Sunday, December 26, 2010

Israel: The Way We Celebrate Chanukah

From our friends at Ein Ganim School in Petach Tivka, Israel
Sixth grade students from Ein Ganim school in Israel sing in Hebrew to celebrate Hanukkah. The first song: Hanukkah such a lovely day, Boys and gils big and small, dance around and play--It tells how happy everyone is to celebrate the feast of light and the miracle of the jug which had enough oil to last for a day but lasted eight days! The second song tells about the traditions we have for the holiday including the spintop, we eat sweet donuts and potato pancakes to remember the miracle. It is pleasant and good for all on Hanukkah

Did you know that the word Hannukah can be spelled in more than thirty ways and that the word comes from Hebrew? After listening to the singing on the video, read more about Hannukah and the ways that the students at Ein Ganim celebrate this holiday by reading what they written here: Read more about the history of Chanukah »

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hungry Minds Pasta Dinner... A HUGE Success!!!!

A BIG thank you to all of the fifth grade teachers, students, parents, and principal Cathy Hamilton for an outstanding Hungry Minds Pasta Dinner. We will know by early next week how much money was raised for the selected charities (Heifer International, World Food Programme, International Children's Relief, and the Haiti Children's Home). Enjoy the slideshow from the event.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fifth Graders Helping Those in Need

The fifth grade students at Lincoln are very busy preparing for their annual Hungry Minds Pasta dinner on Thursday night.  Each year the fifth grade students participate in a service learning project that involves those in need.  Students are involved in the process from start to finish...from making signs to announce the event to serving the pasta on the evening of the dinner.  This year the student's decided to contribute the proceeds of the dinner to Heifer International, World Food Programme, Haiti Children's Home, and International Children's Relief. 

Grade 3 Architecture Adventure Program at Lincoln 2010

Architecture Adventure taps into Oak Park's wealth of architecture and professionals in the field to inspire student learning. District 97 students in art classes and a summer camp learn about architecture, work with visiting architects, design and build projects, and take field trips to Oak Park and Chicago sites of interest.

Launched by the Oak Park Education Foundation in the fall of 2006, Architecture Adventure brings the experience, expertise and passion of professional architects, engineers and designers into the classroom. The program takes place in K-8th grade core curriculum and art classrooms.

Architecture Adventure:

* engages children in skillful decision-making
* teaches students about built environments throughout the world
* inspires students with visits to significant architectural sites

This is the second year of the program at Lincoln with architect Mark Klancic. The focus of the program at Lincoln is using Google Sketch Up to learn design elements while creating an original home design. A slideshow of the first day is below:

Check out the student products from last year designed in Google Sketch Up.

Photos from Fall Architectural tour of Oak Park.

Check out photos from last year's program.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What do kids need to learn today?

A very inspiring video of what teachers need to be learning today...the kids are ready to take off and learn!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Student Collaboration on M&M Math...Halloween 2010

Students from the Glass Class at Harrison Elementary School in Warsaw, Indiana and students from Lincoln School in Oak Park collaborated on an M&M Math Project today focusing on graphing, fractions, decimals, percents, mean, median, and mode.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

International Peace Day and Pinwheels for Peace

Last month the students from Lincoln School in Oak Park celebrated International Peace Day and the Pinwheels for Peace Program.  Both programs celebrate PEACE around the globe and inspire children to create peace in their classrooms, schools, neighborhoods, communities, and the WORLD. At Lincoln we celebrated by creating pinwheels with messages of peace for our friends throughout the world.  Students gathered on the playground to share a peace "filled" celebration with one another. There were an estimated 3.5 million pinwheels spinning around the world this day! Check out the photos from our celebration below:

Lincoln students also participated with students from around the globe in celebrating this important day.  Students had a Skype conversation about PEACE with students from Warsaw, Indiana (the Glass Class from Harrison Elementary School).  Students shared their pinwheels and messages of PEACE with one another.  Check out the photos from our Skype conversation:

Lincoln students also participated with students from Israel in the Globaldreamers PEACE Project.  This global collaborative project was created by teacher Marsha Goren and connects students from all over the world to create peace.
Shalom from Ein Ganim School, Israel

More information about Marsha's Project:

