Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Slice of Life 10/27


Once, in the winter in February it stood magnificent: Moses Mountain. It shone above all else that early morning, dusted in new fallen snow and above the lower clouds forming a misty blanket over the valley. I pulled over on my way to work to wonder about the mountain's history and enjoy the sun's blessing on the sacred mountain.

This fall a spark ignited the forest, and wildfires blackened thousands of square miles, forcing evacuations and hardships, burning several homes.  Our school started a week late; many families were displaced, and we hope the best is on its way. 

The smoke from the fires had filled our building; employees wore masks to protect their lungs. I imagine that those with asthma and other breathing disorders suffered much, and many probably had to leave to protect themselves.

When school started, the maintenance crew placed huge red filters in each area of the school to suck out the lingering smoke and its particles.  The red boxes, about four foot square rumbled all day, like dragon lungs roaring after exhaling its fiery breath. For weeks we spoke louder to hear ourselves over the monotonous moaning as the red dragons cleaned our air.

We no longer hear the red dragons nor taste the campfire aroma; we have moved on.

And I have not yet journeyed to see the damage to our mountain. I want to remember the peaceful image of that winter day, and I wish for its return; I think, "May the creator replenish you, old mountain."

What is your Slice for this week?   Copy your blog post URL and paste it in the comment. Tell us your topic. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My writing skills:

Description of sights: ", dusted in new fallen snow and above the lower clouds forming a misty blanket over the valley. "

Description of sounds: " The red boxes, about four foot square rumbled all day, like dragon lungs roaring after exhaling its fiery breath."

Details: "This fall a spark ignited the forest, and wildfires blackened thousands of square miles, forcing evacuations and hardships, burning several homes.  Our school started a week late; many families were displaced, and we hope the best is on its way.

The smoke from the fires had filled our building; employees wore masks to protect their lungs. I imagine that those with asthma and other breathing disorders suffered much, and many probably had to leave to protect themselves."

Dialogue:  I think, "May the creator replenish you, old mountain."



This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

PAX Creativity



Pax Creativity

Mrs Pankey challenged students to create PAX designs for our classroom doors.  

Grade 8 students brainstormed PAX ideas of Peace, Productivity, Health, Happiness; they considered Spleems [the things we don't want that make our school unpeaceful, unproductive, unhealthy, and unhappy].  They asked themselves, "How could I create in words and images what PAX is and how it helps make the world better and make our school better?"

They sketched designs. They shared and discussed. Then they started creating. Once they had the ideas down, the shared and discussed again the design, content, and purpose of the design to promote PAX behaviors and possibilities.

Some started over; some added to their designs.  When almost completed, students completed a silent Gallery Walk.  The posters were set out on desks. Students formed groups and sat down to analyze one poster. They wrote comments on slips of paper: Tell a compliment; give a suggestion.  They considered design elements, content message, and PAX purpose.  Then students rotated to another poster and repeated the process.

When each group had a chance to comment on all posters, even their own, the students returned to their posters and read the comments.  Students discussed possible improvements and began the final details to their posters, using the suggestions provided by their peers.

All ideas are from the imagination of the students and feedback from their peers.

This is what PAX is about, and what learning is all about.

Come see the door designs-- we hope you like them.

What will YOUR classroom door look like?



This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Peace Surprise



One of blogging buddy classrooms sent us a big surprise! Mrs. Kurashige's eighth grade class at Mid-Pacific Middle School in Honolulu, Hawaii sent us a peace package for International Day of Peace on September 21st.  They wrote beautifully illustrated poems and created exquisite origami cranes. They included a calendar, notepad, and book mark of koa wood.
It was a joy to receive, and some of our students created thank you's in Google Drawing; you can view them here:









This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Slice of LIfe Tuesdays


Slice of Life
If I dismiss the ordinary — waiting for the special, the extreme, the extraordinary to happen 
— I may just miss my life.

