Our Teacher and Classified Employees of the Year!

Teacher of the Year – Sonja D’Souza: Mrs. D’Souza teaches third grade at Kimmel Farm and is a member of the inaugural staff. She graduated from UNC-Greensboro with a B.A. in Education and later received a Masters in Education with an emphasis in language and literacy at Salem College.

Mrs. D’Souza was born in a small town in Austria near the Swiss and German border adorned by beautiful lake "Lake Constance" or "Bodensee" in German. She met her husband here in North Carolina and is the mother of two sons, Kevin and Sean. Mrs. D’Souza loves to cook along with her husband, Vincent, who is originally from India, and she enjoys reading and tending to “my little Monarch Butterfly garden.”

Classified Employee of the Year – Beth Krivsky: Mrs. Krivsky is in her second year at Kimmel Farm but is serving in her first year as our school’s science specialist. Mrs. Krivsky has a B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech and worked in the Environmental Science fields following her undergraduate work, and at Broward College in Florida. She is married to Pastor John Krivsky, and the couple has three children, ages, 11, 14, and 16.

She works very hard to enhance science education in addition to what students learn in their regular classrooms. Her philosophy is to make science fun and fascinating. She uses many hands-on activities to bring to life science concepts that can only be learned well through problem-based learning methodology.

Canned Food Drive Surpasses Expectations!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving Mrs. Brodeur's first grade and Mrs. Mabe's fifth grade hosted a school-wide canned food drive that far surpassed expectations. The problem was introduced in the form of a PBL lesson where students were given the real life scenario that the Second Harvest Food Bank was running short of food during a time of great demand for area families. Students were asked to analyze the problem, and come up with realistic solutions which translated into a school-wide canned food drive. From there, ideas to make it a success evolved in student groups all working on a community service project that incorporated reading, writing, math, and social studies, technology and information skills, and health.
Students developed a video commercial which was posted on Mrs. Brodeur's website, a post was placed on her class blog, and a competition between classes was designed to help increase participation with the promise of a popcorn party awarded to the class that collected the most items. Ideas to share the news on morning announcements and via posters, and in our school's Tuesday bulletin were all generated by the students.
For two weeks students brought in canned goods and non-perishable foods. Between 1,000 and 1,500 cans and items were collected. Items continued to come in well past the deadline and more large donation boxes were placed in the front lobby to accommodate the overflow. By the end of the drive seven boxes were filled with food to help those in need. Fore more information on The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina go to http://hungernwnc.org/. Although Kimmel Farm Elementary is no longer working on a formal project you can still help individually! Thanks to all who contributed and Happy Thanksgiving to all from the Kimmel Farm family!

You Make the Rules!

Every year classrooms all over the world establish their class rules. There are many ways to do go about this, but if you really want your students to follow the rules they have to have ownership of them, be accountable for themselves, and for the process. Using PBL methodology Mrs. Ellington's second grade class was given the autonomy to create a set of class rules.
The students were challenged with this:

You are a teacher, and the new teacher across the hall is having difficulty teaching and maintaining order in her classroom. The children are noisy and frequently getting hurt. She comes to you for advice. How can you help her?
Working in groups students came to consensus on three simple rules.
1- Listen and Follow Directions
2- Respect People and Their Property
3- Be a Responsible Student

This covered pretty much any scenario students might face in a typical day and it was a great way to use PBL to let the students have control and think through the same process a teacher does each year. This seems like a simple thing, but it's really not. Students are constructing knowledge, discussing collaboratively, coming to agreement or arguing their points constructively, and bringing back possible rules for students to follow. Thinking at that level is hard, but it develops problem solvers and begins to get students to think about applying these skills in other areas. Check out Mrs. Ellington's post on her class blog and leave a comment!

Year Three Begins at Kimmel Farm!

Yesterday marked the beginning of year three at Kimmel Farm and approximately 800 students filled our classrooms, excited to start a new adventure. Our school first welcomed students at open house on Tuesday, August 23. We ran a split open house schedule where parents and students could choose to attend open house from 12:00 to 2:30 or in the evening from 5:30 to 7:30. The split schedule allowed the many parents and students to flow through the building freely to meet teachers, get a little more quality time meeting teachers, and looking around the school to see what may be in store for the 2011-2012 school year!

One parent commented that the split schedule allowed them to attend their child's open house for the first time because they worked second shift and they were never available during the standard evening open house. There is a survey on our school's website under the quick links for parents to give us feedback on how they felt about the split schedule. Please take the time to answer three questions so we know how we're doing! There were many positive comments expressed verbally to faculty and staff. Teachers and staff all are excited about being a progressive school preparing students through our theme of problem-based learning!

Kimmel Farm/CERTL PBL Pre-K a Shining Success!

