It’s Edublog Award Time!

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It’s that time again! Nominations for the Edublog Awards are open for the 11th year!

The purpose of the Edublog Awards, also known as the Eddies, is promote and celebrate the educational values of social media. One of the benefits of educational blogging is to give students an authentic audience for their ideas, writing and projects. Blogging gives them the opportunity to become educated global learners, connected and ready for the 21st century world. I urge you to participate in celebrating those educators and students you respect in the social media world. Share your nominations with the world!

The process is really simplified this year. Simply fill in this nomination form and you are done. If you also have a blog, you can publish your results, but it’s not required this year. Get the word out!

*Nominations will close at 11.59 PM EST USA on November 24th

It’s never easy to make a choice because there are so many fabulous blogs and teachers to choose from. My nominations all stem from how their posts, tweets, or influence made a difference in how or what I taught this year.

Best Individual Blog – http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

Best Group Blog- http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/

Best Class Blog- http://aroomwithaview.edublogs.org/

Best Ed Tech- http://www.edutopia.org/

Best Teacher Blog – http://www.globalreadaloud.com/

Best Library Blog – http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/

Most Influential Blog Post – http://yollisclassblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/november-is-family-blogging-month.html

Best Individual Tweeter – https://twitter.com/#!/coolcatteacher

Best Hashtag -#comments4kids

Best Free Web Tool – http://www.pinterest.com/

Best Use of Media – http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/TL+News+Night

Best Open PD – http://www.globaleducationconference.com

Best Mobile App – Goodreads

Lifetime Achievement – Vicki Davis

Now it’s your turn! Give a voice to your favorites and make a nomination today! *Nominations will close at 11.59 PM EST USA on November 24th

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Just Say No to Bullying

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What do orange cookies, an enormous Green Giant statue sporting an orange toga, and Ellen DeGeneres wearing orange on national TV have in common? These are all ways people have celebrated Unity Day, a national event developed by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to show support for students who are bullied. This year, students, schools, organizations, businesses, and communities across the country will wear orange in support of Unity Day on Wednesday, Oct. 22.

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This includes our Bulldog Readers! We will be showing our support by wearing orange at school on Unity Day on Wednesday.

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Everyone can take a step toward ending bullying, which is why this year’s theme The End of Bullying Begins with Me is so powerful.

“Unity Day is a great time to send an orange message of solidarity against bullying,” said Paula Goldberg, PACER Center’s executive director. “We encourage everyone to come together in schools, communities, and online to unite against bullying. When we stand together, no one has to stand alone.”

Besides wearing orange, we will be reading bully prevention stories and handing out special bookmarks in the library.

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There will be a special display of books for students to check out as well. Can’t stop by? Here is a list of wonderful books you can find at your local library or bookstore. One book I will definitely be reading this week is The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig.

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Trudy Ludwig is a Pacific Northwest author who wrote her first book My Secret Bully after her own daughter was bullied by her friends. Visit Trudy Ludwig’s website for more information.

“Choose Kindness” is part of Disney ABC Television Group’s efforts to create a bullying prevention campaign to encourage kids and parents around the country to help put an end to bullying by choosing kindness. Club Penguin has teamed with 14-year-old Alex Angelo, host of Radio Disney’s “Saturday Night Party” with Alex Angelo (Saturdays, 8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. PT), who is a big supporter of the bullying prevention cause. Watch Alex’s video as he shares the message to “Be Heard” and stand up against bullying.

*All photos and portions of the text of this blog post came from the official National Bullying Prevention Center press release. When you visit their website, you will see lots more information including stories, videos, resources, and ways you can become involved.

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How does wearing orange help prevent bullying?

What anti-bully or choose kindness books are your favorite?

Leave a comment and let us know!

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We Love Bookfairs!

Do you know that if you read for 14.2 minutes per day, you will be exposed to 1,146,000 words per year? That’s a LOT of words!
Reading every day builds a stronger foundation for success in school and in life. That’s why I always have a Bookfair!

It was so terrific to see so many students and families stop by the Bookfair during before conference week! Our library profit from the fair was $1500. Wow! That’s the best we have done in many years! That money will be used to purchase new books for our library.

If you weren’t able to come to the Bookfair in person, we have an online fair available too. It will be available until October 20th.
You can visit http://bookfairs.scholastic.com/homepage/bellbulldogs

Thank you again for supporting our library!

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It’s International Dot Day!

Do you know what day this is?

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International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.

The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.”

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We will be celebrating Dot Day with 1,701,196 other participants from 80 different countries. That’s 1.7+ million people! Wow! First we will read The Dot and then learn about some famous artists: Seurat, Van Gogh, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Delaunay, and the ancient art of tie-dye. Then each student will be creating a dot imitating the style of these famous artists. I’ll share more photos soon.

In the meantime, you can also celebrate at home. All you have to do is to make your mark. Try something new. Create something. Write or sing a new song. Honor your creativity and join the movement. Make a blank book and fill its pages with words and art of your own!

You can also listen to Peter H. Reynolds talk about how he makes his mark daily and the origins of his important book. Click on this link which will take you to TeachingBooks.net and his recorded interview.

