Our school raised $130 on the first ever United States Red Nose day on May 21, 2015. The money raised was donated to Comic Relief, Inc., which is a 501(c)(3) public charity with a global vision of a Just World, Free from Poverty.
A Greay Experience For Students In Grades First
Thanks to Mr. Weed, Mrs. Todd, Gobles Teachers, Vertical Edge, Elementary Parents’ Club, and Our Volunteers For Successful and Fun Track & Field Days!
As our school district moves closer to becoming more and more technology savvy, I am constantly being introduced to new technology to implement within my Kindergarten classroom. A jolt of excitement rushed through my body, when I was recently introduced to a powerful new tool- Plickers (www.plickers.com). Plickers is a free tool that allows me to collect real time assessment data and give instant feedback.
Plickers consists of a paper barcode that students use to choose an answer to a question I have created. Students turn the barcode, labeled with letters of the alphabet, to choose the correct answer to a true and false or multiple choice question. I then scan the barcodes with my phone and instant feedback is given to check for understanding. I use Plickers to assess on a skill previously taught or to check for prior-knowledge before introducing a new topic.
I believe teachers of younger students may overlook or shy away from this tool due to the fact that younger students do not always have the reading skills needed to read and comprehend the questions, but I embrace this challenge and look at it as an opportunity to strengthen listening skills and practice following verbal directions. Time may also be another factor, but I have set up a routine with my students and have taught them how to prepare for the assessment. I literally say, “Plicker Time!” and within minutes the students begin the process. My thoughts are… if a Kindergarten classroom of twenty plus students can use technology and a tool like this, any classroom teacher can implement Plickers or a similar tool to enhance learning, engage students, and ensure a successful future for all. My students love using Plickers, so I am sure that yours will too!
by Suzie Stambek
Gobles Elementary Kindergarten Teacher
The 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by writing about their own personal Dreams. Mr. Curtis, Mrs. Boes, Mrs. Ivester, Mrs. O'Rourke, Mrs. Quist and Mr. Seiler were very touched by the wide dreams of our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. Many talked about how they dreamed bullying would not exist, that there would not be War, that no children would go hungry, that no human being would be homeless. The list of dreams for these students is endless. It is with great pride we now know that our students look beyond and look at the bigger pictures of life. Many of these students wish to turn these dreams into reality.
The following article was posted in the Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant TRIG Weekly Update – December 10, 2014.
Gobles Elementary is participating in the Classroom Readiness Activity this year and Julie Boes, a 5th grade teacher,is taking the T3 Course with other educators in her building. Her students have been very excited to use their new Chromebooks purchased through another TRIG activity, Device Purchasing. So much so, that she shared with us some encouraging news about a student in her classroom: "His parents said he has never volunteered to write and share anything in school. They loved seeing him excited to write an article that wasn't an assignment but writing because he wanted to!!"
Below is the essay this student wrote:
5th GRADE IS FULL OF GUINEA PIGS
You may think that's a bad thing...but lately our class has been using new technology! This includes a
very large touch screen monitor for our teacher and laptops for every student. Last week we took
a quiz from the monitor and held up paperthat had barcodes on them (Plicker). Our teacher, Mrs. Boes
used her cell phone to scan our answers. Depending on which waywe held them, the monitor
could determine if our answer was right. Mrs. Boes could download the results into her grade book.
Taking a test this way seemed like FUN not work!
We have had Chromebooks for only a week now, AND IT HAS BEEN THE BEST WEEK OF SCHOOL EVER!
We visit different web pages and even sometimes take tests on them. It seems like everyone is
paying closer attention in class, and the time seems to fly by so fast.
We go on many different web pages on our Chromebooks, which include Reflex, Sumdog 3
and Adapted Mind. On Reflex we do multiplication and division. One Adapted Mind and Sumdog we do
math problems to earn badges that tell you what level you are on. I think we are the luckiest class
in the whole elementary? We have the best teacher and the best technology.
I hope we get to keep learning this way. (The other teachers are good too!!)
On Wednesday, October 29th, sixth graders from Mrs. Tubergan’s “technololgy skills” class met with their first grade technology buddies from Mrs. Stoneburner/Mrs. Klein’s class. They decided to take a different approach to their dialogue this week by using technology. They chose to discuss their learning from the Gobles Elementary Math and Science Week. The first graders were excited to share everything they learned and experienced last week, they did this using an online app called “google story builder”. The first graders, along with their sixth grade buddies were thrilled to use the brand new google chromebooks as well. They worked diligently and wrote several online stories through story builder focused on their learning from the math and science week. Story builder records their dialogue as an online story and allows students to watch the movie and share with their teachers. Student submitted their story to Mrs. Tubergan through another google app called “Google classroom”. The possibilities with google story builder are endless. Throughout the entire assignment students were smiling, laughing, sharing, learning, conversing, and collaborating.
Here are some examples of the story builders students created:
During the week of October 20 – 24 the Elementary highlighted the importance of Math & Science with a variety of special events and activities. With support from the Gobles Foundation and the Elementary Parents’ Club, we were fortunate to offer several unique opportunities for students, parents, and the community.
