheet where students rated me a 1 or a 2 on these six characteristics:

A:1-kind 2-uncaring  B: 1-helpful 2-cynical  C: 1-respectful 2:disrespectful   D: 1-diligent 2-lazy  E: 1-smart 2:dumb  F:1-patient 2:impatient

Students marked their sheet with a 1 or a 2 for each letter.  They rolled up their sheet in a ball, and we had a quick “snowball” fight. After a few minutes, each student grabbed a snowball and unrolled it. Each sheet had a pre-printed number from 1 to 6 in the top left corner.  After each student filled in the sheet, students were placed in small groups based on the pre-printed number.  In their small group, students discussed with each other the behavior I had toward them that would cause them to see me as a 2.  They also talked about changes I could make that would help my relationship with them.  After a few minutes, students returned to the large group and shared their discussions.

First of all, let me be the first to admit that I struggle in some of these areas.  Over the eleven years I have been in public education, I have let myself become cynical.  I realized over the Christmas break that I am already frustrated and angry before I even give an assignment or directions. Why?  Because I know only half of my class will have listened and be able to complete the task I am asking them to complete.  It was also over that two week holiday that my husband and I watched some old movies like Rocky.  That is when I came to the conclusion that the way my students’ brains work is different than when I was in elementary school.  I told my husband that if we went to the movies today and the action was as slow as the beginning of Rocky, most people would walk out in the first ten minutes.  Students today are bombarded by visual images constantly.  I do not have any scientific results or data to back up my assumption here, but I realized it is much more difficult for students to hear auditory commands and “make a movie in their head” so they can recall that information when they need it.  In other words, I cannot get frustrated with them for their lack of attention if they have no control over it.  Students now have a signal they can discreetly show me when they feel I am being impatient of uncaring toward them.  I have made a commitment to myself to be more understanding and patient with them and try to discover ways that will bridge the divide between my “way of instructing” and their ability to comprehend.

We watched this cute 4 year old explain New Year’s Resolutions.  She helped me remember that change happens with the thousands of little decisions we make each day.  It is when we decide to do what is right, instead of what is easy.

After the lesson, students logged in to Edmodo to access a Google Form to put in the information from the sheet they ended up with. Here are the results from all the students that participated. I may repeat this poll at the end of the year to see if I lived up to my commitment.

Thank You, WOEF!



White Oak Education Foundation is the best! The retired teachers and community members that make up the board of the WOEF work tirelessly and diligently to make sure teachers have what they need to inspire and educate our students.  Today, the representatives entered my computer lab to announce they were providing the $500 necessary for me to add CUBELETS to my MakerSpace.  Cubelets “inspire a love of learning through play. Cubelets® Robot Blocks make it fast and easy to engage children as young as four in learning by building robots. There’s no wrong way to build with Cubelets, so it is remarkably easy to transform these blocks into brilliant bundles of robotic curiosity”  from http://www.modrobotics.com/cubelets/.



Super Digital Citizen Slideshows

Earlier in the year, students created their own super digital citizen blog post by creating a picture of their hero in Tuxpaint and deciding on a name and super power for their hero.  Click on the presentations below to view the grade level slideshows of their posts.

The Power of Words

This week students will learn how to empathize with those who have received mean and hurtful messages and judge what it means to cross the line from harmless to harmful communication online. This lesson comes from Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship Unit 1, Lesson 3.

Students will play a quick game of Kahoot to demonstrate not everyone will react to a situation in the same way. In the game, students will assign an emotion from a list of four possibilities to the emoticons shown below.  From the responses, students will understand we should not discount how other people feel just because they do not feel the same way we do about a particular situation.


Students will watch the video posted here: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/power-words-4-5 together on the white board.  Students will answer the discussion questions listed below:

*What happened to Guts in the video? Why did playing the game upset him? How do you think Guts felt when he was called “slowpoke”, “weird”, and “dummy”?  How is getting called names online similar to getting called names in person? Have you ever seen an example of trash talking online?  What did you do? What would you do if it happened now?  What are the rules of STOP?  In your opinion, which step in most important?  How do you treat others online? Is it ever hard to remember that there’s another person on the other side of the screen?*

Students will stand on one side of the black tape line on the floor in the front of the room. They will imagine they are online and somebody sends them a message.  Students will stay where they are if the message is okay, they will move to the opposite side of the line if the message is not okay, and they will stand on the line if they are not sure.  Students will be presented with the phrases below for this activity:

  • You are an idiot.
  • I’m having a party and you’re not invited.
  • I like your new haircut.
  • You are really ugly.
  • Thanks for the advice. Next time would you mind telling me in person rather than by texting?
  • Did you finish your homework?
  • Why is it taking you so long to finish it?
  • You are such a freak.

