Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our 6th Grade iPad Fair Share

As a teacher, there are times when I just feel like no one notices what goes on in a classroom on a daily basis.  My students and I are continually having mini successes that keep us moving forward, wanting and trying new things and keep us coming back, eager to discover something new. So I witness the wonderful things happening, our tech coaches see all of it, and my students realize and strive for this greatness everyday too! But who else besides educators understand what's happening within our classroom doors?

Sometimes I wish I had a fairy godmother that would make all my dreams come true and send me to a magical place where administrators, others in our school district, parents, students and my fellow coworkers could come and see what's going on in our classroom.

Well sometimes dreams do come true. And now I'd like you to meet Coach Cat... Our fairy godfather at Fairview Elementary. Recently, he has been encouraging us invite members of the community, our district leaders and parents of our 6th grader to come in and check out what all the excitement is about in our rooms! So we did and called our event the iPad Fair Share!

As you can see, we created a flyer which was distributed to all the people mentioned above to invited them to join us. There can be as little or as much planning to this as you want, it all just depends on the type of event you wish your visitors to get! Our 6th grade team really want to have our parents and community members get a first hand experience on how our iPads have changed our classroom so we did a bit more planning than actually needed.

Since experience was so important for our visitors to have when they joined us, here are some things we worked before hand. The students would reverse their roles and become the teachers; they were prepped to find visitors they knew (like their parents) and take them to the fives stations (math, science, social studies, reading and language arts). Each station was set up to have a very relaxed, coffee house type of setting.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A New Goal

Very disappointed in myself because I was really hoping that blogging would be something I really enjoy. Turns out... I'm not a huge fan! :( Anyone else out there like me? If so, what have you struggled with?

Even though I have been struggling to blog, I do believe that blogging, as a form of self-reflection, is important and that everyone needs an opportunity to get their thoughts out in the open. As I stated in an earlier blog, I really feel blogging would help me gain confidence in standing up for myself since I don't often speak my mind. But I have a new goal for myself. After having a conversation with my 6th graders about my epic failure as a blogger and I asked them for help!

Currently, they are writing blogs about once a week which doesn't seem like a lot but since their KidBlog time is opposite of band, it's about all we could squeeze in! I told them that I need to do a better job setting aside some time to blog just like them. We decided that since they are required to blog once a week, that I have to as well! Sounds pretty simple... blog when my students blog!

So, I'm raising my diet pepsi in the air and toasting myself... Here's to me and becoming a born again blogger!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dropping a Heine Blog today... because it's been awhile!

Alright, so clearly my strength right now is not blogging. Here's my attempt to redeem myself as a blogologist!

My newest goal is to focus on KidBlog with my students. Our 6th grade team at Fairview has recently done a lot of brainstorming on how to connect student's writing projects to KidBlog. Currently, students have being writing about their dream vacation. In an attempt to connect this writing with the iPads, once students are done writing their drafts, they will create a new post where they type out their final draft of their Dream Vacation.

What's great about KidBlog is that the site enables you to add multimedia. This is a really neat feature because viewers can see areas of writing that students are referring to by watching the iMovie trailer that they created to go along with their writing.

At this point, my students are just finishing up their rough draft. Next week, when students return from Winter Break, they will be finishing up their iMovie and typing up their posts. So when all is said and done, I'll drop another blog so you can have an opportunity to take a look at our newest, completed writing project!

Last thought... I feel as though I'm already getting into a rut with math. I was so excited when we first got our iPads to be able to open PDF worksheets and write on them with their stylist. I shared those documents with my students using Google Drive. From that point, students can use Notability to work through examples using the 3 column notes that I created to keep their work organized. Another way we have utilized the iPad to continue expanding students math knowledge is by getting on Khan Academy. This is a great website that pushes kids on their own math level. You can also monitor each students progress and select topics that you want a student to work on by recommending it to them! However, like I mentioned above, I feel like we are getting into a boring routine already. So my question to my readers is what are your ideas to help me change up a typical math class so my students and I don't feel like we are stuck in a mathematical rut?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Powerful thoughts by our 6th Graders

As a teacher, there are many times when you find something last minute and you just decide to wing it. Sometimes those lessons flop and you're left thinking, why on earth did I stray from plans? What was I thinking? Then there are moments where everything falls into place and your doubts about your upcoming plans turning into one of the most beautiful and remarkable moments in your teaching career! Today was that day for me and happened during our meeting while we gathered together with our students to discuss the everlasting impact of Martin Luther King Jr. on our lives.

