International Day of Peace and The Enemy

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We recognized the United Nation’s International Day of Peace during the week of September 18-22.  I wanted the students to be aware of and reflect on the concepts surrounding IDP, but I also wanted to introduce/use a digital tool to 5th grade students.

I read the book, The Enemy: A Book About Peace by Davide Cali and Serge Bloch.   I think  some the students were a little surprised by the simplicity of the illustrations and text.  But, for the most part they really got into the story and had definite opinions about it.

Padlet as Response Method

We are a 1:1 school so I had the students bring their tablets with their keyboard and mouse so that the students could share their ideas on Padlet.   (I attempted to use Padlet once in the past without a keyboard and mouse and it was a disaster.  The tablet case’s covering bounced as the student typed and Padlet kept opening up multiple windows!).

I handed out the questions after I read the book and we went over them as a group and they chose one question to respond to. Screen capture of Padlet

My time with each class is limited so the students did not have the opportunity to respond to each other, although they did enjoy reading their classmate’s writings.  I will use Padlet again with this grade and as they have been exposed to it, time will likely permit a more interactive experience.

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2017 Solar Eclipse

Our entire school system received eclipse viewing glasses, so August 21st it was game on!  We only saw a 90% eclipse, but it was still exciting.  Students in grades 2-5 went outside, while K-gr.1 stayed inside watching live feeds and eating Moon Pies and drinking Capri Suns!  I really enjoyed seeing the students’ amazement and surprise as they watched the progression of the eclipse.  I had practiced with nearly all of the classes in the 2 weeks leading up to the eclipse.  They used glasses and pin hole cameras made of cereal boxes.  We also practiced directing the sun through binoculars onto paper for a different view.  They used all of these methods on the day.

 

solar eclipse t-shirt and doughnut

Nothing says “solar eclipse” like a t-shirt and a special eclipse doughnut from Krispy Kreme! Chocolate glazed…mmmm.

It was very hot and humid so standing around in black t-shirts was a questionable decision, but hey, it’s only a once in a life time event for many.

Students observing the eclipse using their eclipse glasses

I like the expression on their faces!

Students viewing the eclipse with their glasses

One 5th grade class made eclipse t-shirts for the occation.

Pin hole camera

Students used the cereal box pin hole cameras they made to get a different view of the sun.

binoculars viewing eclipse

We also used binoculars to get a glimpse of the eclipse.

Eclipse seen through the leaves of a tree.

I used white paper to show the eclipse shaped projected through the leaves of the tree.

I showed students how to create the sun’s image through their crossed fingers.

We will be gathering students and staff reaction to the solar eclipse experience using Flipgrid and will share the link as more responses are ready.

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Preparing for the Solar Eclipse 2017

We, in Albany, Georgia, are not in the path of totality of the August 21st solar eclipse, but the sun will be 90% eclipsed here.  Our school system has decided to extend the school day for students from 2:30 to 3:30 to avoid children being transported on buses during the eclipse.  I wanted to get the students excited now!

I’ve adapted this lesson for the different grade levels and varying amounts of time I have with a class.  I’ve now decided that all classes grades 1-5 will practice viewing the sun safely up until the day of the eclipse.IMG_1741

I started out with a fifth grade class on Monday and they used my Livebinder to access a online dictionary to look up the word eclipse and view a brief video from USA Today.  They recorded one fact they learned from the video.  I did this as a whole group activity (using the projector and screen) for the younger grades or if I didn’t have sufficient time with the older students.IMG_1745

One student made a cereal box eclipse viewer, which we then used to view the sun.

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I’ve adapted this lesson through out the week and of course some days we couldn’t practice because it got cloudy!  But hopefully all the classes will have the opportunity to practice with the eclipse glasses (which they will all have on the 21st), a cereal box viewer, and binocular viewing before eclipse day.IMG_1751

Almost every time they see the sun through the glasses, they say “Wow,” “Cool,” or “Whoa!”  (By the way the boys not using the glasses are swatting away gnats….it’s a south Georgia phenomenon).
IMG_1752We experimented to see if you could take a photo of the projection of the sun inside the cereal box viewer and you can!  We’ll be ready to record the different shapes of the sun as it makes it way to 90% of being obscured.IMG_1753The binocular projection method is trickier, but they all loved it when we were successfully in projecting the sun on the paper.

I can’t wait!

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Second Grade Writes “Never” Poems

Second grade students created poems for National Poetry Month using a template (https://writeshop.com/writing-a-never-poem)  for a “Never Poem” which emphasizes repetition and alliteration.  We discussed what poetry was and some of the characteristics of poems.  I modelled the writing using a white board and let the students help me think up words (all starting with the same consonant). Then we talked about adjectives and added adjectives to describe the nouns we had chosen.

Photos of never poems

Dictionary and Thesaurus Available

I had dictionaries and thesauri at the tables to help them find words if they were drawing a blank; this also served as a review for these reference sources.

