5th Grade, Website Evaluation and PowerPoint

By the time our students get to 5th grade some of them have made a PowerPoint.  I surveyed them again this year and although about one third said they had made at least one, once we got into this project I noticed that their skill levels were pretty low.  This reassured me that this was an important skill for me to cover in the library.

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Our students have tablets which are very tricky to use to create PowerPoints without the use of a mouse and keyboard.

In order for them to have some topic for their PowerPoint I decided that I would cover website evaluation in the 2 weeks before starting the PowerPoint.  I used an outline I got from Kathy Schrock’s 5 W’s of Website Evaluation (http://www.schrockguide.net/uploads/3/9/2/2/392267/5ws.pdf).  I gave each student a copy of my adaptation of Schrock’s 5 W’s and suggested that they take notes on this paper so that they would have something to say in their PowerPoint.  Of course some students didn’t write down anything and others took plenty of notes.  Then when we got ready for them to create their PowerPoint those who hadn’t taken any notes came up short as they didn’t have any details to fill out the outline.

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We spent 2 library visits working on their PowerPoints and I created a rubric so they would know the expectations (ie. minimum of 7 slides, 2 images, etc.) in advance.

I gave them minimal instruction on how to create the PowerPoint as I knew the students would share their knowledge and help others to problem-solve. I circulated around to help them out.

This was a successful instruction/learning experience and the students were very enthusiastic about creating their PowerPoint.  I know they will use their newly acquired skills in years to come.

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3rd Grade and My Maps

Third grade students study Native American tribes, their locations and the natural resources they used.  I thought a good way for them to get a visual of all of the locations would be to for them to each create a My Maps in Google.  I checked with the 3rd grade chair and asked which tribes they were working on to represent the different geographic areas of the U.S.  She gave me a list and from there I created a graphic organizer to aid the students as they searched locations.IMG_2293

I originally had the directions at the top of the sheet, but after one class realized that the students needed the directions to be in a list with bullet points.  So I retyped the directions in that format and they were better able to follow them .IMG_2246

After modelling the process and showing it on a large screen we then had to have them use their tablets to log into their Google account (via their school provided email address).  This took the entirety of the time in the library for many students.  It only has to be done once, but some struggled to type in everything correctly. Several students in each class whizzed along and had several locations marked before others successfully logged in!  They were then the experts.

At the second session I demonstrated how to search and add an image for each tribe.  Those who had marked all of the tribes proceeded to this step.  We worked at this for a 3rd session and about 95% of the students had all locations marked.  Some (maybe about 30%) had images for some or all tribes.  I asked the teachers to let the rest work on it in class as time permits.

I really wanted them to type in a fact or two about each tribe, but not sure if the teachers will follow through.  Several of the students were so excited to work on this project, so that made the sometimes hectic sessions all worthwhile.

This grade level also has to teach about explorers this year, so I saw where you could draw paths between locations.  I experimented with it and created a sample and shared the link to the teachers.  Hopefully they will use these trained-up students to create maps tracing the voyages of the explorers.  I will get back with them and offer my support if they choose to use My Maps-Google again.

My sample for the explorer map:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1yiI0n5it5DdfEk42iaJIUry5gRw&usp=sharing

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Second Grade-People Who Change Their Community

After looking at the 2nd grade’s current IB/PYP Unit of Inquiry, I asked our second grade chair about what we should be working on in the library.  I suggested that I could read some picture book biographies about people who have made an impact on their community and she liked that idea.  The students were learning about people who make a difference in their communities, such as Jimmy Carter, MLK Jr. and Jackie Robinson.   I read Jeanette Winter’s book, Wangari’s Trees of Peace, which is an excellent biography about Wangari Maathai for this age group.

Cover of Jeanette Winter's book, Wangari's Trees of Peace

Credit: Amazon

As I was reading the author’s notes in the back of the book, the students all perked up when I read that Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  They would  say, “Just like Jimmy Carter” or “Just like Martin Luther King, Jr.!”

Writing Practice

After reading the book we discussed how Maathai changed her community.  I asked the students for words from the book that were important or key and we created a word wall on a white board.  Note: I had to write “woman” and “women” because many of our students used the singular form of the noun when referring to the plural or they use “womans”.  IMG_2213

Then I asked the students to respond to one of  two questions: How did she change her community? or Whose lives did she impact and how?  I asked the students to provide text evidence (one of their ELA standards).  IMG_2212

Video Recording via Flipgrid

Some students wrote a sentence of two and were immediately ready to video tape their response on Flipgrid.  Others needed some help with editing, which the teacher and I provided them with.  Since classes are scheduled for about 30 minutes we did the actual recording at their next library visit.  They love to see and hear themselves.  I email the link to the teacher after all students have recorded their reflections.

