Well, our websites were added to the GCCAS.org webpage and this page has exploded! It has been viewed by many students and parents a like. How do I know? Because some of you have already emailed me or called me about events coming up! That's great!
   One fun thing that we will be doing as an extension to our STEM focus as a school in sixth grade will be participating in the Made by Milk carton building contest. Check out the website and get your thinking caps on! I will announce the first week of school via the website, calendar, and a note on the white board, when our first meeting will be and what will be on the agenda. If you are thinking about joining the team, please plan on attending to learn more! 
   I hope you have all had a chance to run by the school and get your uniform shirts ordered. The sixth grade shirts are different colors than all the other grades. We will have a lot more things for you to participate in as well. For example, we will be having a sixth grade staffed safety patrol comprised of trustworthy students that can get to school just a bit earlier and stay a bit later. Not all members of the safety patrol need to patrol both times. I also believe that our principal, Mr. Auer, will ask parents of sixth graders to pick them up just a few minutes after regular pick up time in the afternoons so that sixth graders can help with the younger students. What a great responsibility!
  That's about it for now. Make sure you keep up with the calendar. If you use Google calendars you can simply copy any events onto your own calendar to keep important dates on your desk top, phone, or other devices. If you need help with any of the technology we may be using in class, don't hesitate to contact me

   Us teachers start back to school next week, so summertime must be over. :^(  I look forward to meeting you all at Meet the Teacher night! :^)
     I am so excited! This week things at the school have really started to come together. I have bee volunteering for a kindergarten reading readiness boot camp in the morning and working on my classroom of the afternoons, and I must admit the anticipation is building! We are still waiting on some furniture (should be in very very soon) and text books, but things are coming in every day! I am really looking forward to meeting you all as time draws near for the first day of school. I hope you are as excited as I am. I bet you are! 
     Remember, as you gather school supplies there are no particular colors of binders needed, nothing needs to come from Walmart (buy it where the price is the best), and some things may not even need to be new (think USB Flash drives, ear buds, etc...). If you have items that are in good repair, use those. 
     Soon I will have items posted here like the syllabus, students handbook, and other important information that you may want to refer to in the future. 
    Speaking of the future, I'd better go to bed, 7:30 comes real early in the morning! See you soon!!!! 
I am so exhausted! On July 18th we started moving furniture and desks into the school! It's so exciting to see the old office building that Forza leased for us take shape as a school. The cafeteria has all new flooring, as does much of the school. The classrooms have carpet. The walls are all new, and freshly painted and we are almost ready to set up our classrooms. 
Sixth graders have two of the largest classrooms in the school! Our second sixth grade teacher, Mr. Bradfield, arrived just in time to help and we toured the new sixth grade space. We were both pretty pleased at how large the rooms are, but look forward to adding furniture and you, the students! My room number is 12, and Mr. Bradfield's room number is 1, but they are right next to one another. 
We still have lots to do, however. There are shipment of furniture, technology, textbooks, and more yet to arrive. Hopefully we will get the same level of volunteerism as we did on the first moving day. We had lots of parents, a whole football team, and many of the teachers and staff on hand to help. Some of the other shipments could require assembly, so I guess I'd better get my cordless screwdrivers charged. Check out the school website or the GCCAS Facebook page for pictures! Also, follow the PTO's Facebook page for other events coming up.

See you soon! 
I hope you are all having a great summer! I know mine has been super busy. I have been developing computer tools to help all of the staff at GCCAS. I am also looking forward to attending a summer STEM conference, where I expect to learn many great ways to incorporate science, math, engineering, and technology into more of our class time. I have great expectations for the STEM focus that we are taking this year. 

In the midst of getting ready for this new big adventure I had to take a very important test. How many of you like to take tests? A lot of people think that after you finish school you won't ever have to take another test, but many jobs require certifications, teachers being one of them. I graduated from college being certified to teach 6-12th grade social studies. However, to be able to teach other subjects, I needed to be certified to teach K-6th grade in general education. So, I started to study. Reading books and guides and taking practice tests. It was not the best way I could think of spending my summer; I'd much rather have been fishing! 

Luckily, all that studying paid off and I passed that major test! One of the things we will work on all year are test taking strategies and how to study and take notes. These skills will serve you a lifetime! Now I can not only teach social studies, but also other subjects. I believe that I will be teaching social studies and math this year. This might change before the first day, but I'm pretty sure this is plan. I'm glad I took that test and did well. Do you feel good when you do well on an important test or other event that you want to do well in? We all practice to do as best as we can.
Studying for this test had me reading a lot over the past few weeks. i hope you have been reading as well. Have you ever read a Choose Your Own Adventure book? They are a pretty neat series of books. I know they have them at the library. If you get a chance to go to the library you should look them up. 
We are getting close to move in day at the school! Soon we will be setting up classrooms, shelving classroom libraries, and preparing for meet the teacher night! If you have already started getting ready for school by purchasing supplies, please make sure you read the notes on the list and check it before school starts. 
I am looking forward to meeting you all very soon! 
As sixth graders we will be involved in the Accelerated Reader, or AR, program. If you have never been introduced to the AR program, allow me to explain a bit about how it works.

