Amelia Students Call Californians Classmates:

Amelia students call Californians classmates

By Cindy Kranz • • February 26, 2010

AMELIA – When Lori Van Eman’s kindergartners first learned that Olympic snowboarder and gold medalist Shaun White is nicknamed “The Flying Tomato,” they giggled and laughed.

The Amelia Elementary kindergartners are still giggling about the reference to White’s red hair.

It’s the favorite fun fact they’ve learned about the 2010 Olympic Winter Games – and they learned it while Skyping with other kindergartners in White’s home state of California.

Since the Vancouver Olympics began nearly three weeks ago, the Amelia kindergartners have been Skyping – seeing and hearing each other over the Internet – with The Village School in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and Haultain Community School in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

They also Skype daily with Joe Stahl’s kindergarten class at Withamsville-Tobasco Elementary and have Skyped several times with Mary Lou Van Eman’s third-grade class at Mercer Elementary in Anderson Township. She’s Van Eman’s mother.

“We want to see the learning at home connect to the learning at school,” Van Eman said. “It’s letting them know they can go home and Skype anybody you want. It’s forming that friendship and that eagerness to learn what others are doing, what others are seeing.”

The kindergartners have been Skyping once a week with the California and Canadian schools since the Olympics began two weeks ago. Sessions last around 8 minutes, which is about their maximum attention span, Van Eman said. During that time, they exchange information about athletes and events, plus track medals won by the United States.

On Thursday, Van Eman’s students Skyped with their California friends. The first time Van Eman’s students Skyped with the California school, they couldn’t understand why they were wearing shorts.

“The kids could not get over that the climate was different there,” she said.

To give their new friends a taste of snow, Van Eman’s class made a video outside and threw snowballs at the camera.

The students also keep Olympic journals and graphs of the number of gold, silver and bronze medals won by the United States, which allows Van Eman to test their language and math skills.

Van Eman writes a classroom blog, which is now populated with photos and information about the students’ Olympics lessons.

After the Olympics, she and her students have an appointment to Skype with Kelli Stack of Brooklyn Heights, Ohio, a member of the silver medal-winning women’s ice hockey team.

Although the Olympics end Sunday, Van Eman’s class will continue Skyping with their new California friends. Plans are to become reading buddies with the children.

A year ago, Van Eman didn’t have any of the resources that she does now.

“I can honestly say that it has changed my students’ learning 100 percent,” Van Eman said. “There is little need for redirection when we are working with the SMART board technology or Skyping because the students know that if anything is going to happen it is going to be happening on our board.”

“Their eyes are always glued to see what is coming next.”


March Calendar of Events:

Amelia Elementary Students and Families,

Just a reminder to all parents that students do not have school on Friday, February 26th due to teacher training… students, enjoy the extended weekend as it will be the last one until spring break.  : ) 

The increase in student enrollment this school year caused an unexpected back-up during school photos.  Students in 5 classrooms (grades 4 and a 5th grade class) did not get their individual photos taken.  Lifetouch contacted me yesterday and rescheduled a make-up day for these classrooms on Tuesday, March 2nd.  I apologize for any issues that this may have caused. 

We have several exciting events scheduled for the month of March. 

  • March 11th-    PTA Grandparents Night
  • March 15th-    PTA Meeting in Library 6:30 PM
  • March 22nd-   End of the 3rd Quarter
  • March 24th-    4th Grade Music Program 10:00, 2:00 & 7:00 PM
  • March 25th-    Literacy Night 6:00 PM
  • March 27th-    Amelia Elementary Easter Egg Hunt
  • March 29th-    Officer Phil K-4 Safety Program 10:00 & 1:30 PM
  • March 29th-    Report Cards Home with Students
  • March 29-31-   5th Grade Camp Kern Trip

Please continue to check the “links” tab on a frequent basis.  I have been adding child friendly math and literacy resources as well as new teacher blog sites. 

I hope that everyone is staying warm and safe during the past few wintery weeks.  I am hoping that warmer weather is on the horizon. 


Mrs. Walker

Blog Bits:


February, 25, 2010 at 7:00 PM

  • Midway Movie Night showing Percy Jackson and The Olympians: Lightening Thief.  The cost is $6.50 per person and includes a drink and popcorn.  Come out and have fun while supporting our school.

March 1, 2010 – 6:30-8:30 PM

  • Amelia Elementary Skating Night at Beechmont Rollerena.  The cost is $3.00 per skater and $1.75 for skate rental. 

March 5, 2010- 5:00-9:00 PM

  • Visit Wendy’s located at 1779 St. Rt. 125 in Hamlet for Amelia Elementary Night.  15% of all sales during this event will be donated to our school.

March 9, 2010- 3:00-9:00 PM

  • Visit Chuck E. Cheese located at Eastgate for Amelia Elementary Night.  15% of all sales will be donated to our school.  Friends and families are encouraged to help support this event.

TWITTER in the Classroom

Today I had the privilege of observing students interacting with technology in Mrs. Marcotte’s 4th grade classroom.  After an extended “vacation” from instruction due to the recent snowfall, Mrs. Marcottte reviewed (unit 7) fractions with students through utilizing Study Island,, on the classroom mimio interactive board.  At the conclusion of the review lesson, Mrs. Marcotte had students summarize their learning.  They were asked to identify the days objective as well as to give an example of that skill.  Once the class agreed upon the objective and example, it was used as a TWEET in the classroom TWITTER account.  Parents and students are able to access this information from home.    I challenge students to log-in to Study Island for additional practice with fractions.

“Hello From Snowy Ohio”

Miss Van Eman’s kindergarten class has begun embedding 21st century technology skills into classroom instruction.  The children have been “Skyping” with a kindergarten class in California.  Students made the above video in order to share our recent snowfall with their California video pals.  See Miss Van Eman’s blog in the links section for more information regarding this project as well as on Skyping.

Blog Bits from the Office: 2-19-10

It is hard to believe that we are already ending another week.  Today has been the first full day of instruction in eight days.  As you can imagine, it takes students (and teachers) a while to get back in the swing of things.  🙂 

Both individual and class photos will be taken tomorrow, Friday, February 19th.  Getting a great picture is easy and fun.  Just remind your children to think about a few basics ahead of time.

  • Practice your smile
  • Remember good posture
  • Wear your best clothes/colors
  • Relax and smile at the camera as if it’s your best friend
  • Be yourself and have fun


 Help Haiti was the theme at Amelia Elementary.

Fifth-grade students made signs for the school asking students to bring in change to help the people of Haiti. For two days zip-loc bags of change were counted. Some were filled with dollar bills and some with pennies, but every bit counted. The first day over $555 was collected. A challenge was placed to the students to see if they could collect more the next day and they came through! Over $650 was collected. In total, Amelia donated over $1,200 to the Matthew 25 Ministries to help the people of Haiti.  I can not stress enough how proud I am of our students for thinking of others in need.  What special children we have!!



Student Blog:

Dear AE Students,

We have had a LOT of snow this winter.  I had a great time building a snowman with my two youngest children last week.  I would love to hear what you have done in the snow this winter… snowmen, igloos, snowball fights,  sledding etc.  Remember to write in complete sentences, use correct capitalization and punctuation in your responses.  I can’t wait to hear about all of the fun that you had!  Also, if you email me a photo of your winter activities, I would love to add it to this post.


Mrs. Walker