Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hour of Code for Computer Science Education Week

Computer Science Education Week

December 9-15 is going to be a fun week of exploring what it's like to be a computer programmer. Click the link above to go to a page of video tutorials from or, watch this 60 second promo to see why coding is so important.

I tried the one at the top which uses Angry Birds & Zombies to teach the basics. If you have a bit of time, try one out and see how much fun it is.

I also like Codecademy as a great place to learn how to code. It's not nearly as much fun as using the video links above, and you have to read instructions, but it moves along quickly and keeps track of your progress through the various lessons. So far I am working on Web Fundamentals and HTML basics, topics I have had in the past also.

Monday, December 2, 2013

BadgerLink redesign

BadgerLink is a fabulous resource for people in Wisconsin. Mrs. Luikart, our Library Media Specialist will be conducting a class for school staff tomorrow afternoon to highlight some of the changes this website redesign has brought about to assist students and adults alike while searching via BadgerLink.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Brain Pop for High 5 Afterschool Activity

Let's have some Brain Pop fun at High 5 tonight.

Click on the link below and choose an activity. Which one do you like the best?

Games from Brain Pop

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Readers are Leaders!

This week we started a new policy in our Elementary Library. After the success of Family PEP night and the 'bonus book' offer we made to students that allowed them to check out an extra book from anywhere  in the library, we have decided to lift the cap on the number of books that may be checked out by a student.

Students are asked to choose as many books as they can be responsible for. They are also reminded that they may return a book any day of the week, and check out a new book during the morning when there is extra staff available at the circulation desk.

Here are some of the other reminders:
  • Be considerate: just ONE title from a subject area, or a popular series (deer, football, Gregor, 39 Clues, etc.
  • Make good choices. Think about 'Just Right Books' for you.
  • Use good manners in the library.
  • Give your name to the person at the check-out desk.
  • Turn your books 'barcode side up' for easy check out.
  • Those with an overdue book may choose one additional book.
It has been a fun week watching all of the students expand their reading choices. Looking forward to next week!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Celebrate My Drive

Spooner High School is participating in a contest to win $25,000 to $100,000!

But, in order to be a winner, it will take lots of people logging into the Celebrate My Drive website and voting for our school.

If you are over the age of 14, you can do this every day to help get more votes for Spooner. Right now we only have 1002 votes and have slipped into 109th place.

Can YOU help get us up into the top 10, please?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Keyboard Heroes Competing!

Here are some of the students that had such a good time improving their keyboarding skills this morning.

Remember to keep practicing. Do careful work, stay accurate and the speed will come with practice.
You can always log in and work from home too.  At

16 WPM with 100% accuracy!

12 WPM with 100% accuracy!

14 WPM with 97% accuracy!

9 WPM with 100% accuracy!

10 WPM with 100% accuracy!

Keyboarding Hero

This morning one of our 4th grade students achieved 100% accuracy and typed 20 Words Per Minute in computer class! 
Way to go, Kalvin!   The photo is a bit blurry, but here is the proof:
Well... 20 minutes later, Kalvin broke his own record and Jordan tied him with 24 WPM and 100% accuracy.
We now have a contest going in the classroom with many students trying to break this new record. Right before class ended Jordan broke through with 27 WPM and 100% accuracy!
Take a look...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cards for Soldiers

Mrs. Macone is working to coordinate Cards for Soldiers again this year. Our 2nd grade High 5 class on Monday used Paint to create some fun cards.

After they printed their cards, students created colorful artworks on screen.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Grammar is FUN!

Sometimes people send me great links through email. Here is one that came today:

Grammar Ninja.  The screen comes up like this. Students click on the blue word that matches. Work your way through all of the questions and you will see a screen with Mission Complete!

Which word would you click?

Easy screen, first time out!

Keep going and try to improve your time. You will move up the warrior ranks. There are hints to help you learn all the different kinds of grammar words.

Here's a hard one, Merge the Word at Road to You have to change a four letter word by changing just one letter at a time.  Starting with the easiest puzzle you need to change the word BITE to CHEW, but only change one letter at a time.

How would YOU do it?  Can you beat my score?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

39 Clues: Unstoppable: Book 1, Nowhere to Run

One of my favorite blog authors, Erik from This kid reviews , was able to read an advance copy of the new 39 Clues Series Three, Unstoppable: Nowhere to Run.

