Friday, April 18, 2014

Learning From Family :: Family Blogging Month Comments

April is Family Blogging Month in Mrs. Yollis' classroom. 

This event helps to promote blogging and brings all family members into our online learning community. Since this month includes family holidays and a one week Spring Break, it is the perfect time to share and learn together.

Each year, the comments get better and better. This month, we've gotten so many comments we could not read them all in class! In this post, I am highlighting some of the fabulous ways that parents, grandparents, and extended family have shared! I appreciate all the "Virtual Volunteers" who help comment and reply to my student bloggers.  The original post has nearly 100 comments!  I encourage everyone to explore the manifold of comments. 

Family Blogging Month starts with an invitation to join our blogging community! 

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I am exceedingly proud of our online community and appreciate all the contributions!

☼  Mrs. Yollis

Enjoy these excerpts!

Bryce's mom talks about digital citizenship: 
"It is so important to learn the etiquette of the internet and how to be safe in the cyber-world. You are learning life-long, valuable lessons from Mrs. Yollis. I am a pediatrician and I always talk to my older patients about internet safety. I tell them that the internet is much like the real world in that you should never talk to strangers. I remind my patients not to post what they look like, where they live or where they go to school. I am so glad that you and your friends are learning to be safe."

 Peter replies:

Shayna adds some commenting tips:

"Today, in class, Mrs. Yollis told us that we would be nominating other students that have been leaving quality comments. At that time, I thought I know a lot of tips on leaving quality comments. I should share my tips. So, that's what I am going to do right now. 

1. Compliment the writer. Some people think that complimenting can just be saying that something they wrote or wrote about was really fun to read. Yes, it is complimenting, but it's not specific. You can name the specific thing that made your eyes stick to the computer.
2. Add new information. Pretend you're replying to your friend who likes writing about his two dogs. Let's say he took the time to write a whole step-up-to-writing paragraph. He probably put a lot of effort into that comment. You can add some new information to guarantee a reply." 

Ms. Neumeyer shares her commenting experience:

"I have been commenting on my classmate's blogs and find that starting off by complimenting them on their idea and thanking them for sharing is a great way to start!

I think you are all great commenters but one type I have learned about commenting that I would share is something I learned this year:spacing and length of comments are important. Try not to make comments too long- and be sure to space them out."

Shayna replies to Ms. Neumeyer:

"@Ms. Neumeyer,

I concur! Spacing out a comment is very important. If you leave it too long, readers might get tired and start loosing interest. If you leave it too short, readers will have less to compliment or to ask about. Unless you're writing a story, you should try to keep it in the middle. "

Alec's dad shares his research about blogging:

"There was an interesting slide outlining 10 reasons why kids should blog. I have summarized the reasons below. Can anyone else think of other reasons in addition to the 10 below?

1) Increase communication skills
2) Develop and improve writing skills
3) Interact with different people and cultures
4) Improve technology skills
5) Engage in social media
6) Understand social responsibility online
7) Explore hobbies and special interest areas
8) Develop stepping stones to a future career
9) Learn how to deal with comments
10) Develop social skills for life

@alec's dad"

His son replies and adds more information:

"Dear D@d,

Blogging is a very good resource that helps you develop your writing skills. Blogging feels like you are writing a book, but it's really just one long page.
Blogging helps you leave quality comments and your writing gets better. Blogging charges your brain. Blogging expands your knowledge in all the things in the world, and most importantly, it helps you connect with other people and share." 

Bryce's grandmother joins the conversation:

"We can solve problems when we journal, because we see our problems clearly after we’ve written about them. In blogging, we can also get help with our problems from our friends, family and teachers."

"Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about important … information for your emotional well-being."

Bryce's Uncle Irwin shares about his trip to Zimbabwe:

"Ok, so here's what happened when I went to Zimbabwe. I wanted to fly to Zimbabwe on Thursday, February 20th where the flight would arrive on Friday night February 21st. Then, I was supposed to have a meeting at 10 AM on Saturday, February 22nd, which is really 3 AM for me since my body was still on Maryland time. But, the good news is that I would have the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday to rest and make final preparations for my work, which would begin on Monday, February 24rh. Well, a funny (actually not so funny) thing happened to me at the airport in Atlanta. First, to let you know the flights, I had to fly from Baltimore, Maryland to Atlanta, Georgia in the morning, which is a pretty short flight -- about 2 hours. From Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa, the flight is 17 hours -- non-stop. Let me run this by you again, so you'll appreciate this -- I'm talking about sitting in one airplane chair for SEVENTEEN HOURS straight from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa (now you can see why I said that the flight from Baltimore to Atlanta was "SHORT", since it was only 2 hours. Then, after a 4 hour layover in Johannesburg, South Africa, I took another final flight to Harare, Zimbabwe (Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe -- pronounced, "Huh-rah'-rey"). So we're talking about over 30 hours total of flying and waiting for connecting flights before I actually get to Zimbabwe when the flight arrived at 9:15 PM. Maybe you should look at a globe with your classmates and teacher to see where Johannesburg, South Africa is and where Harare, Zimbabwe is -- it is REALLY FAR AWAY FROM THE UNITED STATES!"

