2018 Student Blogging Challenge

For the second time, our class will participate in the Student Blogging Challenge hosted by Edublogs. This challenge will enable our students to connect with students from classrooms all around the world! This challenge runs two times a year in October and March. Our challenge will begin on October 7th.

Each week participants are given weekly tasks to choose from to increase their skills.

The October 2016 student blogging challenge involved:

  • 147 classes
  • 2453 students
  • 74 countries
  • 25 mentors

For a little more information about the challenge, click the link below!


Check out our Student Blogs!

By scrolling through the blog roll on this site, you are able to access each of the individual student blogs written by my students this year. They are a very talented group with lots of great stories to share. I encourage you to leave some comments and let them know what you think about their posts! Have fun!

Photo from Potato Gleaning this past fall

Welcome to 2015 Language Arts!

I have returned from sabbatical refreshed and excited about applying the many new tools I learned about in my coursework at UNC. Mostly, I learned how hard it is to be a student with HOMEWORK, PROJECTS, AND PAPERS! I learned that when my Professor only criticized me it made me really sad. But when she complimented the things I did well before making suggestions, it made me want to work harder! I hope that I will remember that part of my course this year when I’m working with my students. Enjoy reading our blogs this year. My sixth graders are amazing!

IMG_9809Photo from Camp Cheerio 2015



Exterior 1

Photo of the Friday Center of Continuing Education


Chapel Hill, North Carolina

As of January 16th, 2015, I have begun my half year sabbatical. I want to thank Durham Academy for the unique and generous opportunity that has been provided for me to spend the spring semester of the 2014-2015 school year on sabbatical. I thought I would share some of my plans for the semester.  As stated in my sabbatical proposal, I plan to use the time learning about the field of Digital Humanities.  As I began to research the best strategy to accomplish this goal, I came across the name Tim Marr on the UNC-CDHI website. I have had the good fortune to know and to work with Durham Academy’s own History teacher, Paula Marr for many years.  Paula’s husband, Dr. Tim Marr, is coincidentally a faculty member of UNC-Chapel Hill in the department of American Studies. He also serves as a member of the Faculty Steering Committee for the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative and as a member of the Digital Innovation Lab Advisory Board. His current work involves employing digital tools to analyze the Civil War poetry of Herman Melville.  Tim was kind enough to meet with me and provide guidance on the best way to spend my semester exploring this exciting field.  Among a tremendously rich list of resources, he mentioned an English course that is offered this spring semester at UNC.  After reading the description, I realized that this would be a perfect launching point for my studies. I have enrolled in English 530 through UNC Chapel Hill’s Friday Center for Continuing Education.  A detailed description of the course follows. I eagerly anticipate a semester filled with reading, thinking, writing and learning. I am nervous about exams, papers and deadlines, but welcome the time to rejuvenate the innate academic curiosity that led me to the teaching profession in the first place. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

ENGL 530: Digital Humanities History and Methods
The following are a few course descriptions generated by my instructor Dr. Ashley Reed

“The digital humanities has received much attention in the last few years in both the popular press and the professional and scholarly journals in which academics communicate with one another. Much of this attention—positive and negative—has been based on scant knowledge of the actual work performed by digital humanists. This course will give you a thorough introduction to the topics, tools, and techniques that animate the field of digital humanities. If you are already working in the digital humanities, or hope to, this course should both broaden and deepen your understanding of the scholarly work that has been and continues to be done under the mantle of “DH.”
ENGL 530: Digital Humanities History and Methods will offer an introduction to the wide range of research and teaching applications that come under the rubric of “digital humanities.” Digital humanists use technology to answer traditional questions about literature, language, history, art, and music—and to ask new questions. They design online archives for studying the works of William Blake, Emily Dickinson, and Vincent Van Gogh; use text mining algorithms to discover linguistic patterns in thousands of nineteenth-century novels; create galleries to showcase student writing and research; map social networks of the ancient world; and in the process redefine what it means to create and disseminate knowledge. ”

“ENGL 530: Digital Humanities History and Methods will provide interested students, scholars, teachers, and professionals with a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of digital humanities work and prepare them to pursue their own teaching and research projects. The course is designed for graduate students, post-secondary instructors, K-12 educators, cultural heritage professionals, and independent scholars who wish to know more about the topics, tools, and techniques that are bringing the humanities into the digital age.”