Think about that quote. If we wait for the fantastic, we miss the treasures within each day.
Our lives are filled with the daily rhythm of our lives as we keep our beat to the drum that guides us. Celebrate the small things to keep stepping to the beat and the path that we each have chosen.
That means our lives are filled with story, story that shares our humanity. We've discussed that writers write about what they know, so the ordinary then defines the character and setting, driving the personalities that strive for a goal and overcome obstacles. It's the "every day" slice of parts of the day and actions of the characters that keep the story believable. We can feel their dilemma, their struggles. How could your story, your slice of the day drive the characters in your story? How could we learn from your story?
Each week write a "slice of life" story in your Google Docs. Revise and edit it before posting it on your blog on Tuesdays. Read two of your peers’ stories and comment on them, according to our protocol [TG: Tell something great; Give a suggestion]. Comments on two stories must completed by Thursday of each week.

What is a slice of life story?  
A slice of life story is a true SHORT story, a slice of your life. It’s just “snippet” that tells a moment in your everyday life.  That moment is like a snapshot. When you look at it, you remember and write what happened just before, then you describe your snapshot experience with as much realism and details as possible— as if it’s happening right now. Write so your reader can feel what you feel, see what you see, do what you do, and think what you do. It is not a list of things you did in one day— it is one moment of time that you capture step by step. It does not contain personal information, just a story. Remember to change the names to protect the innocent and the guilty.

Click here for an annotated example of a slice of life story. Notice all the specific details and descriptions and dialogue  -- lots of sights and sounds-- taking you moment by moment through the story. Remember, your moment is one others can learn from — or laugh or cry because the reader has experience something similar. Our lives in their everyday moments are special, because it is the journey that is important; let’s share that slice of our days.
Why?
  • You will have readers hearing your voice because you have written using sensory details and action.
  • You will discover new topics, turn the ordinary into extraordinary, and become better with each slice.
  • You can try out new techniques taught in class, and share some of your own.
  • You will begin to notice that stories are everywhere.
  • You will also be a member of a writing community.
  • You will learn how to give positive and constructive feedback.
Enjoy discovering your own and others’ new stories.  I look forward to reading them soon.

How do we start?
It's Tuesday --- Time to think of something funny, sad, maddening, joyful, grateful -- just a moment in time. It could be a memory -- let me start; some of you have read this story:
While you're reading, imagine it.  Listen to the elaboration -- the description and details and dialogue that help you be there:
Cold isn't Always Weather
Once upon a time in a small town in North Dakota, a young girl visited her cousin. The young girl was me, about ten years old, one year older than my cousin. We'll call her Sandy, although that's not her real name.
One of our distant relatives had passed on, and the adults attended the funeral; we two cousins stayed home inside on a bitter cold winter day.
We'd arrived  the night before; I had never stayed with this cousin before. The wind blew through the cracks in the window sill of the older home, and the furnace creaked, both keeping me awake the whole night. I was tired, but Sandy wanted to play in the snow as soon as the adults had left.
We built a snowman, rolling and pressing the crisp snow into huge balls. We placed rocks for eyes, nose, and mouth, and stood back to look at our creation, pushing the scarves up over our noses--  to protect ourselves from the wind blowing in our faces, biting our noses. It was thirty below zero with the windchill factor, a common temperature for winter time in the prairies of North Dakota.
Sandy didn't like the mouth and pulled off the rocks I'd used, replacing them with her own.
She pushed me, yelling, "Tag -- you're it!"
I caught her right away -- I was a fast kid.
Sandy pouted, "Not fair!" She bolted inside the house, slamming and locking the door.
I ran to the back door, but she had locked all the doors.
I pulled my hood up and retied my scarf around it. I pulled my brown and white mittens inside the cuffs of my green felt coat.
I pounded on the door, but Sandy didn't even look. I heard the radio playing country music.
I ran back to the front door, but it was still locked.
A tear welled up in my eye, but I brushed it away. I rocked back and forth from foot to foot to keep the cold from holding onto them. I walked in circles around the house for what seemed like hours.
Eventually, I felt my fingers tingle and feel numb. I shivered and walked faster.
Soon, a car drove up; it was my aunt. I could see her through the bushes on the side of the house.
I waited until she opened the door. I heard the door close, and walked around to it.
Once in the house, I walked into the bathroom and closed the door, locking it. I warmed my hands in warm water, crying, hoping my mom would rescue soon from this horrible place.
I don't remember what else happened. I don't remember if my aunt tried to talk to me. I just remember never wanting to come back there ever again, and I don't believe I ever did.