The Consulate General of Israel in Montreal is running a program called "A piece for peace."
 We will be visiting Jewish and non-Jewish schools throughout the city and presenting Gilad Shalit's book "When the Shark and the Fish first met." Then, people who have been afflicted by war and who now dream of peace, will lead the discussion on peace and achieving it. Afterwards, we ask the students who have heard Shalit's story to contribute a piece (of art, literature, poetry, creativity...) to peace. Finally, we will publish their contributions in a beautiful hard cover book.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The KenKen Craze at Lincoln School

The latest craze to hit most schools around the country are those little rubber bands that when not stretched form some sort of animal or object.  While I have seen many Silly Bands on the wrists of Lincoln students these days, I have also seen the kids go absolutely CRAZY over a new type of math puzzle that I introduced to them last week.  These puzzles, called KenKen, are Sudoku Puzzles with a twist- as one of my students recently said, they are Soduko Puzzles on vitamins!  Indeed they are, KenKen is the latest CRAZE at Lincoln, far more popular than Silly Bands will ever be!  Students at Lincoln are excited about math and trying to solve the increasing complex KenKen puzzles.

Read about KenKen creator Tetsuya Miyamoto!

After introducing KenKen to my students, I noticed something strange happening.  Students started showing up early for math class and asking for more and more KenKen puzzles to solve.  I showed all of my students the website and the 4x4 to 9x9 KenKen puzzles online.  They went CRAZY and ask to spend time every math class working on the puzzles.  A student last week asked if we could create our own KenKen puzzles for other students to solve- and of course, I said YES! I searched the internet and found Mr. L's math page in which he had his class create KenKen puzzles for other students to solve [KenKen Construction – Building Puzzles in the Classroom].  He has some nice resources on his page for solving 3x3 puzzles and 4x4 puzzles. Some other cool stuff on Mr. L's blog- Games and Puzzles that Reach the Kids and Teach the Standards.  Have fun and get your students involved in the KenKen craze!
Mr. K

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How did you spend your summer?

Using the program Wordle, I created a visual of how I spent my summer vacation:
Go to Worlde and start typing in what you did over your summer vacation- the words that appear larger are used more frequently in the description.  Have fun and let me know when you are finished and I will add it to our What You did Over the Summer blog page.

2010-2011: A New School Year...and New Ideas to Share

A friend and colleague of mine, Rick Glass, from Warsaw, Indiana has launched his new classroom website that will be a portal to many fabulous, integrated, collaborative projects from around the globe.  Students from Lincoln know Mr. Glass and the Glass Class quite well as they teamed with us in the 2008-2009 Global Virtual Classroom Contest.  That year we took first place in the contest and earned an additional award for Exceptional Helping Focus for our Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive to help the Combined Community Services Food Bank in Warsaw.  Together we have participated in our friend Marsha Goren's Globaldreamers project, whose mission and dream is worldwide peace. Another great project is Around the World with 80 Schools, it is a challenging project of trying to Skype with eighty schools from around the globe. Here's to another great school year!

Mr. K on a fishing trip to Warsaw, Indiana- I brought along four computers to donate to the Glass Class (summer 2010).

Glass Class

Mr. Glass

Marsha Goren- founder of Globaldreamers

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The NEW Three R's

The New Three R's- The Three E's [Extract, Evaluate, and Express]
As I was sitting in the doctor's office waiting for my daughter to finish up her appointment, I glanced over and saw a parenting magazine on the table.  As I was skimming over the articles, one in particular caught my eye-
The new three R’s (Raising kids who are information literate).  With the new school year right around the corner, it definitely caught my interest and I read on.  In the article the author describes what it is like being a kid in the TMI (too much information) Age, where being able to extract, evaluate and express new information is vital to future success in the work place.  She goes on to describe that more than half of the jobs in the US are knowledge related- being able to access, critique, and share information with others.  As my fellow educator and friend Rick Glass reminds us frequently, we are training the students of today for jobs that presently do no exist.  Think about that one for a minute and you will become instantly overwhelmed with the job that we as educators must do on a daily basis in the classroom.  Tech Literacy is fast becoming a focal point in many school districts, like District 97 in Oak Park where we are focusing on integrating technology across the curriculum.  As stated in the article, it is critically important that young people have these skills as "more than half the jobs in the US are now classified as knowledge workers, people who get paid to access, apply, and generate information."  One website that is of particular interest is the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) that has a list of National Educational Technology Standards for students, teachers, and administrators.  They also have a wiki available to discuss the standards, ask questions, and develop ideas together.  The menu on the left hand side of the page will direct you to grade specific (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) technology operations and concepts.

