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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Proud To Be An American

We had an amazing assembly yesterday morning! Scholars met some very special guests who spoke to them about service, freedom and citizenship.

One of our special guests was Medal of Honor Recipient, Doc Ballard. The Medal of Honor is awarded for acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. There are fewer than 100 Medal of Honor recipients alive today so it is a rare opportunity, indeed,  to meet one of these heroes.

Medal of Honor recipient, Doc Ballard

Another of our special guests was former Army Night Stalker Helicopter Pilot, Gary Linfoot. Gary sustained injuries during his service which left him paralyzed from the waist down. He currently uses an exoskeleton device to walk. He spoke to scholars about his injuries and how this special device was engineered for him and others like him. He explained that this device is in its infancy and engineers gather data from his experiences to improve the device to make it better for future users. He hopes that one day the device will allow him to jump and run.
What an amazing, real life, engineering connection!

Gary Linfoot 

Follow this link to the video:    Gary Linfoot Exoskeleton

Col USMCR, Tim Raynor was on hand and talked to scholars about The Pledge of Allegiance. He explained that the flag is our national symbol and that each time we say the pledge we are committing our allegiance to our country and honoring all those who fought and still fight to help maintain the freedoms we enjoy everyday.

Col USMCR Tim Raynor

Finally, scholars were treated to a few songs from country recording artist Corrine Chapman. In addition to her career as a singer/songwriter, Corrine volunteers and shares her talent at numerous Veterans events.

Country Recording Artist Corrine Chapman

Cannon Elementary scholars are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet these real life heroes!






Friday, October 10, 2014

Cannon's Cardboard Challenge

The idea was simple...build something awesome out of cardboard, recycled materials and imagination. 

The results were amazing!

































Thursday, October 9, 2014

Reading Strategy: Making Connections

On of the academic goals for first graders is the expectation that they make thoughtful connections that show a deep understanding of the texts they read. They learn to make connections between themselves and characters in books, Text to Self (T:S). They also learn to make connections between books, Text to Text (T:T).
Making connections helps readers to better remember the text, understand the text at a deep level and increase their level of reading engagement. When modeling and practicing this reading strategy, it is critical to pick the right books. To introduce this reading strategy, I carefully selected books that were not only interesting but had characters that students could relate to.
I chose...







Each of these books is multicultural which supports scholars as they begin to develop a global perspective. As we talked about the main characters, scholars noticed that these characters were children who were clever, who worked hard and persevered in the face of difficulty...in other words, these characters had GRIT... a habit of mind that I am trying to instill in my scholars.

Beyond specific academic goals, I also have long term 'life goals' for my scholars. One of which is to be an effective communicator. One effort toward this goal was the introduction of a student blog on Weebly. This blog was introduced to students for the first time this week as I asked students to post their T:S and T:T connections. I modeled posting a comment (connection) and each day we read through comments to determine criteria for a 'good' comment, and we developed a rubric of sorts. The criteria included both content and conventions.  Students learned quickly that once you hit 'send' "it's out there" and I was amazed to see how many scholars began to read, reread and edit their writing before hitting 'send'. Blogging about their thinking is still in the infancy stage for these young bloggers but I am quite proud of their efforts.

If you would like to read some of their connections and maybe even respond to them, you can visit their blog here:  Scholarblogger