Good Luck to Our 6th Grade Authors!

Our 6th grade project class worked on creating digital books using Book Creator.  These books were about topics they felt passionate about.  Some of the issues that students wrote about included:  Mental Health, Sustainable Communities, Sexism, Drugs, and Animal Abuse.  We did some research, met with experts to guide us in designing our book, presented to our classmates for feedback, and did some revisions.  We conducted our own voting panel to narrow down the top three books to enter into a competition being sponsored by Book Creator.  Take a moment to read the three entries and leave us some feedback.  Good luck to our  top three Grandview authors!

Showcase Week 2019


Recently, our school had a full week of students sharing their process of learning and projects.  It was a great time to also reflect on how we have been learning this school year.  I had a great time visiting different classes in the elementary to high school level.  Students were excited to have an audience to present to, and also learn from.  In my 6th grade project class with co-teacher, Mrs. Algarin, our students were introduced to the Question Formulation Technique. (You can read more about the QFT in the book Make Just Once Change by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana).  Students asked their own questions which later turned into mini passion projects.  Students focused on topics relating to the environment and animal cruelty.  Each group chose different mediums to demonstrate what they learned and to create awareness.

We met with a few experts and participated in a field experience to help us with our projects.  We even published a digital book using Bookcreator about our field experience. Furthermore, we used Agile to keep us focused on our goals and to meet deadlines. We became teachers when sharing our projects with younger students and received great feedback.  As their facilitator, I was very proud of how much they improved in their collaborative, inquiry, research, and presentation skills. Scroll down to see us in action!



Guest were able to speak to us about each phase of our project.

Students presenting their Adobe Spark video and Agile board. 




Using VR/AR in the Classroom

This was my first year using Cospaces with my middle-school Innovation students.  We did some exploration in the beginning to learn and become comfortable with the program.  They were able to connect their curriculum with their creative design of AR and VR spaces. Some students chose to create outdoor scenes or a museum of a particular location.  Some students were new to coding this year, so they were able to begin with block-based coding.  Other students really went far with their coding ability and were able to enhance their space.  Most recently we had a showcase for the lower school students and families.  They were able to come in and test out the spaces using viewfinders.

Please check out our spaces and leave us some feedback.









Novel Study: Airman by Eoin Colfer

After reading Airman by Eoin Colfer with my 7th graders, students were given a tic-tac-toe choice menu for their final project assessment.  Each of the choices related to a skill we learned and practiced throughout the year.  Research, narrative,expository writing, poetry, and use of digital creation tools.  I made sure to balance the amount of work load for each, and kept students’ interest level in mind.  My students have been engaged during our project work time in class, and that is half the battle for a teacher.  The choice board was inspired by Kasey Bell’s 


Airman book trailer by T.J. (7th grade)  This book trailer was created with Adobe Spark video.

Here is how I made it work for my class:

Research Choices:

The Saltee Islands by Marcus

The Saltees are a pair of small islands lying three miles off the southern coast of Ireland.The two islands are Great Saltee and Little Saltee.They have been privately owned since 1943 by the Neale family.A line of rocks connect  the smaller of the two islands to Kilmore Quay,county Wexford on the mainland of Ireland.Legend has it that Saint.Patrick pelted rocks at the fleeing devil as he tried to escape his wrath..Geologists characterize the formation of the gravel bar as a neat glacial deposit.The islands are made of precambrian bedrock  between 600 million and 2 billion years old.There were people on the island as long ago as 3,500 to 2,000 B.C.At one time there were Vikings, Normans, and medieval monks that inhabited the islands,there is evidence of a promontory fort,ancient graves, an Ogham stone and ring forts all over the island.There is also evidence of wreckers and smugglers and pirates.The waters around the islands became known as “the graveyard of a thousand ships”because it was so treacherous,perfect for finding treasure.The gains of the wreckers could very well be hidden in the many caves around the islands.

     Great Saltee is today best known as a bird sanctuary.Many birds,from Gannets,Puffins, Gulls and Manx Shearwaters all stop off on the island to nest or to rest on their migration paths.About 120  grey seals also live around the island and prey on the chicks and fish the waters.The story of the owner of the islands, Prince Michael Neale is very fascinating and quite funny.He is the interesting character who bought the islands in 1943 and declared himself King!He built a heavy stone throne and several monuments on the island.On the throne it says ”this chair is erected in memory of my mother to whom I made a vow when I was ten years old ,that one day I would own the Saltee Islands.”He and is family are very generous and invite anyone to visit the island anytime for free and nature lovers and birdwatchers love to go there.




  • Website Title The Saltee Islands, South & East Islands, Ireland
  • Article Title The Saltee Islands                                       
  • Date Accessed May 22, 2019


  • Website Title Wikipedia
  • Article Title Saltee Islands
  • Date Published November 19, 2018
  • Date Accessed May 22, 2019


  • Website Title Saltee Islands
  • Date Accessed May 22, 2019



Website Title:

Article Title: | Saltee islands – SALTEE ISLANDS

Date Accessed May 22, 2019



By: Adam 

Aeronautics is the production of machines capable of flying in the air and aircraft and rocket handling techniques in the atmosphere. In the beginning, the aeronautics concerned only the servicing of the aircraft, until now it has been grimaced by other aviation aspects.

Aeronautics is not just aviation. also includes lighter-than-air vehicles and ballistic vehicles. An important part of aeronautics is the science called aerodynamics, which is the science that deals with the air movement and the way it interacts with objects in motion, such as an airplane.