Basically it all comes down to the three E's [ extract, evaluate, and express].
1.Extract- figure out what you want to know (clarify a question), think about the best way to track down the answer (books, newspapers, websites...), discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each for your given question.  Compare results from various search engines and discuss the differences between referenced works ( and those that are produced by collaboration ( of experts and neophytes.
2.Evaluate- being able to think critically in the information age is a must where we are overwhelmed daily with TMI.  A must have skill is being able to understand point of view and how it affects the reliability of the information.  Students need to ask who produced this information, what are their credentials, is the information unbiased, is there an agenda present- do they want money, a vote, cooperation, respect?  Students need to be skeptical, not cynical and evaluate the information by asking the tough questions: what's the evidence? does it make sense? and what's the other side of the story?
3. Express- encourage students to express what they learned through social networking (like Twitter), photo sharing (like Picassa Web), blogs (like , interactive games (like Scratch), and global collaborative projects (like Globaldreamers and Virtual Classroom).  Power students UP instead of them powering DOWN when they reach the school doors.  Discuss the pros and cons of various forms of expression- what is the message? will collaboration make the project better? how can we make sure that everyone in the group contributes and gets credit for their ideas? 

Make these skills a priority for the students in your classroom this year.
Parent Magazine- August 2009

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Grade 3 Architecture Adventure Program at Lincoln

Grade 3 Architecture Adventure Project

Third grade students from Lincoln, participating in the Oak Park Educational Foundations Architecture Adventures Program, designed their own neighborhood using Google SketchUp. With the guidance of architect and former Lincoln parent Mark Klancic, the students created several street scenes around Lincoln School. To view the creation process and student work, please see below. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


AW80S (Around the World with Eighty Schools) is a new an exciting project for the students at Lincoln.  Our goal is to have 80 Skype conversations with 80 schools from around the world.  Some of these conversations will be linked to major learning projects we will join.  Others will be simple meet-and-greet activities.  Regardless, our students will have many opportunities to experience learning and communicating with dozens of students from around the world.  Please click on the PROJECTS tab above to see which schools we have already communicated within the past year.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Laptop...More Ideas to Engage Students

All district 97 teachers will be getting a NEW Dell laptop this year as a part of the district's updated technology plan.  I plan on using my laptop everyday as a tool to increase student involvement in my classroom.  Exactly how I am going to do that unfolds everyday as I am working over the summer on my classroom blog.  Here I will keep track of all the wonderful and exciting projects the kids are doing throughout the year.  To start with, I will once again be coordinating the Lincoln School Tech Club- which I started last year after GVC ended.  Students just kept showing up at the computer lab every day and I decided that they must really love technology and want to learn more.  I will be starting with the fifth graders this year and hopefully include other grades as the years go by.  The fifth graders will be participating in the Global Virtual Classroom (GVC) Contest again this year as we have done for the past eight years (click on the the GVC tab at the top to see some awesome work by Lincoln students).  We will also be collaborating with Ein Ganim School in Israel as  part of their Global Dreamers project and Harrison Elementary School in Warsaw, Indiana.  It is going to be an exciting year of learning with technology.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lincoln School's GVC Team is Recognized for Outstanding Website in International Competition

Oak Park Schools - Four Wins in International Web Contest

Article about District 97 Winners from

Global Virtual Classroom Contest (GVC) is a free online collaborative learning project that fosters creativity, cross cultural understanding, helping others, and teaches IT and website design skills amongst students working together from around the world.

Sponsored by GSBI [Give Something Back International], the GVC program provides an opportunity for primary and secondary school students from different countries to work with and learn from students in other countries, as they collaboratively design a website on a topic of their choosing. Teams are comprised of either three primary or three secondary schools from different countries. A panel of international judges evaluates the final work and determines the winners.