Flipgrid for an Audience

One class had the chance to record themselves reading their poems on Flipgrid, but due to time restraints (state test prep, etc.) the others might not get to record.  I think it is important to give the students opportunities to record themselves.  It is a good learning experience and they love to see and hear themselves! flipgrid.com/3a42d1

screen capture of Flipgrid

 

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3rd Grade and Book Character Poems Celebrating National Poetry Month

While in graduate school working on my Specialist degree, I was introduced to a poem template for a book character.  I used it successfully last year during National Poetry Month and decided it was worth a repeat.  I selected picture books with strong characters and a strong plot that could be read easily by the 3rd grade students. Titles included: Where the Wild Things Are, Harry the Dirty Dog, The Paper Bag Princess, The Gingerbread Boy, The Three Billy Goats Gruff (and a few more).

The small group decided how they would read the book (take turns, have one reader, etc.) and after reading the book, they completed the template.

Movie and YouTube

I recorded all of the groups reading their poem using Windows Movie Maker to put together the clips and then uploaded the movie to YouTube.  I’ve completed 2 movies and have one more to go. Check out the completed ones:

Librarian recording students reading their poem in the studio.

I used one of our Flip cameras to record the students in our morning show studio.

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3rd Grade, St. Patrick’s Day and Flipgrid

I wanted the 3rd grade students to have another opportunity to write while in the library, as this will be their first time taking the Georgia Milestones (our state standardized test), which has a portion for open-ended response.  Last week they used Padlet to respond, but I checked with one of the teachers and gave her a choice of Padlet or Flipgrid for this week.  She opted for Flipgrid, as bringing the tablets with keyboards and mouses can be time consuming. Most of our 3rd grade students have had at least 2 experiences using Flipgrid since I have used it with 1st and 2nd grades in the past.

First we read Tomie de Paola’s Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato: An Irish Folktale.

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Then I asked them what they would wish for if they caught a leprechaun.  After writing their responses on index cards, they recorded them on Flipgrid.

These students have become very independent users of Flipgrid.  I set my laptop up on a chair and showed them how to place their index card up against the screen.  I had one or two students in a line observing the student who was recording and off they went!

Student recording on Flipgrid.

These 3rd grade students are pretty independent now when using Flipgrid.

Amongst the usual wishes (lots of money, a pot of gold, magical cars, etc.) there were a couple that tugged at my heart.  Hannah wished for world peace and Kyrique who wanted money to pay homeless people.  Check out the 3rd grade responses.  What would you wish for?

Mrs. Orme’s class (Hannah is a student in this class) flipgrid.com/36ca5f

Ms. Cook’s class (Kyrique is in this class) flipgrid.com/f7d65f

Mrs. Cambron’s class  flipgrid.com/7732bf

 

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4th Grade and Google Draw

I frequently ask teachers what skills or topics I can cover with their students, but I don’t often get a lot of feedback. But, a couple of weeks ago a 4th grade teacher did respond that she needed a digital way for the students to create a ecosystem diagram.  She mentioned that they had worked with Google Docs.  I started looking at Google Drive and spotted Google Draw.  I played around with it, created a drawing and shared it with the teacher and she liked it.  So I started planning on how to teach the students to use it.

Students working on their tablets creating a Google Draw document.

Working in groups of 3 on a Google Draw document.

Google Accounts

Our students have Google Accounts created for them as part of our 1:1 roll out.  That is in theory!  There were  problems with a few accounts that I have to have technology work on, but on the whole it went well.  The teacher that asked me to find the digital product is piloting Google Drive in her classroom for that grade level, so all of her students had already signed into Google Drive-not so for the other 3 classrooms.  That process took 20 plus minutes, which I found out trying to do it in the library.

I had planned on having the students sign in to Google and then go onto working on a Google Draw document, but it took so long for the students to sign in that I decided to go into the other two classrooms before their scheduled library visit.  This worked out more smoothly, as we had only a few problems with students signing in when they came into the library later in the day.

tablet showing a Google Draw document

The Google Draw document in progress.

Tablets showing a Google Draw

A group’s Google Draw created on their 1:1 tablets. They have keyboards and mouses which make using these Dell ProVenue tablets easier.

Created Google Draw

I created a Google Draw document with 3 simple tasks (type in names of the group, include one fact from the online encyclopedia, find an image and put it in the document).  I made copies of the document so that there were enough separate documents that groups of 3 students would be working on a single Draw and it wouldn’t be overwhelming with too many students.  I also shortened the URL for each document and wrote it out on index cards and gave to each small group (3 students).

Draw

This group did a good job, accomplishing all of the requirements!

I learned something along with the students.  The 3rd class I worked with had a few “aha” moments.  One student was a little upset that after he closed out and then went back to Google Drive, he didn’t see the document.  But after I reminded him that I had shared the document with them, he figured out to look under “Shared with Me”.  We “shared” that bit with the rest of the class.

It was fun to see how excited some of the students were , though some were less excited after I told them to stop using the “Comment” feature as a text messaging app!

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