As a class, students will see first hand examples of how powerful the choice of words can be from the Edmodo Chat Room groups:


Students will log in to their blog to post the STOP acronym from the video as a reminder of what they should do when they are faced with hurtful words online.

S-Step away

T-Tell a trusted adult

O-Okay sites first

P-Pause and think online

Students may use word art from http://cooltext.com to create their post.

Parents can download the family fact sheet from Common Sense Media here.

Cyberbullying Need To Know


Common Sense Media is a wonderful resource for teachers, parents, and students.  The Cyberbullying section is full of information every teacher and parent should familiarize themselves with.  The site consists of 23 frequently asked questions, 10 articles, and 10 videos that will help anyone understand the issue we call cyberbullying. The website makes it easy for any teacher or parent to find information relevant to their situation in that it is searchable by the age of the child.  Be sure to check it out!



This week 4th grade students will be introduced to symmetry by watching this video:

Students will then get with a partner and move to a table in the computer lab where a straight line has been drawn using a dry erase marker. One student will create a design with fractiles on one side of the line. The partner will complete the design on the other side of the line by mirroring the image to create one line of symmetry. The original creator will take a picture with an ipod and email the photo to themselves to post on their blog. Now the partner will create the design on one side of the line and let the other student complete the mirrored image. The original creator will snap a photo with an ipod and email that photo to themselves to post on their blog. The instructions for this lesson are posted in Edmodo with the accompanying tutorial video below.


Digital Citizenship – Private and Personal Information/You’ve Won a Prize

This week, 3rd graders will be presented with Common Sense Media Lesson Unit 1, Lesson 2 Private and Personal Information. In this lesson, students will learn to think critically about the user information that some websites request or require in order to register. Students will understand the difference between private and personal information, distinguishing what is safe and unsafe to share online.
As a class, we will create an account on http://bookadventure.com to understand what information will be required. We will discuss the information that was shared in order to register for the site and discuss with a partner by using turn and talk whether the information that was shared was safe to share. Students will understand that personal information is generally safe to share, but private information is not. Students will then watch this video to learn the 10 things that are considered private information and should not be shared online without their parent or teacher’s permission.

Students will then log in to their Edmodo account to take a 15 item quiz by categorizing the 15 items as private or personal information.

Parents can download the Family tip sheet for Personal and Private Information by clicking on the link.

5th graders will be presented with Common Sense Media Lesson Unit 2, Lesson 3, You’ve Won a Prize. Students will understand the definition of spam and how to handle spam when they are confronted with it.  Students will compare spam to junk mail that comes in the mailbox.  Students will understand these important tips for dealing with spam:

*Don’t open messages from people you do not know.

*If you open a message by mistake, don’t click on links or download files.

*Never reply to emails or IMs from people you don’t know.

*Don’t reply to spam, even to tell the spammer not to send any more messages.

*Flag emails as “junk” or “spam”.

*Watch out for messages that ask for your private information.

*Tell an adult you trust about any messages that makes you uncomfortable or comes from someone you do not know.

Students will then read the following story independently and answer the 3 questions.  The story and questions will be posted in Edmodo in the WOLab Class of 2024 group.

***One day Charlie gets an email from an address he doesn’t know. In the Subject box it says “You’ve won a prize!” The message reads, “Congratulations! You’ve won a big prize! To claim your prize, click here.” There is no name at the end of the message.Charlie clicks on the link and sees a webpage advertising a face cream. He tries to close the page, but other advertising pages pop up for tooth-whitening and foot-odor products. Every time Charlie closes a page, another ad pops up. He can’t seem to get off the site.

  1. What do you think Charlie thought when he got this email?
  2. Why do you think Charlie opened the email?
  3. Was it a good idea to click on the Web link? Why or why not?
  4.  What should Charlie do next?***

Parents can download the Family tip sheet for You’ve Won a Prize by clicking on the link.