Sunday, November 2, 2014

Big art grant! Help!

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ”
-Pablo Picasso

I could really use your help! I am the only teacher in California competing for $100,000 in the Farmers Insurance Dream Big Challenge. Voting goes through the end of November. At the end of November, the school with the most votes will be awarded the $100,000. We are competing against two other schools in our zone.

We are going to use the money to create a digital art program. Students will have the opportunity to create original art, use digital cameras to take photos and integrate the different media into original pieces. We will be able to purchase all the necessary equipment such as digital cameras, computers, printers, scanners and all the necessary support materials with this grant.

You know how valuable experiences with art are and how essential technology skills are. Our students are hungry for these types of experiences, yet the circumstances of their lives find them having alarmingly few experience in these areas.

Our rural district does the best it can to offer as many experience as possible for our students, but our kids need so much more. Most of the resources we have are spent on bridging the academic gap that our language learning and low socioeconomic status students experience. I am very excited to have the chance to bring this enrichment opportunity to all of the elementary schools in our school district.

At the end of each session of classes, we will have a community art show to spotlight the great work our students have done. It will let the community see what great things our kids are capable of and will strengthen our community.

I sincerely hope you will take just a moment each day to vote and verify your vote in your email. It only takes a minute and there will be no other spam or other emails sent to you as a result. We desperately need your help with this!

You can vote each day for Michael Jones of King City, CA (Southwest Zone) at

For more information about the grant, how you can help, and how art is SO important for our students you can visit the web site I created:

There is information on how to join our Facebook group, participate in our Facebook Event, or a place to sign up for daily voting reminders in your email. (I control the reminders and they will stop on November 30th when the contest is over.)

Thank you for your cosideration!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Making Insects (FREEBIE)

Our class has been studying insects so I thought it would be fun to make one.

The students planned what their insects would be like, identified the parts of their insects, provided some details about their insect, then got to create their insect with clay.
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 photo 32dec4ad-f38e-4e64-b918-f1ae3cd99f98.jpg  photo 5f8b6b19-bcdb-4293-ad6a-f134a6c0f6ce.jpg
 photo 3f8d333a-3f22-4b2c-811e-a7bddee8d7ce.jpg  photo 5b5f2868-8ba9-458d-a02d-7d45ea4ea9bc.jpg

If you are interested in using the printable to plan your own insect project you can download it from TPT here:
My Insect printable (FREE) at my TPT store

To see all the insect that my class made you can visit our classroom blog here:
Our class blog

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Our First Grade Podcasts

I really wanted to help my students experience something new, something that is going to get them excited about practicing language. So, I decided we would create our own internet radio station and create podcasts. We are starting out slowly with the students using language frames and I am hoping to progress to the students helping decide on content and giving interviews. I'm excited to see where we can take this idea!

If you want to check out our work so far visit our internet radio station page Superstar Internet Radio

We are using an Olympus DP-311 for voice recording and Audacity or Adobe Audition (depending on where I do the editing) for editing the audio files. If you and your students are doing something fun to keep the kids engaged and excited about language practice or if you have any questions, please comment.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Classroom Tech Makeover

Well, the year got off to a great start. I posted back in July about the Farmers Insurance Thank a Million Teacher grant opportunity. I GOT IT! It took a lot of my time to get the word out and get the support of my community, but it worked and it was well worth it. The money came in and I was able to turn it into great technology for our classroom. We got some Chromebooks so we can continue to do great things with Google Apps.
One of the other things we got for the classroom was digital voice recorders. They have been a lot of fun and have helped engage the students in practicing their verbal skills.
I have created a new classroom web site where I will share the fruits of our labor. You can see our first podcast there. We have decided to take to the internet airwaves and put out some podcasts on our very own internet radio station. I am excited to stretch the limits of what we can do with our new technology and find new ways to support our educational goals with technology.

Our new web site is

Monday, July 7, 2014

$2500 grant opportunity - I could use your help - YOU CAN APPLY TOO!!!

I am a teacher in King City that is trying to earn a $2500 grant for my classroom from Farmers Insurance. The grants are awarded based on internet voting. I am the only teacher on the 'leaderboard' on the entire central coast of California(and probably the only participant in this month's grant cycle.) Any way that you can support my efforts to bring this grant to our area would be greatly appreciated.

I want to enhance my students' learning by providing them with technology experiences.
It is too late to get in on this round of grants, but you can submit for a future cycle. But in the meantime, PLEASE give me a vote each day to make this a reality for my students. Comment that you voted for me and when your grant is up for voting I will return the favor when you share your grant proposal. Thank You!!!

The web address is: Farmer's Thank a Million Teachers
A search for 93930 zip code shows my grant for M. Jones of King City

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Common Core Assessment Workbooks

I just downloaded a preview of the Common Core Aessment Workbooks for first grade from This really seems like an interesting idea. The notion of having a resource to go to with a tangible assessment for each of the standards seems like a concept that might simplify things a little. Of course for many of the Common Core Standards a worksheet or a page or two is not enough evidence of the complete understanding of a concept or standard. However when it comes to record keeping, this has a nice checklist of the standards and an actual artifact that you could put into a folder. These seem like they could be valuable as a piece of your common core record keeping arsenal. Let's face it, keeping on top of all those standards can be a real challenge. Any resource that can help simplify things or take a little of that management off your plate has to potential to be beneficial.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am going to be given a complete workbook for writing this review and following some basic steps they have laid out. However, I would not go through the trouble if I didn't think that the product had some merit. I will follow up with how this workbook fits in with the other things I am doing with common core assessing when I put it to use.