Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November Feature Teacher

Branson School Online is home to the most talented and dedicated teaching staff in Colorado! 

Each month we introduce you to one of our incredible Branson School Online teachers. 

Our Feature Teacher for the month of November is:


Mrs. Beiriger teaches 5th grade at Branson School Online. Read on to learn more about this talented BSO teacher. 

Years Teaching: This is my 15th year teaching overall. 

Years with BSO: This is my 12th year teaching with BSO.

Favorite food: Chicken

Favorite color(s): Blue and Purple

Pets: 2 Dogs: Dozer and Diva 2 cats: Siyah and Cider  

Hobbies: Anything outdoors!  Hiking, mountain biking, and snowboarding are top on my list of hobbies. 

What do you love about teaching? Interacting with kids and learning from them.

What do you love about teaching with Branson? The fact I get to know the whole family, not just the student.

Favorite season? Spring is my favorite season because of baseball!

Favorite place you have traveled to? The Grand Caymen Islands

# 1 item on your bucket list: It used to be skydiving, I might have to rethink that one. :)

Favorite book/author: The Giving Tree by: Shel Silverstein

Favorite sport: Baseball

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Let's Get Moving!

Did you know that exercise is Miracle Gro for the brain?  That's right! There is a family of proteins called factors in the brain that are responsible for building and maintaining the cell connections between neurons.  The “big kahuna” of these factors is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).  While that is a mouthful to say, the important thing to know is that this stuff is released during exercise and it causes growth in the area of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is in charge of long-term memory.  While completing the New York Times crossword puzzle or getting a dose of Lumosity are both excellent mental workouts, you and your brain will derive much more benefit if you get your heart beating hard for about an hour beforehand.  With your brain swimming in its very own special fertilizer, you are much more likely to remember the material in that Compass or Pearson lesson.  It is the "single most powerful tool you have to optimize your brain," according to Dr. John Ratey, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.  In his book SPARK:  The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (Little, Brown, 2008), Ratey states that "the benefit of physical activity (for the brain) is far more important---and fascinating---than it is for the body".  

In his book, Ratey talks about a school district outside of Chicago that implemented an optional before-school PE program that sky-rocketed 19,000 students into a fitness and smartness league of their own.  The district tracked the growth of the students who participated in the program versus those who chose to sleep in and take a regular PE class.  Divergent paths were immediately discerned.  After seventeen years of operation, the students in the "Zero Hour PE" program scored sixth in math and first in science IN THE WORLD on the TIMSS, a test designed to compare knowledge levels of students across different countries.  Put simply, it works!  Exercise makes kids fitter and smarter!  Remember, though, that exercise alone will not do the trick.  Neuronal connections that are not used are quickly pruned away and lost, so follow that exercise with learning something new!  Is anyone up for a run?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Taurid Meteor Shower

Are you looking for a fun and unique experience this week? Head outside on Wednesday or Thursday night, November 11th or 12th, and do a little star gazing!

The Taurid meteor shower is expected to peak on these evenings. This also coincides with a new moon, meaning the skies will be nice and dark, making for excellent meteor viewing conditions!

When viewing a meteor shower, the most important factors are patience and location. A little help from the weather doesn't hurt either!

Choose a clear night and get away from the city lights. Look straight up and give your eyes time to adjust to the dark. If possible, lay down or recline in a comfortable chair. A couple of blankets and a warm beverage are probably a great idea at this time of year as well. Once you are warm and comfortable, relax and wait. Enjoy the beautiful view while you wait for meteors to streak across the sky.

2016 Assessments

The fall semester is flying by, and it is time to begin planning for our 2016 winter and spring assessment windows. There have been many changes in assessment at the state level for the upcoming PARCC / CMAS test administrations as well as for the college preparatory and college entrance exams . With this in mind, we have added a page on the Branson School Online website that includes descriptions of all of the assessments (both state and local) that our students participate in as well as an assessment calendar for the 2015-2016 school year. The link to this page is included below. Please note that the assessment calendar includes the broad assessment windows. As we get closer to the assessment windows, we will share more specific information regarding assessment site locations as well as testing dates and times. If you have questions regarding state and local assessments, please feel free to contact Kelly Kenney (kkenney@bransonschoolonline.com).

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fall Fun!

Happy Fall! Is everyone enjoying our beautiful, Colorado fall weather? Make sure you take a few short breaks from your computer and get outside to enjoy this gorgeous weather before it's too late! 

Our Branson families had a WONDERFUL time enjoying the weather and some great fall fun at the Colorado Pumpkin Patch. Hayrides, a giant jumping pillow, duck races, and the petting zoo were enjoyed by all! 

Check out the pictures of this awesome field trip below.

Watch your email for more field trip opportunities. Field trips are a great way to take a break from screen time and connect with other BSO families. We offer field trips throughout the state.

If you have an idea for a fun BSO field trip, please contact you homeroom teacher and share your thoughts. We'd love to know about undiscovered adventures all over Colorado!