Did you picture it? What helped you?  The detail? The description? The dialogue? This was just a memory, tucked away until I as a writer wanted to share. I've changed the names and added some of the details that I've forgotten, but the mood and feelings of that time are there.  

I could also have chosen the time my cousins and I jumped off the dock a million times and watched the perch swim around us as we stood on the lake bottom.  Or the time we canoed in the cove with the glass bottom letting us watch the creatures below us.  Or the time how I got UNlost on an island. Or playing Hide N Seek late into the night. It's just snippet.  Here's one more: Get Your Brother.

Maybe you'll write about a moose.
Maybe you'll write a poem about the beach.

I'm excited to read your posts -- your Slice of Life! 

Get Started

Open your Google Docs. Name it Slice of Life and your code name.  You can draft all your "slices" on this document each week. Make a list of memories, animal stories, little brother or sister stories, fun times, silly times, etc.  Choose one that's school appropriate.

  1. Quickly write about that slice for a few minutes, just to get the idea down.
  2. Now, jump down a few spaces, and start over -- this time, write it like it's happening now.  Describe the setting and the feelings just before it happened.  Then describe the event with details, sights, sounds, and dialogue. Let us live it too. 
  3. End with how you felt, and a question for us.
  4. Edit your spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar.
  5. While editing, think of a good title.
  6. Below your post, share the excellent writing you did:

    • I described the setting:  "The wind blew through the cracks in the window sill of the older home, and the furnace creaked, both keeping me awake the whole night."
    • I included descriptions:
      • Sights: "We built a snowman, rolling and pressing the crisp snow into huge balls. We placed rocks for eyes, nose, and mouth, and stood back to look at our creation, pushing the scarves up over our noses"
      • Sounds: "the furnace creaked"
    • I included details [5WH]: "I ran back to the front door, but it was still locked.


    • A tear welled up in my eye, but I brushed it away. I rocked back and forth from foot to foot to keep the cold from holding onto them. I walked in circles around the house for what seemed like hours."
      • I included dialogue:
      "Tag -- you're it!"
      I caught her right away -- I was a fast kid.
      Sandy pouted, "Not fair!"
Copy and paste your Slice of Life and writing skills into a new blog post. Give it your title.  Write Slice of Life as a label so you can find all your posts for Tuesdays.  Publish.

Next Steps

1   Copy the URL and reply with a comment below about your post -- include your link so others can go read it.  Then go read and comment on two of your peers' Slice of Life.

2   On another day, I will post a reflection piece for you to choose your best SLICE and explain why you think so with explanations of the research and writing strategies you used for your SLICE to make it good.

3  We will continue to write SLICE posts and reflect on our growth as writers as well as connect with other SLICErs. 

We'll look for other classrooms writing for Slice of Life too.  Perhaps we can share.




Additional Information:
How To-- the original site

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Where I'm From #clmaker




Fifth Grade "Where I'm From"
Our fifth through eighth grade students are part of a Connected Learning Blogging group [CLbooc], which includes students from


  • Oro Medonte, ON CA
  • Waterloo, ON CA
  • Coaldale, AB CA
  • El Monte CA USA
  • Honolulu, HI USA
  • Nespelem, WA USA

Our first project is to introduce each other. Our class choose to write "I Am From" poems based on one written by George Ella Lyon “Where I’m From.” Each verse starts with “I am from…” and shares the bits of one’s life that somehow touched your values and helped you become who you are.


Most of the eighth grade students and one sixth grade student created slides of part of their poem and included links to videos. View the slides in the presentation above. More students may add theirs later. Fifth grade is working on a VoiceThread, which I will embed here in an update.

The students' poems are written on their blogs, which you can access below or from the sidebar at right.  Ask your student for their codename.  Some students' blogs are private and will require a log in by the student.