Uncle Irwin shares about geography and cultures:
"You already know that I travel all around the world for my work. Sometimes I have traveled to countries during Passover. In 1977, I worked in a tiny country called Lesotho, which is located in southern Africa where I attended a Passover Seder at an Israeli family's home, who were working in Lesotho the same time I was there. Can you find Lesotho on a map of the world?"

Former student shares how blogging helped her:
"It's so nice that you are doing family blogging month this year as well. It looks like Family Blogging Month is getting very competitive. You have a lot of participation and great comments. I will never forget all of the great memories from being in your class in 2011. 

Maybe you should have a separate category for your former students. It would be very nice to see how many students would comment.

I recently won an award for the highest score in the class in writing. A lot of that credit should go to you for teaching me how to write and to blog. "

Theo's father shares about pushing yourself to write:

Heather responds to Theo's father:

"In my opinion, you are exceptional in English! How many years did you learn English?

I know that Theo has a little sister in first grade, but I never knew that Theo had a older sister. What grade is she in?

In my family, we have two children. There is my brother and me. All of my grandparents are in China, presently, and one of my cousins is in China. My other cousin is in California, and she lives about an hour away from here. I am the youngest child in my whole generation so far, and I don't really like being the youngest."

Theo's father responds and introduces the word serendipity:

"Dear Heather,

Thanks for your message and your kind words about my English.

Indeed, my wife Aurelie and I love to travel. In 2001, before we had kids, we traveled the world with our backpacks for 6 months. We visited South America, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Cambodia, that was awesome! This experience has encouraged us to keep discovering new countries as much as we could. A great thing about traveling is summarized in a word I love:serendipity. Have you ever heard this word? It means when you are putting efforts into discovering something, you will sometimes discover something you did not expect, often much greater than what you were looking for... That is what traveling is all about."

Jemma's Grandpa Mervyn shares some family history:

"Dear Jemma,

Your great- grandfather (and my father) Dave Barry was born in the Latvian shtetl (village) of Dankere in 1888. His original name was Dov Bear ben (son of) Kasriel.

When the family emigrated from Latvia in the first decade of the 20th Century (there had been pogroms (riots) against the Jews) he anglicized his name to Dave Barry and for a last name he chose the name of the village where he had been born.

The family emigrated to England. Dave's father Kasriel was a cabinet maker and worked for a while in Cardiff in Wales. Although most of the family lived in Manchester, a sister, Sadie travelled to the United States and met and married Nathan . She set up a home on the west side of Chicago."

Jemma's uncle shares about a swimming adventure:

"Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

I am David, Jemma's uncle. About five years ago I decided to embark on a open water swim in the ocean. This particular swim is from Alcatraz prison to the shore of the San Francisco bay. It is a 1.5 mile swim. People from all over the world travel to San Francisco so that they can compete in this swim. This endeavor is particularly difficult in that one has to cope with very cold water temperatures usually ranging between 57 and 62 degrees. The other challenging part is that there are very strong currents and if one is not careful the currents can pull you way off the course. Before the race begins the race supervisor informs us of the days current and what we should aim for on race day. Most people attempt the race wearing a wetsuit, as this keeps the body warmer. It is also not uncommon for a seal to pop up in front of you and say hi. In addition there are supposedly baby sharks swimming below. When you complete the swim you will receive a very impressive medal. "

Darius' grandmother shares about the New York Museum of Art:

"Dear students,
I am Darius' nana, and I work at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I know that the class is studying about Native Americans and I thought you might like to see some bronze sculptures from an exhibition that is now showing at the museum. It is named “The American West”. 
The first picture shows the head of Chief Blackbird of the Oglala Sioux tribe, one of seven tribes that make up the Great Sioux nation, and many still live today in South Dakota.

Bryce's grandmother shares about a hot air balloon ride: 

"Several years ago, my husband and I went on an adventure.  We drove up to Connecticut and went for a ride in a hot air balloon! It was so exciting!  It was autumn, and the colors of the trees were so beautiful.  We leaned over the gondola and noticed that the shadow of the hot air balloon was showing on the trees so we took this picture.  The ride took about an hour and it was very peaceful and quiet up there, floating above the houses and trees. What a fascinating experience it was! We landed safely in an alfalfa field.   How high up do you think we went?

Bryce’s Grandma in New York"

Miss Jordan from Australia has run a Family Blogging month:

Nate's father contributed a photo, Clare's mother joined in with a Georgie photo, and many more on our Class 365 Blog

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Teachers, here is some information about running your own Family Blogging Month.

Everyone, here is some information about contributing to our Photo-of-the-Day blog.

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What did you learn from the comment contributions?

What value do you see in Family Blogging Month?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Minecraft Math!

Recently, Mrs. Yollis' class has become a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) room. During our geometry math unit,  students were building in Minecraft.

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Guest Post by Shayna 

During math,  students were allowed to make solid figures on Minecraft. First I made a cube, and then set my goal to make a square-base pyramid with five flat faces. However,  there was a problem. In Minecraft, it will not let you tilt a single cube, so I could not get the flat triangular faces I wanted.  I ended up with a stair-step square-base pyramid.  

