Student Blogging Challenge

Due to the hectic schedule the eighth graders have during the third marking period with 20-Time Projects, online reading, and our ongoing study of legal justice, I have decided not to enter our individual student blogs in the Student Blogging Challenge.  Instead this class blog, “WORDSWORK:  The Right Words in the Right Order” will be the hub for interactions with schools from around the world.  I will ask students if they wish to serve as “Guest Bloggers” on this page, adding their posts here.  Hopefully some of your children will get to respond and connect globally.

Monday is a twitter effort launched by Pernille Ripp called “One School, One World.”  I will be photographing our class and sharing it on twitter, devoid of specific location information or names of the children.  I hope to share screenshots of other schools  with our Brielle studentsstudents.  If you are interested in following the conversation on twitter: #1S1W.

I will keep you posted.

2016 Is Here! (Your Child’s Graduation Year)

justice photo

Oh, what a vacation this has been!  Today when your children return, I will be asking them to do a “Best of Vacation” list.  If they can come up with a few “moments” worthy of a second look, I will be a happy camper.

Much of what I have been reading during the respite concerns our remaining time together.  As I have mentioned to some of you, in the third marking period the students will be engaging in “Passion Projects,” ones that they pick and devote one day a week to developing throughout the marking period.  It is a methodology supported by many of the people I most respect in the field of education and hope you will as well.  Ideally it puts a student in charge of his or her own learning.

As a “warm-up,” the students are working on book-related projects from now until the due date on Friday, January 22.  When parents ask, “So what do they have to do?  What are the requirements?” I must in all honesty respond that the final project itself will not receive a grade.  The steps along the way, the proposal, the research, the record-keeping, the reflective blogging, a completed product that can be shared and the final self-assessment will all weigh in grading.  This will preclude any “last ditch” efforts to undo time spent poorly in class or changing the project up at the last minute.  All of this will prepare your child for the next, more ambitious, effort of his or her choosing.

As we continue toward graduation in June, I will keep you posted and hope you check in with your child’s blog as well.

Welcome Back!


Nat'l Book Award Finalists 2016 YA


As the second full week of your child’s eighth grade year at Brielle Elementary School draws to a close, I wish to welcome you and invite you to participate in the ongoing adventure this year will hopefully provide by subscribing to our blog.  In two weeks, your child’s individual blog will be linked on the sidebar here.  I urge you to check in periodically, visiting and leaving comments—not only on your child’s blog but on the work of fellow students as well.

If you were unable to attend Back-to-School Night (I missed meeting you personally!), these are a few of the highlights:

  • This year each of the classes is informed about homework and more impromptu announcements through Google Classroom.  Ask your child to show you the webpage.
  • The class webpage associated with the Brielle school account has tips for writing, a link to this blog, and other information.
  • We will be utilizing several online tools for creation and curation.  These technological tools will facilitate learning for your child.  We have been, and will continue to be, discussing what it means to be a digital citizen.  A valuable resource in addition to Common Sense Media (linked on the sidebar) is InCtrl, a comprehensive program to address this most important topic.  Safety and Responsibility are at the heart of our approach.
  • Your child participated in an activity on Global Collaboration Day, September 16th, with other students from around the world through an international art exchange.  They used VoiceThread to comment and connect.  They will be participating in Blog Action Day on Friday, October 16th as well.
  • The essential question we will be considering throughout the year is:  What is justice?  The seventh and eighth graders will be reading books in mixed-grades book clubs that focus on different social justice issues.
  • Students will engage in an inquiry-based project of their choosing during the third marking period, related to an aspect of social justice and their personal interest.
  • They will participate in the Global Blog Challenge for ten weeks during the spring.
  • Please contact me by email or phone with any questions or concerns:, 732.528.6400 x.124.

I will do my best to provide an update every month, sometimes more often if the circumstances warrant it, via this blog.

We are already on our way to a successful and happy school year; I can’t wait to see it unfold.  Thank you for sharing your children with me.