ENGL 530 meets online January 7 – May 5, 2015, and is open to UNC students as well as scholars and students not currently affiliated with UNC.

Welcome Class of 2014-2015!

I’d like to welcome my new class of 6th graders! Parents, friends, families and visitors worldwide may view my students’ individual blogs by clicking on the list to the right. Our bloggers are gearing up for a great year of writing and sharing their ideas with the Edublogs community. I hope that you enjoy the words of my sixth grade authors!

This is a poster I created to remind students of our blogging guidelines:


Our Classroom Blog Gets a Facelift!

For several years, my classroom blog has been a collaborative effort that included the writing and contributions of each member of our 6th grade classroom (usually about 40 students). This year we are trying something new. Each member of our Language Arts classroom gets to create their own individual blog. The advantages are many. Here are a few: 1. Individualization. Students are able to choose their own designs, and manage the way their blog looks through widgets, menus and pages. 2. Students take more ownership of their individual blogs and are enthusiastic about making it their own writing space. 3. Parents and friends are able to visit the blogs of their student and make comments on the posts without looking through the blogs of an entire class. 4. The management of the blogs is much more streamlined for their teacher! I invite you to visit the blog roll of student blogs on this page. Make comments and invite your students to make comments on the interesting posts that you find here!

Community Service at The SECU Family House

For Community Service day, my advisory went to SECU Family House and we toured the building and we made cards and baked cookies for the patients. At SECU Family House, families and cancer patients stay there while they are getting cancer treatments at UNC. The building was filled with beautiful pieces of art and it was very comforting and it made me feel like I was at home! This was a great community service! I hope kids keep going there next year!


Star Wars Lego Helping

My Hero by Elliot E.

My Hero

Lori Evans

My hero is Lori Ann Evans. She was born on December 29, 1971 in Middletown Ohio. She grew up as an only child with her mom, because her parents were divorced. Her favorite place to visit was Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her grandparents Mamaw and Papaw. She visited Florida a least four to five times a year. She loved going to school and getting extra handouts to play teacher at home. In college she majored in Human Nutrition and joined the Chi Omega Sorority at Ohio State. Soon after that, she got her teaching degree and became a science teacher. After that she had her first daughter, Edie Katherine Evans. Edie was born in Toledo, Ohio. My hero, her ex-husband, and Edie moved to North Carolina when Edie was two and a half. Half a year later, they had another wonderful child named Elliot Blake Evans. Three years later one more child came into the family named, Ian Robert Evans. Then finally the last child came 17 months after Ian named, Oliver Reed Evans. After a couple of years, she moved to a bigger house. That was when her ex-husband Brian had been traveling a lot for work. My hero was a stay home mom until she started subbing for teachers at the DA lower school. She loved teaching again, and realized she wanted to do this more. In the year of 2011 she became a third grade teaching assistant for Mr. Meyer. Now she loves to work out in her free time and help her kids.

My mom is my hero because she is devoted to her children. She is always caring and loving toward all of us. One of the many examples is that once, when I was sick, she made me a special lunch of hot soup with these yummy potatoes, chicken, and carrots. Everyday she helps my brothers with their homework and reads to them at night. Also she is devoted to her job, helping Mr. Meyer with their third graders. Once my sister felt sick when she was working and then during one of her breaks she went and got her and took her home. She does this for all of her kids. That is why my mom is my hero.

My mom is a hero to me because of her patience. Having four children in a family and raising them on your own is a big job. My mom’s life requires a lot of patience. Whenever my younger brother has fits, she will calm him down and help him. Usually, when my mom and I argue, she will leave me alone for awhile then she and I talk when I have calmed down. She will drive back to our house if we ever forget something. Also, if we lose something she will try to find it with us. Those are some reasons why my mom is my hero.

