Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Day The Crayons Quit Read Aloud with Students and Teacher

My students and I created a Camtasia project. We read aloud the book entitled The Day the Crayons Quit.  They captured video with my phone and I produced this video using Camtasia Studios. It was a a blast producing it. They did a great job reading aloud with prosody and expression!

TodaysMeet and Reading Response

I created a screencast using Camtasia to show how my class used TodaysMeet and Edmodo to record our reading responses to the book The Magician's Nephew.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Top 5 Goals!

Please take a gander at the link below. One of my students is a great soccer fan. He loves to watch soccer and play it. He produced his top five goals using Stupeflix and then brought it over to Camtasia to add voice narration. He chose the music and the sequence. He cut out the video pieces and edited them. Wow! It is so great to see him take this project and run with it. It is  definitely a GOLAZO!


This is my last week of summer school. It has been good so far. I am really in the mood for some summer though. I am ready to rejuvenate and get back to little projects at home. I need to clean out my garage, go through papers and books, and clean up the place. I would like to have a garage sale, if possible. We will see.

The other part of my mini vacation will be to get some books read that I have been putting off. I would also like to travel a bit. We will see how all of this goes. Right now, I am feeling a little blah. The NBA Finals are over. There's only baseball to watch, and I don't watch it much at all. This is the meh season for sports. I will find something to get into.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Like Mother, Like Daughter

My beautiful and talented daughter has taken to blogging like me.  Recently, she submitted a blog post The Odyssey. It was published recently. This post was to serve as her present. What a great gift...the gift of her wonderful words.She shared it on Face Book and I decided to share the link of this post today on my blog.  I hope you enjoy the post.

Making Memes and Connecting Them To Tuck Everlasting and The Magician's Nephew

Here are some memes that my students made today in summer school. Most of them are based on the books that we have been reading. We finished reading Tuck Everlasting and are now reading The Magician's Nephew from the Chronicles of Narnia.  They shared them on Edmodo. We are using the Chromebooks so it was super easy to share from their Google Drive.  We used imgflip meme maker to make our memes. They were so funny!

From The Point Of View Of Uncle Andrew

From the Point of View of Polly from the Magician's Nephew

From the Point of View of Digory.

From the Point of View from Kevin Durant

From the Point of View of Uncle Andrew.

Student Opinion

From the Point of View of Digory

From the Reader's Point of View from Tuck Everlasting

Reader's Point of View after reading Tuck Everlasting

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Out of Sorts

Out of Sorts
by M Ucles

No routine
to speak of
No craziness
No chaos
Not being pulled
a thousand places
in the blink of an eye
not here, nor there
out of sorts

Top Ten Things To Do In Houston To Beat The Heat from Edublog

Top Ten Things To Do In Houston To Beat The Heat
My students and I have been posting on Edublog during this summer school session. Some have been posting top ten lists and other commentary on books that are reading and activities that they are experiencing.
In the link above, you will encounter my original post or just read below.  (Please note that these are the activities that I would do. Being outside on high ozone days is not good for my health.)

