Monday, December 8, 2014

Hour of Code

Today is the kick-off day for the second annual Hour of Code celebration going on all week. 4th graders watched a short video from the home page and then tried a coding activity from the site. Sadly, not all kids were able to get connected today, I think millions of people around the world were trying to connect. But, kids worked together on activities that were responding and were encouraged to try it again on their own from home, or at the public library.

Lots of collaborating when coding

This might be the Frozen activity
This student wrote lots of code to make the cat move and perform

Too many screen were not working
One of the art activities

Day TWO: Things worked much better in the lab today. Students also went to Scratch , Lightbot and Tynker which are also links on, but some kids had better luck just going directly to the other coding websites.

Day THREE: Coding went evern better today in the computer lab. The day started with an update from Microsoft, so I scrambled to shut down all the systems and get them back up and running so that by the time students got to the lab almost all of the systems were ready to begin. Every station and student was able to connect and have success today, although some were still a little slow to respond. I continue to encourage students to try from home or the public library and choose Chrome or Firefox for your browser. Those might work better for this activity.

Here is the introduction video we watched today to prepare students to try out the new "Frozen" coding activity. 

Check out this video from Flocabulary
The video reviews “top 10 reasons to code” while providing an introduction to computer programming. In the video, students will learn about the different types of work computer programmers do and some of the perks of a career in coding. This video features a celebrity hip hop artist, a basketball player and two tech moguls.
After you view the video, take a look at the other tabs for Challenge Questions, Interactive Lyrics and Fill in the Blanks to help you remember what you learn in the video about coding.


There are so many wonderful promotions going on this week. This video from is from President Obama making the case for students to try coding.

Day FOUR: 

KIndergarten Paint

While the older kids are coding this week, the Kindergarten students are discovering Paint. There are more pictures to post, but here is a good one to start. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

High 5 Highlights

This week brings an end to our Lego Story Starters club. We sure learned a lot about using the app on the ipad. Students were able to work together to create scenes for the beginning, middle and end of a story that they worked on together. They photographed these scenes with the ipads, then using the app, wrote the story and inserted their photographs. Stories came out looking like graphic novels with speech bubbles and special effects. We haven't totally figured out how to print the final PDF product, but the results on the ipad are terrific.

Monday, October 27, 2014

High 5: Thinking about the National Guard deployment

Tomorrow is the send-off ceremony for the Soldiers of the 950th Engineer Company being deployed from Spooner. We are all encouraged to wear red, white and blue clothing to school to show our support for the families being affected by this deployment.

At High 5 tonight students will have the chance to make a card with a personal message on the computer, if they choose.

Monday, September 29, 2014

High 5

Students at High 5 today should log into a special class I created at

Here is the link for Course 1

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media is one of my all favorite sites for reviewing apps, games, movies, website, books, TV shows and music. 

They also have great resources for teaching kids about Digital Literacy and Citizenship. This link has an index to iBooks curriculum, downloadable lesson plans and printed materials.
"Our Student Video Library has more than 20 videos that are each 2-4 minutes long. Use them in conjunction with their corresponding lesson plans, or use them to jumpstart a conversation with your students"
I especially like the one called Pause and Think Online with lyrics such as:

"From your head down to your toes. From your feet up to your nose."
  • think with  your head,
  • feel with your heart,
  • balance with your arms,
  • listen to your gut,
  • use your legs to stand up to bullies… when you’re online.
A few other featured video titles are Oversharing: Think Before you Post, Digital Animation 101 and Copyright & Fair Use.

Kids Sites : Your Guide to the Best Kid Sites on the Web

While researching websites for an Online Safety lesson this week, I came across this gem of a resource for links to lots of other sites called Kids Sites. Here's what they say on their About page:
"Before a site can be listed on, it goes through an extensive review process. Attributes we look for in the sites that we list include quality content, good presentation values, and most importantly, subject matter that is safe and suitable for children to view.
In addition, it's important that the content on the sites we review be free for visitors to access and use. does not include sites in its listings whose sole purpose is to sell products or services."
Here is what the main page link with lots of Categories looks like:

While the Online Games category has a few of my favorites, most of the recommended sites are new to me. Check them out and see if you find a new favorite.
There are even some links to Fun Online Coloring pages.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Time for School!

Excited for the first day of school and to get back to work with students!

Here is some of the work students created in one of our favorite programs, Paint. If you have a desktop or laptop PC look for it in your start menu. If you have never used Paint, today would be a good day to try.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Last week of School

It is hard to believe, but here we are on Monday of the last week of school. I remember during the long winter thinking that June was a long way off!

