Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Connecting through Blogs at Benton Community

Welcome to the World of Blogging at Benton Community Schools!  We have some very lucky community members who are given a glimpse of what goes on every day in classrooms across Benton Community.  Take a walk with me as I highlight eleven blogs of Benton Community educators.  

Jodie Wood {Preschool Happenings} is a 3-4 year old preschool teacher at Van Horne Elementary.  On her blog, she shares happenings every few days with parents and members of the community.  For several days {was it weeks!?} in a row this winter, our elementary students experienced inside recess!  She shared her students who were improvising with exercises in her blog post, "So Ambitious!" Jodie stated, "I always have parents thank me for doing the blog. They love the pictures and when they ask their preschooler what they did at school, the answer is always, "nothing."  It doesn't take that much time at all and it doesn't have to be fancy. It's also very easy to share with parents."   Thanks for sharing with us, Miss Wood!

Kim Fisher {The Kraziness of KF Kinderland} is a kindergarten teacher at Van Horne Elementary.  Mrs. Fisher shares tips for struggling readers, important announcements, upcoming dates, and family activities on her blog.   On our last snow day, Kim shared an idea for families to make snow ice cream in her blog, "Snow Day = Family Day".  Kim shared, "Blogging has really allowed me to share some awesome achievements I get to witness in the classroom.  I want, so badly, for my families to experience those achievements as well!  Blogging is one way I can make that possible!"  Thank you, Mrs. Fisher, for sharing!

Anna Upah {Teaching in the 21st} teaches first grade at Van Horne Elementary.  Ms. Upah shares some awesome things on her blogs with her followers.  One of my favorites includes her weekly posts about "I Can Statements" where she has the students record and talk about these statements and she publishes them out for parents to see.  Another way Anna communicates through her blog is about upcoming dates.  Below the video is a snapshot of her reminder blog post about Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Thank you for sharing, Ms. Upah!

Samantha Happel {Crayons and Keyboards} also teaches first grade at Van Horne Elementary.  While she has been on maternity leave since Christmas break, she has posted some updates of their family's newest addition, Meet Baby Quinn.  Mrs. Happel also took her blog as a platform to introduce her long-term sub to the parents in her classroom as part of her January Newsletter.  Thank you for sharing, Mrs. Happel!

Gina Embray {Second Grade Shenanegans} is also a second grade teacher at Van Horne Elementary.  Mrs. Embray uses her blogging platform to communicate with parents about upcoming events, assignments, and classroom happenings.  "Inside Recess Activitieswas a topic of one of Mrs. Embray's recent posts.  Thank you for sharing with us, Mrs. Embray!    

Dena Bridgewater {Second Grade Scribbles} is a second grade teacher at Van Horne Elementary Center.  In her most recent blog post, she shared about her students' latest project, Reader's Theater - The Tricky Garden.  She was also able to share some Valentine's Day announcements and a few pictures of her students' Valentine's Day box projects.  While Mrs. Bridgewater is just starting her blogging journey, we look forward to following along.  Thank you for sharing, Mrs. Bridgewater!

Jen Bange {View from the Library} is a technology, TAG, and library teacher at Benton Community's four elementary centers.  Jen has recently started blogging again, but she has also used blogging as a platform for her students.  She says, "Blogging gives students an authentic audience for their writing, and it also allows for collaboration and peer review.  As a teacher, blogging is an excellent tool for reflection and communication. Teachers can share what they are doing with learners in the classroom. This provides communication not only between the teacher and the parent, but also between the parent and their child." Mrs. Bange has recently used her blogging platform for a space to reflect as an educator.  We attended a workshop with George Couros, and Jen reflected on her learning that day in her post, "Leading Innovative Change."  Mrs. Bange has recently entered into a blog-a-week challenge with me to keep us both motivated and accountable.  Thanks for the push to blog, Mrs. Bange, and thank you for sharing!

Mike Embretson teaches physical education and technology classes at Keystone and Van Horne Elementary Centers. Mr. Embretson highlights happenings in his physical education classes, and he also has a space to share what students are learning about in technology.  Mike uses his blogging platform to share what students are completing such as his "Star Wars" activity from earlier this fall.  Thanks for sharing, Mr. Embretson!

Kelsey Kearns {Ms. Kearns' Korner} teaches special education at Benton Community Middle School.  She is brand new to the blogging world. Her blog is very informational in the fact that it has tabs telling about the classroom, about her, upcoming dates, and information on websites students can use in and outside of the classroom.  Thanks for being a front runner in the secondary teacher blogging world at Benton, Kelsey! 

Kory Winsor {MrWinsorBCHistory} teaches World History at Benton Community High School.  He utilizes his daily blogging platform to publish his lesson plans to parents and students.  He sets the stage for each lesson with an overview, lists activities, and also communicates lesson objectives.  Followers can easily sign up for email updates and search through his lesson plan archive. Thank you for helping pave the way, Mr. Winsor, to share what is happening in your classroom with the rest of the district and community! 

Mr. Zittergruen {MrZsBobcatUpdate} shares updates with staff and community members on a daily basis.  Mr. Zittergruen takes to his blogging platform to share happenings in our district and upcoming important events or dates to remember.  Mr. Zittergruen recently highlighted the new members being inducted in his post, "National Honor Society Inducts 36 New Members."  Thank you for keeping us up-to-date on district happenings and your continued sharing on your blog, Mr. Zittergruen.  

BCTLT Blog is a sharing platform for our Benton Community Teacher Leadership Team.  In a recent post, we highlighted the growing network of professionals using Twitter to grow in our profession in a post called, "What is a PLN and Why Should You Have One?"  This post has an in-depth list of BC Twitter users to follow and BC Hashtags to follow for updates on specific teams and organizations.  We also recently tried our hand in using to create a brochure on our Teacher Leadership program. Another post last fall highlited the Iowa Department of Education's visit to interview our team in a post called, "Iowa Department of Ed Spotlights Benton Community."  A early post which we frequently revisit is our snapshot of the Collaborative Learning / Data Teams {CL/DT} we have at Benton Community.  The Cycle is outlined in the blog post found here.  We welcome your feedback; if you would like us to blog on a certain topic, please let us know.  Continue to check back for more updates and information from #BCTLT!

This post was originally posted by Andrea to our Teacher Leadership Blog - 

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