The Debut of “Buddy’s Great Adventure”

laelThis morning Lael burst into my office exclaiming, “I  just finished an amazing animation story. Can you take a look at it?”

She was right! It is amazing. After I previewed it, we met to tweak a couple of minor issues, then declared it finished and ready for viewing.

Lael is a budding animation artist at Sheridan School and has aspirations of being an animation artist when she grows up. With her creativity, great work ethic and determination, she will most certainly accomplish her goal. Lael’s story, “Buddy’s Great Adventure” was created with Frames, a Tech4Learning digital authoring product.

Special thanks to Mrs. Newtown for her expert facilitation in getting our students excited about digital storytelling and the use of Frames.

Without further adieu, here is “Buddy’s Great Adventure.” (1:44)

Art Show Features Sheridan Students

IMG_0299_mSheridan School student art work was recently spotlighted as part of the Ruth Fell Wander Community Art Wall exhibition at the First Bank of Highland Park (IL).

Rave reviews followed – not only for the exceptional art created by these elementary students, but for the inspired and passionate leadership of Ms. Cathy Tkachuk, Sheridan School’s art specialist.

Take time to watch this short (2:02) Animoto slide show to catch a glimpse of event.

Our Resident Experts on Tony Hawk

tony-hawk_9If you listen carefully to the conversations of students, you may come to realize that many possess such passion and knowledge about certain topics that they could be considered experts.

Such is the case when I started to work with Will, Eli and Preston (Mrs. Weaver’s 3rd grade) on their VoiceThread project about the skateboarding sensation, Tony Hawk.

Sometimes our projects have strong connections to the curriculum (I am actually in the beginning stages of a digital storytelling report with two other third grade students who are excited about The Periodic Table of Elements) and sometimes their interests revolve around out of school activities.

Our challenge with the Tony Hawk project was to sift through all the information they knew about Tony Hawk and compose a story that was not only informative, but entertaining.

If you want to learn more about Tony Hawk, or simply want to witness some fabulous student work, take a few minutes to view their VoiceThread project.

A Tip of the Hat to Sheridan’s Senior Readers

Screen shot 2011-03-17 at 10.32.50 AM

Today during our Sheridan School Sharing Day assembly, local seniors who participate in the Senior Reading program at Sheridan School will be recognized for their volunteer work with our students.

Here is some background information on this wonderful program:

Senior Reading is an after-school program for Sheridan students to read with caring and dedicated Senior Citizens who live in our community.  The program began in 1991 at Deerpath Elementary School by Gerald Mortensen (Principal).  This is a relaxing time for the children to share moments with the seniors by reading to them, listening to stories, or just looking at pictures.  Readers and nonreaders are always welcome to participate.

This year, during our Sheridan Sharing Assembly, we were able to recognize 6 individuals who have been coming to Sheridan for years.  We are fortunate to have Marge Sorenson who has been volunteering with this program from 17 years!  Both Elaine and Bill Hughes have been volunteering with us for 11 years. In addition to these volunteers we also have Carol Marwede (2 years), Gari Zott (2 years), and Lindsay Weeks (1 year) with us each Wednesday.  The individualized attention that these Senior Readers provide is another important piece of the student’s experience at Sheridan.”

Enjoy the (1:28) video:

Africa Library Service Project – Update

justin_library-1w066u5By all measures, the Africa Library Service Project was a great success. Students in Togo, Africa will receive some much needed books, our students gained some insight into what it takes and what it means to be involved in a service project and students learned that when we set a goal we can sometimes accomplish more than we dreamed.

The goal was to collect and distribute 100 books. You will have to watch the video to see how amazingly well our students did in donating books for a meaningful cause.

Special thanks again to Mrs. Newtown for bringing this project to Sheridan School, the third grade teachers and students for taking care of counting and boxing up the books and to all the families who donated books to our Africa Library Service Project.

To view our original PSA video, click here.

Native Americans by Michael and Sam

Screen shot 2011-02-09 at 8.38.47 AMThe third grade Native American social studies unit is a perennial favorite with students. There is so much to learn with so many great topics to explore and ideas to discuss.

When creating a presentation project our challenge is always in the editing processes. What do we keep in the story? What does our audience already know? What’s the best way to organize our content? Do we have our facts straight? Can we get our audience to connect emotionally with our presentation so they are motivated to go and learn more on their own?

Working with Michael and Sam (Mrs. Weaver’s class) was a delight and I’m convinced they came away with the skills that will help them as they think about upcoming projects. Actually, two days after we finished this VoiceThread project, Michael came bursting into my office and said “We’ve got a new project started! When can we meet?”

To view Michael and Sam’s Native American presentation, click on the third grade page.

A Holiday Treat For Sheridan School

holiday_musicOn Thursday, December 16, the Lake Forest High School Holiday Wind Ensemble visited Sheridan School and provided some fabulous entertainment during the lunch periods.

Mr. Koch captured some of the instrumental performances from this fine group of musicians and edited together a video (11:21) featuring:

1. Jingle Bells (2:23)
2. The First Nowell (1:35)
3. Jolly Old St. Nicholas (0:46)
4. Oh, Christmas Tree (1:13)
5. We Three Kings Of Orient Are (1:22)
6. Angels We Have Heard On High (1:23)
7. Joy To The World (0:48)
8. Up On The Housetop (0:53)
9. We Wish You A Merry Christmas (0:52)

Image Attribution:

Cross posted at Fred Koch’s Tech Blog.

Creative Thinking in First Grade

mitten_img002As a creative thinking activity to support the reading of The Mitten, by Jan Brett, first graders were asked to write a “speech bubble” or “thinking thought” for one of the pages with no text.

In the picture, Babba, is holding two mittens. Students wrote and recorded their thoughts with Mr. Koch in three separate VoiceThread projects – one for each class.

Click on the 1st Grade page to view these great projects.

Build It and They Will Come…

P9060044What a fabulous response we have received from the Sheridan School community in response to the Africa Library Service Project!

When we announced our goal of collecting 100 books at our Sheridan School Sharing Day on November 19, we never dreamed that with one week still to go families would have donated more than 220 books!

The service project continues until the end of the day on Friday, December 17. So please continue to donate (books and $$) to this most worthwhile project.

Thanks!!!! And we promise to report the final tally as soon as we know.