My mom is always optimistic. She will always look on the brighter side of things when something goes wrong. She is very happy and positive about the future. She is also very kind all of the time. This one time, when I was in a bad mood, she took me and my family to get ice cream after my favorite dinner, spaghetti and meatballs. My mom’s effervescent personality always lights up my face on a bad day. I think this happens to everyone when they see her. My mom’s optimism and kindness are reasons why she is my hero.

My hero has impacted my life because she has taught me to be kind and always share. Without my mom I wouldn’t be who I am today because she has taught me so many things in life. For example, she taught me my manners, to always be kind, and to care for your family. She taught me not to be afraid and to take chances. Overall my mom is the biggest influence on my life and I appreciate all she does for me and our family.

My Hero Book

Here is my Hero Book:

My hero is Lisa Halpin. She is an amazing woman who was born in Seattle and served in the army. She is my mom’s very good friend, so I have gotten to know her very well. She currently is a hard-working stay at home mom whose family includes her husband and two children ages nine and twelve. Her nine year old is a non-verbal autistic child. Lisa has some amazing dreams such as becoming a nurse or writer for Hallmark. Lisa currently lives in a nice home and has a wonderful family. I chose Lisa as my hero for many reasons. I admire her because she is a member of the armed forces. She sadly had to leave the army because she badly injured her back. She has many heroic traits such as courage and perseverance but she has many fun sides to her personality such as being really funny and goofy. Whenever it comes to jokes, she will be front and center!

Lisa has showed me that life has its ups and downs. I believe Lisa shows a great deal of perseverance because she has done many challenging things in her lifetime. She persevered through working in the army as the company clerk. She did any job her commander told her. Another example of Lisa showing perseverance is that she is proudly raising a non-verbal autistic child who is a very nice and kind 9-year-old. At times, it can be challenging teaching her son life skills when he has so many challenges. However, she would tell you that her efforts are worth it. She keeps working hard even when things are difficult. That is why Lisa is an amazing example of perseverance.

    According to the dictionary, the definition of courage is noun: Courage is a sense of fearlessness, no matter the outcome. If I were to define Lisa, I would have to include the definition of courage. Lisa had to travel to different and far away places like Haiti for the army. Haiti is not safe for visitors because it has human trafficking and many diseases. She was very courageous joining the army. It was brave of Lisa to leave her home at age fifteen because she figured out that the big city was not where she wanted to have her life. It was courageous of her to go out of the city in which she grew up in and start a new life on her own. I respect Lisa very much for her courage.

    Friendliness: Being a friend means being good and helpful towards other human beings. Caring: being gentle and careful towards another being. Cheerfulness: being happy and energetic towards a being or multiple beings. Having all three of those traits are hard traits to keep. It takes work and smiles to have all three of those traits all of the time. Lisa can be serious or brave, but having the ability to laugh is key to life because you give something that many people cannot give: smiles. Whenever Lisa is in the room and we are smiling, it is most likely that we are laughing at something she said. Often she will tell us jokes that she saw on the web or jokes she heard from other friends. Sometimes she has hilarious experiences that happened at her home and she will tell us about them. When we tell her jokes or funny stories, even if she thinks they are not funny, she will laugh and have a big smile on her face.

    Has my hero left an impact on my life? Many people will say that their heros have either saved their lives, or their hero took care of them since they were ten years old. My hero has left an impact on my life that is very different from those examples. She has had a mental impact on my life. To me, a mental impact is something that has influenced your mind or changed how you think. By always smiling and never giving up when bad things happen, Lisa has set an example for how I too can live my life. Even though bad things will always happen, she has taught me that smiling is staying positive is the best way to get through. Her lesson is that bad things aren’t always the worst. Some people say smiling is contagious, but that is still a theory. When I see Lisa smiling, she makes me smile, so I can say that hers is definitely contagious. I am lucky to know Lisa and feel privileged that she is in my life.Hero Book Cover

Open Hero Book