Friday, September 15, 2017

International Dot Day ~ 2017

Today is International Dot Day!

At the beginning of the week, we created color wheels with our 4-year-old Journeys buddies. We then activated them using the augmented reality iPad app Quiver. Thank you, Mrs. Fuglestad, for the idea!  

Next, we created our own special dots using coffee filters and water. After the dots were dipped, we enhanced the dots using black line Sharpies. 

The night before Dot Day in America, Mrs. Yollis did a Google HangOut with their blogging buddies in Australia

Photo by Ms. Jordan

It was Friday in Australia so they were celebrating International Dot Day already! 

Mrs. Morris' and Ms. Jordan's third/fourth graders shared a dot day art project and asked questions of Mrs. Yollis.  Check out their slideshow connecting the dots and their school.

We are making a plan to schedule a Google HangOut with the class. What sorts of questions will you ask?  

Everyone smiled when we learned big bows are a fashion fad in Australia and America!

To culminate the week, we made a DOT-umentary for our blogging buddies in Australia. Connect the dots in our movie and learn about the important people and places at our school!

Do you have any questions for us?

What did you enjoy about International Dot Day?

Our DOT-umentary was our first movie-making experience. What did you learn about the process? 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Teaching Commenting Skills

WHY have a classroom blog?

Here is a video I made with my second and third graders about the value of blogging. I hope it convinces you to start a class blog!

Blogging has many parts: the post, the comments, and the sidebar.

If you do a good job with all of the parts, your blog will be more interesting.

Today we will focus on quality comments!

Content is key!

In our class, we evaluate our blog comments. A one-point comment is a general comment that doesn't add very much to the post.   Example: I like your blog. Please visit mine! 

A two-point comment adds something to the comment conversation. A commenter might compliment the writer in a specific way or add new information. Another idea is to make a connection. Maybe the post reminds you of an experience that you've had. Share that connection!  Try to end your comment with a relevant question. That way, an interesting conversation can develop.

What should I say in my comment?

Here is a video made by Mrs. Yollis' students called How to Compose a Quality Comment!  It offers FIVE tips to help you take your comments to the next level!

We like to open our comments with a greeting and end with a closing. We choose to do this as it makes it easier for us to follow the conversation within a comment section.

-For Advanced Bloggers-

Some bloggers like to use HTML code to make their comments better.  Learning to write HTML code, or HTML tags, is a somewhat simple way to take your comment to the next level.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a language.

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To write HTML code, use the following symbols:

Important: Do not add a space between the HTML tag and the word or sentence.


1.  To put text in italics, place this HTML code around the text:



The sentence will look like this when published:

Bloggers should always proofread a comment before publishing.


2.  To make text bold, place this HTML code around the text:


The sentence will look like this when published: 

Bloggers should always proofread a comment before publishing.



3.  To make a hyperlink, it gets a little tricky.

Use the following HTML code around the URL and add your own link word/words:

  [The URL is the address of the web page. It starts with http://www…]

The HTML code below:


Will become this hyperlink when published:

                                                                 Mrs. Yollis’ Website

Sometimes it is hard to remember the HTML codes. I keep an HTML word document on my desktop with all the common codes, especially the one to create a hyperlink. Here is a video demonstrating how easy it is to a create a hyperlink if you have the code set up in a Word doc.

If you like to add fun are those codes!

What did you learn about quality commenting? 
 Why is it important to proofread a comment before pressing publish? 

Have you ever had a conversation in a comment section?


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Back to School Night :: 2017

Normally, Mrs. Yollis' class looks like this.

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

Last night, the classroom looked like this!

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

It was Back to School Night!
Parents came to hear about third grade!
Lots of information was shared about classroom expectations, curriculum, and resources. 

The centerpiece of the classroom is the blog.  Mrs. Yollis had her good friend and blogging buddy, Mrs. Morris from Australia, Skype in and talk with the parents about the value of blogging. Meeting and learning from our new Australian friend was a highlight of the evening!  