Books are getting returned to the library, inventory is underway and the computer lab now has occasional air-conditioning, hooray!

Reminders for students this week for things to do over the summer:
  • Visit the Spooner Home Page.   Click STUDENTS > SES > FAVORITES and LINKS.
  • Go to SES Media Center if you want the link to this blog.
At the BLOG try a Search for "Keyboarding" to see a post from last spring with links to great sites to practice keyboarding. Or, click here for results of the KEYBOARDING search.  You will see that and screen shots about the Prescriptive Keyboarding curriculum show up first, then look further down the page for two posts with the websites for practice. Remember to keep your hands 'anchored' to the home row!

  • Also, make time this summer to visit the Spooner Public Library and sign up for the Summer Reading Program. It begins next Monday.

Enjoy this last week together!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Family Math Day 2014

If you are coming to Family Math Day at the elementary on Thursday, April 17, 2014, and you come to visit me in the computer lab, here is part of the handout we will have available.

Family Math Day 2014 in the Spooner Elementary computer lab:
To find SASD recommended math websites from any device that has access to the Internet, just go to the Spooner Area School District home page, find the Student tab, click SES students and then the picture link that says “Elementary Favorites and Links”.

Most of our systems need headphones to be able to hear the audio. Here are a few of the programs & web-links we like to use for math.  Kindergartners have been practicing an “in house” program:   Trudy’s Time and Place House. Look at the top of the START menu.  Just open the program on top of whatever is already open.
Additional websites that all students may want to explore:
  1. · : Mrs. Rubesch has these first three linked on her blog page.
  2. · : The activities with money show currency from around the world.
  3. · : There are ads around the edges, but click on the black squares for the activities.
· : Lots of choices on a nice clean page, there is also an “ad free” version available.  Mrs. Smith has this one linked on her blog page.

· : Math Games on have integrated Common Core State Standards. They also have a nice list of apps for iPad, iPod and Android.

· : Great for kindergarten and 1st graders.

·  : 152 activities for kids of all ages.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

High 5

In looking at some new math websites, I noticed that there is a company providing a Kid Safe certificate. Take a look.

Math is the new site for tonight if students get finished with their PowerPoint presentations.

We started last week with a simple PowerPoint project. Each student created at least three pages all about them. Then they chose clip art or photographs for each page, picked a colorful background, and learned to animate the images.

Creating presentations takes a lot of patience, so we may still be working on these next week too. But, we are also thinking about the upcoming Family Math Day, so math is on my mind.

Monday, March 17, 2014

High 5 for St. Patrick's Day

First Graders will have a chance to Find a Four Leaf Clover and  Match the clocks  at  and try the Dolch Spelling List

Second Graders can also practice their spelling and find the Learning Coins activity for some practice with money.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day and the 100th Day of School on Friday!

Wow, that's a lot to celebrate all in one day!

Optical Illusions are very popular with the older students. Here is a fun link to try some out on the computer: Optical Illusions always puts up some activities for a holiday and Valentine's Day is no exception.

The younger students enjoy They have several special things to do for Valentine's Day and one the 100th day of school.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Catalog

Students and families can now click on this link to try out the New Library Catalog.

Choose Spooner Elementary and CATALOG to see this first screen. What do you notice?

If you look to the right, you will see four tabs at the top. This screen above is called BASIC. The next tab is for a POWER search. Then comes a VISUAL search that looks like this:

Just click on one of the categories to look for books about some popular subjects.

On the left side of the catalog you see three tabs going down. The first one is called Library Search. That is where we found the VISUAL search screen.

Now, click on the words DESTINY QUEST just below "Library Search".

Isn't this a cool screen?
There is a lot to see and learn about on this screen. Destiny Quest shows what the Top 10 books checked out from our library are. It also shows what new books have arrived at the library.

Destiny Quest is a great place to search for books. Look for the box that says FIND and type in a subjet that you want to find a book about. Click GO!

Dog books are very popular at Spooner Elementary. This search shows what the screen looks like when you search for the word "dogs". There are 633 books and other materials with the word dogs. Wow, that is a lot of dog books!

There is a lot more to this new catalog, but this will give you a good idea about how to start exploring. Have fun!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Awards Day - Newbery and Caldecott Winners!

The fabulous Kate DiCamillo (from neighboring Minnesota) is author of the popular Mercy Watson books and the previous Newbery Award winning story, The Tale of Despereaux.

