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#svvsdchat March 12-16 A Culture of Collaboration

We’re excited to announce that our next #svvsdchat begins March 12th! Our topic this month: How to Build a Culture of Collaboration and we invite you to join educators from around St Vrain and beyond to discuss this topic.

Check out this page to learn about the #SVVSDChat and how to participate. 

See below for the questions for this chat on collaboration!

Q1 Day One Describe when you have experienced a culture of collaboration as a learner or an educator. 

Q2 Day Two What fears/worries do educators have to overcome to build a culture of collaboration in classrooms? How have you overcome these barriers?

Q3 Day Three How do you build a culture that is safe for collaboration for students? 

Q4 Day Four What can you do to encourage a culture of collaboration in your role now?

This week 5th grade students at Burlington Elementary were busy creating books about the early explorers.  They spent time examining who the explorers were their aims, obstacles and accomplishments as well as the impact exploration had on Native Americans. In this learning activity students worked on the skills of paraphrasing and using textual evidence.  Students were broken into groups of three to create a section of a book, once each section was complete Ms. Rovnak compiled the work into two class books. Check out their creations below!


Kapow! Remixing the Superhero Myth

LiamThe dashing and muscular young man flying in to save a damsel in distress is an image that has woven its way into the fabric of American culture.  Karen Ranglos of NHS challenged her students to think about this myth and the significance it has in modern day society.  After studying various parts of Marvel comics she challenged her 9th grade students to change this myth by remixing an existing hero and story to better represent a part of American culture that is under-represented.  Students both worked on changing the physical stereotypes of their superhero as well as remixing a part of the story.  Students then spent time analyzing the complex question of, so what?  How did these changes alter the story and why does that matter?

Stay tuned to see examples of the students’ remixed comics.



5 Links Monday on Tuesday March 1st!

1.) I remember learning about leap year in elementary school and immediately feeling sorry for anyone born on that day. As a child, it would be a major bummer to only have your birthday once every 4 years. As I get older, I envy the idea of only having 1 birthday every 4 years. The chances of having a leapday birthday are one in 1,461….better than the powerball I guess. I enjoyed this article packed full of tons of leap year facts.

2.) This picture of our Super Bowl winning QuarterBack will always be one of my favorites. A nagging ankle injury may keep others from studying film, but not the Sheriff!

Manning Studying Film

Peyton is the ultimate student of the game, devoting dozens of hours each week to learning from his mistakes by watching film. Teachers and students in our district study film just like Peyton! This video showcases a few champions in our district doing just that!

3.) Now that all teachers in our district have or are getting laptops- it’s time to share my favorite easy trick: AdBlock Plus! There is nothing worse than having the perfect YouTube video to show to your class, and being delayed by an ad before the video starts. Or how annoying is it when you have a great website you want to show students, but there is an inappropriate banner on the top of the page? Well those problems and more vanish when you install AdBlock Plus as an extension for the Chrome or Safari Browser.

4.)  This website is an awesome way to teach about other areas of the world! If it were my home– allows you to see how your life would be different if a country other than the United States were your home. For example, did you know that you would be 19 times more likely to die in infancy if Afghanistan were your home?

5.) This last link is for my fellow political junkies! Today is of course a Super Tuesday…it can be difficult to keep up with the race towards the general election. This site shows a lot of awesome ways to follow the election on your iPad/iPhone or new Mac. By subscribing to the primary calendars, I get notifications before each state’s primary or caucus. Vote early, vote often.

5 Links Monday (On Tuesday 2/9)

Link #1 – Super Bowl Commercials

In case you missed the commercials this Chicago Tribune Article grades them for you.

Link #2 – Screen time that supports learning 

ipadWith the increase in mobile devices children are getting more and more screen time.  This Mind/Shift article examines what literacy means in the digital age and provides points to consider when kids access screens.  The American Academy of Pediatrics  recently convened a Digital Symposium to discuss screen time recommendations and began to look at educational vs. noneducational uses.  Check out these articles to learn more about the AAP’s new guidelines

Link #3 – Growth Mindset Misconceptions

A growth vs. fixed mindset is something frequently discussed among educators.  This article discusses five common misconceptions about the idea of a growth mindset.

Link #4 – History of Valentine’s Day

heatsWhat does Lupercalia, Emperor Claudius II and the start of  mating season for birds have in common?  All of these events help to build the modern construct of Valentine’s Day.  If you are interested in other Valentine’s Day facts watch these videos from The History Channel

Link #5 –  Blueberry Coconut Oatmeal Pudding 

oatmealTypically I do not like oatmeal, however, this dish has made me a convert.  I love the vanilla and slight coconut flavors.  I make a big batch on the weekends and reheat portions during the week.  Some modifications is that I reduce the honey to about 1 TBSP, skip the blueberries (I hate warm fruit) and add a bunch of diced pecans.

Doing Democracy Day 2015

Uncle SAmThe 6th Annual St. Vrain Doing Democracy Day will be held on Tuesday, April 21st.  In this event students from around the district grapple with local issues and present solutions to a panel of stakeholders.  This year students will look at the following issues:

  • Vaccinations and School Attendance
  • Banning Plastic Bags
  • Raising Minimum Wage
  • Student Representation on School Boards
  • Racial Profiling
  • Addressing Mental Health Issues in Schools

Want to participate in the event? Join us in one of our virtual spaces:

  • Twitter Chat:  We will be hosting a #DDD2015 twitter chat from 9:30-10:30.  Please join us and let your voice be heard!
  • Live Streaming: The final three groups will deliver their presentations from 2:00-3:00.  Watch the live presentations on this Google Hangout on Air.  (Having trouble viewing the hangout because of safety mode?  Switch your browser for Firefox) 

SVVSD Twitter Chat

twitterSeveral coordinators from various departments inside of Learning Services are participating in a book study where we are reading the National Writing Project book Teaching in the Connected Classroom.  A central component to the book is that in order for us to grow in our professional practice we should strive to be openly networked thus building a space for us to discover, participate and create.

As a first step to becoming more openly networked myself, Patty Hagan (OPD) and Kim Wiggins (Assessment) decided to host St. Vrain’s 1st Professional Learning Twitter Chat.  See below for the details.

When: Today (3/5) 4:00-4:30
Topic: Coaching
Hashtag: #svvsdlearns

We are hoping to make this a monthly event but are still working on the  details.  Come meet us in the Twitterverse!