8
Madtohttp://nsdsbmadto.blogspot.com
Devonhttp://nsdsbdevon.blogspot.com
Spikehttp://nsdsbspike.blogspot.com
Lykmohttp://nsdsblykmo.blogspot.com
Gramdahttp://nsdsbgramda.blogspot.com
Smairhttp://nsdsbsmair.blogspot.com
Markahttp://nsdsbmarka.blogspot.com
Sindahttp://nsdsbsinda.blogspot.com
Carsehttp://nsdsbcarse.blogspot.com
Zellahttp://nsdsbzella.blogspot.com
Sontrehttp://nsdsbsontre.blogspot.com
Mashuahttp://nsdsbmashua.blogspot.com
Dreseyhttp://nsdsbdresey.blogspot.com
7
Phasahttp://nsdsbphasa.blogspot.com
Shynihttp://nsdsbshyni.blogspot.com
Kyindhttp://nsdsbkyind.blogspot.com
Warfrahttp://nsdsbwarfra.blogspot.com
Ayrelhttp://nsdsbayrel.blogspot.com
Tenerhttp://nsdsbtener.blogspot.com
Strangehttp://nsdsbstrange.blogspot.com
Rangerhttp://nsdsbranger.blogspot.com
Winarhttp://nsdsbwinar.blogspot.com
Komandhttp://nsdsbkomand.blogspot.com/
6
Hantonhttp://nsdsbhanton.blogspot.com/
Andophhttp://nsdsbandoph.blogspot.com
Edacoehttp://nsdsbedacoe.blogspot.com
Kanithhttp://nsdsbkanith.blogspot.com
Bremarehttp://nsdsbbremare.blogspot.com
Ademoehttp://nsdsbademoe.blogspot.com
Samsimhttp://nsdsbsamsim.blogspot.com
Hardihttp://nsdsbhardi.blogspot.com
Storyhttp://nsdsbstory.blogspot.com
5
Enibehttp://nsdsbenibe.blogspot.com
Essbehttp://nsdsbessbe.blogspot.com
Airboiehttp://nsdsbairboie.blogspot.com
Rincarhttp://nsdsbrincar.blogspot.com
Engeohttp://nsdsbengeo.blogspot.com
Andlowhttp://nsdsbandlow.blogspot.com
Tomichhttp://nsdsbtomich.blogspot.com
Okisomhttp://nsdsbokisom.blogspot.com
Errevohttp://nsdsberrevo.blogspot.com
Laikyhttp://nsdsblaiky.blogspot.com

Our next projects will occur each month through these cycles:


  1. A Personal Introduction (Due Oct 1)
  2. Group Name/Design a Group Badge (Due Nov 2)
  3. A Travel Piece (Due  Dec 3)
  4. Environmental Issues (Due (Feb 1)
  5. Social Justice Issues (historical or present day) (Due March 1)
  6. Poetry/Lyrics (Due April 1)
  7. Completely Open! Do Anything! (May 1)


We are currently reading each others' introductions and commenting on them, following the protocol: TG: Tell something great; give a suggestion. Students have been placed in "Learning Hubs" which you can find in Lead Teacher Julie Johnson's blog. After reading the introductions, students will create a group name and a group badge for their Learning Hub by collaborating with each other. You can find the leader of each hub in the same post.

Why are we working with other classes?  Today's world is global; students in their work futures will need communication and collaboration skills, the ability to clearly communicate and create with others from other places in the world.  Connecting and learning with other students in other schools helps them learn those communication skills needed in their futures. In a white paper published by The International Data Corporation, entitled  “Skills requirements for tomorrow’s best jobs”, the paper highlights some of the key skills for the future:
  • Communication skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Customer service oriented
  • Organizational skills
  • Problem solving
Our students will be communicating ideas, considering details, organizing ideas, problem-solving to create a project, and doing these in a positive way in order to meet the needs of their team [customer service].

We are meeting our standards and future needs.  Please visit their blogs throughout the year and encourage their learning -- not perfect, but improving.  Thanks!


This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...