Monthly Archives: May 2015

“Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale” perfect for showing IB Key Concept-perspective

I just love this book, Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Alexandra Boiger!  At first glance the book appears to be a typical picture book, but it really comes into its own read to a bit older audience.  I read it to several 4th grade classes and they loved it.  There are just so many things to like about this title.  The vocabulary is scrumptious.  The main character is Miss Doreen Randolph-Potts who is described as an “ample, roundy fish.”

Poor Doreen: A Fish Tale by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Alexandra Boiger

Poor Doreen: A Fish Tale by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Alexandra Boiger

An Ample, Roundy Fish called Miss Doreen

Our students generally have limited vocabulary, so right away I like the interesting words the authors used like: ample, drowsy, gurgling, remarkable, and outing.  This is a perfect opportunity to introduce words that the students probably have not heard  before.

IB Key Concept: Perspective

You have to read this book with an ironic tone, as poor Doreen is really clueless.  When the fisherman jerks the fish line and lifts Doreen into the air, she thinks she is going on an outing, but  “Oh dear, Doreen. (pause). No. (pause). You’re not.”  Part of the International Baccalaureate Program includes key concepts, perspective being one.  This story is perfect to illustrate perspective.  From Miss Doreen Randolph-Pitts point of view everything is rosy but in reality (or the reality from the fisherman’s or the great blue heron’s point of view) is different.

Treat yourself to this delightful story.  It will make you laugh!

Have a happy summer!


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Students use variety of digital tools

Our school is part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and so our 5th grade students participate in a research project that’s called an Exhibition.  This year our Exhibition was scaled way back as our IB coordinator had to take over a 5th grade class when the teacher left in early spring due to medical issues.  The students had chosen the topic, homelessness, and had conducted some research on the topic, but things sort of ground to a halt.

IB PYP Exhibition

After conducting research on a real world topic, students are supposed to take action.  That’s the part we weren’t able to pull off, but I worked with small groups from 3 classes and helped the students figure out ways to present the information they had gathered.   This year I did not have as much time to work with the students in small groups, as I was doing most of it myself.  In past years we had the IB coordinator to help organize and also work with the students, but she was busy being a classroom teacher!  The students used a variety of digital tools and I was finally able to get a new one,, to work.

Digital Tools: PowerPoint & Windows Movie Maker

One group that I helped did a tried and true format, PowerPoint.  I try and get the students to think beyond PowerPoint as it is important to have more than one tool in your digital tool belt!  Two of the groups used Windows Movie Maker, which they had little or no experience with. Together we put together videos using video clips (filmed using a Flip camera…still love our Flips).

Web-based Tools: Prezi, Flipgrid &

The other groups used web-based digital tools, two of which were brand new to all of the students.  Two groups used Prezi to present their research, gathering photos from the web and inserting recordings we made.  I taught these students how to create Prezis as 3rd and 4th graders, so most of them had some basic skills with this tool. Prezi is so versatile and the students can fairly easily create a slick presentation.

The two new tools that students used were Flipgrid and  I first learned of Flipgrid ( from Andy Plemmon’s blog ( and  I decided it was worth the $65 a year subscription. I used Flipgrid with 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students earlier this school year, so offered it as an option for the 5th grade students.  The only downside to Flipgrid is that viewers can click on any student’s response in any order, so information cannot be presented in a strictly linear manner.  The students had to rewrite some of their information so that it was not dependent on a previous student’s presentation.

Flipgrid created by 5th grade students

Flipgrid created by 5th grade students

Last year I tried desperately to make ( work.  I could get it to work at home, but something in the school’s web filter was blocking the video from uploading.  But this year, we (teachers and me) got new laptops and EUREKA!  I was able to make work.  I had used with two groups of 3rd grade students earlier this year, so I had figured out some things that work when using this tool with groups of students.  Only downside to is that you are limited to creating 3 presentations a month. presentation about homelessness created by 5th grade students presentation about homelessness created by 5th grade students

I like sending 5th graders off to middle school with a couple of cool digital tools in their technology tool belts.  So when a teacher next year says they have to make a PowerPoint, I hope they’ll ask, “May we make a Prezi (or a movie or or a Flipgrid) instead?”

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Filed under Information Literacy Instruction, Students using technology