Words of wisdom from the 5yo while taking a bath…

Me (laughing): What was that sound?

5yo: Do you see any bubbles?

Me: No…

5yo (seriously): Well, that means it’s not a fart.


We wanted to start the New Year off right, so we planned an around the island adventure. Unfortunately, the traffic gods determined that wasn’t to be the case. We still had lots of fun eating at a shrimp truck in Haleiwa, stopping at Dole Plantation to ride the Pineapple Express, and visiting Kukaniloko, a sacred site where ali`i were born. New experiences for a new year. In fact, my niece who kept telling me the whole way to Haleiwa, “We’re eating at the shrimp truck. We’re eating at the shrimp truck,” had a revelation when we arrived at Blue Water Shrimp. “Oh, my God…it REALLY is a shrimp TRUCK.”
I guess learning happens when you least expect it.

The recorder was obviously made to torture unsuspecting parents into promising their children the moon for a bit of peace and quiet. It is an evil, evil instrument.

But apparently, I am alone in this estimation.
I told my 8yo to practice for as long as it took me to wash the dinner dishes. As I rinsed the last dish, he asked if he should practice a little more. I said, as gently as possible, “Oh, honey, you probably should. I didn’t quite recognize the tunes.”
Without missing a beat, he replied, “Of course not, Mom, they’re from other countries.”

Posted via email from Keiki Conversations

I remember being excited to get a Beta when I was their age!

“Oh, yeah…this is what I’m talking about! T-Rex!”

Posted via email from Keiki Conversations

Finally! I have the beginnings of a Reader’s Blog.

Blogging was so successful last school year that I was certain to get a head start on it in August. Well, August came and went, and no blog for my students. Edublogs worked wonderfully last year. I could oversee the students’ posts without micromanaging and balance online safety with a sense of independence for the children.

This year, I needed to become a “supporter” to have those same capabilities. What’s a cash-strapped, budget-crunching teacher to do? Jump the proverbial ship, of course.

I tried a number of blogging platforms, but none had exactly what I needed as a teacher. Until I came across Kidblog.org, a FREE and easy site for classblogs.

It’s simple enough for first time student bloggers, offers nice privacy settings for teachers, and eliminates extras such as themes and widgets. For this last reason, seasoned bloggers may not like it, but it really helps to keep the focus on the content for our younger bloggers.

Best of all, our DOE servers are not blocking it as a “social- networking site,” like many other fantastic resources I would love to use in the classroom. Nothing kills the students’ enthusiasm faster than “technical difficulties!”

Sent from my iPhone

I love lots of apps that I get from the App Store. Everything you could possibly want…”there’s an app for that.” (With maybe the exception of Flash. Are you listening Apple?) But Ustream Live Broadcaster definitely hits it out of the park. As a teacher, the thing I am most concerned about after my students is parent communication. We have lots of opportunities for parents to come and hear about what their children are learning, but it’s a completely different experience to see it. As such, we post lots of pictures on our grade level website; everything from field trips to day to day life in the classroom. We even have a few video clips, raw, to be sure, but fun for families to watch once the event has been recorded and archived. Ustream Live Broadcaster, however, has made it possible for families to watch while it happens.
We first experimented with Ustream during our Curriculum Night. The turnout, typically, at 5th grade is fairly low, but that doesn’t mean that people are not interested. Cooking dinner or taking care of the children at home takes precedence, as well it should. Ustreaming Curriculum Night meant that our families did not have to choose or go out of their way to do both. We were also very lucky to have a parent (Thank you again @ParkRat!) who was willing to help us get equipment set up and video tape while we were sharing. 
With the app for iPhone, I’ve been able to live stream both our Market Day event and a Winter Assembly at school. Did I mention live? Families can see what their children are doing and learning, and they don’t have to wait for us, the teachers, to get home, go through the footage, and upload it to our website. It’s the next best thing to being there in person. And setting it up? Easy as pie. I just go to the Ustream website, schedule a show, get the embed code, and copy paste to our website. Then I start up the app on my iPhone, and shoot. If you can copy and paste and hit the record button, you can use Ustream. It has been one of the simplest, easiest, most economical (it’s a free app!) ways to communicate with parents and the larger school community. 
My Ustream Live Broadcaster plans for 2010? You can be sure our families will be seeing lots of our field trips and other in-school events…live.


A little late for the holiday season, but ImageChef is an interesting take on word clouds. There are other capabilities, but this was nice and quick. It took all of 30 seconds. Check it out!


Much of our professional development over the past two years has been in the instruction of reading. We were even lucky enough to have 10 teachers go to New York to attend the Teacher’s College Reading Summer Institute headed by Lucy Calkins, language arts extraordinaire. If one thing that was deemed crucial, it was that we get a “just right book” in the hands of every child. Scholastic must be thinking along the same lines, because they just made a widget available that allows you to search their Book Wizard for reading levels. Embedable on your blog or website, this tool makes it simple for parents and students to use in their search for appropriate reading material.

August 2014
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