Friday, April 14, 2017

Under the Sea Magic Kingdom Classroom Transformation- RCA Inspired

 On April 22, 2016, a dream came true! I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to visit the highly acclaimed Ron Clark Academy, a nonprofit middle school that promotes innovation in the classroom. It was the most rewarding professional development of my teaching career.  I was able to observe Ron Clark and his fantastic teaching staff use different techniques to increase their students’ engagement, to promote academic rigor and to create a climate of success.

My Flexible Seating Ron Clark Inspired Blog Post

Ron Clark

Kim Bearden and Hope King
I have tried very hard over the last 21 years to implement many different research-based ways to make my classroom environment conducive to 
open collaboration, 
creativity and critical thinking. 
Kim Bearden, Co Founder of the Ron Clark Academy suggested in her book:
"We live in a world that is full of magic, and we all have the ability to create it. We all need a little magic in our lives- we need to allow ourselves to imagine, to dream, to delight in a world that is full of mystical wonder. Creating magic for others is worth the effort that it takes"- Kim Bearden

Hope King, teacher at the Ron Clark Academy 
suggested on her blog:
"I hope that you will challenge yourself to do something different in your classroom. It may not be a room transformation. That may not be your style. But do the unexpected. Give your kids a reason to anticipate school the same way that they anticipate the newest release of their favorite toy or game. Standards won't make that happen. Worksheets won't make that happen. WE make that happen!"- Hope King

Kim and Hope have helped inspire me to try another strategy to reach my classroom goals. 
It’s called classroom transformation.

What is classroom transformation? 
It is when you create a learning environment that sets the tone and builds your students with so much excitement and anticipation, that they simply can't even help but be engaged.
Students participate in highly-engaging lessons that they will remember forever

We read several ocean themed books and participated in many rigorous activities leading up to the classroom transformation. 

All of Amy Lemons and Katie King's Rooted in Reading Packs 
provide rigorous Reading and Language activities. 

Students explored the oceans 
by using Google Earth on iPads! 
Did you know that you can go underwater using Google Earth? 
Students found underwater volcanoes, coral reefs, and scuba divers! 



Students also used Sanibel Island 
and Southwest Florida maps
to practice 2nd grade map skills. 

Memories at Sanibel Island inspired the Magic Kingdom Under the Sea Classroom Transformation in Team Newell.  

Classroom Transformation 
with Shell Inspired Lessons 


 Super Writer, my mom, 
helped transform the room. 
She put shells on sand bars for the shell hunt. 

My parents go to Sanibel Island, Florida each February. This year, they collected shells for the classroom transformation shell hunt. 

They brought home 16 different types of shells. 
(24 of each type) 


Super Writer welcomed Team Newell @ 7:45 am with goggles to swim under the sea. 


Ocean wave sounds quickly faded as students explored the room with excitement: 
"This is the best day of my life!"
"This is amazing!"
"Oh my gosh!"
"Look at the shells!"
"This is beautiful!" 
"I can't believe it!"

Super Writer- My Mom

Super Writer used a variety of shell activities to motivate students to strengthen their writing skills. 





Super Writer has been searching for shells on  Sanibel Island for over 30 years. My little sponges soaked up her every word! 


Student went on a shell hunt. 
They used clipboards and shell sheets 
to record their findings. 















Students explored the shells 
 with microscopes and private eyes. 





Students compared shells. 
How were they similar? How were they different? 



Students made habits adding sand, shells, driftwood, and a turtle or an alligator figure.



Students played shell BINGO.

Students covered their BINGO boards with Swedish Fish as Super Writer called the shell names from the Smart Board. 

Students danced to The Little Mermaid's Under the Sea and the Beach Boy's Surfin' USA. 



Our 2 hour Super Writer visit 
went by way too fast! 
After lunch, students had so many
 questions about shells!!
We made the time to explore and to share our answers. 



 Super Writer Question:
 How is your house like a shell? 

Students used Google Docs on chromebooks to share their paragraphs. 



Kim Bearden was right! 
Creating magic for others is worth
 the effort that it takes!

My visit to The Ron Clark Academy inspired me to think outside the box and to help me grow as a professional educator.  You can check out more about the academy at 
or watch “The Ron Clark Story” 
at http://youtube/xVsid1Wls10

In just a few weeks, Super Writer and I will be making memories on the beach and we will be planning more classroom transformations! 

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