Check them out!  https://flipgrid.com/f4e331

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2nd Grade and Reference Tools

Hands on: Dictionary 

Near the beginning of each school year, I introduce second grade students to two reference tools, dictionaries and encyclopedias. I plan the topics they look up around something they are already covering in the classroom (if possible).

First, they used a dictionary to look up words about Jimmy Carter, such as submarine, peanut, and governor (they are currently studying Carter). They were instructed to copy down one definition for their word.  They had practiced alphabetical order and guide words the week before but it was a bit of struggle for most to actually find their word.  Their teacher and I provided lots of support in this part of the activity.

I saw a couple of students all excited after the structured activity was over. It is so heartening see students get enthused over library skill lessons, however, my heart was destined to be dashed just a bit.  These students had continued to browse the dictionary and were gleefully pointing out that the word “zombie” was in the dictionary! But hey, they found out there are interesting things to be found in dictionaries!

World Book Online Encyclopedia

The next week I showed these second grade students a print version of an encyclopedia and we compare the amount of information found in a dictionary with that found in an encyclopedia article.  Then I have them use an online encyclopedia, World Book (the Kids section), to look up facts about one of three historical figures: Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson.  These three individuals are part of the Georgia Standards of Excellence: Social Studies. Some of the children were so into this activity that they didn’t want to stop with just one fact.  The students really liked the very large photograph at the top of the World Book Kids entry for each historical figure. They were also making connections with what they were reading in the encyclopedia to what they had learned in the classroom.

 

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3rd Grade & Altases

Third grade students used atlases to find places located on the prime meridian and the equator.  After locating London, England and Nanyuki, Kenya, they took photos of those places with their tablets in order to document their finds.  I showed them a photograph of me and my husband standing on the equator in Nanyuki, many years ago so that they could see what it looks like at the equator.   I also told them about the water draining demonstration the guides did while we were there.

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It was good practice in taking photographs using the tablets (which I don’t think they get the opportunity to do very much) as well as figuring out where the photos are stored.

We went on to see how Google Maps works and looked at satellite maps.  I looked up the two locations again on Google Maps and projected onto the big screen and we discussed the differences between the maps in the atlas and Google Maps.IMG_2067

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Chatterpix about Virus and Bacteria

IMG_1772This year I started off the school year with fifth grade students researching either bacteria or virus, one of their science standards.  I curated websites (mostly our World Book Online, Britannica Student via Galileo) using Livebinders.  Using Livebinders reduces the amount of time students spend searching for information and I try to keep this project to a three week timeline!  One week for research, a second week for writing their script and recording with the third week finishing the recordings.

Chatterpix

Chatterpix is an Apple app that lets the user make things talk, by drawing in mouth.  The user then has 29 seconds to record.  I have the students write a script in first person so the bacteria or virus is speaking.

Research and Writing

I asked them to have 4 to 5 interesting facts.  Some students were able to just write their script in first person as they were reading the websites.  Other students took notes and then went back to write their script.

I found about 10 to 15 images of bacteria and virus and let the students choose from this group.  This cuts down on time and as I only have about 25 minutes with them each week and I need to find ways to save on time wherever possible.

Upload to YouTube

After they create their Chatterpix I upload them to YouTube.  This is time consuming for me, but it’s the only way to share their creations.

Check out some of their work:

 

We are a 1:1 school, however we have Dell tablets.  Fortunately, we have a small cart of old iPads from before the 1:1 initiative, which allows us to use this fun Apple app.

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International Day of Peace and The Chickens Build a Wall

I recognized International Day of Peace with most of the grades this year and for the fourth grade classes I read Jean-Francois Dumont’s book, The Chickens Build a Wall.  After reading the book, I posed several questions about the book and asked them to respond to one of them.

Padlet: Student Writing

I introduced Padlet to these students.  The questions were posted in columns and the students used their tablets (we are a 1:1 school) to access Padlet and write a reflection.  Time did not allow for the students to respond to their classmates ideas, but I hope the teachers will take this digital tool and use it in the classroom where they have more time.  They did enjoy reading what other students wrote.

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Making a Connection with the Real World

One of our students made a connection with the central idea of the book to something they heard was happening in the United States today.  Check out Kate’s response:

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