Student efforts are judged for content, presentation, collaboration, and a helping focus. The helping focus was added to encourage students to also demonstrate achievement of a helpful objective such as personal, social and/or environmental responsibility or support for a worthy cause.

Each division has 3 prize winners and 3 special merit awards.
Oak Park Schools received 4 of these awards in the 2009-2010 contest.

In the primary division [grades 3-7]:
Julian Middle School's 7th graders won 1st prize with the site: Save Earth! Partners from: Olean, New York and New Delhi, India. Teacher: Janet Barnstable

Lincoln School's 5th graders won 3rd prize with the site: Imaginary Island. Partners from: Florida, and Taiwan. Lincoln School was also recognized for EXCEPTIONAL Helping Focus for their work in creating the Haiti House Project. Teacher: Matt Kuntz.

Mann School's 4th graders won a special merit award for the site: Animal Stories. Partners from: New York, and Czech Republic. Teacher: Jim Hayward.

In the secondary division [grades 8-12]:
Julian Middle School's 8th graders won 3rd place for the site: Mystical creatures and gods. Partners from: Malaysia and Kenya. Teacher: Janet Barnstable.

These sites and all the winning sites can be viewed by going to

Monday, April 26, 2010

Kate and Miyumi's Holocaust Blog

Check out Ellen's Holocaust Blog at

Check out Kate and Miyumi's Holocaust Blog. The fifth grade reading students will be contributing projects to this blog- make sure to check back frequently for updates.

We will be working collaboratively with the Ein Ganim School in Petach Tivka, Israel on the Holocaust Project. Check out their website at

Lincoln's Fifth Grade Holocaust Web Page

Hannah's movie

Sample of Anna's Morph Movie- Anne Frank morphed into Anna K.

The Fifth Graders will be watching the movie Safe Haven: The Warsaw Zoo and creating projects about the Holocaust. Several students created movie tickets for the show.

Click here to view the movie Safe Haven: The Warsaw Zoo

Students will also be writing letters to the directors of Safe Haven- Richard and Gary Lester. Check out the film's website at

Hannah's Safe Haven admit one

Hannah's warsaw ghetto vs. warsaw zoo

Holocaust Wordle by Anna

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oak Park District 97 is adopting an orphanage in Haiti

The Lincoln School Fifth Grade Tech Club will be communicating and collaborating on a project featuring video pals and pen pals from Haiti.

A group of Oak Park District 97 teachers
led by Karen Tokarz, the Multicultural Education Department and community members led by former District 97 teacher, Gale Liebman, are part of a collaborative effort committed to supporting and rebuilding the Horizon de L'espoir Orphanage in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

The orphanage was destroyed in the terrible earthquake earlier this year. Drs. Mildred Olivier and Serge Pierre-Louis, from Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago have been working with Horizon de L’espoir to address the immediate needs of the children and are raising money for temporary housing for the children until the facilities can be rebuilt once the ground is stable.

Our Oak Park Haitian Initiative is enlisting faculty from each of the 10 District 97 schools to help raise funds for these Haitian children over the course of the next two years.

As a kick off to our efforts, there will be station at the 30th Annual Ethnic Festival sponsored by the Multicultural Education Department on Saturday, May 1st at Whittier School, where we will be accepting donations of new and gently used toys and clothing; sealed over the counter medication; and school supplies (see the list below).

Helping Haiti is also helping kids!

Newspaper Article in the Oak Leaves

Supply list:

Television and cd player with dvd and cassetttes

Small table and chairs

blackboard and chalk

Coloring book and crayons

Plastic storage boxes

Play dough

Puzzles and games

Paper and scissors for arts and crafts

Story books and informative books

Flash cards

Plastic cups, plates and silverware

Monetary donations will also be accepted. Checks should be made payable to: AMHE Foundation.


Dr. Serge Pierre-Louis with some of the children

Dr Olivier is the Haitian woman on the right, the director is in the middle, and the nurse is on the left.

Horizon de L'espoir Orphanage

Monday, April 19, 2010


In Fifth Grade Tech club we are learning how to use Pencil- a cool flip book animation program. It is like the old fashioned flip books but using the computer. Students are working on creating animations about Spring for the GlobalDreamers website. Click here for directions on how to use Pencil.

Check back soon for our Pencil creations about Spring.

by Ava T.

