Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Walking Classroom: Teacher Feature!

I had the privilege of being The Walking Classroom's Teacher Feature for the Month of March! My students and I have truly been blessed by this incredible classroom resource! 
For more information on the Walking Classroom and how you can apply for this amazing grant, check out THIS post. 

March 2015 Newsletter

This month's newsletter shares ways to get connected to TWC and other fabulous adopters, strategies to help students become better listeners, how to get involved in Every Kid Healthy Week coming up in April.

Teacher Feature
Brittany Bermingham
Hoppin Elementary
Three Rivers, Michigan

A quick glance at Brittany's blog "The Art of Learning" will give you an idea of just what an incredible teacher she is.  It's clear she goes above and beyond to engage her students and to make learning meaningful -- just look at the picture above! She incorporates The Walking Classroom into her teaching to reinforce what she is teaching and graciously shares her ideas with others. We are grateful there are such dedicated educators, like Brittany, working hard everyday to ensure their students succeed! 

Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Mount Vernon, Ohio, however, my family is originally from Michigan so I returned as soon as I could and have now lived in this great state for eleven years. 

How long have you been teaching and why did you decide to become a teacher?
I have been teaching for five years. I have always been a part of an education world. I am a third generation teacher and grew up immersed in lesson planning, curriculum, and, of course, long family summer vacations.  My mother is a high school English teacher and my father, a high school history teacher and I knew at a very early age that I wanted to follow in their footsteps, much to the chagrin of my little sister whom I "taught" with teddy bears in the basement. 

When have you been your "best self" as a teacher?
I feel that I am "the best" teacher when my students are engaged in content and creating projects without my assistance -- when I am truly a facilitator. It is such a rewarding feeling to watch a classroom of students eager and focused, digging deeper in their learning independently. When I am able to provide a foundation where students can use their OWN knowledge and information to analyze, evaluate, and create, I feel like I am on top of the world! 

As a teacher, for what are you most grateful?
I am most grateful for the professional learning community I work in. My fellow teachers and partner fifth grade teacher, maintain the same moral/family values, they care deeply about all of "our" kids, and they are eager to learn, listen, and community and I know that it has made me a better teacher! 

What are some educational resources that you utilize to help cover the curriculum?
Obviously, Teacher Pay Teacher, a myriad of AMAZING classroom blogs, Teachertube, I LOVE using manipulatives to teach (especially in social studies) so I utilize a LOT of stuff form Good Will/garage sales/flee markets to help bring the content to life! The Walking Classroom, Pinterest, and so many more! 

Please describe an experience that you and/or your students have had with The Walking Classroom.
I use The Walking Classroom to help me integrate and solidify my student learning. I teach reading, writing and social studies for fifth grade and blend these three subjects as much as possible to allow for cross-curricular connections. The Walking Classroom helps me do this and is so easy to tie into their learning. While learning about the different explorers, for example, we researched the different technological advances which aided in exploration.  During one of our podcasts, they discussed these as well.  So after our walk, we went inside and created "astrolabes/quadrants" then we bundled back up and tested them out finding the distance of objects outside. I absolutely LOVE when The Walking Classroom reiterates what we are learning in the classroom and gets the kids even more pumped about the information.  It is like they are thinking "Whoa, Mrs. Bermingham must know what she is talking about because we just heard it from the kids over at The Walking Classroom!" and they take the content so much more seriously! HA! 

Warmer Weather and the Walking Classroom

With the weather getting warmer here in Michigan, we are back OUTSIDE enjoying the Walking Classroom! 

 This last week, we traveled down the street to a local park and enjoyed some brisk, but VERY fresh air while learning about our nation's first president - George Washington. 
We learned the Washington had lots of important decisions to make not only as the first president, but also in his personal life, as a general for the French and Indian War as well as for the Revolution, and in creating our very new nation.
We utilized a great summary worksheet created by Stephanie at TeachinginRoom6 I swear it seems like I must stalk the woman ... okay, I might. Shamelessly. But I didn't even get this sheet from her, honestly, I got it from the Walking Classroom Newsletter. It isn't my fault she is so fabulous and everyone uses her stuff ;0) You can get a copy of the sheet HERE
For more information on the Walking Classroom, visit THIS post 

Monday, April 6, 2015


So this is how if feels, eh? Prep, Review, Practice, Freak out, REPEAT.

...this marks the first year that we will be taking our standardized test in the SPRING. It only makes sense, test the kids on what they learned at the end of the when they learned it. However, with this very logical notion, comes an incredible amount of stress that never existed back in the age of Fall testing. After having students for barely more than a month, they were tested on some mythical grade called "fourth". Of course, I reviewed key concepts, we learned test strategies, identified test vocabulary and got amped up for the big TEST. 

BUT. now it is a whole different ballpark! 
 What is being tested is no longer a mystery, not for me as their teacher and not for the students. Collectively, we can be engaged in authentic reviewing of what WE have learned, HOW we have learned it, and apply OUR strategies to THE TEST. This places so much more responsibility upon everyone.

It also produces a sense of urgency and drive for students during the year because they know it is looming ahead - The place at the end of the journey where they can show their learning off.

And so, fellow bloggers, as you post about test review and baggie your cute Easter egg and marshmallow peep test treats never could use those candies since my test was always in the fall I join you in the ranks!

Enjoy your Spring Break if you are on it! We started our break yesterday and begin the test the day after we get back - yippee.  
Good luck all of you Spring Testers!
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