Top Ten Things To Do In Houston To Beat The Heat

Houston’s summers can be quite brutal. From 10 am to 8 pm, you feel like you are in a sauna or a conventional oven.  The humidity is down right offensive. The heat index may rise to 110! UGH! If you live in Houston, you really want to find ways to enjoy the summer, and most importantly, beat the stinkin’ heat!  Here are some cool ways to have some fun and beat the suffocating heat:
  1. Make sure you stay in the air conditioning. So if that is the case, then going to the air conditioned museums would be a nice thing to do. The Houston Museum of the Arts is a great place to go to enjoy some great art work.  The Houston Museum of Natural Science is another great place to get away.
  2. If you want to save some money, then go to one of the libraries in Houston. Spend some quiet time on the computer or browse some great books and magazines. There are come comfy places to lounge and be taken away to some other cool place in the world.  The air conditioning is to die for.Houston Library
  3. Catching a matinee at any of the movie theaters is a great idea. Don’t forget to bring along a sweater. It get really cold in the theaters. Some theaters are even offering discounted pricing for the old flicks. Chow down on some Goobers and popcorn. The Icy’s are waiting. Ahhh!  It is a great way to beat the heat.
  4. Go to summer school at Westwood. We are offering a great way to get away from the heat in my class called the Blitz. You can browse the internet, create video productions, blog, and share your ideas with a wonderful learning community. Don’t forget about book club and poetry after lunch!  What a nice cool way to spend the day. Oh, and we have some indoor cool basketball to play just before lunch. Don’t sweat the heat! Join The Blitz.westwood
  5. The YMCA around Houston have indoor and outdoor swimming pools. You might want to take a dip earlier in the day or in the evening to beat Houston’s scorching heat.
  6. Go out to breakfast at Las Locas Fajitas. They have the best breakfast tacos alive! My favorite is the egg, ham, cheese, and potato taco with a flour tortilla. Don’t forget the salsita and huge cup of refreshing iced tea!  Delicious and filling!Las locas fajitas
  7. There are a zillion and a half restaurants in Houston that will allow you to beat the heat and get your grub on. If you are in the mood for some great fajitas and salsa that you could literally drink, I strongly recommend you going to Pappacitos. They have the most tender beef and chicken fajitas. The chips and salsa is to die for. The salsa can be used for the chips, but also to make some great fajitas mini burritos with the tortillas de harina(flour tortillas.)  The flour tortillas are made fresh daily and come piping hot to your table. pappacitos
  8. If you want to go out to dinner and you have a hankering for some hamburgers, then I highly recommend Fuddruckers. Their hamburgers are enormous and their wide cut fries are perfect. Don’t forget to go to the toppings bar to get all of the pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes that your little heart desires. Plus, they have queso to put on the fries. One type of queso is normal and the other has jalapenos in it. I like the kick the jalapenos give it, I drench my fries in it instead of the usually ketchup. The air conditioning is wonderful too!
  9. If the spirit is moving inside your bones, Houston’s churches, synagogues, and mosques all are air conditioned. It is another way to beat the heat and add some prayer to your life!
  10. To beat the heat, you might want to go to the Memorial City Mall. There are a zillion stores to visit and an ice skating rink! You will get lost in all of the shops that it has to offer. Don’t forget to add a smoothie or some frozen custard to your agenda that day. It will definitely cool you off!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Camtasia and Google Slides-Magnolia's Pancakes

I made this screencast using Camtasia and Google Slides in presentation mode. I made it to show my students how to continue to screencast using different media to share on their blogs. As I was making the screencast, I noticed that I needed to revise my poem. I will send an update later on today.

Just Write, Baby! One...Two...Three...Go!: Summer School Blast

Just Write, Baby! One...Two...Three...Go!: Summer School Blast: I enjoy teaching summer school. I will allow you to have a peek into one of the classes that I teach for the summer school program. Each day...

Just Write, Baby! One...Two...Three...Go!: Magnolia's Pancakes

Just Write, Baby! One...Two...Three...Go!: Magnolia's Pancakes

Just Write, Baby! One...Two...Three...Go!: Top Five Plays

Just Write, Baby! One...Two...Three...Go!: Top Five: I made this video using Stupeflix Top Ten template. My students are having fun playing basketball. I tried to capture them making some bas...

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Top Five

I made this video using Stupeflix Top Ten template. My students are having fun playing basketball. I tried to capture them making some baskets. This is what I have so far!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer School Blast

I enjoy teaching summer school. I will allow you to have a peek into one of the classes that I teach for the summer school program. Each day my students get to play some basketball games. They love to play Knock Out, Layup and Jumper Drills, and Pig, Chicken, and our favorite barnyard animal, Horse. Today they enjoyed shooting drills and Knock Out!  Here is the glimpse. (They are really improving!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Journeying Notebooks and Media

Abydos Reading Week-Stretch to Sketch

I had the privilege to work with some students during summer school. I decided to embed in my summer school plans some Abydos Reading, Writing, and Grammar work. One of the ways that we experienced Abydos Reading Week was going through Sketch to Stretch. It is an reading activity that comes from the Compendium of Reading Strategies. Basically, the reader reads their text alone. Then he/she decides how he/she could better represent the themes in what he/she read. The reader interprets and then draws sketches and icons to represent metaphorically what he/she read. The reader then shows the small group audience his/her sketch. The audience then, one by one, interprets the icons and symbols. Then at the end, the reader explains his/her sketch. Basically, as readers we have to stretch our thinking. Each time that we read, we should be changed somewhat in our thinking. I complied a visual journey with photos and videos of my students working in small groups and sharing their thinking in Sketch to Stretch.

