Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Real Work of a Professional Learning Community

The conference begins

We arrived yesterday evening to a cold and windy Hollywood. After a long day we ran back to the Roosevelt Hotel to freshen up and get ready for dinner. As ten of us packed into the van, we headed off to The Blvd. restaraunt at The Regent Beverly Wiltshire Hotel. We had a fabulous dinner with great company! On the way home we took the scenic view and enjoyed all the hoopla that goes along with being in Hollywood.

This morning we were up at the crack of dawn, I love being in a different time zone, and were off to the conference for our schools' virtual tour presentation. It was packed. At the end of our day we listened to Judy Codding, president and chief executive officer of America's Choice, as well as Dr. Wiggenhorn.

We are finally back to get ready for dinner though we are exhausted and our feet our tired. We look forward to a great day tomorrow! Don't forget to log onto live from the creek website to see the details of the conference as we experience it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And We're Off !

This week I will embark on a journey with 9 colleagues (administrators and coaches) as we head out to Hollywood, California. We have been a National Model School for America's Choice School Design for many years and this week will be presenting during the conference. During the week, we will also be blogging our experiences through our new blog LIVE From The Creek. This will allow our colleagues to share in the conference with us thousands of miles away. Make sure you tune in to see all that we are seeing and learning.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Week of Celebrations

The week has come to an end and everyone is exhausted from the celebrations. What a wonderful experience we have had here at Chets for the students and the teachers. For those of us who have been at this school for many years, it was an extremely memorable week. Chets Creek has become not only my second home (as I enter my
9th year) but to my two children who grew up in this school as well. On Chets Creeks' first birthday the school buried a time capsule in the primary playground. Last week we opened up the capsule to view all the great things that the students and teachers left. It was that year that my own son was in Kindergarten. Here we are ten years later, the time capsule is filled once again with memories from Kindergarten to 5th grade, and I look forward to the next 10 years of Chets Creek memories. Here is a glimpse into our week!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's Party Time

Today our students were treated to the Chets Creek Birthday Party in the cafeteria. All day the kids were excited about the fun afternoon. We made party hats in class and were ready to go.

They were invited in one grade level at a time and treated to dancing, singing, goodie bags, and cupcakes. Each child also received a birthday t-shirt to wear on Friday.

They had a great time and were exhausted by the end of the day. Check out our video coming soon of these great kindergarteners singing Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Celebrating with the Chets Creek Family

Chets Creek has always felt that in order to love your job it is important to build lasting relationships with students and colleagues. Today as we celebrate our 10th birthday, we were able to enjoy a day with our alumni faculty and alumni students. We began our day with a breakfast with all our current faculty and alumni. For those of us who have been at Chets for many years, it is so nice to see everyone who has left us to further their career or stay at home with new babies. As much as I enjoy talking to old colleagues, there isn't anything better than seeing former students all grown up. Today as I looked around the room I was reminded how important relationships are and I am thankful to be part of the Chets family.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Technology is invading our classroom once again! -Happy Birthday Chets Creek

This week we stepped into a new area of technology in our class - voicethreads. For those of you who don't know what that is, you are not alone. In order to truly understand what a voicethread can do, you can visit voicethread and click on "What is a voicethread". But more important is understanding what voicethreads can do in your classroom. This week students were able to listen to a voicethread of our schools' Book of the Month - P is for Princess. They loved to watch the pictures displayed on the big screen and still hear my voice reading the story. Students were even more excited when they learned that they were going to be able to voicethread their own stories! I would never be able to describe the smile on each child's face as he/she read individual stories onto the computer and were then able to listen to his/her own voice. Now parents are able to see and hear the work from their child. You too can visit our birthday stories in honor of Chets Creeks 10th birthday this week. You can also visit our reading of the Book of the Month on our class blog!
Welcome to the world of voicethreads.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where's Rick?

You might be asking "Who's Rick?" and "Why do we care where he is?" Rick Ellenburg is Florida's Teacher of the year. We care because Rick was at Chets Creek this week to provide us with professional development in Science. Yes, believe it or not, Rick is a full time science resource teacher K- 5. Rick was able to spend the day with each grade levels' science teachers and provide them with ideas to help bring inquiry into the classroom every day!

Questions ranged from best practices for our Kindergarteners to how we can maximize our instructional time. I was able to host our guest and spend the entire day with him. I can't wait to meet with our Science Wizards to discuss specific topics that will enhance our instruction.

One idea that I heard him repeat throughout the day is creating a "take apart center" in our room. This area would allow students the freedom to take apart old electrical appliances and give them the freedom to learn how things work on their own. This would provide students with the opportunity to understand how things in their world work. What a great idea! I can't wait to start with my Kindergarteners. We truly appreciate the time and energy that Rick was able to share with us and can't wait to see our little scientist grow! If you would like to learn more about Rick you can visit his blog at

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Alex's Lemonade Stand

This year our Kindergarten team decided to adopt a program called "Alex's Lemonade Stand". For those of you who don't know who Alex is, she was a little girl who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 4. Alex and her older brother set up a lemonade stand in their front yard to help raise money to support childhood cancer research. Each year they hosted their lemonade stand along with others around the nation who also wanted to raise money for research. When Alex died at the age of 8, her lemonade stands had raised over 1 million dollars.

The day before our holiday break, our class hosted the Lemonade Stand. We set up shop 45 minutes prior to our 2nd grade play and sold lemonade 1 1/2 hours. With the help of 3 girls from our class, we raised $115.00!!! We couldn't believe it ourselves. How powerful is it to show how much we can make a difference for just a small amount of our time?

If you want to learn more about Alex's Lemonade Stand you can visit the website at