Monday, September 29, 2014

Musical Questions - Kinesthetic Activity in the English/Language Arts Classroom!

The popular game, Musical Chairs, is the inspiration for my new instructional approach, Musical Questions.

Musical Chairs is a mainstay in elementary classrooms and at parties. With that knowledge, I decided to bring a version of the game into my middle school English/Language Arts classroom as a way to incorporate more movement. 

Participants love the sound of the music as well as the excitement of determining who will be lucky enough to claim a seat when the music ceases.  In Musical Chairs, everyone is engaged.  I knew that I could transfer that engagement into my classroom by being a little creative.

I altered Musical Chairs into a fun, engaging instructional strategy that I call Musical Questions.  This tool is used to facilitate comprehension questions and discussions.

Here are the rules:
  • The teacher poses a rich (higher-order) question to the students after reading a section of a novel or some other type of reading material.
  • The teacher allows for wait time/processing time.
  • The question is posted on the Smartboard via PowerPoint or Prezi with appropriate images to bring the question to life.
  • Students are asked to stand with their novel or other source. Student will use the text as evidence when discussing the question.
  • While the music is playing, students are migrating around the classroom while discussing the question on the board with a variety of classmates.
  • When the music stops, students must sit in the nearest desk.  Since students will exchange seats, they must take their source material with them in order to continue reading.
  • The student who is the last one to sit down must answer the question for the class as well as facilitate the conversation by choosing two other students to respond.
  • After the three responses are shared, students continue reading the text.
  • The process can be repeated as many times as you would like.
  • It is my recommendation that students engage with different students after each question in an effort to expand collaboration.
I have been utilizing the Musical Questions Method as I read Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer with my 6th Graders, and we all love the process because now answering comprehension questions has become a game.  Students are able to move and converse while enjoying the book.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

WonderWorks Teacher Appreciation 2014

The sky was the limit while visiting WonderWorks for Teacher Appreciation 2014!

WonderWorks is an indoor, interactive museum/amusement park with over 100 exhibits expanding the themes of space, physics, math, and other scientific topics.

Wonder Works is a major attraction at Broadway at the Beach!

Last weekend, I attended the WonderWorks Teacher Appreciation Event!  Teachers from North and South Carolina received free all-access, all-day passes!  I traveled to Myrtle Beach with my colleagues with the objective of determining if WonderWorks would make a feasible field trip for our middle school students.

Watch the following video of our Road Trip to WonderWorks as well as our exploration of the various exhibits!

Here are some personal photos from the trip:

Sherron Evans (Guidance Counselor at SVMS) relaxing on a bed of nails.
Here I am on a Bed of Nails at Wonder Works Teacher Appreciation 2014!

Making bubbles!
Simon Says!

The venue has a few floors filled with fascinating events!

Dreams come true!  I am an astronaut!

Ms. Robbins and Ms. Evans crossing the pier.

Reporting from WonderWorks!

Super Excited!

How high can you jump?

Wall of Physicists!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Special Interview with the NC Eastern Piedmont Region Media Coordinator of the Year - Pamela Sands

Pamela Sands, the Media Coordinator of the Year for Cumberland County Schools, is a Top 4 Finalist for the title of NC's Media Coordinator of the Year.
Since an early age, Pamela Sands dreamed about being a School Librarian.  She has been fortunate enough to live her dream for the past seven years!  Many would say that Cumberland County Schools is fortunate to have her as a model employee because after being named the CCS Media Coordinator of the Year, she gracefully advanced to the next plateau!

Mrs. Sands is now the NC Eastern Piedmont Region Media Coordinator of the Year, which means that she has a 1/4 chance of being selected as North Carolina's Media Coordinator of the Year!

Click on the link below to watch my special interview with Mrs. Sands!  She also provides a comprehensive tour of her state of the art media center, which she calls the heart of the school.

Special Update!
On October 10th, Mrs. Sands was named the NC SLMA Media Coordinator of the Year!  She is an exceptional representative for North Carolina!

 Pamela Sands - Media Coordinator of the Year

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014-2015 Cumberland County Schools Teacher of the Year Celebration/Banquet

My grandmother and I at the 2014-2015 Cumberland County Schools Teacher of the Year Banquet.

Six and a half years ago at the age of 20, I started at South View Middle School as the Administrative Assistant to the Principal.  I held that position for two and a half years before transitioning to my dream job - 6th Grade English/Language Arts Teacher.

Needless to say, I was beyond shocked when it was announced in May 2014 that I had been selected as the Teacher of the Year for my school.  I was finishing my 4th year, and it was my first year of eligibility.  I was/am extremely proud to represent the wonderful and dedicated individuals of South View Middle.

This summer, I spent countless hours creating my portfolio for the competition in anticipation of my attendance area interview.  The interview went very well, and I was selected as the Teacher of the Year for the South View District.  View the following video and pictures to discover the developments of the county-wide competition.

Beautiful Decorations and Venue!

Elegance Personified!

Complete with a Red Carpet.

Attendance Area Coordinators!

Another shot of my grandmother and I.

Table-mates from Hope Mills Middle School.

South View High School's Teacher of the Year.

Mrs. Kehoe (Principal of SVMS) and I.
In the hallway before the big entrance.

Ms. Dunham's wonderful acceptance speech.  She is a great representative for Cumberland County Schools!

Proud recipient of a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze!

From Administrative Assistant to 1st Runner Up for the CCS Teacher of the Year Competition. Not too bad!

Greg West (Chairman of the School Board), Amy Noble (2013-2014 Teacher of the Year), and Dr. Till (Superintendent).

I am blessed to be in their company!

Stay tuned to my blog, I am hoping to score a one-on-one interview with CCS Teacher of the Year - Myra Dunham.

Congratulations to all CCS TOYs!

Photos courtesy of Darin Craig (Lifetouch Photography) and Laurie Pender (CCS Communications Office).

Not on My Watch: Know the Dangers of Child Sex Trafficking

Chosen, a documentary by Shared Hope International will be shown at EE Smith High School. 

A very important Parent Workshop is being sponsored by the Cumberland County Schools Student Services Division.

Know the Dangers of Child Sex Trafficking:
Chosen is a sex trafficking prevention video that will tell the shocking true story of two "All-American" teenage girls tricked into trafficking.  The video will be shown in its entirety at this crucial parent workshop.

Dr. Sharon Cooper will also provide information about child sex traffic along with an expert panel - Kelly Twedell of the Dream Center and Judge Elizabeth Keever.

Kelly Twedell


September 25, 2014
E. E. Smith High School Auditorium
1800 Seabrook Road, Fayetteville
6:00 -7:30 PM

Protect your child from being Chosen

  • North Carolina received a grade of “C” to effectively respond to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking
  • Sex trafficking can happen in your neighborhood
  • 100,000 American children are exploited each year
  • 13 years old is the average age a child is first exploited
  • Recognize the warning signs
  • There are sometimes fatal consequences


For additional information, contact Natasha Scott (Executive Director of CCS Student Services) at 910.678.2433.