Rather than repeat what he's already written, just take a look at his review by clicking the link above.
I still haven't finished reading the Cahill vs. Vespers series, but this one sounds just as exciting!

The books will be available to everyone on October 1st. Look for them in your library or bookstore starting next week.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Books

One of the exciting things about starting school is getting NEW BOOKS!

Here are some of the new ones... Stop by and Check it Out!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ready for Open House

Buy One, Get One FREE!
It's been a fun August, taking classes, reading books and getting the library ready for school to start. Now all we need is students. Tomorrow is Open House from noon to 8:00 p.m. I hope to see lots of you here. Stop by the gym for the Book Fair and to see other opportunities to get involved with the PTO (parent teacher organization) and a variety of after school activities.

I would like to welcome our new district Librarian Mrs. Luikart who will be here as much as she can while coordinating the duties for the entire district in all three buildings, and fellow para-professional Mrs. Schullo, who will be helping in the mornings in the library.

It's an exciting time! Welcome BACK!

Book Fair is set up and ready for YOU!
Nice selection of hard cover picture books!
The library is ready for students and READERS also!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Video link to Brain Pop directions

One of the things we learned at the recent iPad class was how to make instructional videos using an app called Educreations.  It took several tries for me to think through the directions and the sequence before I was ready to record the final product.

Here is the final result.

I plan to make and post more of these as the year goes along.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Class for ....ME!

This week I am taking a fun class all about iPads with Naomi Harm. I've had two of Naomi's classes before, and each time I learn a lot. Today was no different.

Searching through Naomi's blog tonight I came across a post from 2010 entitled Word Cloud Makers are Here. 

Apparently Wordle was going through some growing pains back in 2010. Wordle is a great choice these days, but check out some alternatives too.

Tag Galaxy is especially fun. It uses images to go with the words you enter.

I looked at all of the links and the only one that doesn't work now is Twitter Sheep. Some sites want to sell you something, like a tee-shirt with your words on it. Find one that works for you.

Word clouds are fun to create, save and use in so many way. Check it out!

Thanks, Naomi!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Are you a Pinterest user? I've had an account for awhile, but truly don't take the time to check it very often.

However, while looking around today I stumbled across a subject of interest to me -- Intellectual Freedom. The question was about who owns the content on the Pinterest website. Since it's a social sharing site, people pin and re-pin all the time. See the discussion here.

What was suggested is that I (the original pinner) must be certain to have permission from the site I am 'borrowing' an image from. This can be a problem if there is no direct permission to use the image.

One of the solutions seems to be to give direct permission on my site, in this case, my blog. However, since many of the images that I post on the blog already come from other sites, this is still a bit of a problem. I always put the link to an image I use so that anyone can click the image and see where it originates.

I think that the permission I would want to grant is for Original Content which I may create; like the red button above that I made using Paint on my computer.

But, because I post a lot of photos of students, I certainly am not giving permission for those to be pinned and used over again.

The deeper the education community gets into social media the more these challenges will surface. In the meantime, I will continue to follow leaders in education about how to manage privacy and Intellectual Freedom. 

I welcome your feedback and input!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Photo Collage

Happy July!

It's a Monday morning, and I am missing students. Summer School has come and gone. 4th of July celebrations took place over the weekend.

Now, I'm just waiting for the first public library program on Wednesday with Susan Pagnucci - Master Puppeteer.

So, here's the next best thing. It's a collage using a Chrome add-on called Loupe.
Can you see that it's in the shape of a smiley face? 

When I created it I could hover over a photo and see it larger, but it looks like that is not the case here. This program allows you to pick how many photos to use in the collage.

I have 15 different photos of kids working in the computer lab here, but they are repeated to form a 50 photo image. The default setting used a lot more photos but that made the photographs really small.

There are a lot of shapes to choose from for the collage. Give it a try!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Learn to Type -- MORE Keyboarding suggestions

How is your Typing? Want to learn more? Take a look at these great 'learn to type' websites and then visit my post from May 30th to find fun games to practice what you have learned. 

One of the Common Core standards that 3rd and 4th grade students will be tested on soon will be their ability to answer an essay question on the computer; and that will mean needing the ability to keyboard/type with speed and accuracy. 