Kimmel Farm Elementary, in collaboration with its education partner The Center of Excellence for Research Teaching and Learning (CERTL - part of the Wake Forest School of Medicine) hosted a week-long PBL-Pre-K camp fohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifr rising kindergartners August 8 through 12. The PBL Pre-K had a culminating celebration on its final day with students sharing with parents/guardians what they learned through PBL and a short musical performances.
The camp mirrored a typical school day, and was designed to give kindergarten students who will be attending Kimmel Farm Elementary a chance to become familiar with the school, its problem-based learning theme, and nurture a level of comfort before all students report back for the 2011-2012 school year. During the week students participated in hands-on learning experiences that aligned with real-world phenomenon. The class was facilitated by Barbara Kibler, one of Kimmel Farm’s kindergarten teachers and its 2010-2011 Teacher of the Year.
PBL methodology is most associated and used in with medical schools and the education of doctors. Kimmel Farm Elementary’s theme is problem-based learning. Kimmel Farm teachers have been trained through CERTL and implement the methodology with children in all curricular areas and at all grade levels. The wekk-long camp was featured in the Winston-Salem Journal Thursday, August 11th. Click the link to read the story.
Here's a slideshow featuring the culminating celebration held Friday, August 12th.

Kimmel Farm Highlighted at MEGA Showcase

Kimmel Farm Elementary participated in MEGA's 12th Annual Showcase for Educational Innovation in Raleigh , NC Wednesday, May 4. MEGA (Middle Educators Global Activities) was established to enable middle school educators through technology and the shared human resources of North Carolina State University, Johnston County Public Schools, and Wake County Public Schools as a pilot project. Its goal - to foster communication and collaboration between the organizations, it was supported by the College of Education and Psychology to ultimately enhance the curriculum in North Carolina middle schools.
Today, MEGA has expanded and encourages K-12 teachers to participate and has grown to over 1,000 members as announced at the showcase. The MEGA Showcase provides a place for students and their teachers to exhibit multimedia and Web projects. Some students from different schools all over North Carolina were there to show how what they do engages them in learning, and educators set up booths to showcase how technology has been integrated to enhance student learning. It is a great place to share ideas, make new friends and grow connections for future learning opportunities. Kimmel Farm Elementary was represented by AG specialist Tori Gray and second grade teacher Sarah Ellington as well as Adriennne Loffredo from CERTL (Center for Excellence in Research Teaching and Learning) our education partner who helps with the integration problem based learning methodology.

Kimmel Farm Students Respond to Japanese Tsunami

The biggest earthquake to hit Japan since records began almost 150 years ago smashed into the country's northeast coast March 11th devastating the region and leaving destruction in its wake. The day after, first graders at Kimmel Farm were asking questions. Prompted by the canned food drive benefiting the Second Harvest Food Bank that Kimmel Farm took part in during the Thanksgiving season students wanted to know what they could do to help, and wanted to organize another canned food drive.
True to our school's theme first graders and fifth graders collaborated using problem based learning methodology to come up with a viable plan to help. Students in Mrs. Brodeur's first grade class and Mrs. Butler's fifth grade class wrote a real-time PBL lesson where students were told, "A devastating earthquake caused a tsunami to destroy northeast Japan leaving thousands of people unsettled and homeless. Your job is to come up with a list of possible ways we can help the people of Japan recover from this disaster."
Students worked in small groups to come up with a list of "need to knows," and "learning issues" and together came up with a list to present to our principal, Miss Weatherman, who looked at what ideas on the list would be appropriate. In the end, the students voted on their response.
Students made crafts like bookmarks, door hangers, lanyards, and origami creations and asked for donations for themed baskets all to sell at Kimmel Farm's May 2nd PTA Unit Meeting. Raffle tickets were sold for the baskets and the crafts were sold as well. At the end of the night the classes raised over $250 for the relief efforts.

Carolina Ballet Visits Kimmel Farm

The Carolina Ballet visited Kimmel Farm Elementary Tuesday, April 19, 2011 and took third through fifth graders through an interactive demonstration into "the art of silence - ballet." Students learned basic footwork and by the end of the experience they all were taught a dance that had the whole gymnasium rocking - yes rocking - with ballet. Students left knowing that these dancers were truly professional athletes.

Dear President Obama

It never ceases to amaze me how the power of problem based learning gets students thinking at the kindergarten level. Part of the North Carolina kindergarten curriculum requires students identify and exhibit qualities of responsible citizenship in the classroom, school, and other social environments. It's part of helping students learn about government and active citizenship.

Students in Ms. Sisson's kindergarten class participated in a problem based learning experience called "Hooray For the Red White and Blue" a PBL unit obtained through our school's partnership with CERTL. The PBL case was introduced with a reading of the book, The Legend of the Teddy Bear by Frank Murphy and it’s a story that has been around for a century. The story chronicles the story about former Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and the day he refused to shot a bear the which led to the origins of the stuffed animal and how it got its name. That started the student conversations and set the stage for the next phase.