First, at the beginning of the year we will take a quick reading assessment  called the STAR test. It will help to determine what AR level students should read on. This test has a proven algorithm for determining fluency level, vocabulary level, and text complexity to help students further develop their reading skills. Like many people, if left alone, students will stick to a level of text that they find comfortable. AR challenges that comfort level by awarding points for books read and tested on.

Next, after the STAR test has been administered, students will be assigned a reading range. Books have been assessed by the developers of the AR program and placed within the ranges based on the same things students were tested on. As the ranges increase in value, so does the difficulty and complexity of the text. 

Once assigned a reading level, together with the students we will establish a point goal for the grading period. The students will then read AR books within their range, test on the book after completion, and gain points toward their goals. 

At the end of each quarter we will look at how well the student did, in both gaining points and achieving goals, and then decide how much we can raise the goal for the next quarter. Students may also gain extra recognition or small rewards for making gains. 

That's not too bad, right? It's not, and students love to read the wide range of books available to test on as well as compete against each other.  The hurdle we have at the moment is the lack of books for sixth graders to read and test on.

I have taken the time to create a wish list through Classrooms by Walmart of the top books for sixth grade readers over the past few years. If you can donate any of these books to our classroom library, it would be very appreciated. The books will be available for all students to check out, read, and test on. And the books don't need to be bought from Walmart, they can be donated to the classroom from any source you have. If you decide to give a book, just click the Pledge button under the title and that lets me know you will bring it in.

In the meantime, you can use this list to help direct your students summer reading! See you soon!!!!
What do you like to do when it's either too hot or won't stop raining during these Florida summers? 
I like to explore the online universe! One of my favorite hobbies is technology. I am always looking for great new ways to make learning fun and exciting. 
When the school year starts we will talk about a few ways to utilize technology in our classroom, and out of it, that will help us communicate for success. I am spending my days researching more ways and  look forward to sharing all that I have found during our first few meetings. 
In the meantime, why not use the internet to play some games? If you look around on our website you will see that I have added some game sites that many teachers are recommending because their students loved them so much. 
However, you should always follow a few rules when going online.
  1. Always ask your parent's permission. You should let them know what you are wanting to view.
  2. Never click on any ads or commercials. Be cautious as you navigate the web. When in doubt, log out!
  3. Never give any private information about yourself to anyone. If you want to use a site that asks you to create an account, ask your parent's to help you out. Don't chat with people you don't know.
As thoroughly as I evaluate websites, I have no control over the ones that display advertisements. If it were up to me, there would be no ads at all! 
And why can playing games help you over he summer? Well, most of them require you to read, which is always a good thing. Many of them make you think critically about what you need to do next. And some of them can help keep your other skills sharp as well, like your math skills and science vocabulary skills. 
Have fun playing games and keep cool!  


   You know they say it's always calmest before the storm? The summer may be calm, but I'm not! I am so excited to be a part of this brand new charter school. To be proactive I decided to get this class website up and running, even if I may be the only one looking at it. :^) 
   Gulf Coast Charter Academy South is a STEM focused charter school opening brand new this upcoming school year. There's so much to getting a new school started, I had no idea! There are accounts to get set up so that teachers can get great deals on classroom supplies. There is furniture to get, technology to purchase, and... there was something else... oh yeah, books to buy! 
   Luckily we have a great group of professional educators, administration, and management company all pitching in together to get things done. I'm sure we will discover things that are missing as we move forward, but I'm sure we will get those things as well. 
   We are all busy little bees. Many of the teachers, myself included, are attending workshops to keep familiar skills sharp and discover new ones, especially the focus on STEM.
   Do you know what STEM is? That's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Many people think that those subjects are exclusive or aren't part of other subjects, but that's not right. As part of these workshops, we will discover how all of the areas of STEM work into the subjects of art, social studies, and even music! 
   Well, as things keep moving and shaking around here during the warmest part of the summer, I hope you are keeping cool and keeping your skills sharp by reading! Wonder why reading is important, even when school is out? Check out this page on our website.    
   That's about it for now. Check back throughout the summer and I'll post more about the going-ons as the school takes shape. I look forward to seeing you all in August!