On January 15, approximately 45 NDMS students, family members, and staff gathered to kick-off our second Reading Knightly family reading program. This year's book selection is No Summit Out of Sight by Jordan Romero (last year we used Fish in a Tree). This is a true story written by Jordan about his experiences as the youngest person to climb all 7 Summits! Reading Knightly is an invitation for families to read a great book together with no tests, questions, reading logs, or deadlines. This year I was able to get the books highly discounted from Scholastic, so families paid for the book and their dinner. We offered financial assistance as needed.
Families gathered for dinner and then floated through Exploration Stations in the media center. We had pictures, articles, maps, and videos about the 7 Summits, altitude sickness, how mountains form, mountain wildlife, mountain climbing, dangers & rescues, and Jordan Romero. We also had two guests. Wendy Beck from the North Davidson Public Library promoted the public library resources to families. Scott Arrington from Gnarwall Bouldering Gym in Pfafftown brought pictures and equipment from his personal rock climbing adventures.
In February the Reading Knightly students will take an exclusive field trip to the Gnarwall Bouldering Gym. Later in the semester we will also take a virtual field trip to Mount Everest using our hopefully-soon-to-arrive Google Expedition Kits. Our final event will be in April, where we will gather again to celebrate reading and hopefully hear a guest speaker inspire students to reach their goals (one of the main lessons in No Summit Out of Sight).
The Animoto video shows some highlights from our kick-off! https://animoto.com/play/O6fldZfEd0P0ZVwVw24Y6w
HiToms staff and TomKat, the mascot, visited area schools this week to launch their brand new "Reading around the Bases" program. All students are encouraged to read for prizes, including HiToms swag, coupons and tickets to a baseball game later this spring.
HiToms president, Greg Suire, also announced an upcoming picture book with TomKat visiting local historical landmarks around Thomasville.
TomKat and friends visited Fair Grove, Brier Creek and Pilot Elementary this week to surprise students and announce the reading incentive program.
SLMC Lorie Steed and English teacher, Chad Killebrew, collaborated on a Roaring Twenties event Friday, Jan. 18 at Central Davidson High School. After his classes finished reading The Great Gatsby, Killebrew reached out to Steed for ideas to help make exam review more engaging. Lorie had learned about an idea using stations from a library colleague, Robin Rhodes, from Wilkes County. She incorporated Rhodes' ideas with similar lessons from her days as an English teacher. She and Mr. Killebrew modified the assignment to emphasize synthesis skills students will need for their N.C. Final Exam.
Students rotated among 10 stations to research different aspects of the '20s (such as Prohibition, Art, Sports, etc.) It offered a fun way to end the semester while still helping students use skills they will need both on their final exam and in future research.
Students interacted with the content through digital media, engaged in substantive and dialogic conversations, and practiced writing constructed responses in preparation for the upcoming exam. For example, after reading Walter Dean Myers' Harlem, students had to discuss how imagery helps develop tone in texts.
Students were highly engaged and expressed approval of the hands-on activities.
Digital Learning Coach Libby Ferrell collaborated with SLMC Shanna Leonard to launch the Digital Learning Challenge to Southmont Elementary. Thanks to Libby for sharing this blog post and Shanna for sharing the pictures.
Yesterday Southmont teachers met to learn about the new digital learning challenges for 2019 on the school’s Digital Learning Challenge website. Last year Southmont rolled out the digital learning challenge website to encourage the use of digital tools. We created the website using Weebly to include all the necessary information teachers would need to learn and implement new digital tools.
For this year, Shanna had the great idea to include some prizes for challenge completion including: a jeans coupon, an order out coupon, and raffle entries for a new iPad case. She also made sure we kicked off the challenges in a fun way by providing cake and snacks for teachers before the meeting.
We explained that the digital learning challenge website operates as “flipped professional development”; it’s flexible and teachers can choose to learn about any of the tools featured that fit best into their curriculum and for their students. For each tool we include: a brief synopsis of what the tool is, an explanation of how the tool can be used, lesson ideas, and instructions on how to get started using the tool.
Each challenge requires teachers to submit evidence or an artifact showing that they have utilized the tool. Once they submit their evidence, they earn a challenge badge and an hour of digital learning credit.
Last year 100% of Southmont’s classroom teachers met the school’s goal of completing 3 digital learning challenges. Sixty percent of teachers surpassed this goal by completing more than three challenges and as a school, teachers earned almost 90 hours in digital learning credit since the program debuted.
Schools have participated in similar app challenge programs to encourage staff and students to utilize technology tools for teaching and learning. Here are the things we’ve learned to make it run smoothly:
This program has been a great way for media coordinators, digital learning coaches, and teachers to collaborate and learn from each other. Several elementary schools have adopted this program with great success. My hope is that in the future we can begin to introduce this program (or something similar) in more of our secondary schools. It has been a blast!
With the thought of Saturday school looming over us and a recent conversation on how to spark student interest in our high school media center program, Dr. Reeder suggested we use this opportunity to promote the media center in a big way. With that small spark, collaboration and many prayers, #CATcon19 was ignited!
The schedule for #CATcon19 allowed students to choose four conference-style sessions to attend throughout the school day. Students were able to choose from a total of thirty-six sessions offered by the teachers and staff of SDHS and Sedley Abercrombie and Libby Ferrell from the county tech center. Sessions ranged from Learning to Fly Fish to 3-D Printing and many things in between.
Students attended class sessions at regular times and had 45 minutes of instruction. The second half of each period was time for #CATcon19 sessions. At the end of each session students filled out exit tickets to enter them into drawings for door prizes throughout the day. The best thing about the exit tickets - the fact that they were thinking routines and were a way for students to reflect and teachers to see how easily they could be implemented! The thinking routines used for exit tickets were:
Saturday school was a huge success at SDHS and students and staff made the most of the day by making it engaging and fun!
Photos from #CATcon19
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