Photo by Mrs. Brazell

Educational blogging has so many benefits! Thank you, Mrs. Morris, for this blogging diagram. 

To learn about blogging from a student perspective, watch this video Mrs. Yollis made with her third graders about why they love blogging.  


She also shared a wonderful video about supervising and guiding children on the web. It is a great video that really drives the point home. Thank you, Bill Genereux, for the fabulous movie. 

Parents left thoughtful notes for their child. With Dry Erase pens, you can write right on the desk! Everyone loved it!

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What are you excited to learn about this year?

Parents, how is third grade different from when you were in school?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Welcome Back :: 2017-2018

Welcome back to a new school year!


Here's a video greeting from Mrs. Yollis!

Parents and Students

This blog is the centerpiece of our classroom community. It is a wonderful space for sharing and learning together. Here is a link to an article I wrote about the benefits of classroom blogging. I hope you'll have a chance to read it before our Back to School Night.

☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

If you are a new or returning student, please leave a comment telling me about yourself. What did you do over your summer break? What adventures and experiences did you enjoyed? Be sure to limit personal information! 

If you are one of our blogging buddies, please introduce yourself to my new class. Where are you from? What have you been up to?

Remember to proofread your comment with a parent before you publish! 


If you are not sure how to comment on this blog, watch this video tutorial! It will walk you step by step through the process!

Happy Blogging! 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day, America!

This post was first published on July 4, 2010.

By Mrs. Yolli

July 4th is Independence Day in America!

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This document announced America's independence from Britain.

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Seven years ago I was with my family on the Fourth of July, and we had a special event planned for the day.

My family had three old, tattered flags that needed to be retired. So on July 4th, we had a retirement ceremony.

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The United States Flag Code states: "The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."

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First, we sang some patriotic songs!

Then, my cousin Jon gave a short speech. Finally, we retired the old flags to the fire.

Click here to learn how to fold an American flag

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How will you spend the Fourth of July?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Football Facts and a Story

Guest blog post by Nolan

Football Facts and a
Sensational Story


Are you ready to learn about football? Well, this blog post will tell you about football teams, scores and even includes a story I made! So take a seat and watch the game!

Facts and Scoring

There are 32 different teams in the NFL. NFL stands for National Football League. The teams are split into two parts, the AFC and the NFC. That is actually a division problem. 32 divided by 2 equals 16. So there are 16 teams in the AFC and 16 in the NFC. All teams have a stadium in a state. Two teams can have a stadium in the same state but just different stadiums in different places. For example, Texas has two stadiums. The Houston Texans have a stadium, and the Dallas Cowboys have a stadium in the same state, but just a different stadium location.

In a game, one team starts with the ball and the other team defends. The team with the ball has four downs or turns with the ball. If they get the ball past an orange marker, the first down marker, with a pass or a run, then they have four more opportunities with the ball. A touchdown is 6 points plus if the kicker makes it in the field goal, 1 more point. Instead of kicking for 1 more point, the quarterback can signal ‘Go For Two’ where the referee can put the ball on the 2-yard line and the team has an extra play to try to get into the touchdown zone, or goal, for two extra points. If a team is on their 4th down in their opponent's territory, they can try to kick the ball into the field goal for 3 points.

Since we are learning about make-your-own-ending stories in class, I created a made-up story you can finish. So here I go…

The Order Mix-up

By Nolan

One day I was at a football game. The two teams were the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. My family and I got to the stadium in my mom’s shiny and white Toyota Sienna. We parked the car, unloaded a couple things, and my dad locked the car. The car went “Beep, beep!” as all cars do when they lock.

When we entered the Patriots stadium, Gillette Stadium, I was so excited I felt like I was going to explode.

We got into our seats and watched the start of the game. “Hike!” the quarterback yelled a few times.

Late in the first quarter, the Patriots scored by running the ball. The fans went wild like a pack of wolves. “Yay! Great! Yeah!” was what I heard. The kicker made the field goal and the crowd cheered some more.

