Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lifeguard Visit Thrills Campers at Camp Courageous

Washington Elementary student, RJ Hawkins, loves helicopters. His teacher, Jen Christensen, and flight paramedic Ben Schloss came up with the idea to see if Lifeguard Air Ambulance from St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids could fly in and land while the students were attending Camp Courageous.

Camper RJ got to sit in the Pilot’s seat with his teacher Jen Christensen with the help of Pilot Skip Barthle.

All the students from Fairfield got to see the helicopter up close with the help of its crew.

There was time for a group photo before the crew took off. From left to Right: Washington Teacher Jennifer Christensen, Flight Paramedic Marni Wacha, Flight Nurse Vicki Petersen, Student RJ Hawkins, Pilot Skip Barthle and Craig Willoughby.

Thank you to Jeanne from Camp Courageous, Debbie from Lifeguard, Mrs. Christensen and Mr. Schloss for making this dream come true!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Congratulations Teachers, We're Almost at 100%

Out of the 30 teachers serving Libertyville and Washington Elementary schools, only 6 do not have blogs. This means that 80% of teachers have blogs to share information with families, communities, and their students. What an awesome job you have all done! Just remember, "Don't be afraid of bronze!"

"They say that bronze will revolutionize they way we hunter gather,"

From Airhead to Genius

I have always wanted the same things for my children that other parents want - for them to grow up to be good adults - kind, caring, helpful, smart, witty, responsible and adaptable. As our children made normal "kid" mistakes, we used the lens of "raising good adults" to make decisions about how to address their behavior.

It can be especially tough for teenage girls. I hope that the video below can help inspire teenage girls to give up the facade of being "airheads" and put the on the armor of being "genius"!

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA scienceNOW.
Yoky Matsuoka, A former tennis prodigy aims to create advanced prosthetic limbs controlled by human thought.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Only a Few Days Left for ITEC Proposals

The deadline to submit a proposal to present at ITEC has been extended to April 30th.  ITEC stands for Iowa Technology and Education Connection.  The ITEC Board and other volunteers host a yearly state conference that includes a schedule packed full of sessions delivered by classroom teachers, administrators, technology directors and other educators. The link for the submission by educators is:

(Thanks to Jason Kurth, FCSD Technology Director) for sharing this!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Breakfast with Grandma - - News - Fairfield, IA - Fairfield Ledger -

Breakfast with Grandma - - News - Fairfield, IA - Fairfield Ledger -

Technology, Music, Connecting the World

I just visited with our music teacher, Mr. Grunwald, who shared some amazing videos with me. The Libertyville and Washington Elementary theme for the year is "A Collaboration Age." Our goal has been to move beyond the physical walls of our building to create collaboration among staff in various buildings, to encourage community and parent involvement, and to enrich the learning opportunities for our students.

I think you'll enjoy the following videos, and will be able to clearly see how powerful technology can be in supporting "A Collaboration Age.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 1

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 2

Thank you Mr. Grunwald!

Also, for fun, visit this music and "old school" technology masterpiece! Touch Wood

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Standards-Based Report Cards

Next year, all Fairfield Elementary students in grades k-4 will receive the new standards-based report card. Currently, kindergarten and 1st grade are using this type of report card. Rather than students receiving the traditional As and Bs, or the common elementary Es and Ss, They will receive scores of 1-5. I read a great article today that provides a nice overview of the change.

Why Formative Assessments Matter | Edutopia

Why Formative Assessments Matter | Edutopia

This is a great article. Formative assessment is foundation for Response to Intervention.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Do You Cha Cha?

Cha Cha is a free information service. People can text limitless types of questions to 242-242 (cha-cha) and receive answers in 1-5 minutes.

I learned about Cha Cha from my teenagers.  This is a go-to source of information and entertainment for my daughter. During the last year we have "cha-cha-ed" to find out:
  • How is powdered milk made?
  • Can two baby birds hatch from one egg? (sparked from a family conversation about The Decorah Eagles.
and of course...
  • How does olive oil lose its virginity?
When I realized that my daughter was using Cha Cha, it reminded me of a story that I heard last year about a kindergarten student.  The teacher asked the class how they could find out how snow is made. Her goal was to talk about encyclopedias. One kindergarten student piped up, "If I had one of those fancy phones, I would look it up on Google."

I have noticed that our family tends to use Cha Cha most when we are out and about, having conversations, and are curious about random things. More and more frequently I catch myself saying, "Hey, let's Cha Cha that." Tonight, we were talking about the third Decorah eagle egg. The discussion meandered from "Do you think it will hatch?" to "What will the eagles do if it doesn't?" and then "Can two eaglets hatch from one egg?" Our family conversation didn't end with us all wondering. We just asked Cha Cha, and learned something new!

So, what do you say? Do a little dance...? Try cha cha!

ChaCha is like having a smart friend you can call or text for answers on your cell phone anytime for free! ChaCha works with virtually every provider and allows people with any mobile phone device - from basic flip phones to advanced smart phones - to ask any question in conversational English and receive an accurate answer as a text message in just a few minutes.
What’s your question?
Simply text your question to 242242 (spells ‘ChaCha’) or call 1-800-2ChaCha (800-224-2242) from your mobile phone to ask any question. What are you waiting for? Ask away!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Thanks to Mr. Wear for sharing this video!

Boxtops for Education

How you can help

 Here are a few ways you can help our schools:
  • Count and submit Box Tops before the big submission times, in October and February.
  • Put a Box Tops collection bin at your workplace, place of worship, health club, or other places you regularly spend time.
  • Get friends and family members to contribute by collecting Box Tops and signing up for Box Tops online. No matter where they live, they can make a difference for your school!
  • Let your school know you’re ready and willing to do what they need. 
Coupons for Boxtop Items
Bonus Boxtops

An Idea for Web-Based Portfolios

When I completed my administrative portfolio during the fall of 2009, I wanted to go paperless. I have several 3-ring binder style portfolios which sit neatly on the shelf in my office, each one artistically crafted like a scrapbook. They are a snapshot in time of my teaching and administrative experiences. Each was shared with an evaluator, professor, or family members. They are fun to look through, to reminisce, but really serve no long-term purpose.

At the time that I completed my 2009-2010 portfolio, I wasn't fluent in wiki use or with Google Sites. I knew I wanted my portfolio to be in an electronic format that was easy to share. I purchased Adobe Pro, which worked really well for what I thought I wanted. I was able to basically create an electronic version of my former 3-ring binder style portfolios. It was easy to burn the file to discs and mail to the University. I figured out how to cut the bulk. But, I hadn't figured out how to quickly and easily share my materials, or how to quickly and regularly update the artifacts within my portfolio.

I started a Google Site at one time. Andy Crozier, tech educator extraordinaire, shared a template with educators. For whatever reason, I didn't make it back to the site on a regular basis. This year I started using a wiki with my staff to share all kinds of information and files. It finally hit me! The wiki is easy to update and easy to share.

At the time of this post, most of the artifacts listed on my portfolio wiki are from my 2009-2010 e-portfolio. I still need to add in descriptions. Hopefully this will inspire you to leave the 3-ring binders and hanging file folder portfolios on the shelf for good!