Mr. Kelly’s Coffee

Earlier in November I hosted an informal coffee for Ben-Hem parents and families. These coffees are planned monthly for the remainder of the school year (You can find our schedule using this link) and are informal get togethers for parents, families and community members. There is no formal agenda as the purpose is to provide opportunities for folks to talk with Mr. Kelly, ask questions, and share concerns.

The first coffee was a great success. I had the opportunity to sit and talk with about ten parents for just over an hour. Through this conversation, class size, budget, long term strategic planning, and a few other issues were discussed. These were great conversations as they allowed me to better understand the perspective of parents and the community on issues impacting the school while providing me with an occasion to dive deeply into the laws, regulations, and contexts that are often the reasons for the issues and concerns raised by the community.

Building this common understanding of ongoing school improvement efforts, the contexts in which they exist, and their perceptions within the community is critically important to our community as Ben-Hem seeks to provide educational opportunities for students that maximize opportunities to learn in a manner that is consistent with the values and goals of the parent and family community. I look forward to the remainder of these meetings and hope that you will take the opportunity to join us!

Classroom Appstravaganza #3

This year we are taking time in the Classroom Appstravaganza series to hi-light the applications that your students are accessing during the school day here at Ben-Hem. This week the Appstravaganza is all about Book Creator.

mzl.xrehjemtWhat really stands out about Book Creator is that it represents a fun but productive way to engage kids with technology. In an age where parents struggle to find productive uses of the screen time that their children demand, Book Creator and applications like it are a welcome addition to the mobile device rotation.

Book Creator does not mince words, it does just what its title would lead you to believe. This is an application that allows children to create, publish, and share books with friends and the world if they like. Book creator is robust enough to allow for multi-media integration yet streamlined and intuitive so that kids can pick up and go with little support from adults.

There are so many ways that this app can be used to engage all children in writing and creative expression. Imaginative stories, writing about their last play date, or documenting their last field trip or vacation are all simple and easy to do. They can publish their tales to the iBooks store for others to read. Knowing that there is an audience who will read their work and listen to their ideas is a powerful motivator for young writers.

Book Creator is available for both Android and iOS devices. There is a free edition that provides all basic functionality and there is a full version that is $4.99 that provides all access to the bells and whistles of Book Creator. The developer’s website has a great blog with all kinds of creative ideas for you and your kids to play with at home.

Overview and Tutorial Video