Sunday, December 18, 2016

Happy Holidays, One and All

I feel blessed to be coming to work at Warner Enhanced Options Elementary School every day, but I have to admit that this two week Winter Break is a very welcomed event. And while I'll be back at school for Teacher Planning Day or Tuesday, January 3rd, then attending for a Professional Development day on Wednesday, you'll be bringing your child back to school for a brand new semester on Thursday, January 5. It's a new beginning, and based on the amazing progress we made as a community of learners over the first half of the year, it's full of promise.

Our computer lab will also be a much cleaner environment for all of us! On our final half-day this past Friday, I took in our monster vacuum cleaner, a Shark, opened all the computer towers, set their cover plates aside, and vacuumed out each and every one to remove the dust that at the very least threatened to overheat the computers. Here are some before and after snapshots:

And here's how the lab looked with all the covers off and ready for cleaning (click to enlarge):

I feel we're ready. Now over the next couple of weeks let's stay healthy, surround ourselves with family, and rest up toward fulfilling all that promise the second semester holds for our learning!

Stay safe!
Mr. M.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Two weeks of Coding and Alphabet Work until Winter Break

This week we have been exploring beginning computer coding as part of the Computer Science Education Week's "Hour of Code" program. Why is it evermore important that we get kids interested in coding? As far as reasons, I have 10 of them! Watch...

Our kids, grades 2, 3, and 4 will kick off a lifelong awareness of (and perhaps interest in) how computers are directed to do everything from open up an email to run a refrigerator, a.k.a. "coding!" We'll start at, a fantastic set of exercises that offers several levels of learning from its subscription based collection for this year's National Computer Education Week's "Hour of Code."

Students will work as far as they can as "anonymous student" then exit and save, whereupon they will receive a brief random alphanumeric password that will get them in to pick up where they left off next week. during the Spring months, we'll begin learning some more advanced coding and stick to it. Will anyone be creating computer games by the end of May? It's possible! Stay tuned. Try it yourself! Click "Play Now" beneath "Students - Get Started!"

This week and next, Kindergarten and 1st graders will login to to work at earning tickets toward purchasing virtual clothing, pets, and furniture. This is catching on as more students experience the option to shop, a great motivation for them to complete the fun, interactive, colorful, alphabet-based lessons. They need these! And most of them enjoy playing, reading, and singing at the site. Visit to explore yourself.

In this time of winter holidays, may yours be wonderful and surrounded with loved ones. Snuggle up, Winter is here!

Here are some pics of kids learning:
Hour of Code at and successes!
ABCMouse fine motor work and collaboration at

Friday, December 2, 2016

Back from Break and Into December!

We returned from Thanksgiving Break ready to learn and work, and learn and work we did.

Kindergarten and 1st graders signed into their new accounts at for the first time last week, and by the end of this week most were well on their learning pathways beginning with the letter "a." Each activity they complete along the way rewards them with a digital ticket, or 2, or more; and they are able to go visit shops built into the platform and "spend" those tickets on items such as pets, clothing, and toys.

Sure, these "purchases" are all digital, but you wouldn't know that from the gleeful expressions on my wee ones' shining faces when they add a new shirt to the costume their customizable avatar is wearing! ABCMouse is a tremendous learning tool for them, and an excellent teaching tool for the computer lab. Visit yourself! Or better yet, have your child take you to see how it works. They won't be able to login to their school account from home, but if you send me your email address (to and let me know you want that access, I can send you a code to allow you to access from home or library.
The 2nd through 4th graders all got a shot of Internet Safety information this week, first by whole-class viewing of "The Netsmartz Generation and "It's Okay to Tell," two short videos at Netsmartz Workshop. Then they were tasked to go watch at least one other video at the site. The 2nd graders were asked individually about the movie they watched and commented to me one-on-one. 3rd and 4th graders visited a customized page and typed (or in some cases, dictated to me) their comments. Armed with the password "warner," you can visit the page and see your child's work. Many chose only to enter their name and a very few words, so next time I'll up the ante with a minimum length requirement. Still, as preparation for future learning experiences with Padlet, it worked pretty well. Go visit at

Here are a few images from our week in computer lab:

Thanks for the loan of your lovely children!

Mr. M.