The three websites listed here will teach the keyboard one row at a time, and they keep track of the WPM so you can track progress and see where you need to improve. 

1. This is Dance Mat Typing  See my keyboarding blog post from May 30, 2013 for more on this site, and other keyboarding practice websites.  

How does it work?
Practice each lesson over and over to at least get all three stars. It really doesn't take much to learn, a few minutes a day for one to two weeks and you will be a pro!
Using this program, your typing speed will reach 10 to 12 words per minute rather quickly. 

3. Sense - Typing Tutor

Choose lessons to begin typing. Watch the video tutorials, then practice keyboarding, one row at a time.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: Sisters Grimm

Some of our second grade girls challenged themselves to begin reading harder chapter books this spring. The series they choose is Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley. So far, I've only read the first one, Sisters Grimm: Fairytale Detectives, which introduces the sisters Daphne and Sabrina who are orphans sent to live with a grandmother they didn't even know they had!

Granny Relda lives in the world of the Everafters where things are never quite what they seem. Here the girls find out their connection to the famous Grimm Brothers and meet all sorts of fairy tale characters. As with any good fairy tale, some are good and some are very bad!

Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley has a link with a Reading Guide - PDF file. Also at this site is loads more information to explore about each of the books in the series.

The second grade readers finished book three, and now move to the public library for summer reading to finish the series.

Book Nine, Council of Mirrors is the final book in the series.

I tried to upload a video of a student giving her book report, but no instead is the video trailer by Michael Buckley instead. Sorry, girls!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Winning Entry = New book for our school library

Here is what I found today when I opened up my email.
Dear Miss Diann,
Congratulations! You won a copy of Ahmet Zappa's book "Because I'm Your Dad" from my blog.
Erik A.K.A. This KidReviews Books 

Erik bills himself as Erik the Great in his email, which might sound like bragging, but after reading his blog for several months now, I have to agree with him - he is GREAT!  This is one clever 11 year old boy who just loves to read, and to share his thoughts about what he is reading through a blog ever since he was 9 years old. Click the links above to read more about Erik and find out what he is reading right now. It will surprise and delight you!

I have know a number of very good readers through my work leading literature circles and helping with the gifted programs the school district has had over the years. What Erik is doing on his blog is exactly the kind of effort that I know would appeal to those same students. Kids who love to read and seem to consume books, just naturally want to share and talk about what they are reading. I wish my own children would have had this opportunity when they were in elementary and middle school.

So, thanks to Erik, a brand new book that celebrates fathers is on its way to Spooner Elementary straight from the publisher. Too bad this is our last week of school and students will have to wait until they come back in the Fall to enjoy it!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Keep up your Skills over the Summer: Keyboarding

One of the skills we work on in Elementary School is Keyboarding, or Touch Typing. Below are several websites for students to practice over the summer.

The first is Dance Mat Typing from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation).
This great explanation of  Why learn to touch type? comes from their website's About Page:

"When you can do it well, touch typing is the fastest way to write. Many people can soon learn to touch type faster than they can write with a pen. The important things to remember are:
  • Use the correct fingers
  • There's no need to rush!
  • Always rest your wrists on the desk
  • You should take a rest, and shake your hands and arms to relax your muscles if you get tired
  • It's important not to look at your hands when you are learning to type. The best way to ensure that you don't look at your hands is to cover them up - you can make a simple box out of cardboard or wood to cover both the keys and your hands
You will need headphones or speakers to enjoy the song and dance in each game. The games use the Flash plug-in - if your computer doesn't have Flash, you can find information on how to download it here, or you can play the alternative interactive versions available at each stage.

Worksheets are available for each stage that can be printed out and used offline with a typewriter or computer.

Health and Safety
Sit comfortably with your back up straight and your feet on the ground!"

For an entire typing course, check out Peter Hudson's Online Typing Course

Learning Games for Kids has 21 different Keyboarding activities to try; like Typing Factory pictured below.

Type the home row keys to earn points. The green ones are done, the black 'f' is the next one to find.

Once students have mastered the home row, upper and lower rows, go ahead and try some of the activities at  ABCya 4th grade keyboarding.  

Type Rocket -- Level 1

The most colorful is one is Type Rocket, but be warned, it gets harder as you go along! Other ones to try are: Typing Race, Sky Chase, Keyboard Challenge, Keyboard Invasion, Ghost Typing or Cup Stacking. 