Everyday is a DOT DAY when you cherish and celebrate creativity.

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How did you celebrate Dot Day?

How are you creative?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

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The Sweetness of Books

Happy Summer Vacation!

The Bulldog Readers have been sending in their photos showing what fun it can be to read in the summer! Maybe their choices will lure you to the library this summer.

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I hope you are having a great vacation! I am having a great time on the east coast visiting my family. On Friday we went to New York City and I saw the New York Public Library. Yesterday we went to the Bronx Zoo. Don’t forget, you can be included on the blog. Just have your adult family member email me the picture.
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Simple and easy!
Happy Reading!
Mrs. Hembree

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Peanut Butter and Jellyfish

What is happening with Jarrett Krosoczka today?

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From one of my favorite authors is a new picture book out today, April 8th! You probably know him best as the author of the Lunch Lady series, but he is also a picture book author. In fact his writing career began with picture books like Punk Farm and Annie was Warned.

Photo from http://thejjkblog.blogspot.com

Photo from http://thejjkblog.blogspot.com

Here is a book trailer of Peanut Butter and Jellyfish and interview about the process for creating the book.

 

Look for this awesome book in a library near you!

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Best of Barcelona

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Last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Microsoft in Education Global Forum held in Barcelona, Spain. The forum is a professional development event that gathers together educators and school leaders from around the world  sharing how we link everyday subjects like reading, science and math with  technology to make learning fun, engaging and memorable. In other words, I went to school for a week. The school it just happened to be in a really wonderful city, far, far away from here.

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I flew into Barcelona before the forum began to do some sightseeing with some of the other teachers from Team USA. We stayed at a hotel along a street called Las Ramblas. This street is really a long pedestrian walkway lined with people day and night.

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The first place we visited was Park Guell (Catalans pronounce it “gway”) and saw Barcelona’s famous dragon and colorful tilework by the artist Antoni Gaudi.

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The next day a group of teachers spent the day sightseeing. We first visited Sagrada Familia (Holy Family Church) which is a large, modern style church that began in 1883, and  is still under construction.  It’s a very modern, colorful structure, designed by the same person who did the tile work at Park Guell.

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At the top of many of the towers are colorful spheres that look a lot like candy, yet they are all made with tiles. I’ve never seen anything like these tower toppers!

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To get to the top of the towers, you take an elevator, but you must walk down the spiral staircase. You can’t got too fast, or you get dizzy!

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After we saw the cathedral, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe, which is a smaller version of a similar structure in Paris, France. There is a large walk area where street performers entertain the tourists, venders sell balloons, and teachers can get a little crazy.

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I also had the chance to visit a bookstore in the mall. I loved seeing Dork Diaries, Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid in Spanish. I came home with some books too. Stop by the library to see what I brought home for you to read.

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 On Tuesday, the conference began. The organizers welcomed everyone and then it was time for the teachers to set up  the teacher booths. Each teacher had a booth to use for showcasing their work. We hung posters and decorated our spaces so people who walked by could get a quick idea of each project. Our booths were arranged in alphabetical order by country. When you look at the top, you can see the name of the project and then the country of origin. We also were evaluated by a judge who met with us individually.

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Each project was given two judging times over the course of two days. A judge would come to your booth for 15 minutes and we had to present our “digital story” and then answer any questions the judge had. One of my judges was from India, and the other one was from France. I gave them the thank you cards the Books to Africa group made for them.

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It was a very busy time. When we weren’t being judged, most of us tried to go visit other booths to connect with other teachers and hear about different ideas. I met another teacher from South Africa who would like to be part of our Books to Africa project and a friend of Mr. Malakane in Lesotho, who is one of our partner teachers.

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When we weren’t being judged, we were listening to presentations or in classes about technology. Everyone had received a Surface RT, so it was fun the learn about some of the great apps we can use with it.

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We had a welcome reception that evening. Each country wore something to indicate their team. It was a lot like going to the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Some people had team jackets, others had hats, or scarves. We all had our special name tags that we had to wear everywhere we went. Team USA had red, white and blue shirts with USA across the front and our name on the back.

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In addition to the project judging was a learn-a-thon. Teams of teachers had about eight hours to create a student project using technology to solve a real-world problem . I was partnered with teachers from Belgium, Israel and Japan. We created a project called Trees Please, drawing attention to the problem of deforestation in China because 11 million acres of trees are cut down each year to make disposable wooden chopsticks. In the photo below you can see us hard at work.

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The next morning we took turns presenting our project to a panel of judges, including a student judge from the United Kingdom.

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After that we had some free time for sightseeing.  Mrs. Arnett, my teacher friend in Colorado, and I went to the beach and picked up seaglass and shells to bring home to our students. The Barcelona beaches are beautiful!

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The closing keynote, or assembly, had many inspirational speakers, including Felipe de Borbón y Grecia, Prince of Asturias.  Many of the teachers in Team USA, including me, sat right behind him. There is no question – we had some great seats!

