MJGDS Ning Posts

Hero, Victim, or Villain?

My class is doing a research project about Christopher Columbus. Sounds boring, right? No way, thanks to Silvia. When I was sharing my ideas about what I wanted to do with this subject, Silvia made the comment that “Chris” may not have been such a great guy. She also pointed out how American students are taught a more slanted view of him.

Well, off we went. When I proposed the idea to the students about CC’s (as my students have named him) personality the ideas started flowing. Silvia and…


Added by shelly zavon on September 15, 2010 at 5:46pm — 2 Comments


As I was cleaning my room today, I was energized realizing that I will have a few weeks to rest and relax, basically a time for me to refocus and get ready for “next year.”

I remembered my childhood when summer was such a great time especially because I had a few months off from the pressures of school, tests, and foremost homework. Then a wave of guilt swept over me. I wondered if assigning summer reading to my future students was the best idea? Was I not letting “kids be kids” and enjoy…


Added by shelly zavon on June 8, 2010 at 9:00pm — 2 Comments

Just Curious…

With testing this week I have had the opportunity to have my students first thing in the morning and I have noticed a tremendous difference. They are fresh, eager, and they seem to be able to concentrate longer and better. This makes me wish that I could teach general studies from 8:15-1:15 daily. Has any body else (grades 4-8) noticed a big difference too? Please let me know.

Added by shelly zavon on April 22, 2010 at 5:29pm — No Comments

Rube Goldberg

A few months ago, I was doing my lesson plans in science and I happened to run across a name of a famous cartoonist from the 1920″s, Rube Goldberg. I had never heard of him so I started doing a little research and found out that he was the one who was best known for his cartoons depicting simple things made hard. This intrigued me so I delved a little deeper and found out that there are still contests today for students to “invent” their own Rube Goldberg.

I told my students about Rube and…


Added by shelly zavon on April 11, 2010 at 6:49pm — 3 Comments

How Do You Know?

How do you know that you’ve had a good lesson with students? My measure is whether not the discussion continues after we have moved on to something else. This happened today with a simple lesson about contractions. I mentioned to Silvia that I was so tired of teaching grammar the same way I learned it back in the “Dark Ages.” We collaborated and came up with the idea of the kids doing a tutorial for first graders using the smartboard. The “catch” was that we told them that we were going to do… Continue

Added by shelly zavon on March 15, 2010 at 6:00pm — 2 Comments

Joyce Swarzman

I was wondering how many of you have ever been to Tampa to the workshop that Dr .Joyce Swarzman leads at Independent Day School? Her school is known for their techniques they use when implementing Differentiated Instruction. One of the ideas she stresses is “reflection after instruction.” Her theory is that when a student reflects and remembers after instruction, it helps them recall various skills and ideas that have been introduced and enforces what they have learned. Dr.Swarzman felt that… Continue

Added by shelly zavon on March 14, 2010 at 2:08pm — 5 Comments

Wonder Wheel

The other day, Silvia e-mailed us about a Google tool called Wonder Wheel. What a great thing this is! I shared it with my class and they were amazed at how this would help them cut down on the time they spend looking through pages on Google. I have already used Wonder Wheel several times over the past few days and love it.

Added by shelly zavon on March 14, 2010 at 1:47pm — 3 Comments

Fun with Technology

Several weeks ago, my class read a story in reading that was written as a play. The students instantly informed me that they wanted to perform it. We had just finished skyping, and it occurred to me that we could use the flip camera and film the play. I gave the kids time in class to prepare for their “performance.” Not only did they rehearse, they also decorated the boards with scenes from the play, and they accumulated items for props.

The next day, one student filmed the production and…


Added by shelly zavon on March 14, 2010 at 1:43pm — 1 Comment

Back Channeling

Silvia showed the fifth grade how to “back channel” on Wednesday. What we did was have a social studies review for the upcoming test. Silvia and I discussed major points from the chapter. At the same time, the students were in a back channel chat room and had to take notes while we talked. The catch was, that they had to read the comments that the other students were making and try not to write the same thing. WOW! They were listening, note taking, and trying to come up with facts that they had… Continue

Added by shelly zavon on November 22, 2009 at 2:04pm — No Comments

Video Conferencing

On Friday, the 4th and 5th graders “Skyped” with a school in Kauai, Hawaii. What an amazing experience for the students. I was a little wary after the practice session we had with each other the week before; but as usual, the kids came through perfectly. Our students were so well behaved, well spoken, and asked great questions.We will be using the information that we gather to work on an ongoing math project that will incorporate numerous language arts and math skills including note… Continue

Added by shelly zavon on November 8, 2009 at 5:51pm — 2 Comments

Math Curse

I want to thank Silvia for all of her help with the project my fourth and fifth grade math students did with the book Math Curse. There is no way I would have ever attempted something like this without her help.
On numerous occasions during the time we were working with Silvia, I heard the students remark how much fun they were having. Yes, they were having fun, but they were also learning. What a great learning experience for my students and me!

Added by shelly zavon on November 4, 2009 at 10:04pm — 1 Comment

Open House

Tonight’s open house was the best ever! Parents were positive and receptive to the new format. Everyone was very relaxed and seemed to enjoy the evening. I came away with a feeling of renewed energy and eagerness to TEACH away!!!

Added by shelly zavon on October 1, 2009 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Fifth Grade Blog

The students completed their first online journal post last week. To help me follow up with the students’ responses, Silvia came to our class and helped me lead a discussion with the kids about their posts. We went through each entry and discussed whether their blogs were educational or social. Silvia pointed out that with an educational blog, language such as “lol” or “ttyl” is not acceptable. She also discussed the point that students will not be allowed to make hurtful comments about other…Continue

Added by shelly zavon on September 6, 2009 at 8:42pm — No Comments

Student Pictures for use on the Smartboard

I want to thank Silvia for showing me how to take the photographs that I took of my students and put them in a folder for use on my smartboard. This is such a great way to assign groups, spotlight a student, etc…
I cannot believe how much I am learning this year!

Added by shelly zavon on September 3, 2009 at 7:49pm — No Comments

Internet Safety

Silvia presented an “Internet Safety” lesson to the fourth and fifth grade classes last week.You could tell from the students expressions they felt as if they had “been there, done that.”

It only took Silvia a few minutes before she had the students engaged in discussions about the internet. From the students reactions to some of her statements, I don’t think that they had realized how easy it is to be unsafe when on the internet.

Silvia showed two very good PSA’s to the kids.… Continue

Added by shelly zavon on August 30, 2009 at 4:00pm — 2 Comments

Blogging Away!

Fifth grade is going to blog!!! I will be doing on line journaling with my students. I will give a prompt and each student will write their journal entry on our blog. The students and I can both comment on entries. Not only can we comment, but other schools can comment. We can even correspond internationally!
Thank you Andrea and Silvia. This will be wonderful.

Added by shelly zavon on August 18, 2009 at 7:03pm — 2 Comments



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