In the start of the second quarter, the Falcons scored. There wasn’t much noise but I heard some faded wow’s and yeah’s In the crowd of people. They also made the field goal. The game was now tied, 7 to 7.

Then I saw one of those guys selling food and I got hungry. “Cotton Candy! Cotton Candy! Get your cotton candy for $1.50!” he yelled. I asked my dad, “Can I get something to eat?”

“Sure!” He answered, and brought me to the food court. Man, was there ever such a great view from up there.

When it was our turn, I told the cashier, “I think I will have a hot dog with ketchup, mustard, some fries, and an iced water.”

“Ok,” said the cashier.

My dad ordered a hamburger with dressing, lettuce, tomato, and an iced water.

They started making our food. I watched the game on the T.V. while I was standing there. After about two minutes, our food was ready. When I plopped down in my seat, I peeked at the scoreboard. Now the score was 14-28, and the Patriots were winning. I was so busy watching the game because they had scored that I didn’t look at my food. I took a big bite of my hot dog, or what kind of was my hot dog, when I figured out, they got my order wrong...

What happens next?

Write your own ending in the comments box!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Science: Meet a Salamander, a Skunk, and an Owl!

As part of our animal adaptation science unit, Beverly Critcher from Wildlife Experience brought three wild animals to Mrs. Yollis' class for careful scientific observation. She brought a salamandar, a striped skunk, and a great-horned owl.

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Wildlife Experience is a non-profit wildlife education organization that brings native and exotic animals to schools and teaches children about the importance of our natural world. Here is Ms. C., the owner of Wildlife Experiences.

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First, we met an amphibian named Sally the Salamandar. She is called a tiger salamandar because of the stripes on her body.  Amphibians can breathe on land and in water. They have lungs, but also have tiny little holes called pores, on their skin. This physical adaptation allows them to breathe underwater.  

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

One physical adaptation she has is her large mouth. She can hunt for insects easily with this adaptation. She can even eat underwater! 

Sally the Salamander is twelve years old, and we got to touch her! How did her skin compare to the gopher snake? 

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

The Chinese giant salamander is the biggest salamander in the world! It can grow to be 5 1/2  feet long. Here is a photo!

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Next we got to meet Trouble, a striped skunk. We know what you're thinking. Skunks spray up to fifteen feet! How could you have one in your classroom? The answer, Trouble's scent gland has been removed. 

Here is a video of Trouble enjoying some snacks. What can you tell from her body language? Check out the teeth and claws!


How do you know if a skunk is feeling anxious? Look for body language. If his tail curves up, the skunk is afraid. If his tail is down and flat, the mammal is calm.

There are three types of skunks in North America:

  • striped skunk (most common)
  • spotted skunk
  • hognose skunk

Skunks are omnivores, which means they eat plants and meat. Surprisingly, a skunk's favorite food is a black widow. They keep the black widow population down.

Baby skunks are quite small. 

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The final animal Ms. C. brought was a bird. Notice the glove she uses to bring out this wild animal.

Behold! Ms. C. brought a great horned owl! These birds look like they have horns, but they are just tufts of feathers. 

Here is a short video:

Look at those eyes!

We know we have great horned owls around our neighborhoods because Mrs. Yollis found this feather outside her door years ago. Look how it matches the tail feathers! 

Owls have asymmetrical hearing. One ear is up and one ear is lower on his head. The ear is a hole. 

The females are larger because they stay in the nest to defend.
The males are the hunters. The smaller you are, the faster you can fly, the better hunter you will be.  

Owls hunt and kill with their feet, so Ms. C wears a glove. Talons, or claws, are used for grabbing and stabbing. 

Owls have eyes on the front of their heads. They need the adaptation to turn the neck and see. Owls can turn their necks  2/3 of the way around!

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What did you learn from Ms. C.?

Use World Book Online to research facts to share. Remember, do not copy and paste! That's plagiarism!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Science: Meet a Hedgehog and a Snake

Written by Mrs. Yollis, Elie, Nolan, Rose, Brianna, Dylan B., and Josh

As part of our animal adaptation science unit, Beverly Critcher from Wildlife Experience
brought two wild animals to Mrs. Yollis' class for careful scientific observation. She brought a hedgehog and a gopher snake.