Ms. DiCamillo has been selected as this year's Newbery Award winner for her book Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures.

Miranda said: "It's a really good book, I loved it"

The Caldecott Medal was awarded to: “Locomotive,” illustrated and written by Brian Floca

Caldecott Honor Books include “Journey,” written and illustrated by Aaron Becker

These are the only award wining titles from this year's announcement that  we have in our library at this time, but I am sure we will be adding to the collection now that the awards have been made.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Family Reading Night 2014

On Thursday, Spooner Elementary will be hosting our annual Family Reading Night, a night where we celebrate everything about READING! The theme this year is Under the Big Top!

In the library, our staff will be reading a circus themed story and entertaining young listeners. Stop by and say hello to the ringmaster, clown and fortune teller!  It might be your lucky day!

There will be reading tents and flashlights for a nighttime reading, "Meet the Author" with Elizabeth Jarrell author of The Little Lighthouse, Bean Bag Toss, Circus Bingo, RAZ Kids in the computer lab, Book Fair in the gym and Book Swap in the Music Room.

There will be free food in the Lunchroom, Face Painting , Rhyming Buckets, Milk Jug Word Toss Activity and Cardboard Cutouts Photo Op all in the hallway.

The Spooner Advocate did a video report about Family Reading Night. Take a look at how much fun we had! Video from the Advocate

Monday, January 20, 2014


The Association of Library Services to Children; a Division of the American Library Association, has wonderful pages about all of the awards presented in January to outstanding books for children.

At our upcoming Family Reading Night, there will be a display of these award winning books that parents and students may see and reserve for check out from the library.

One other award that is chosen by students in Wisconsin every year is called the Golden Archer Award.

Students Choosing Winning Literature Since  1974

Books are selected by a committee and then voted on by students.
One vote per student with final votes due by March 1st.

PRIMARY (Students in kindergarten – 3rd grade) NOMINEES ARE: 
This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (2013)   
 Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett (2013)                          
 Big Mean Mike by Michelle Knudsen (2012) 
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (2012)              
 Press Here by Herve Tullet (2010) 

We will be reading and reviewing these book over the next month with voting taking place the week of February 20th.
Some Previous winners include:
·         Mo Willems, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
·         Roth, Roger. Fishing for Methuselah
·         Shannon, David. A Bad Case of the Stripes
Students in 4th - 8th grade vote in the Intermediate category. Those books are:
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney (2012)
2. I Survived: The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 by Lauren Tarshis (2013)
3. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (2012)
4. Smile by Raina Telgemeier (2010)
5. Stick Dog by Tom Watson (2013)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Disappointing Net Neutrality Court Ruling Today

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association (ALA), released the following statement regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruling on Verizon v. FCC:

“The American Library Association is extremely disappointed with today’s decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the FCC’s “Net Neutrality” decision. ALA has been a long-time supporter of the free flow of information for all people. Now that the Internet has become the primary mechanism for delivering information, services and applications to the general public, it is especially important that commercial Internet Service Providers are not able to control or manipulate the content of these communications.

“The court’s decision gives commercial companies the astounding legal authority to block Internet traffic, give preferential treatment to certain Internet services or applications, and steer users to or away from certain web sites based on their own commercial interests. This ruling, if it stands, will adversely affect the daily lives of Americans and fundamentally change the open nature of the Internet, where uncensored access to information has been a hallmark of the communication medium since its inception.

“Public libraries have become leading providers of public Internet access, providing service to millions of students, elderly citizens, people seeking employment and many others every single day. Approximately 77 million people use public library Internet access every year. These users of libraries' Internet services, and people all across the country, deserve equal access to online information and services.

“The ability of the Internet to spread and share ideas is only getting better. With modern technology, individuals and small groups can produce rich audio and video resources that used to be the exclusive domain of large companies. We must work to ensure that these resources are not relegated to second-class delivery on the Internet – or else the intellectual freedoms fostered by the Internet will be seriously constrained. ALA will work with policy-makers and explore every avenue possible to restore the long-standing principle of nondiscrimination to all forms of broadband access to the Internet.”

For more on network neutrality, visit

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Celebrate Reading!

Happy New Year to one and all!  Currently we are caught in a winter weather vortex and have not had students here at school for two days.  Here is what will greet them tomorrow. New books!

The New Year brings New Books!
Pirates and Pandas!
Popular Authors, Jeff Kinney & Matt Christopher

Classic Winter Titles