Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Stressed out brain is a brain that cannot learn!

A Stressed out brain is a brain that cannot learn!

Research shows how much stress affects a student's brain in the learning process.

Bad stress can affect a brain, negatively, long after it is initially felt. Sustained stress can damage the hippocampus, the part of the brain we use for learning and memory.

Good stress promotes learning by increasing the ability of the brain to absorb new information so challenges and deadlines excite neurotransmitters in the brain to create new memories, it also activates and strengthens the immune system.

Classroom practice can minimize stress and reduce the production of cortisol in the brain. One way is a practice of focused learning interrupted by 2-5 minute breaks to process the learning.  For young children, the focused activity should last no more than 10 minutes, for older students no more than 15 minutes and adults no more than 20-25 minutes. Processing the learning can include small group sharing of what students remember from the focused learning activity, or a small group using markers and paper to chart only images or pictures of what the students understand about the learning. Another way a teacher can reduce bad stress is by connecting new learning to what a student already knows.

Here is the link to the whole article:

How to reach every student brain?

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Faculty Blog

The Computer Lab belongs to everyone! 
Please remind students that if they bring something into the lab, such as notes, and pencils, these items need to be taken out when they leave. At the end of each day, I find these items as well as rulers, markers, headbands, and ponytail holders. Often notepaper or pencils are on the floor under the desks. Occasionally, a sweater or sweatshirt is left. If students pick up after themselves, then the lab will be usable for the next group of students that come into the lab. 

With the laptop carts in the lab permanently for the near future, it is more important that we all help keep the room clean since there are so many more people in and out of the lab each day. 

Mary Beth

 Open House
Weekday Open House, Wednesday, December 4 from 10 a.m. to Noon. Parent led tours will come through the classrooms to see ACS in action. Please ask one or two students to serve as ambassadors to welcome tours as they arrive and describe briefly what the class is currently doing. "Hi, my name is Vivek. Welcome to Mrs. Smith's 2nd grade class. We are working on math centers. My center is using an iPad application. Do you have any questions?" 


From Gary and Cecilia

Report cards are due Wednesday, Dec. 11. Please be sure to check for typos and comment on all aspects of "competent" students. Thank you for letting us know if you finish early so we can begin reading.

Gift exchanges: We do not have students participate in gift exchanges for the holidays.  It gets expensive for families with multiple children.  We can certainly express our friendship without store-bought gifts.

Holiday free dress: We will have our traditional holiday free dress for the students on Thursday, Dec. 19.  Please tell your students so everyone knows.

PLPs are coming up.  They will be due towards the end of January (the 20th). More detail to follow.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Try a Word Cloud to:

Introduce a literacy lesson

Introduce vocabulary in a story

Introduce or review word types

Introduce or review contractions with missing apostrophes

Introduce or review time-connective words

Introduce or review alternatives for the word "said"

Here's how to create a word cloud:

Open Safari > 

Go to >

Don't use Chrome because Wordle requires Java. Chrome does not support Java 7 on Mac OS X. Java 7 runs only on 64-bit browsers and Chrome is a 32-bit browser.

Enter all the words you want to include in any order. The more times you enter a word, the bigger the word will appear in the Wordle or word cloud. You can also copy and paste text into the Wordle window. 

For example: 

This is text from the first chapter of Peter Pan:
The way Mr. Darling won her was this: the many gentlemen who had been
boys when she was a girl discovered simultaneously that they loved her,
and they all ran to her house to propose to her except Mr. Darling, who
took a cab and nipped in first, and so he got her. He got all of her,
except the innermost box and the kiss. He never knew about the box, and
in time he gave up trying for the kiss. Wendy thought Napoleon could
have got it, but I can picture him trying, and then going off in a
passion, slamming the door.

Mr. Darling used to boast to Wendy that her mother not only loved him
but respected him. He was one of those deep ones who know about stocks
and shares. Of course no one really knows, but he quite seemed to know,
and he often said stocks were up and shares were down in a way that
would have made any woman respect him.

Mrs. Darling was married in white, and at first she kept the books
perfectly, almost gleefully, as if it were a game, not so much as a
Brussels sprout was missing; but by and by whole cauliflowers dropped
out, and instead of them there were pictures of babies without faces.
She drew them when she should have been totting up. They were Mrs.
Darling's guesses.