Special events for the week included:
A special thank you to the Gobles Public Schools Foundation for supporting our Elementary Math & Science Fair and the Gobles Elementary Parents' Club for supporting the Dome Theater Planetarium.
One of our unique educational experiences during Math and Science week at Gobles Elementary was a visit from two recruiters at Western Michigan University’s College of Aviation. They brought a mobile airplane and spoke with 3rd-5th graders about the learning goals of current college students in their program. The students used official terminology for various parts of the plane and learned about the four main forces acting on planes during flight. The presenters stressed the importance of math and science classes in preparation for an exciting future. Having their pictures taken while sitting in the pilot’s seat appeared to be the best part!
Educators at all levels understand that learning to read is the basis for much of the learning that happens inside and outside of school, so there is reason to be very excited about reading results teachers are seeing in the kindergarten class this year.
At the semester break in mid-January, tests showed that students are progressing as readers at an unprecedented rate. This school year more than 95% percent of all kindergarten students in Gobles are achieving at grade level or have passed grade level already this school year. Students who are not yet at grade level are also showing a great deal of improvement as they work closer to grade level achievement.
The early elementary team at Gobles Elementary is thrilled with the results, and they are working hard to understand the success they are having, to keep it going and build upon it, and they agree that the most important factor in the success is the attention they pay to the progress of each individual student in the grade. The team consists of teachers and aides from the elementary school, plus the principal, and also itinerant staff from the Van Buren Intermediate School District.
Gobles school psychologist Roger Coates recognizes the impact that reading success has for a student, both immediately, and all the way through that child’s education. Coates helps review student reading results and monitor student progress as part of the elementary literacy team.
“Reading is such an important part of everything we do with kids in school,” Coates said. “It’s a skill that builds upon itself, so that progress today builds on your progress from yesterday and leads to progress tomorrow. If you aren’t progressing today, tomorrow just gets tougher. That’s why it’s critical to catch kids early and help them make that progress.”
According to Gobles Elementary Reading Specialist Geanice Miller, teachers are constantly talking about students and the progress they are making in class.
“We have meetings all the time to monitor the progress of our students,” she said. “We keep a close eye on all the kids, and that keeps the entire team on the same page with of our students as we work with them in our classrooms. Because we touch base frequently, we are not allowing students to slip through the cracks, and we are able to carefully track the progress.”
Last year Gobles Elementary School began piloting the Eight-Step Process, a method of assessing students to see where their skills are and planning specific instruction to teach exactly the skills students need to progress. The process uses real learning data and constant monitoring to help teachers address the needs of their students, but implementation of the process usually takes a few years to show such dramatic results.
But for elementary principal Terry Breen the results come as no surprise. He credits the hard work and dedication of the teachers as the reason kindergarten students, and students all over the elementary school, are blossoming this year.
“Teachers are really working hard this school year to understand their students ability levels and teach the skills those students need,” Breen said. “You can go to all the meetings you want and look at all the data you want, but it’s the implementation teachers make in the classroom every day that really impacts student success.”
Coates also sees the success in the classroom. “It’s so exciting to see teachers using research as the basis for their instruction,” he said. “Teachers are able to make really good decisions in their classrooms, and as a result can teach in a smarter and more focused way. What I see happening is giving students the best result in the amount of time teachers have with them.”
Learning to read at an early age is one of the most important factors in success from early elementary all the way up to graduation, and beyond. This is true both during the school year, and during breaks from school, especially the long summer break when skills can drop if students don’t make time for reading every day.
Autumn is a magical time at Gobles Elementary School for students, when pumpkins turn into storybook characters, and a magician made objects disappear while talking to students about kindness, character, and the challenge of bullies.
Pumpkins in October are a common site, but usually they are the grinning and sneering type that wait on front porches for Halloween night. But this fall students at Gobles Elementary School turned pumpkins into well-known characters from stories they are reading in class, thanks to a generous donation from Harvest Moon Farm.
When kindergarten teacher Suzie Stambek found out about the donation of pumpkins, she invited her colleagues to get their creative juices going for an October celebration of reading and literacy. The result, pumpkins decorated as characters from stories read in class that line school display cases.
"As teachers the fall can be such a busy time," Stambek said. "We're all so busy analyzing data, giving assessments, and creating interventions, that it can be easy to forget about the creativity and fun of teaching, and our kids need that, too. The pumpkins were a way to celebrate reading in the fall, instead of just during March (reading month). Reading and the fun of learning should be part of what we celebrate all year."
During the Halloween festival held at school, magician Alan Kazam told students that working with bullies doesn't take magic, but rather that all kids need to treat everyone well, and to always talk to an adult if problems come up with a bully at school or on the bus. During his show he made bunnies magically appear in the hand of one student, and he made a drawing seemingly come to life and talk, but it was all a fun way to talk to students about how they act and how they should treat others.
"Magicians never give away their secrets," he told his enthusiastic audience. "But when it comes to bullies we never keep secrets. We always tell an adult who can help you or others fix the situation."
It's all part of the magic of autumn in our elementary school in Gobles.