Monday, May 30, 2016

Be a Super Hero! Return Your Books!

Image source unknown - is it yours? Email me.

Monday, May 23, 2016

UPDATED: Spine Poetry

Come join us in the school library on Monday, May 23rd at 2:30 pm to participate in an afternoon of Spine Poetry. What is Spine Poetry, you ask? Well, you take the title of books which appear on the spine label and place them on top of each other to create poetry. When you have completed a poem, Ms. Stack will come around to take a photo of your poem. The photographs will then be displayed in the library and on this blog.

We got this idea from Jennifer Freedman at the Lindenhurst Middle School Library. Remember to always cite your sources! Here are some Google Photos of their Spine Poetry.

Everyone is invited to attend this ELITE event. Sign up here.

UPDATE: Spine Poetry was a ton of fun. We could have stayed all night creating and recreating poems from our bookshelves. Below are photos of some of the poems created from the titles of books.   

Friday, May 20, 2016 & Mrs. Joosten's 2nd Grade

I recently had the opportunity to hear Charles Best, a philanthropist and entrepreneur, who is the founder and CEO of, speak at a conference. is a crowdfunding platform for K-12 teachers serving in US schools. At the end of his keynote session, he gave each attendee a $30 gift card to use on the site to fund a project of our choosing. I selected Mrs. Joosten's 2nd grade class from the Ulysses Byas Elementary School in nearby Roosevelt, NY. Her students were in need a class set of carpet squares and a set of enjoyable books. I just received notification that this project is fully funded. Hooray! This project will reach 24 students who live in an extremely impoverished, underprivileged school district, not too far from Mepham High School.

This was my first experience with and I loved it! You get to pick from thousands of projects from school districts near and far. The person asking for the donation gives you a description of the student population and the project. On the site, you can see exactly where and how your donation is spent. To see the details for Mrs Joosten's request click here.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Online Student Portfolios

Why should we create an online student portfolio?

By the time students start thinking about where to apply to college, some of them have totally forgotten all the things that they have accomplished. In an effort not to leave any accomplishment, big or small off of their resumes, we decided to offer classes in creating online activity sheets. Many teachers took us up on this offer, most notably Freshman Seminar and several of our art classes.

Sample: Online Portfolio using Weebly
We began by having students create websites using Weebly. It's FREE, easy to use, and offers several templates. First we talked about what does a "good" website look like? Students scoured the web and shared websites that they thought were "good." We discussed what made those sites "good" and the following is what we came up with:
  • Appearance: Visual-appealing
  • Content: Informative
  • Functionality: Works quickly and correctly 
  • Usability: Easy to navigate, read, and understand
We then worked on a site map, and sketched out the different categories that could be included in an online student portfolios. This is what our students brainstormed:
  • Biography
  • Writing samples (best and showing progress)
  • Reflections
  • Artwork
  • Music
  • Athletics (highlight reels, stats, newspaper clippings, travel teams etc.)
  • Intramurals  
  • Clubs (offices, committees, activities, etc.)  
  • Hobbies (all activities outside of school)
  • Field trips
  • ELITE events (specific activities in our school)
  • School-wide events (blood drive, Battle of the Classes, So They Think They Can Dance, St. Baldrick's, Mr. Mepham, Open Mic Night, Talent Show, Multicultural Night, etc.) 
  • Community Service/Volunteerism
  • Awards (Student of the Month, Athlete of the Month, Intel, etc.)
  • Honor Societies
  • Contests
  • School concerts
  • Spring Arts
  • PTA 
  • Skills (computer, Photoshop, iMovie, etc.)
  • After-school/summer jobs
  •  Babysitting/dog walker
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Photographs
We considered what sources would need to be cited. Then we got started. Students had the remaining period to create their sites and include as much information under each tab as they could.

Why should we create an online student portfolio? Short answer: college applications and future employment. Online student portfolios have a BIG impact. All of your accomplishments are in one place. You can stand out from the competition. These websites highlight your personality and focus on you as a person.