A typical PBL experience has students assume a role and then work to solve the presented problem. In this case the kindergarteners were told, “You are the president of Toys USA. You are to design a toy to give the new president of the United States on the day of his inauguration. The toy must represent an interest that the president has. You must include a letter stating why you chose the toy you made.”

Students were given the autonomy to choose to work individually, in pairs, or small groups. They chose, democratically, to work in small groups. With the help of Ms. Sisson, the groups sorted out the problem’s facts, need to knows, and researched facts about United States President Barack Obama. Their final products were all based on their research findings with the ultimate goal of having students create a piece of persuasive writing. Their final products and illustrations can be seen in the slide show in this post.

Problem Based Learning methodology surely can be considered part of the current Race to the Top Fund initiative as a way to adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy. Just look at what it’s already doing in kindergarten right here at Kimmel Farm Elementary.

Kimmel Farm Hosts ActivCarolina Event

Approximately 200 educators from 22 school districts (North and South Carolina were invited) gave up their Saturday to attend the ActivCarolina Conference hosted by Kimmel Farm Elementary and Promethean - the company that manufactures the interactive whiteboards installed in all our classrooms.
Thanks to the planning and collaboration with Promethean's
Matt Barfield and
confined inside the walls of out school here are some of the "tweets" that went out gWSFCS's Department of Instructional Technology (DIT) the conference - focused on building capacities using the ActivBoard and its ancillary products was a huge success!

Educators had the opportunity to attend five sessions, each with their own theme to add to their knowledge base, skill level, and learn new tips and tricks of which they might not have been aware.
I've blogged recently on the NCTIES (North Carolina Technolohy in Education Society's) 2011 Conference Blog about how good ideas need the opportunty to "collide" and that was exactly what was happeing Saturday at Kimmel Farm. We were also proud that eight faculty members presented at the conference. In less than two years these dedicated educators were confident in their skills to share their ideas with others. Educators/Trainers from WSFCS's DIT also conducted some sessions. The event was repeatedly referenced on Twitter, which just shows the power of sharing ideas wasn't confined to the walls of kimmel farm. Here are a few of the "tweets" shared globally.

Helping 100 on Day 100

February 11, 2011 marked the 100th day of this school year and classes all over Forsyth County did a myriad of activities all involving the number 100. At Kimmel Farm Elementary the first grade students and teachers took celebrating the 100th day as a time to give back to the community. The first grade team (Ms. Raiford, Ms. Brodeur, Ms. Stowe-Hosch, Ms. Miller, Ms. Hayes-Foutty, Ms. Kibler, and Ms. Terreni) all got their students engaged in making 100 sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches to help the homeless.

One student in Ms. Raiford's class said, "I feel great doing this because I'm helping people I know need the help." Another student from the same class said, "It feels good helping the homeless people."

According to a story in the Winston-Salem Journal, the Triad’s job market improved slightly during December, with the unemployment rate declining 0.2 percentage points to 10 percent, as reported by the N.C. Employment Security Commission at the beginning of February. The Forsyth County rate fell to 9.1 percent from a revised 9.4 percent in November. Our community is in need.

"I've been doing this for about five years now, " said teacher Denise Brodeur. "I just have a passion for helping people who don't have anything, so I like to teach we do for ourselves, and we do for others. When we do this we learn about 100, and we celebrate the 100th day of school, but we're also giving back to others. It's a great character education as well as math lesson for our students."

Students work to make 100 sandwiches which are then delivered to Samaritan Ministries in downtown Winston-Salem. Samaritan Ministries is an interdenominational, volunteer based Christian ministry in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County serving hungry, homeless and people in need, 365 days a year. Their programs include: Samaritan Soup Kitchen, Winston-Salem’s only soup kitchen, Samaritan Inn, a 69 bed homeless shelter for men, and Project Cornerstone, a residential substance abuse recovery program for men.

Safely Surviving and Thriving in a Social Media World

This Tuesday February 1, 2011 from 8-9 PM Kimmel Farm Elementary will host "Safely Surviving and Thriving in a Social Media World" a special presentation where all stakeholders in the Kimmel Farm community will learn about social media from an educational perspective. We will cover social media, what web 2.0 really is and what Kimmel Farm's long-range plans are for addressing the issues of digital citizenship. Parents, aunts, uncles, are all invited. Door prizes will be given away including gift gift cards and a digital camera. Science Fair projects will also be on display.

The History of Social Networking
Via: Online Schools

WXII Meterologist Teaches Weather to 2nd Grade

Today we had a very special visitor at Kimmel Farm- Lanie Pope, chief meteorologist from WXII 12, paid us a special visit. Having her as our guest was a real treat. She shared some great information with students. Her presentation included how different types of precipitation develop, how to keep safe in severe weather and she also talked with students about the different tools used to forecast weather. This was a wonderful opportunity for students to extend their knowledge about a topic we've previously studied in our science curriculum. What a great way to connect school and community. - by Mrs. Fala (second grade)