Monday, October 24, 2011

Classroom Corner--My Trip to the Ron Clark Academy!

On Friday I had the opportunity to visit the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, GA.  I went with a wonderful team of teachers from my school.  Visiting this exciting place reaffirmed a couple of important things for me:

1)  Good teaching is good teaching.  Regardless of the type of students we teach, how many we teach, or how long we have been teaching for, it is critical to keep our zest for learning and for growing!
2)  Everyone benefits from setting goals and striving to reach them!
3)  There is joy in the journey.  Take time to enjoy life and recognize we only get one time around...make the most of every opportunity!

If you ever have the chance to visit, I would certainly recommend it.  At the very least, you may have the opportunity to read one of his books such as The End of Molasses Classes or The Essential 55.  Just wanted to give you a word to encourage you.  What is that old saying?  To teach is to touch a life forever...  Let's don't ever lose sight of that!  Shannon :-)

 Can you imagine fitting a car in your classroom?  Awesome!  This was Kim Bearden's room.
 Posing with Ron Clark!
What a great day!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Classroom Corner...New Gold Rush Unit!

Thar's gold in them there hills!  And I think we've hit the mother lode!

That's students are busy enjoying our current gold rush unit, and I have compiled our very favorite classroom learning experiences for you in my new posting on TpT.  Complete with a student learning log, activities for critical and creative thinking, fun writing ideas, and presentations for student note-taking, I hope you will be able to implement some of these into your own classroom!  This unit focuses on the California gold rush that began in 1848, but also includes some great info about America's first gold rush which began in 1828 in Dahlonega, GA.  Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Parenting Place...8 Easy Ways

My husband Kevin and I are currently teaching a series called Effective Parenting in a Defective World.  In this class, Chip Ingram identifies 8 ways to build stronger relationships with your personal children.  These ideas were so great, so I wanted to share with you as well.  Ingram encourages us all to focus on the 2 areas we are weakest in, and then do what we can in this coming week in order to strengthen these areas!
1) Have Unconditional Love for Each Other!
2) Shedule Time Together!
3) Focus Attention on Your Children--Don't Be So Distracted! (Really get to know who they are as people!)
4) Make Eye Contact!
5) Maintain Ongoing Communication! (Dinner Together, Shared Trips, Memories, and Experiences, etc.)
6) Give Meaningful Contact! (Hugs, High Fives, Being a Shoulder to Cry On, etc.)
7) Have FUN Together!
8) Pray Together Often!

Hope you and your family have a wonderful fall weekend together!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Just wanted to share with you a favorite web site I use with my gifted children. 

At this site, kids have a blast using their critical thinking skills to solve puzzles and complete puzzles and games.  Strategic thinking, deductive reasoning skills, and problem-solving are all strengthened by these awesome learning games.  My students especially love Phit and Sugar, Sugar, just to name a couple.  PS--Just a word of warning...Teachers and parents often find these games addictive too!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Classroom Corner...Columbus Day!

Hi, everyone!  I cannot believe that it will be Columbus Day on Monday!  Where is this school year going?  Just a note to let you know that there are 2 critical thinking resources available for you and your students at my TpT store--both for only $1.  Click the links below to take you to Columbus Day Sudoku puzzles for both primary and upper elementary students.  I love seeing my students brains' turn as they strengthen their problem solving skills with puzzles like these.  It's good to get those gears turning!  Hope you enjoy!  Shannon

Columbus Day Sudoku for Primary Students

Columbus Day Sudoku for Older Students

Friday, October 7, 2011

Family Fun on a Family Field Trip! You should try it...

The school system that I teach in has currently been off this week for Fall Break!  I have been so thankful for this week-long break to spend with my own personal kiddoes.  I wanted to take a minute to tell you about the places we visited, in case you would like to plan a trip of your own!!!  My sweet 4-year old called these 2 days an "adventure," and they most certainly were! 
We started with a jaunt to Providence Canyon--Georgia's answer to the Grand Canyon.  We enjoyed a leisurely hike and had lots of opportunities for fun photos along the way. 

We then continued to Eufaula, Alabama for a trip to the site where the Creek Trail of Tears began at the Chattahoochee Indian Heritage Center and also a trek down the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge trail, where we saw butterflies by the thousands!

Headed back home to GA, we stopped at Jimmy Carter's boyhood home in Plains and also at Andersonville, site of a prison camp during the Civil War.

All of these activities were either FREE or very inexpensive, and each held important learning opportunities for my children.  Great topics that we were able to discuss:  Freedom isn't free; beauty is everywhere; and even a peanut farmer can become president if he puts his mind to it!  I would encourage you to take these types of trips with your own children.  Kids want to spend time with you, and they love to learn alongside of you!  Make memories--it's what life is all about!  See what your state has to offer and make an effort now to go exploring together!  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fossils, Fossils, Everywhere!

My students and I are currently working feverishly to conclude an interdisciplinary unit on archaeology.  One of my favorite things that we have done so far is compare archaeology to paleontology.  Along the way we  studied 6 different types of fossil formation and created models of each type of fossil.  My kids have had an absolute blast and have learned so much through these activities.  Just thought I would post some pictures for you to see some of our classroom learning fun!  Check out our classroom models of petrified wood...
I will post more pictures as we finish.  Hope these inspire you to get messy and DIG IN for some fossil fun in your own classroom.  For more about these activities, feel free to check out my resource pack, FOSSIL FIND, at my TpT store.  Clicking the link below should take you there.  Happy digging, everyone!