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Whenever I travel I like to bring something back that reminds me of my experience. This time I returned with some sea glass, some shells, a few souvenirs and a signed copy of The Dot. Whenever I could, I asked fellow teachers in Barcelona to sign my copy. I wish I had everyone’s signature, but I just wasn’t possible. The message of The Dot is to make a mark and see where it takes you.

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The highlight of the last day of the Global Forum was a reception and dinner in the convention center, followed by an awards ceremony. I have never been to the Olympics, but I think this event closely matched what it must be like at the awards ceremony. As teachers from different nations proudly wore their flags and came to the stage for their awards, the rest of the room clapped and screamed in support. When they announced our team was the 1st runner up for the sustainability learn-a-thon, I was completely in shock. Someone wrapped the American flag around my shoulders and I headed down to the stage to accept the award with my team-mates. It was a moment I will never forget. Each of us is now looking forward to putting our project into action.

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The day after the forum ended, I got up early and went on a tour to a medieval village in the Pyrannes Mountains with Mr. Bergman and Mr. Wettrick, two other teachers from Team USA. Most of the day we hiked up through trails in the countryside and had a chance to step back in time and see a different side to Catalonia. I brought The Dot with me on the hike. This book helped begin our Books to Africa journey, and it needed to be with me at the end too!

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Now I am home, recovering from some serious jet-lag and thankful for the experience. I was reminded that sometimes life takes you down a path you never expect. If you are willing to join the journey, there is so much that can be learned. I spent a week with some of the most energized, innovative teachers from around the world and their stories have changed my life. Still, I couldn’t trade places with any of them because as Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “there’s just no place like home.” 

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Lastly, I know this isn’t directly student- related, but if you are a teacher reading this post, I urge you to join the Partners in Learning Network. It’s free to teachers and schools. You have access to all of the global forum teacher projects, free tools, professional development, and information about 21st century learning design. I hope you will join the network and apply for the 2015 Expert Educator program. I have had the opportunity to attend two Global Forums now, and I can whole-heartedly say the experience will change your teaching life. I am so grateful to Microsoft and humbled by the support of all the global educators I met. So long, Global Forum Barcelona! It was a great ride!

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Where in the World?

Where is Mrs. Hembree this week?

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On November 7th, I learned that I was one of the 250 educators chosen to participate in the 2014 Microsoft Expert educator program. One of the opportunities I have with this program is to attend the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain from March 11-14, 2014.

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I will be presenting our Books to Africa program and the various activities the students completed last year, as well as the progress we have been making with out global outreach program this year. This is my second opportunity to participate in the Global Forum. In November 2012, I traveled to Prague, Czech Republic and presented our 4th grade book trailer project.

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To be selected, I had to go through a rigorous application process – I had to fill out an online application, create a learning activity, prepare a 2-3 minute video that describes my project and how it uses technology and innovative teaching practices to impact student outcomes. The winners were selected by a worldwide group of judges who used a broad set of criteria to assess the educators’ evidence of learning, collaboration, knowledge construction, and critical thinking. In Barcelona, each of the 250 educators will go through another judging process. We had to prepare a 3 digtal story outlining our project and then we will explain this to different judges who will assess our project again based the 21st century learning criteria. The Microsoft photos below show the judging room and conference center at the forum in Prague.

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It’s not all judging in Barcelona. I will also have the chance to learn about different Microsoft products, participate in a team project and meet teachers from all across the globe. I will be in Barcelona on March 9th and I am going to spend the day sightseeing as much as possible.

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My first stop is going to  see La Sagrada Familia.  This is a giant basilica (church) that began construction in 1882 and it’s still not complete! The architect Antonio Gaudi designed the structure and the building is not expected to be completed for another 30+ years. After that a group of us are going to Park Guell, where the photo at the top of this post was taken. Gaudi also designed this park and it features a beautiful view of the city of Barcelona and brightly colored mosaic tile seats. I will post photos   as much as I can.

I will also be using a translator program. I can speak some basic German because I lived there many years ago. However,  I don’t know many words in Spanish. Did you know different languages are spoken in Spain? Yes, the people speak Spanish. However, in Barcelona, many people prefer to speak Catalan. You all know I love dogs. The Spanish word for dog is perro. Can you investigate and find the Catalan word for dog? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Fins a la propera vegada…

Mrs. Hembree

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A Fruity Story

What kind of fruit do you like to eat? 

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Photo Credit: Faith Goble via Compfight


That was the question my second grade reading group had to ask themselves recently. We read the book The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. In this book, the crayon colors write a series of letters to Duncan, complaining about his use or non-use of them. The red crayon starts by saying,

“Hey Duncan,

It’s me, RED crayon. WE NEED to talk. You make me work harder than any of your other crayons.”…..

After reading the book and laughing about the misery of these crayons, we decided to write our own version. The students brainstormed different topics and then voted to have FRUIT be the topic of our book.

Each student wrote  their letter and then typed them in word. They learned how to change the font, point size and color of  the letters in their final draft. Then they used oil pastels to create their illustrations. 

Here is: THE DAY THE FRUIT QUIT

The Day the Fruit Quit

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What is your favorite page?

If you could write a similar book, what topic would you choose?

Leave us a comment and let us know!

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