Monthly Archives: August 2016

Flipgrid, 2nd Grade & Native Americans

Each year our 2nd grade students study Native Americans, as laid out in the Georgia Performance Standards SS2H2 The student will describe the Georgia Creek and Cherokee cultures of the past in terms of tools, clothing, homes, ways of making a living, and accomplishments.   Being an IB-PYP school we expand the concept to include native peoples from other parts of the world.

Each year I read Jan Andrews’ book, The Very Last First Time which describes an Innuit girl, Eva’s first time to walk alone on the sea bed, under the ice, to collect mussels.  We also watch a video clip from the BBC showing Innuit adults collecting mussels. It’s pretty cool. Check it out:

IB-PYP Learner Profile & Flipgrid

This year I decided that I would have the students pick out an IB-PYP Learner Profile or Attitude to describe Eva and her actions in the book. We have the Profiles and Attitudes posted on the library walls, so the students could walk over and refresh their memories (and for the new students the opportunity to see all the profiles and attitudes).

I gave each student an index card and they wrote their sentence, citing evidence from the book.  “Eva was a risk-taker because she…”  Our students need so much practice writing, so I like to give them every opportunity to write.


If they put in a serious effort to compose a sentence, they then had the chance to record their response using Flipgrid. Students so enjoy hearing and seeing themselves.  A lot of smiles and giggles!


Check out their response





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The Day the Crayons Came Home & Habitats


The first few weeks of school (we started August 2nd), I don’t really plan too much content-rich instruction as inveritably there are so many demands on my time that I can’t always teach the students when they come for their weekly visit. Checking out tablets to 465 children, helping staff get into their email when they have forgotten their passwords, and the list goes on.

I do like to read some great books, mostly for fun, but I will try and work in an IB-PYP Learner Profile, an IB Unit of Inquiry Central Idea, or a Georgia Performance Standard.


Postcards, Habitats, Georgia Performance Standards

I chose the book, The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. I realized I could tie it in with one of the science standards 3rd grade students explore, habitats.  After I read the book, I showed the students some postcards I have received through the years, as I thought most would not have sent or received many postcards.  We brainstormed what constituted a habitat, what were some habitats they could name, etc.  I gave them each an index card and asked them to pick out a crayon and draw a habitat that the crayon would live in. They had a lot of fun and of course everyone wanted to check out the book! IMG_9514




I write up the activities and instruction that take place in the library media center and place on a bulletin board in the hall.  I tried a new display method using 2 strands of ribbon attached at the ceiling and taped the index cards on them.


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Chatterpix, 4th Grade & Jupiter

I have used the app Chatterpix with 4th grade and 5th students in previous years, but only with projects where the subjects were people.  This seemed alike a good fit as the point of Chatterpix is to make something talk.  This year I decided to take a risk and use Chatterpix with 4th grade students early in the year when they are studying the solar system.

Livebinder, World Book Online, Britannica Student (Galileo)

I created a Livebinder with resources on the planet Jupiter and the recently arrived space probe, Juno.  Since this was a item that had been in the news recently (Juno having reached Jupiter in July), I thought it would make learning about the planet more relevant.  I included a link to our online subscription to World Book and a link to Britannica School Elementary, which we receive through the state of George via Galileo (www.  I added other websites such as NASA and news outlets to bring in the very current events.


Students had a choice to make Jupiter (the planet) or Juno (the spacecraft) their topic. This ties in with one of the current Georgia Performance Standards, “S4E2.d. Demonstrate the relative size and order from the sun of the planets in the solar system” and “S4CS8. Students will understand important features of the process of scientific inquiry. Students will apply the following to inquiry learning practices: c. Scientists use technology to increase their power to observe things and to measure and compare things accurately”.

I modeled this project by creating a Chatterpix of the planet Mars.  The students were all intrigued to see a planet talking.  They were given two library visits to conduct their research and if they didn’t collect sufficient notes during those two visits, they would not be able to make a Chatterpix.  That was incentive enough for about 98% of them!  Some were ready to write their script with the info gathered after one sitting.

Scripts: 1st Person Narrative

After gathering notes, the student wrote a first person narrative as Jupiter or Juno.  I have begun posting them on YouTube. I just realized after posting LOTS of Chatterpixs on my personal YouTube account it was time to open up an account linked to my school email and create folders for each teacher.  Don’t know why I didn’t think of this years ago! I’ve only uploaded four so far, but more will follow.


One student recording on the iPad and another student rehearsing their script.



Using this digital storytelling app showed me how students will surprise you.  Two of the students who “got it” immediately were not ones I expected.  One was a 5th grader (more about their Chatterpix subject in a soon to be written blog post) who didn’t appear to take any notes, but just wrote her narrative in first person while looking at the online resources.  This is a student who might be called a “little turkey” (one of my favorite expressions from a former teacher to describe students who were always pushing your buttons and the limits).  Boy, I never expected that script out of her without any prodding or really oversight.  She just did it!

The other student who really embraced this project was a 4th grade boy who has almost had to repeat a grade several times and is reading about a full grade level below.  He nailed that person narrative right off the bat. Check out our talking planets and spacecraft!




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Filed under Information Literacy Instruction, Social media, Students using technology, Uncategorized

Find us on Instagram

I attended the Georgia Library Media Associations’s Summer Institute in June and was fortunate to be able to hear Shannon McClintock Miller speak about giving students a voice.  She encouraged us to just try one new thing, which is good advice when you go to a conference, a workshop or meeting and hear about MANY new ideas, programs, books, etc.  It is often overwhelming.


I decided that one thing I would do was create an Instagram and Twitter account for the school library.  Well, I created both.  I still don’t “get” how to use Twitter, so for the moment there it sits.  But I have posted a few things on Instagram.  Shannon said she would have an iPad set up on a tripod and let the students choose what to post on Instagram.  I haven’t gotten to that point (of leaving it set up) as the one iPad I have is used for many things.

I will try to keep up with posting activities, instruction, and other interesting (I hope) things.  I’m starting slowly as we are still collecting the media release forms signed by parents and so relying on taking photos with students who had the forms on file last year.IMG_0844

Follow us @isecslibrary

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Decorating the Library Media Center for the New School Year

I finished getting the library media center decorated several weeks ago (for the 2016-17 school year), but  I am just getting around to posting (our students started back on August 2nd)! I found a poster at Target (in the dollar section) with a quote from Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you will go.”  This inspired the decoration theme to start out the year.

Library media center big view

I hung the posters between the asymmetrical placed windows.

IMG_2419 IMG_2420 IMG_2421 IMG_2422  I made the posters from old National Geographic maps.  The windows are not symmetrically placed, so it’s a bit wonky.  I ordered the paper lanterns from Oriental Trading Company and colors of the lanterns are echoed in the maps and the color of words (READ, KNOW, LEARN, GO).

I’m enjoying it and I think the students are, too.  They really like the paper lanterns.

I reused signposts that my husband and I made the 5th grade’s social this past May.  They were also part of my inspiration for decoration this year.

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