We are participating in World Read Aloud Day again this year and fourth grade classes are my target once again. We have had a crazy start back after winter break with 2 winter storms. January 2 brought a severe storm with 90 mph straight-line winds with large sections of the city without power (in many cases for up to a week) and many streets blocked for days by fallen trees. Nine schools were without power for days. Sooooo, our students did not go back to school on January 6th as planned, but on January 17th.
So after readjusting library visits and curriculum, I read Journey by Aaron Becker for Curiosity Week. They really enthralled by this wordless picture book. I showed the students the trailer after sharing the book and then we used Flipgrid to respond to that book. They loved all parts of that activity.
And then….our city was hit by a tornado on January 22, with 5 deaths and hundreds of homes blown away or destroyed. Again, our students were out of school for a week. All that to explain why my schedule for celebrating and leading up to World Read Aloud Day has been a bit loosey-goosey. These storms were playing havoc on any continuity!
Again, I didn’t follow the recommended weeks due to our extremely interrupted school schedule due to the 2 storms. Next, I read Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig to the 4th grade students. They really enjoyed this book and I thought that kindness was a timely topic as many of the students were impacted by the storms and had been on the receiving end of kindness. After reading the story I had them respond using Padlet. Padlet was a new experience for most of them and they especially enjoyed seeing their classmates’ responses. I try to expose students (and their teachers) to different digital technologies hoping that the teachers will pick up on these various ways to use technology with their classes.
Their responses were not as deep or thoughtful as I would have liked, but as this was the first time they used Padlet, they are usually so enamored with the technology that it overshadows the actual writing. But, hey, anytime I can get them to practice writing and typing on their tablets I figure I am helping prepare them for their state standardized writing test. The Georgia Milestones will be administered to all 4th grade students online this year and the more often they use these technologies the more comfortable they will be with them.