At first people tried to fly without any knowledge of aeronautics. they usually constructed wings and jumped from the tower with paralyzing or deadly results. The founders of aeronautics were Leonardo da Vinci in Renaissance and Cayley in 1799. Both began their investigations with studies of bird flight.

People think that there were popular kites carrying people in China. In 1282, the European explorer Marco Polo described Chinese techniques. according to him, the Chinese also constructed small hot-air balloons or lanterns and wing toys.

Roger Bacon is the first European who described the principles of a lighter-than-air balloon. A lifter for his balloon would be an “ether” whose composition he did not know. On September 19, 1783, the first manned flight took place. The Montgolfier brothers, along with the Swiss physicist Ami Argand, built a hot-air balloon with a ram, rooster and duck on board.The flight from December 17, 1903 is considered the first flight in history. Orville Wright is the first man in history who has risen to heaven on a plane. The plane was called Flyer I.

The next step of aeronautics were flights to space. The first artificial satellite was fired by the USSR on October 4, 1957. The first man in space was Yuri Gagarin. He flew into space for 108 minutes. His flight took place on April 12, 1961.



Poetry Choice:

   Basketball by James                                                 

Basketball takes a lot of hard work and time

In basketball, you have to keep doing the same moves over and over

You can’t just get really good at it in just a month

To make shots you have to take more than 100 shots a day


If you want to get good at driving in and scoring a layup, you have to be strong

It can be really hard to get good at dribbling the basketball

Because you have to get good at dribbling with both hands and doing fancy moves

People say, “don’t do fancy moves”

Like behind the back and between the legs


But you can get by people a lot easier if you know how to do fancy moves

The reason is that if you do some crazy moves you “juke” them out, you can just go by

All of the fancy moves can get the ball stolen from you if you can’t control the ball

After a while, if you keep practicing all of this stuff you’ll get really good.


The Islands by Charles (Inspired by the novel, Airman, by Eoin Colfer

The night sky

The place where the birds fly

The morning sky

Where you hear birds cry

Out over a clear blue sky.


Overheard from the fence

There’s prisoners acting sad and dense

Just waiting for the chance

To go off and hop the fence

To the land that put them in a trance.


If you go down a chimney far and wide

You’ll find a house where a man resides

A man who flies from high to low tide

And with him resides

A man who has a lack of eyes

Simply put an old state spy.


Creative Book Review Project

Earlier in the third quarter of school, I invited my 6th graders to a “Book Tasting” cafe.  This was a way to introduce my students to new novels that ranged in genre and reading level.  After “tasting” some books, each student chose one book to read for an independent novel study.   Throughout the reading of the novel I met with students to scaffold reading skills.  We ended the novel study with a creative book review project using Book Creator.  Please check out the book reviews that many of my students completed recently.  They even include an audio sample of the novel.  (Great way to practice fluency). *Please note, the review page is completely made up.  We did enjoy all of the novels!

Week 23 of the 100 Word Challenge

                                      The Mysterious Pavement

   By: Adam Kastmark 

                  Part 1 : the helicopter       

              My name is Kelvin Aries and I have been sent to investigate a

   SINKING ship. My helicopter is a Sikorsky MH-60T Jayhawk, I have a crew of 1 Co-Pilot and 2 rescue

  Swimmers. As i lift off from the USS Ronald Reagan I do a roll call of my crew members,

“Pilot 2 CHECK!”, “Swimmer 1 CHECK!”, “Swimmer 2 CHECK!” after a while of being in the air I reach the

Sinking ship, but since it has already sunk I return to the USS Ronald Reagan and call for a submarine to check

It out.

                     Part 2 : the submarine

Exploration day 1

I have been sent to look at the wreckage of the Royal Fortune, I was told that it was a mysterious disappearance. My only information is that the Royal Fortune  sunk in unknown waters and that there will be stormy seas. After a while of exploring Captain Pearl Escoto released 2 divers into the water, when they were exploring the found RED COINS, once they had returned to the submarine the climbed down a LADDER and got into their positions. Once the sub had returned to the USS Ronald Reagan they were greeted by staff and were given transportation back to the mainland they had to walk down a long PAVEMENT where they parted ways and returned to their family.


Happy New Year! It’s Week 15 of the 100 Word Challenge

The Solar Eclipse By Noah Cohen

It’s almost ten minutes from the solar eclipse and my little cousin Petey is here. Petey has never heard about the solar eclipse before. I explain everything to him and tell him that you must wear your protective goggles if you want to look at the eclipse. Now there’s one minute to the solar eclipse. Petey is so excited and I am too. We start the countdown “five, four, three, two, one… wait!” Petey forgot his goggles, “Petey are you okay?” I think the light blinded him, but he was fine. That was a great solar eclipse and I was so happy.

Choice Projects v.s. Mid-term Exams

Recently, I took a poll in one of my classes to see if they would prefer choice projects or a traditional exam to end the semester.  Every single one of my students chose the project option, so I created a tic-tac-toe choice board for them.  (Board template was borrowed from )The choices related to a novel we had finished reading in class where we studied plot elements and characterization.  I’m really happy with the level of engagement in the choices my students made for their mid-term assessment project. During our project work days, I was able to observe their creative process to demonstrate knowledge.  In addition, I was able to see growth in their writing and comprehension. Check out their work below documented on Bookcreator.