DEN Star Jan Abernethy SHINES at Pete&C

It has been a DEN-tastic day of Discovery here at the Pete & C Preconference. I had the pleasure this afternoon to attend PA’s own DEN Star Jan Abernethy’s presentation on her Ponderous Pandas… a 21st Century 5th grade classroom in Greenville, PA. Jan does an amazing job differentiating instruction with her students. She enables them to use various means of technology in the classroom frequently.

First, Jan shared a video that her students created showcasing their love of Discovery Education. This video was enjoyable to watch. The students wrote the script, and used green-screening techniques when creating the movie. You can view their video and Jan’s entire presentation on her Class Blog.

We had the opportunity to meet three of Jan’s students via Skype. They told us about their weekly Literature projects and how technology can be used to showcase their understanding of the literature. One of the best things about these projects, is that students have the opportunity to choose the project they wish to complete. They may create a Glogster page, Voki, Podcast. or Videos pertaining to the books they have read. The options to demonstrate creativity are limitless, and each project is showcased on their Journey’s Response Blog..

Collaborative projects are ongoing in Mrs. Abernethy’s classroom as well. The student use Edmodo to share and collaborate with each other, Mrs. Abernethy, and students from around the world. When they work on something at school, they are able to download and work on that project at home as well through Edmodo.

A world wide collaborative project Jan’s class participated in this year is called “Rock Our World.” This project is headed by DEN Star and Lead Rocker, Carol Ann McGuire. Through this project the Ponderous Pandas had the opportunity to meet students from forty-three classrooms and six different continents around the world. All students worked on project-based learning. Here is a link to two of the projects created by the Ponderous Pandas:  Happy Healthy Halloween and Choc Our World. Applications for the spring “Rock Our World” event are open. Go to the Rock our World site now and apply!

Pets are a huge part of Mrs. Abernethy’s classroom. Students enjoy taking on the responsibilty of taking care of them each day. Jan shared a website called At this site, you can obtain a grant for the purchase of new pets, pet environments or pet food and supplies for existing classroom pets. is a site the Ponderous Pandas enjoy using to create their own stories. This site motivates all students. The finished product created here looks like a professional storybook. Parents also have the option of purchasing a hard cover of the book their child has written. To see storybirds written by the Ponderous Pandas go to their Ponderous Pandas Write blog.

Music plays a large part in learning in Jan’s classroom. The students frequently perform to educational music or create videos to demonstrate their knowledge of topics being studied.
Lodge McCammon’s music is used frequently. You can find the songs and lyrics at the website  or in Discovery Streaming. You may use his music freely without fear of copyrighting issues, but more importantly, the kids love it and learn from it. After studying the lyrics, students demonstrate understanding of a topic through visuals created for the videos. Their videos are showcased on a blog they have named “We Love Lodge.”

The Ponderous Pandas place all of their video podcasts on iTunes. iTunes has become very popular with her students as more and more of them have access to the technology to download and view their projects. Here is a link to the Ponderous Pandas on iTunes. Subscribe to their podcasts and leave them a comment!

(To view a livebinder of Jan’s presentation, click here.)


Related posts


  1. Peg Hartwig said:

    Jan you really are DENmazing! This is all so inspiring! I am glad your resources are linked so we all can gain more ideas for DEN integration. Trace, thanks for taking time to showcase Jan’s work!
    This post is awesome!

  2. Tracie Belt said:

    Jan is an awesome teacher. If you want to be inspired Jan is the person to go to. I am just upset I could not have been at PETEC to see her in action.

Comments are closed.