As I was building it, Mrs. Yollis mentioned that it was hard to count how many cubes were on each level because they were all one color. She recommended that I make each cubic unit a different color, so the other classmates could count how many were in each layer. 

I started out with three colors, diamond, iron, and lapid lazuli. Then when I was almost done, two of the same colors were side by side making it difficult to count. So, I tried adding a fourth color, black obsidian. It worked! 

I took these pictures as I got closer to being done. When I finished I took a final screen shot. My pyramid had seven layers. 

As you can see, I am starting to color each layer. The top cube is diamond colored. 

The top layer is one cubic unit. 
The second layer is a 3 x 3 = 9 cubic units. 
The third layer is a 5 x 5 = 25 cubic units.

The fourth layer is a 7 x 7 = 49 cubic units.
The fifth layer is 9 x 9 = 81 cubic units. 

How does the pattern continue? 

What is the volume of my pyramid?

We noticed that the even square numbers (2 x2 and 4 x 4) were skipped. 

Later, we built my pyramid with the one inch blocks that Mrs. Yollis had. We also build a pyramid using all the square numbers. Then I took a picture of that and put it with the others.

In Minecraft, each square face must line up with another square face. That was the reason I could NOT build the pyramid on the right.   

Have you ever built a solid figure in Mincraft?

Your pupil,

Ms. Neumeyer Interviews Mrs. Yollis

 Ms. Neumeyer is our online student teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada! (She is a preservice teacher in Dean Shareski's class) 

Ms. Neumeyer has made many contributions to our class. For example, she has reviewed several useful iPad apps for the class. 
Check out her iPad reviews!

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One of her college assignments was to interview her mentor. I am her mentor.

men·tor (men-tôr)
noun   An experienced and trusted adviser

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Below is the interview Ms. Neumeyer conducted.

Notice she used open questions. Open questions are questions that cannot be answered YES or NO. Closed questions can be answered with a yes or no. 

Here are some examples: 

Closed question - "Do you like teaching?" The answer is yes or no.
Open question - "When did you first begin to use technology in the classroom?" The question requires a full answer.

Ms. Neumeyer is the interviewer; she asks the questions. 
I am the interviewee; I answer the questions.  

Have you ever been been part of an interview? 

Were you the interviewer or the interviewee?

Do you have any additional questions?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Animals, Announce Your Adaptations

This week, Mrs. Yollis' class is learning about animal adaptations.

An adaptation is a body part or behavior that helps a living thing survive in its environment.

For example, a giraffe's long neck helps it reach the leaves in high trees on the savannas of Africa.

The giraffe's neck is a physical adaptation.

An antelope squirrel stays cool during the hot desert day by staying in its underground burrow.  This is an example of a behavioral adaptation.

Snowshoe Hare: Habitat and Adaptations on PhotoPeach

Many animals have physical or behavioral adaptations. For example, polar bears of the Arctic can 
run on the ice without slipping. 
To learn about the polar bear's physical adaptation, click here!

Here is a fun animal adaptation quiz!


Use the Online World Book Encyclopedia to research an animal of your choice.
Take notes about two to three adaptations. Be sure to include the animal's habitat. Do they live in the ocean? If so, what zone? Are they desert dwellers?

Write a comment as if you are that animal. 

Tell us about two or three of your adaptations! 

What makes your adaptations so useful? 

Use HTML code to bold the facts!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bill Nye The Science Guy App Review

Guest post by Ms. Neumeyer, our online student teacher from Canada.(Dean Shareski's class) Today Ms. Neumeyer continues her series of iPad app reviews. 

Check out her other reviews! 

I don’t know if you have ever heard of Bill Nye- but he was a big part of my learning about and coming to love science. He is an excellent science teacher who really knows how to bring science topics to life for kids through humor and interesting experiments. Here is a picture of this humorous and intelligent guy:

Bill Nye The Science Guy

Disney recently released an app called Bill Nye the Science Guy.  When you first open the app a voice over by Bill Nye exclaims, “You’ve arrived at my desk!” and a desk full of objects is shown.  Users can choose from objects on the desk, such as a rocket, a robot or a sundial, and the app will bring users into a different lesson. There is a huge variety of options to learn from such as: games designed to teach users about the solar system as you take pictures from a rocket, learning about planet Earth’s geological history while digging up a backyard, and cool optical illusions woven into a storyline about alien invasion.

In addition to games, there is also a book of do-it-yourself experiments and the six science experiments require nothing more than everyday household items. Be sure to check out the bobble head. It has interesting science facts to share.

My favourite part about this app is the original videos from the Bill Nye the Science Guy show! A quick tip is that despite the buy button on the right hand side, if a user just taps the video it starts playing.

This app also displays Bill Nye’s typical humour as you can see when you open Bill Nye’s desk drawer and learn when he started wearing bow ties and even how to tie yourself!

Here is a short video of some screenshots I took while trying out this app:

Had you heard of Bill Nye The Science Guy before? 

What part of this app seemed the most interesting to you?