Basketball Video and Gif

I made these two media pieces using Stupeflix and Imgflip. It is my way to capture our time in summer school. Each day, my students cannot wait to walk to the gym and play some basketball games. Their favorite is horse. Today they played knock out and loved it. I tried to capture their enthusiasm.

Reciting Poetry Brought To You By The Blitz Crew

My students recited some poetry after lunch today. I caught it on video. It was written by Jim Hall. He took the perspective of Spider Man ranting with a speech impediment. I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Edublogs and Summer School

I used Edublogs all year with my class. I am continuing to use it with my summer school class called The Blitz. My students have created some videos using Camtasia that they are featuring on their Edublogs. They are having a great time getting footage to use in their digital journeys. Dr. Muri came in my classroom today when they were blogging. They were able to explain what they were doing. It was so much fun seeing them use  media. Here is a link to my Edublog  if you are interested in seeing some of their work.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer School So Far-The Blitz-Reading, Writing, Reflecting, Basketball, Making Video and Science

When I signed up to teach summer school, I liked the idea of it. You can make up your own curriculum and invite students. Sounds fun and not so difficult. Actually, it sounded great! I could make up my own curriculum and chose the students who I knew would love it. The problem I had though was I had to do invite during a time of high testing. I was hyper focused on prepping my students for the test and getting reading for the end of the year paper work extravaganza.

I invited students, but a little later than others who were more experienced with summer schools past. They were recruiting the students that I wanted to attend. I invited all the ones that I wanted, but some were going to other classes. In the end, I did get most of the ones that I asked.

I called it The Blitz. I thought the name apropos because we would do many exciting things in one day. I wanted to take advantage of ludic reading and writing. I also wanted to bring in my love of basketball, creating digital products and showcasing them on my students's blogs. If time would allow, we would also get in some hands on Science.

I am two days in and I really love this type of summer school. We decorated our multifunction notebooks. We have been reading and sharing our love of books. We write about what we want and share our writing too. In addition to that, we take about 45 minutes out of our morning to play basketball. My students get to shoot around and then we play horse. They love playing horse. I also am going to sprinkle in some skill lessons of dribbling, passing, jump shots, foul shots, layups, and a figure eight. I also have some other drills and games that they enjoyed in my after school basketball classes.  Then we have lunch. (They don't much care for the summer school lunches.) We come back for some poetry after lunch. (This idea comes from the Abydos Literacy Institute). We read a poem and analyze it. Then my students are working on making a video using Camtasia. They will take the footage that they gathered during the day with their cameras and produce a video to be uploaded on their blogs. They made their first Camtasia video today. I can't wait for them to showcase it tomorrow in their Edublog.  It will be so exciting for them. Finally, I leave a little extra time for them to play group games.  Then, poof! It is time to go!  Wow!  On some days, if there is time, we will work on magnets, circuits, creating crystals and chemical reactions.  They can take footage of that too!  We will see where we go!  I love this kind of summer school! So do my students!

The Forty Book Challenge

Here are some photos that I took of my students at the end of the school year. They were very proud to take the Forty Book Challenge. Many of them met the challenge. Some did not, but they read more than they ever thought possible. They became wild readers. That is what is most important. After reading Donalyn Miller's Book Reading in the Wild, I felt inspired to take the Forty Book Challenge and to use some of her ideas to share with my class this year. It has been a great journey. In addition to Donalyn's book, I used many ideas from Abydos Reading Week. These book are based on solid classroom research.

Computer Problems

I am finally back to posting. My computer was on the fritz last week. I opened it up to see a blue screen. It is the much feared blue screen of death. I thought that my computer was crashing since it wouldn't let me get past this blue screen that said that I need a tech person to fix it.  Recently, I had back up most of my files on an external hard drive. I did, however, have some photos and videos of my student work that I wanted to keep. I had used some of them to highlight the 40 Book Challenge with my classroom. I had not posted these photos yet, but I had made video of my students.