It gets harder as you go along!

Free Choice in the Computer Lab -- Paint Creations & Graphing

One of the fun programs included with all PC's is called Paint. Kindergarten students have been working with it a lot, but this week even the first graders got to spend some time with Paint during Free Choice day.

This drawing of the Twin Towers was printed out to keep

Then, some students chose to use Word or PowerPoint to create thank you notes.

Thanks for the sweet thank you note! I love the purple background you choose!

We DO have fun in the computer lab!

Great shape for a House!

I enjoy my job and working with the students.

She created a one-page PowerPoint slide with all the information she wanted.

Finally, some students went to Mega Math where White Water Graphing was the activity of choice.  I will miss the first graders!
Mega Math: White Water Graphing buddies! Cool charts, girls!

More graphing in Mega Math

White Water Graphing

1st grade Mega Math: White Water Graphing provides a great intro to tally marks and graphing results.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Field Trip Season

Fourth Grade will be out of the building this week enjoying a field trip to North Star Bison. If you have never been out to see the bison, there is a ten-minute video on their website to show you what the kids will see.

Next week, it's the third grade's turn to visit the Cable Nature History Museum. The mission of the museum is: "Connecting people to Northwoods nature through educational experiences that inspire wonder, discovery and responsibility". There is free admission every Tuesday from 10:00 to 4:00 pm.

Also next week, our 'graduating' fourth graders will take a trip to Hayward to see the world famous Fred Scheer Lumberjack Show.  This hour of fun gives students a glimpse into the skills used to build our great state in the days before power machinery.

Finally, continuing a spring tradition, the second grade will make their annual trip to the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth.

It is a busy time of year for families, students and staff. With our studies coming to an end, we take the time to celebrate all of the hard work and learning our students have done this past school year and also take advantage of some of the great outdoor opportunities in our area.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Public Library Summer Reading Program -- Dig Into Reading

Dig Into Reading - Summer Reading Program

Here are the details from the Spooner Memorial Library website about the Summer Reading Program.

Dig Into Reading
  • Dig Into Reading Summer Reading Program is available for youth ages preschool through 12 years.
  • Sign Up at the Spooner Memorial Library starting Monday, June 10th.
  • For every 15 minutes the child reads, or is read to, they can color in a small picture.
  • Once the child has colored an entire page, they can turn it in to the library for a prize.
The Prizes:
Level One: A Book and Bookmark
Level Two: Sidewalk Chalk and a Free Movie Pass to Palace Theater
Level Three: Free Movie Rental from Schmitz's Economart and Bubbles
Level Four: Dinosaur Grabber and Free Ice Cream from Culver's 
A Big "Thank You" to all of the Sponsors of the Summer Reading ProgramWashburn County AODA
Spooner Kiwanis Club
Schmitz's Economart
Palace Theater

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Annual Technology Assessment

This is the time of year when all 3rd and 4th grade students take an annual Technology Assessment through our subscription service,

Yesterday each 3rd grade class came to the lab and completed the assessment. Next Monday it will be the 4th grade that gets their turn.

This 47 question 'test' is a measure of what students have learned doing their work on the lessons throughout the school year. One of our limitations at the elementary level is that students only come to Technology class once a week for 30 minutes. It is hard to remember what they learned back in November, now in May. The results will give us a chance to understand where we need to direct some additional lessons for next year.

Once 4th graders get to the middle school, they will have a concentrated class of 45 minutes every day for a 9-week grading period. This will give them the focus they need to really absorb and retain the material. Most 5th graders improve rapidly when they get to middle school.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week

Tuesdays are fun days due to the afternoon schedule which brings three Second Grade classes to the computer lab, one right after the other.

Today's assignment was to use Word to create a thank you note for one of the student's teachers to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week.

During our 30 minute time block, students got instructions, changed their font to a larger size, chose a teacher from a list on the smartboard, and then wrote three or more sentences. After typing in a closing and their name, they could add two ClipArt images.

How sweet is this?
Then we printed and got logged off in time for the next class. Students did a fantastic job of expressing their thanks to special teachers in their lives. It was one of those days that just made me smile all afternoon!

Choosing an apple for the teacher!