Farewell to Fourth (Cross Post)

Every year we say good-bye to a lovely class of 4th graders as they move up into the middle school. This year, my blogging group has been an interesting bunch. Spirited is one word and I mean in the best sense. They are delightful, humorous, and have a strong team bond. They have just been given their last task as bloggers-their reflection blog. My example for them was a reflection of my own school year which I will cross post for you here. Enjoy.

{Dear 4th Graders,

I can’t believe we only have two more blog days left this year. Time has flown by. I am so proud of you for tackling the task of being bloggers. You’ve become self-directed writers and have worked hard under your journalistic deadlines. Here is your last post assignment of the year. Remember, write deeply, pay attention to grammar and mechanics, and read your own work before you submit for review.

Farewell to Fourth-Your Last Blog Post

Write one sentence that sums up your year in 4th grade. Put it in quotes at the top of your post and then write in detail (not summary) why your year was _______ (insert adjective here.) Don’t list things you did but rather write about how you felt and who you were with and why it was important when you discuss particular highlights of your year. You have one day to write and one day to edit, so do not delay!! See my example below.

It has been a pleasure working with you and Ms. Reilly this year. I hope you will consider making your own blog to continue writing, in whatever way you see fit for yourself. Good Luck in Middle School!

Love,

Ms. Thomas}

Ms. T’s Farewell to 2012-2013

“It was a year of taking risks with amazing teachers.”

As my second year at Norwood draws to a close, I think the biggest highlight for me has been seeing new teachers take courageous risks and trying new, innovative projects. Teachers worked on e-books, digital storytelling, blogs, glogs, voicethreads, and even podcasts to re-charge and re-think their classes this year. Teachers who began with a spark, “I was thinking….” ended with a “wow, I can’t believe we did that”. As a result, they saw their students engaged, happy, and working outside of the traditional teaching-learning box.

It was heartwarming and reassuring to see 4th graders blogging and creating e-books as a reflection of their reading. Their engagement levels soared and the quality of their writing sky-rocketed. For 2nd grade students, audio recording their book discussions allowed them to have teacher-free space to discuss their reading but allowed for the teacher to have a record for follow-up. This innovative assessment provided a source of rich feedback for students and teachers alike. The digital tales of Kindergarten readers was truly a sight to behold. Precious and sweet but also providing an opportunity for students to use a digital tool to become authors.

All of these student results made possible because caring, brave, and curious educators took the risk to re-think elements of their curriculum. My entire work as a tech integrator is validated in seeing the academic success in students and pedagogical shift in teachers. With this I say farewell to the school year of 2012-2013 and look with anticipation to our new adventures to come in 2013-2014.

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