There was not a book read.... no packet of worksheets given... but rather a YouTube video from a young voice with a very boisterous, but powerful message!

Even though the students shared a lot of laughs throughout this clip, we could tell that there minds were really thinking. Thinking about a question the Kid President had asked. So we took it...(see the question in pink on the board to the right) and ran with it...

Here are a few of my favorite responses from our students:

Miss Rybar even chimed in (about the picture to the left) and led a quick discussion after our awesome Emma's brought up the subject of bullying and cyber-bullying. 

Although we have not had issues with this topic this school year, I always fear the unknown of what our students are dealing with online. What are they facing outside of school, when our teacher eyes aren't watching? Is there something they are deal with on their own that we know nothing about? 

Although we always seem to see a really silly side of our student's personalities on a daily basis, I've always wondered about what's going on in their minds when they are truly moved. And based upon the responses you see above... I think that I finally found my answer. 

To wrap up our discussion and get them ready to go down to an assembly where the group"Respect" acted out skits covering bullying, respecting relationships and show kindness towards others, we revisited Kid President and watched another powerful segment about how to change the world. 

To conclude this blog and my day at Fairview, I leave you with a few thoughts for the weekend. What will you be doing with your students next week as we remember how Martin Luther King Jr. changed our lives and the lives of others? What impact can we make? How can we change the world??

Monday, January 13, 2014


Wow, who knew that when I goggled "What is a BLOGOLOGIST?" something would actually come up. So after allotting so much of my personal time and dedication towards my quest of defining and learning what a blogologist is, here's what I have found.... 

According to the writer of Blog Core Values of Blogspot, a blogologist is "someone who studies blogs, bloggers, blogging, and the blogosphere". Okay great, that actually makes sense, but I only understand three of those four words which leads me to my next question. BLOGOSPHERE? What?!?!?! 

I definitely think Urban Dictionary's thoughts about it were the best. So if you will, find a quiet place and close your eyes. Visualize thousands of maniacs wandering around the streets of New York City, muttering random thoughts quietly to themselves. I, of course, imagined very human-like zombies walking with crazy leg limps with their hands stretched out in front of them mumbling. However, in my mind there was one lunatic off in the distance running through the streets of NYC screaming his thoughts while loosing control of basic muscle control because of Tourette's. Poor guy.... 

Now, take all of those random mumbling ideas, write it all down, place it online and.... 
A BLOGOSPHERE...the place where all that is located at is called the blogosphere!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hello All! My name is Sara Heine and I'm a 6th grade teacher at Fairview Elementary which is located in Bellevue, NE. This is my second year teaching in the big, bad world of elementary and before that, I taught three years of 7th and 8th grade math at Mission Middle School (also part of Bellevue Public Schools.)

I have to admit that I'm very unfamiliar with the blogging world. I think my largest fear about publishing my "online dear diary entries" is that I don't want to sound "stupid" (for lack of better words). I don't think of myself as a natural writer and am nervous that it will be difficult to come up with interesting topics to discuss, reflect on, and entertain my readers with!

However, I do feel that this experience will help me grow professionally as an educator. I think it will benefit me even more personally though, because I may finally gain the confidence that I need speak opening without fumbling over my own words. Initially, this will be a "one way conversation" so I can actually finish a thought without someone jumping in and stealing my thunder. Until, of course, they finish reading my blog and are thoroughly enlightened by my inspiring work as a 6th grade teacher and decide to comment on what they've just read. (P.S. You should try reading that last two sentences in one breath, with extremem emphasis on the commas, while progressively reading faster and faster to add more drama and effect!)

So you may be asking yourself "Why start blogging now?" Welp, here's your answer! An all powerful being forced me too! Can you believe that! The madness... life is just not fair! I'm actually completely lying. This blog is going to be my story of how my classroom was transformed after I received the a 1:1 ratio of iPads to students!

I still haven't been able to wrap my head around this great gift from my district, but ready or not... here they come! Literally... they are being prepped for my classroom, as I type. Here's my proof! My name is even on the box so they REALLY ARE FOR MY CLASSROOM!

In conclusion (because I can feel myself start to ramble),  I hope that my first blog has been a success since I still haven't discover the meaning of blogging. But maybe after some exploration, I will become a world renowned blogologist!

BLOGOLOGIST....... What?!?!