Working for the weekend...

Just a typical Saturday for our Lewis staff. Ms. Rotwein and Mr Hansen drove to Seattle to attend and present at the The 8th Annual Northwest Conference on Teaching for Social Justice. Our PE teacher, Ms. Layman attended several student soccer games, and our music teacher, Mr. Jamesbarry took part in a workshop at Columbia Valley Grade School. Others were home working, getting ready for parent teacher conferences that take place this week. 

When folks mention the workload of teachers and question their commitment, I just have to shake my head. I work with a tremendously committed group of people.

Cardboard Challenge at Lewis

A few years back I shared with my staff the story of Caine's Arcade. Caine's Arcade is a short film that tells the story of a boy named Caine and how he built a cardboard arcade in the front of his dad's auto parts store in Los Angeles. It is a very uplifting little film that celebrates creativity and the human spirit.

The film led to the annual Global Cardboard Challenge Day and this has inspired several of my teachers to take part in this annual celebration by having a Cardboard Challenge day of our own. This week students from Mr. Hansen, Ms. Elissa, and Ms. Kennedy's classrooms spent time planning cardboard arcade games, and then on Wednesday afternoon the classrooms came together in the cafeteria to create their games. 

With the help of parent volunteers, the students created their games and then spent time doing a gallery walk and then actually getting an opportunity to play the games. 

You can see more of their handy work on Twitter.

Mr. Hansen @lewisroom24
Ms. Elissa Dingus @epdingus
Ms. Kennedy @pamelakennedy17










A Donation

On Wednesday, one of our students wanted to meet with me after school. Turns out that he had some of his art work on display at a local coffee shop and he sold most of it. He made $100 from the sale of the art work and wanted to meet with me to donate the money to the school. His generosity inspired the coffee shop owner, and the coffee shop matched his donation. We now have $200 that will be used to purchase additional art supplies for our school. A big thank you to all involved.

Using Flipboard to Curate Tweets From my Staff

I am very pleased with the number of my teachers who are sharing their classrooms via Twitter. I am happy to see the various ways they share the work of their students and provide a window into the work taking place in their classrooms.

To facilitate following these tweets we have created a Twitter list ( that contains all of our staff posts on Twitter. The list provides a flow of tweets and is a great way to keep track of what is going on at Lewis Elementary.

While you can follow Twitter lists via the Twitter web site and also through various Twitter applications, I enjoy following ours via the Flipboard application. Flipboard is a social-network aggregation app that presents posts in a magazine style format. It presents various forms of information, including Twitter feeds, blog posts, and media articles, in a magazine type format. It is visually appealing and presents the media associated with a tweet.

Cover from our weekly Flipboard Magazine of staff member posts...

Cover from our weekly Flipboard Magazine of staff member posts...

Another feature of Flipboard is the ability to create what they call magazines. Magazines are curated collections of items. I utilize Magazines on Flipboard to organize articles related to teaching that might be of interest to my staff. I then can share the magazine with my staff via a link, or if they utilize Flipboard, they can subscribe to the magazine through the app.

Another way that I utilize magazines on Flipboard is by curating selected Twitter posts from my staff. Each Saturday morning I review the previous week's tweets in Flipboard and select several that help tell the story of the previous week at my school. Again, users of Flipboard can subscribe to the magazine, and I can also share a link to the magazine via Twitter.

Flipboard is a great tool for reading articles and social media posts, and also a great way to organize content for sharing with others. 

And we are off...

This past Thursday marked our first day of the new school year. I am very excited to see what the year brings.

On the technology front, we are pretty much 1:1 with Chromebooks in grades 3-5. It has been nice to see our grade level teams begin to collaborate and discuss instructional strategies for use of the technology, and to share and learn from one another.

Also several more classrooms and staff members have created Twitter accounts to share and document their work. Am looking forward to following those posts. To help with that we have created a Twitter list composed of all the Lewis Twitter accounts. You can follow along at the link below.

Playing Around with Status Board 2

A local Portland software company, Panic, has a nice little iPad app called Status Board. The app allows you create a message board type of display that can include various elements, including  calendar items, Twitter feeds, images, local weather info, and other types of information that can be displayed on an LCD TV. 

At Lewis we have a large LCD monitor mounted near our main office. We have been using it in conjunction with an AppleTV to display school photos. When we originally set it up, it was connected to an old laptop and displayed various widgets in addition to recent photos from our school Flickr feed. The laptop eventually gave out and was replaced with an AppleTV. This allowed us to show the photos, but nothing else.  I have been looking for a tool that would allow me to continue to display images, but also display other school based information along with the images. Status Board does this quite well.

Status Board comes with several built in modules, and with a little coding, allows you to display other types of information such as charts and tables, even local transit information. I am thinking of doing some work to display information such as the school lunch menu, and our average daily attendance. All in all a very visually appealing tools for displaying information. 


Camp Chromebook...

On Friday, June 19th, Lewis hosted Camp Chromebook. Camp Chromebook is a professional development opportunity organized around the use of technology, specifically Chromebooks and ChromeOS in schools. We had over 55 participants and the presentations and sessions were well received. Lunch was pretty good too!

Another Camp Chromebook is scheduled for August 14, 2015, and again Lewis Elementary will host. Registration is now open. Lunch is provided. Hope to see you there.

Art Night 2015

On Thursday, May 7, 2015 at Lewis we celebrated our 27th annual Art Night. This tradition involves turning our hallways into galleries of student art work collected from throughout of the year, and also performances by our musical groups. Students act as docents, standing near their work and explaining the processes used to create the work. It is a highlight of our school year and something I always look forward to.

Art Night at Lewis  

Art Night at Lewis