Hannah's Pencil Movie

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lincoln Students Help the People of Haiti

The devastating earthquakes in Haiti energized the Lincoln Student Council and the GVC09-05 students into action as they wanted to do something to help. Students came up with the idea of "One Island Community Helping Another" and realized they could help the people of Haiti by making "one house at a time." The students created tiny HAITI HOUSE pins that made a BIG difference.

From their research the students learned that... the people of Haiti live in extreme poverty and their housing situation is in a crisis. Natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, droughts, and earthquakes have had serious effects on the housing situation as well. The poor live in tents or dilapidated shacks made of cardboard, plastic, tin, or whatever materials can be scavenged from the garbage. These structures barely provide protection against the elements and children frequently fall ill from the appalling conditions. A luxury for these people would be a cement house with solid walls, zinc-sheet roofs that don't leak, doors that lock, and floors that don't turn to mud every time it rains.

Lincoln Student Council Members and Global Virtual Classroom Students [GVC09-05] spent their lunchtime recess creating Haiti House pins. Students then sold these pins at various school functions and raised over $1,050.00 to donate to The American Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. The students created and sold over 250 Haiti House pins to help those in need that were devastated by the earthquake.

Click here to view photos of the creation process as well as the finished Haiti House pins.

Click here to read a newspaper article about our efforts.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lincoln Arcade Games created in Scratch

Students in the Global Virtual Classroom (GVC) Project created original games using a program called Scratch. Under the direction of Mr. P (a Lincoln parent and Scratch enthusiast) students learned a programming language in which they created interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art.

As students create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

Scratch Gallery of Games by Winston

Click on this link or the image below to see the student created arcade games.

GVC09-05 Project Finished!

After six months of hard work, the Global Virtual Classroom Project (GVC 09-05) Imaginary Island is finished. For this project we collaborated with schools from Taiwan and Florida. Please click on the link below or the image to the left to see our AWESOME website!

Harrison School Tech Club from Warsaw, Indiana

We will be working with a school from Warsaw, Indiana on technology projects this year. We partnered with them last year for GVC. All the kids in the Glass Class have a computer at their desk- isn't that cool? They have what is called a 1:1 classroom- one computer for every student in the room. They do ALOT of neat projects using technology. Check out their blog.
Mr. K

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring is in the air!

Our new project is creating things about spring. Since spring is a very happy time of the year we are making flowers and rainbows with pots of gold.They are very artistic if I may say so myself. We will be posting again tomorrow!

Project website

Hannah's Spring Movie

Paul G.'s Spring Project

Ava T.'s Fish and Flower

Patricia's Springtime Picture

New Tech Club Project

We have a new tech club project. We are working with a school in Israel, they have a website called GlobalDreamers

Our projects will be of and relating to spring!
We are going to draw pictures in Pixie about spring in Oak Park, Illinois U.S.A

Hearts for Croiata Project

Link to

In the world of fairy tales of Ivana Brlic Mazuranic

Photos of Project

Hello, this is the new Lincoln 5th grade Tech Club. We have already started our first project, we are creating gingerbread hearts for the children in Croatia. Here is a description of our project.

This year’s theme is “Gingerbread Heart” inspired by Ivana’s story “Licitarsko srce”
(traditional gingerbread heart)
By giving a licitarsko srce (traditional gingerbread heart) to your loved ones, you pass
on the warmth and love.

Honey dough in the shape of a heart, bright red in colour is decorated by a rich
flourish of bright colours form the licitarsko srce (traditional gingerbread heart).

The tradition of making licitarsko srce (traditional gingerbread heart) dates back to
the 16th and 17th century when cakes were made with the aid of richly decorated
wooden moulds in numerous European monasteries.

From ancient times, the original intention of licitarsko srce (traditional gingerbread
heart) was in giving it as a gift to your loved ones, whereby loved ones were given
the warm and telling gift (licitarsko srce -licitar) on special occasions.

According to the tradition of giving licitarsko srce (traditional gingerbread heart),
which has been retained to the present day, express your love, attention and fancy
to those you love and respect most, for all values that make this world a better place
for everyone.

Here is an example of my gingerbread heart!

Paul and Alexi

Here is a link to our tech club web page.