Chromebooks for Language Arts

If you have finished working on your Calusa Indians research questions, and your group is assigned to Chromebooks, here is what you are doing.

1. Typing: Click here to visit Mrs. Henley has your username and the password is typing4. You will need to complete two lessons this week. Lesson One: The Home Row Keys and Lesson Two: The Top Row Keys. No need to turn anything in, I can check your progress online.

2. Spelling: Click here to go to Spelling City. Your username will be: henley04, and your password is spelling4. Play two Spelling City Games, and then take the practice test. Make sure you are using your headphones.

3. Parts of Speech: Click here to go to Scroll to the bottom where it says, “MadLibs.” Click on two or three. These are a fun way to work on learning your parts of speech.


This Week in Social Studies – The Calusa

1. Use complete the vocab squares on your worksheet for the following words: waterways, fashion (the verb definition), salvaging, tribes, marauding, artifacts, fierce, explorers

2. Click on this link: watch the video. Write down two things that you have learned.

3. Click on this link: Find the house structure called a Chickees. Write down some of the features of the house, and draw a picture

4. Click on this link: write down the steps to creating a dugout canoe

For our Parents

As a parent, I completely understand the frustration when you get the reply, “Nothing,” to the question, “What did you do in school today?” Although much learning and activity takes place between 8:00am-3:00pm, sometimes our students are tired, or not to talkative in the afternoon. My own frustration ensues around the dining room table when I ask my 2nd grader the same question. I know, since she is across the hall from me at Windsor during the day, that she did more than “nothing.”

One of my dear teacher mentors used to remind me, “If you’re not getting the answer you are looking for, you are not asking the right question.” I stumbled upon this blog, and wanted to share you, my families. Hopefully these questions will get you the answers you are seeking.

PS. My favorite is the space alien question.

Chromebook Scavenger Hunt

1. Go To DOGO News and Read the Article about Hitchbot. Write a one sentence summary about the article.

2. Go to Cool Math and pick a game to play. Write down the name of your game

3. Watch the “Tour of the 50 States” video, and write down one state and capital that is mentioned

4. Play two games in Room Recess, write down the name of the games

5. Play this science game, and write down one thing that you learned.

We made it through the first week of school!

If you are reading this, it is because we have survived the first week of the 2014-2015 school year. Not only that, but our amazing parents navigated news cameras, and car lines with grace. Our administration fearlessly lead us through schedule changes, and making sure all students are where they need to be. And, most of all, our students brought questions and excitement to learn. We did more than just make it through the first week, we set the year up to be, quite possibly, the best one yet!

This week, in our Gifted and Advanced class, we did an activity where our students drew their brains. That was all the instruction they were given. Complete with a blank piece of paper, and coloring supplies, their assignment was to look inside and see how they learn and examine what they think about. This was the first time I have done this activity with a group of students, and I was curious to see the results. Our first session, with just lasted about 30 minutes. The students sat in the empty cafeteria engaged and introspective. When we had to return to the classroom, there were many sighs of disappointment that they couldn’t spend more time finishing their project. After our second session, which was another 30 minutes, we had complete pictures.They really did spend a lot of time thinking about what they were putting on the paper. They were taking ownership of their drawings, and interpreting their meaning. One young lady asked, “Can I just write questions? That’s how my brain works.” A young man, a quite literal thinker, wanted to be reassured he could truly draw a brain and section of portions of the brain to show which percent dwells on what. Some creative minds didn’t draw a brain, or ask questions, but their pages were filled with wonderful doodles of both the real and the whimsy.

One of my goals as a teacher is to help our students understand how their brain thinks. Each one of us is wired differently, and we all have strengths we can use to do much good in the world. We also all have weaknesses, that once recognized, we can apply effort to and become proficient in those areas.

If you get the chance, I’d encourage you to ask your student what they drew on their page.  Or perhaps, take a few minutes to draw your own interpretation of how your brain works and share it with your student. They might enjoy seeing what you’ve come up with.

Looking ahead, we have a very exciting project on the horizon. More details to come after the big reveal to the students! 

Thanks for reading. 


Welcome 2014-2015

For the last few weeks my days have been spent in trainings and in the classroom trying to get everything ready. This evening, while the school was quiet, I spent time sorting crayons and markers, writing names for desks, and hanging posters on the wall. There, in the quiet, it hit me – the excitement for a new school year.

A new year. For me, a new school. And, it is filled with new students, with new stories, personalities, experiences, and ways of learning. On August 18th, you, your children, and I will enter into a partnership of sorts for the next 10 months. We will navigate new waters of information, and wade through familiar territory. This year, we will learn about Florida’s history, perfect our penmanship, and become multiplication monsters. (You’ll see there are already some in the classroom!) Yes, we will spend these days between August 18th and June 2nd watching as your children, my students learn and grow.

This site will be updated weekly, and will serve as a place where you can hear the story of 2014-15’s Gifted and Advanced 4th Grade Adventures. Excited is an understatement; I cannot wait for the year to start!