I handed my computer over to Brent, the computer tech person. When situation like this occurs, Brent become the much needed triage emergency room doctor. He has to take my almost lifeless computer, perform CPR and then get down to diagnosing weather my computer can be saved. I kept thinking to myself, "Can he save my files?  Can he save my photos and videos?" I handed him my computer on Friday morning. I checked in during noon and then before I went home. There my computer laid. It just sat there opened and clinging to life. He was doing a computer scan of some sort. "Good! It still has life!" Brent was optimistic. "I think we could save some files. We cannot know for certain. I can get it to you probably by Monday." he said. I  was grateful and optimistic with his prognosis. I wondered what I would do all weekend without my computer. How was I going to function? I love my laptop. How would I post? How would I get summer school plans done? How would I post photos that I needed that were on my computer?  No answers. Then I began to get out of the crazy malaise. "You can use your phone and your daughter's computer," I thought to myself. I felt a little better about things. I did, however, still miss my laptop. It would be a long weekend.

When I returned to work on Monday, Brent told me some great news. My computer was saved! I didn't lose any files or photos!  I would have to wait until today though. Knowing the news made me feel better and determined to wait it out until today.

Today Brent came in my room and brought me back my lovely laptop. He had to do a few things more while I worked with my students. Within about an hour, my laptop was docked and ready for use. He even saved my favorites for me!  That is such a blessing.

I was able to show the students how to use Camtasia from the Active Board today instead of them huddling around the classroom laptop to see. Now they could see it on the big screen. That was definitely helpful!

Not too, too bad!  This past week has been quite hectic because of my technology issue. I guess if I learned anything, I learned that I need to back up my files and photos more often. You never know when the computer will get sick. I was fortunate that mine didn't take a turn for the worse!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Teacher Work Day Reflections

Today was my first teacher work day in many, many years. I had mixed emotions. On one hand, I was happy to be finishing up the school year. On the other hand, I felt the year ended too fast. I didn't feel prepared to see my students go. It felt as if everything was a dream and now I was waking up and wondering if it was true. Was it true that this was the best teaching I have ever done? Was it true that I had an outstanding year with a bunch of energetic and eager to learn students? Was it true that I saw great progress on all fronts?  Yes, yes, and yes again. I was not in a dream state after all. As I was straightening desks and throwing out unwanted copies of this and that, I kept thinking how I wanted to do so much more. I wanted to get some much footage of recital of their own poetry. I wanted to them to try out Camtasia a little more. I wanted to have them write their plays and have them act it out. Better yet, I wanted them to video tape their play and make their own video production. Didn't happen. I ran out of time.

I did, however, see them make many different Google Slide presentations, create their own blogs, create memes, make  Camtastia screencasts using a Power Point, produceNawmal videos, post to Edmodo, share documents on Google and collaborate on projects at home. Their writing and attention to detail became refined. They used so many tools making Google Slide presentations including including animations. They inserted photos, videos and other media in their blog posts and slides. From the Google Slides, they began to present to their classmates. They no longer read from their slides, but referred to them. They became confident speakers along the way and experts in their fields of study,  Wow! This was a great year. I guess we did have time for the important things.

This consequently is just the tip of the ice berg. They wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. They wrote reading responses, literary analysis, expository essay, memoirs, Google presentations, lists, quick writes, 11 Minute Essays, Kernel Essays, Science and Social Studies journaling, literacy letters, and book recommendations. Lots of writing, massive thinking!

They devoured close to 900 books of all types. They spent time ludic reading and taking time to talk about what they read. My students read graphic novels, poetry, expository text, biographies, fiction, memoirs, plays and literacy letters.  They even watched a video message from Jeff Anderson (author of Zack Delacruz-Me and My Big Mouth.) This was so much fun!

Am I happy that this school year is over? Not really. Somehow I wish I had one more year with this group. (I have some of them for summer school, so it isn't all that bad.) Now I will have to wait until August to see what adventures lie ahead for the next class. If it will be anything remotely like this year, it will be a total blast!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Forty Book Challenge Student and Teacher Testimony

The school year ends tomorrow. I wanted to share the footage that I collected the past two weeks from my students. It took me four hours to create this video. I am so excited to share with you the year long journey of reading. My students self selected their books this year. They share book recommendations with each other, wrote literacy letters, shared their love of reading, and learned to read from different genres. This is their year long reading journey. I based my research using Abydos Reading Week and Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild. I interviewed my students and asked them about the 40 Book Challenge. I was amazed at their responses. They have become wild readers and writers. I hope you enjoy the video and feel free to share with anyone who you think might benefit from knowing about the forty book challenge and the power of reading.