Haunted House Build – Take 2



Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. ~ Helen Keller

The haunted house build is complete, and it was a huge success!  The kids were engaged each day of the build without much redirection needed from me. (Well you always have a few!) The students presented their houses to the class yesterday and explained why they design certain features in their homes.  One house even had a witch who “flew” down from the roof on straws and landed seated in a chair.  So cool!

The kids are finishing up their personal reflections about the process and the product.  I can’t wait until Thursday to read them.  This makes me want to find a way to use Project Based Learning more often in my ELA classroom.  I am just not sure how or what to do next?  I will keep thinking though.

Please take a look at my iMovie documentation of the process.



Haunted Mansions


We just need to make that building come alive.  Together, we can figure this out. ~Sue Black

Today my ELA classes began a two-week adventure.  They started their Haunted Mansion STREAM build.  Each group of students received a Halloween Character and a box of various items.  They are working in teams to design and build a mansion by following the engineering process while documenting their process in writing.  

The room was buzzing with energy and ideas.  They perused my “shop” and looked at what they might “buy” with the Haunted House “cash” that they have earned over the past couple of weeks. Students will have another class period on Thursday to finalize their plans, then the actual build begins on Monday. What a joy it was to listen to the kids interact with each other. This is a lesson in creativity, cooperation, and collaboration. I will check in again next week and let you know how the process is going.  You can follow us on Twitter @RitaDiCarne.


Labor Day


“To find joy in work is to find the fountain of youth.” –Pearl S. Buck

Going back to school has always been exciting for me as a student and as a teacher.  I get to start over the way the rest of the world does on New Year’s Day.  I make resolutions and have new plans to complement my tried and true ones.  Each year I reflect on my past work, like on New Year’s Eve, and decide how I can be better than the year before.

Being a teacher is not easy.  It is a daunting task set before me each day of each school year.  I am charged with teaching students what they “need to know” while nurturing their sense of wonder. I want to encourage them to love learning while still having to “grade” their best efforts.

I want my students to rejoice in their successes and learn from their mistakes.  I want them to understand that perfection is a futile goal for it is in the mistakes where the learning takes place. Most of all I want each and every one of my students to know that they are not their test scores.  They are each unique with their own special voice and ideas that will make a mark on this world some day.