Wendy came first, then John, then Michael.

For a week or two after Wendy came it was doubtful whether they would
be able to keep her, as she was another mouth to feed. Mr. Darling was
frightfully proud of her, but he was very honourable, and he sat on the
edge of Mrs. Darling's bed, holding her hand and calculating expenses,
while she looked at him imploringly. She wanted to risk it, come what
might, but that was not his way; his way was with a pencil and a piece
of paper, and if she confused him with suggestions he had to begin at
the beginning again.

"Now don't interrupt," he would beg of her.

"I have one pound seventeen here, and two and six at the office; I can
cut off my coffee at the office, say ten shillings, making two nine
and six, with your eighteen and three makes three nine seven, with five
naught naught in my cheque-book makes eight nine seven--who is that
moving?--eight nine seven, dot and carry seven--don't speak, my own--and
the pound you lent to that man who came to the door--quiet, child--dot
and carry child--there, you've done it!--did I say nine nine seven? yes,
I said nine nine seven; the question is, can we try it for a year on
nine nine seven?"

"Of course we can, George," she cried. But she was prejudiced in Wendy's
favour, and he was really the grander character of the two.

"Remember mumps," he warned her almost threateningly, and off he went
again. "Mumps one pound, that is what I have put down, but I daresay
it will be more like thirty shillings--don't speak--measles one five,
German measles half a guinea, makes two fifteen six--don't waggle your
finger--whooping-cough, say fifteen shillings"--and so on it went, and
it added up differently each time; but at last Wendy just got through,
with mumps reduced to twelve six, and the two kinds of measles treated
as one.

Now in Wordle form:

Vocabulary for plate tectonics:
Sedimentary rock
Strike-slip fault
Transform boundary
Shield volcanoes
strato volcano
convergent boundary
continental drift

Now in Wordle form:

Variations of the word "said"
  • Accepted, Accused, Acknowledged, Admitted, Advertised, Affirm, Agonized, Agreed, Alleged, Announced, Answered, Appealed, Apply for, Arranged, Articulated, Asked, Asserted, Asseverate, Assumed, Assured, Attract, Aver, Avow,
  • Barked, Bawl, Bawled, Beamed, Beckoned, Begged, Bellowed, Beseeched, Blubbered, Blurted, Bossed, Breathed, Broadcast,
  • Cajole, Called, Carped, Cautioned, Censured, Chimed in, Choked, Chortled, Chuckled, Circulate, Claim, Comforted, Conceded, Concurred, Condemned, Confer, Confessed, Confided, Confirm, Consoled, Contend, Continued, Crave, Cried out, Criticized, Croaked, Crooned, Crowed,
  • Declared, Defend, Demanded, Denote, Dictated, Disclosed, Disposed, Disseminate, Distribute, Divulged, Drawled,
  • Emitted, Empathized, Encourage, Encouraged, Entreated, Exact, Exclaimed, Explained, Exposed,
  • Faltered, Finished, Fumed,
  • Gawped, Get out, Giggled, Given, Glowered, Grieved, Grinned, Groan, Groaned, Growled, Grumbled,
  • Handed on, Held, Hesitated, Hinted, Hissed, Hollered, Howled,
  • Impart, Implied, Implored, Importune, Inclined, Indicate, Informed, Inquired, Insisted, Interjected, Invited,
  • Jabbered, Joked, Justified,
  • Keened,
  • Lamented, Laughed, Leered, Lilted,
  • Maintained, Make known, Make public, Marked, Mewled, Mimicked, Moaned, Mocked, Mourned, Murmured, Mused
  • Necessitated, Needed, Noted,
  • Observed, Offered, Ordered,
  • Panted, Passed on, Pleaded, Postulated, Preached, Premised, Presented, Presupposed, Proclaimed, Prodded, Professed, Proffered, Promised, Promulgated, Proposed, Protested, Provoked, Publicized, Published, Puled, Put forth, Put out,
  • Quaked, Queried, Quipped, Quivered, Quizzed, Quoted,
  • Reassured, Raged, Ranted, Reckoned that, Rejoiced, Rejoined, Released, Remarked, Remonstrated, Repeated, Replied, Reprimanded, Requested, Required, Requisition, Retorted, Revealed, Roared,
  • Said, Sang, Scoffed, Scolded, Seethed, Sent on, Settled, Shared, Shed tears, Shouted, Shrieked, Shrugged, Shuddered, Snarled, Snivelled, Sobbed, Solicited, Sought, Specified, Spluttered, Spread, Stammered, Stated, Stuttered, Stressed, Suggested, Supposed, Swore,
  • Taunted, Teased, Testified, Thundered, Ticked off, Told, Told off, Tore a strip off, Touted, Trailed off, Transferred, Transmitted, Trembled, Trumpeted,
  • Understood, Undertook, Upbraided, Uttered,
  • Verified, Vociferated, Voiced, Vouched for, Vouchsafe,
  • Wailed, Wanted, Warned, Weep, Went on. Wept, Wheedle, Whimpered, Whined, Whispered,
  • Yawped, Yelled, Yelped,Yowled
Now in a Wordle:

You can change the font style, the color, the layout. 

Once you enter the text, select GO. Java will open and you will be asked if you want to allow it to run. Click on Run. 

Take a screen shot of it and use it in a presentation to project. 

Remember to take a screen shot: hold down the Command key, and the shift key, then press the number 4 key. A cross hairs icon will appear. Drag the Crosshairs over the area you want to shoot. Then let go of the of the Crosshairs. 

Click on image and select the screen shot from your desk top to insert in slide or doc. 

Any questions, please ask!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Emergency Preparation Announcements
·      Emergency Procedures for Parents – A document explaining our emergency procedures and what parents should do as far as contacting the school and picking up children has been provided to parents. You can see this document by clicking on this link – (coming soon)
·      Shelter in Place drill – We will have a Shelter in Place drill on Tuesday, Nov. 19th at 10:10. Please review this procedure and prepare your students by reminding them what to do in this situation. This is the procedure we follow when there is a security situation in the area. Students are kept in classrooms with doors locked and window coverings drawn. At the end of the drill, we will all evacuate to the outside field.
·      Test of the Emergency Notification System – On the same day as the Shelter in Place drill, we will do the annual test of our Emergency Notification System. This is the system that lets parents know about a situation at school through voice, text, and email.

Internet Safety Presentations
·      On Thursday, November 14th Officer Steve DeWarns will be doing sessions for our 4th through 8th grade students about Internet safety, including cyberbullying, online predators, social media, and online image. He will follow this up with a presentation for parents that night in the auditorium. All teacher are welcome to attend that session along with the parents. It will begin at 7:00 pm.

Faculty Room Sink
Please be sure to clean up your own dishes and food in the Faculty Room sink. Some dishes and messes are being left and others end up cleaning them. If everyone takes care of their own dishes, it will stay in good shape. Thanks.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Summary of Nan's Visit

Hello all.  I thought you might be curious about Nan’s reaction to her week on campus.  So, let me share a few of her thoughts with you.

The bottom line: Nan loved being here and agrees that “it feels good.”

Respect: There is a feeling of respect on campus. Nan especially appreciated how teachers interact with students in respectful ways.

Happy: Everyone seems happy. It feels good.

Small groups: In classes where students are working in small groups, it is “beautiful.”  The children know how to transition, there is a calm learning atmosphere, and students are engaged in their own learning. “It was wonderful to hear the children talking together about what they are learning.”

Earthquake drill:  Yes, Nan listed this as a highlight!  She was impressed with how prepared the children are, how seriously it was taken, and on how the focus was safety. It’s about the children.

Founding principles and reminders:
We learn what we do (not what we hear).  Students need to interact with the material and apply it. Sitting and listening is going to help only a small percentage learn the material.

Small group work: Present new material in small pieces and have students work with it before moving on. More than half of each class period should be spent with students working in groups or partners to learn, apply, and transfer their knowledge.

On-time start: Nan feels strongly that an on-time start, however short, is important in setting the tone for the rest of the day.

Flag salute: Everyone is asked to do the flag salute everyday.

As you will agree, it’s been a long time since Nan spent extended time on campus.  I trust your bucket was filled with a dose of school philosophy and why we do things the way we do. Nan and I met each day for over an hour – my philosophy bucket is certainly filled!

Thank you for welcoming her so warmly.  She was happy to be here – her bucket was also filled.  It’s all good when we share the real reason we are here – the children.