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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5th Grade Learns to Use Prezi

By this time of the school year, I have worked with the 5th grade classes on creating a Chatterpix and PowerPoint.  To add an additional tool in their digital tool belt, we worked on making Prezis.

When working with the students, I’m not really going for a perfect product.  Rather, I am hoping that they will be experienced enough with the tool, that they will be able to use it on their own.  I do look the creations over and have them edit for grammar, punctuation, etc.  But, if after the allotted time and the group is not completely finished, the project has to stay that way.

Unfortunately, students have to be 13 years old to sign up for their own account (and I haven’t been successful in getting teachers to sign up for their own accounts), so they have to use my account.  I will change my password after this project is over!

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Notice that the students are not using their Dell tablets, but the library computers to create their Prezis.  Way easier!

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Coordinated with Social Studies Unit of Inquiry

I designed a graphic organizer that reflected what the students were studying in their current Unit of Inquiry so as to build on the prior knowledge of the topic and to reinforce concepts they are learning in the classroom.  They were learning about the U.S. during the 1920’s and 1930’s.  I looked at the Georgia Performance Standards and based the topics on these standards:

SS5H4 The student will describe U.S. involvement in World War I and post-World War I America.

a. Explain how German attacks on U.S. shipping during the war in Europe (1914- 1917) ultimately led the U.S. to join the fight against Germany; include the sinking of the Lusitania and concerns over safety of U.S. ships, U.S. contributions to the war, and the impact of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. b. Describe the cultural developments and individual contributions in the 1920s of the Jazz Age (Louis Armstrong), the Harlem Renaissance (Langston Hughes), baseball (Babe Ruth), the automobile (Henry Ford), and the airplane (Charles Lindbergh).

SS5H5 The student will explain how the Great Depression and New Deal affected the lives of millions of Americans.

a. Discuss the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, the Dust Bowl, and soup kitchens. b. Analyze the main features of the New Deal; include the significance of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. c. Discuss important cultural elements of the 1930s; include Duke Ellington, Margaret Mitchell, and Jesse Owens.

Livebinders

I created a Livebinder to curate the websites for the students to use for their research.  They bookmark the website and it reduces the time needed to complete their research.  The do use their tablets for researching.

http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=2139444

Livebinder

Final Product

I did not have the students use their 1:1 devices (Dell ProVenue tablets) to create their Prezi as it is too difficult to see what you are doing on the small screen.  Fortunately I have 8 Dell All-in-One computers with large, touch screens! Check out one of their Prezis:

http://prezi.com/qqkie2tcvtyc/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

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4th Grade and World Book Online Timelines

Last week I asked the 4th grade chair what skills that they might want me to cover over the next couple of weeks.  She mentioned that she needed the students to complete a timeline of events leading up to the Revolutionary War.  In the back of my mind I remembered something about timelines on World Book Online and when I checked there is a very easy to use timeline generator.

First Create Student Accounts in World Book Online

First I had to have each student create an individual account in World Book Online, which was easy but time consuming for 4th grade students.  This took about 15-20 minutes by the time everyone gets their tablets up and running, logged on, connected to the internet, keyboards plugged in, blah, blah, blah!  For 2 classes I went into the classroom and used the interactive board to demonstrate how to fill in the blanks and the students followed along.  I did it in the library for the other 2 classes and think it worked better in the classroom, partly because it is a smaller space and I could get around to help the students more easily.

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Searching for events in World Book.  Students used their Dell ProVenue tablets, with keyboards and mouses.

 

 

student using tablet to create timeline in World Book Online.

Searching and saving images to add to an event on the timeline.

Creating a Timeline Is Fun and Easy

After they had their accounts, I demonstrated how to use the World Book Timeline.  It is easy to search the encyclopedia’s content for events and add them to a timeline, but it also very easy to create your own event.  I showed them how to add images and edit any event.  They really enjoyed it and I think the previous experience they have gained throughout the year making PowerPoints and Prezis in the library (saving images, finding out how to ascertain the owner of the image’s rights, etc) paid off by increasing their skill in navigating this digital tool.

World Book Online Timeline is Versatile

This timeline generator is so versatile in that you can take advantage of the massive amount of data in the encyclopedia, but you can also use your own content to create timelines.  I showed them how to print the timelines, but I guess I’m a little disappointed that there is no way to share the timelines (sharing links, emailing links, etc.).  But, I understand as this tool is only available to subscribers and they need to protect their product.  I will definitely being sharing this to other grade levels (probably just 3rd and 5th grades).

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