Wildlife Experience is a non-profit wildlife education organization that brings native and exotic animals to schools and teaches children about the importance of our natural world. Here is Ms. C., the owner of Wildlife Experiences.

Before we met the animals, we learned about a food chain. 
What is a food chain? 

A food chain is basically the circle of life. It always starts with a plant, which means herbivores (plant eaters) are on the bottom of the food chain. Then a predator comes and eats that herbivore and gets all the energy. Then another animal comes and eats that animal and gets all the energy. Soon, we have an animal that no other animal eats. That animal is the top of the food chain. An animal that eats another animal is called a carnivore. Animals that eat plants and meat are called omnivores.

When animals die, they decompose and make the soil nutritious, or better. That is the circle of life. A food chain can be formed in any habitat of the world. For instance, there are food chains in the oceans, savannas, and rainforests.    

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After the lesson on food chains, it was time to meet a hedgehog! Tucker, the hedgehog, is a cute fellow. Hedgehogs and porcupines have quills that can really hurt. Tucker is three years old. Out in the wild, hedgehogs usually live for up to three years. In captivity, a hedgehog can live up to seven years. Of course, that is very rare, but it is possible.

Here is a photo of some baby hedgehogs. Aren't they cute!

 See this short video of Tucker! 


Hedgehogs are mammals, but also considered as rodents. They are also insectivores. That means they eat a lot of bugs!

Hedgehogs have really cool adaptations. First of all, they use their quills (physical adaptation) to protect themselves. When the predator runs into the hedgehog, the predator gets the quills stuck into their face. The hedgehog backs up to make the quills go into the body even further. Ouch! But don't worry, the quills are made of the same thing as your hair and your nails, which is keratin. It grows back, just like you!

When a hedgehog sees a predator coming, it curls up into a ball. That is called a behavioral adaptation

Can you guess which African animal is afraid of the porcupine? It is a big animal, a big type of cat. Do you know it yet? You might be surprised, but it is a lion! Can you believe that a big lion would be scared of such a tiny creature? When a lion gets quills in his face, they hurt. Look at this photo of Mr. Shareski's dog. How can you tell that Clementine was interested in a porcupine?

Photo by Mr. Shareski

Are hedgehogs and porcupines born with quills? YES, they are. They are soft, but they turn hard and become stiff and dangerous.

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Gopher Snake

Next Miss C brought out a reptile. We know that reptiles are cold-blooded, are vertebrates, and hatch from eggs. The reptile she brought was a gopher snake. Like all snakes, it has lungs, no eyelids, and smelled through his tongue. Watch it flick its forked tongue.


Some snakes are venomous like the rattlesnake, cobra, or black mamba. When looking for a meal, they wait, strike, and wait some more. When the animal dies, the snake opens his mouth and swallows the prey whole.

Constrictors are snakes that do not have poison. Some examples are king snakes, boas, and corn snakes. Constrictors squeeze their prey until it dies and then consume it.

Ms. C showed us a gopher snake. A gopher snake looks just like rattlesnakes, especially from a distance. It has a body pattern that looks like a rattlesnake's, and it hopes that confusion will keep you  away! It will shake the tail and the rustling will sound like a rattler. This behavioral adaptation might save its life. We got to touch the snake with two fingers. What did it feel like to you?

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

As snakes grow, they shed in one long piece.

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

Lizards shed in pieces and then eat the skin. This behavioral adaptation helps get rid of evidence.  Lizards don't want predators to know they are around.

Gopher snakes live up to 30 years in captivity. This snake is perhaps 24 years old.

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Why is the snake called a gopher snake?

What does a gopher snake eat? 
Is it an herbivore, a carnivore, or an omnivore? 

What does a snake feel like?

Why is the hedgehog born with soft quills? 

Which animal was your favorite?

Research on Worldbook Online and share some new facts! 

Give 3-6 animal food chain. Start with a plant.