This summer, Joanne Mandel’s fourth-grade Eagle Elementary School class will be able to follow their teacher’s travels to Italy on her very own blog.

Mandel, along with five other Zionsville teachers, will travel to Italy beginning June 16, visiting places significant to Renaissance history, which her students studied this year, along with reading “Romeo and Juliet” and learning about Michelangelo.

The students had a special request of Mandel — that she go to Verona where “Romeo and Juliet“ took place.

One of Mandel’s students, Elliot Hines, said he plans on following Mandel’s travels through her blog.

“I think it would be fun to see what is out there because I have never been to Italy,” he said.

He said seeing the pictures and hearing Mandel’s stories about the country will help reinforce what he learned about the Renaissance during school.

“It would be a good idea to keep learning in the summer in a fun way,” he said.

He especially wants to see pictures of Michelangelo’s Statue of David and of the Sistine Chapel.

Mandel’s student Amanda Ilaria said she’s seen pictures of the places Mandel will visit, but it will be more interesting on the blog.

“In a book when you read it, it doesn’t feel real, but if you get pictures from someone you know and they are talking about it, it feels more real,” Ilaria said.

Mandel said her class was the first in the Zionsville Community Schools to begin using blogs. The kids used them to post poetry or writing or just to ask and answer questions.

Ilaria said she likes how the students can post their work on the blog. She reads everyone else’s stories and papers to get ideas she might be able to use in her next assignment.

Hines said he used the blog to ask questions, such as whether or not other students liked a book they were reading or if they liked Michelangelo like he did.

He learned a lot about computers from the blog. He had taken some lessons in school about computers, but the blog let him move beyond the basics of learning how to use word processors.

“Now we can really expand our knowledge of the computer,” he said.

To visit Joanne Mandel’s blog about her Italy trip go to

To visit her fourth-grade class’ blog, go to

This Week's Circulars