Monthly Archives: February 2017

World Read Aloud Day 2017

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.

Curiosity Week-WRAD

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.

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https://flipgrid.com/07d9e3

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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!

Kindness Week-WRAD

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.

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Made with Padlet

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.

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Second Grade and Library Catalog

Today I introduced the 2nd grade classes to the library’s Destiny catalog.  I did a quick overview and modeled looking up a picture book.  Then we proceeded to use their tablets (we are a 1:1 school) to look up the catalog and bookmark the website.

I have to have the students use their tablets as earlier this school year our technology department eliminated the generic student login (too dangerous to the system or something!?!?), which has meant a huge headache for the library media center.  Now when a  student wants to look up a book, they have to use their individual login to log onto one of my 8 computers.  If this is the first time they have logged onto that particular computer it will take about 2-3 minutes to complete that cycle.  That’s a long time to just look up one book!  Our technology department did create a catalog kiosk at one of my computers, but now you can only access the catalog or take an Accelerated Reader quiz on it, effectively eliminating it as a second circulation computer or any other use!  Well, that’s enough of that rant.

Sooooo, in order to teach a whole class and eliminate the time consuming task of having 2nd graders logging onto the library computers, I am having them bring their tablets each week while we do this instruction.  Of course this took up a lot of time initially, but now that the catalog is bookmarked we should be ready to go for the rest of the weeks instruction. One teacher, who is particularly on the ball, had already added the link to the catalog to her Portaportal site which students can easily access.  Wish they were all that well organized!

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After this initial foray into the catalog, some students just couldn’t wait for additional instruction and had to jump in and try it! They needed some assistance as I had only covered finding books in the E Fiction section, not the non-fiction or chapter book areas. It was rewarding to see them so excited and problem solving.

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Emerson couldn’t wait for further instruction so he enlisted the help of his teacher to locate a title.

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3rd Grade, Snowflake Bentley and Snowflakes

I am repeating this project for the third year with 3rd grade students. We start out reading the biography of Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Marian Azarian and follow (the next week) with the students researching snow using atlases, dictionaries and encyclopedias (online). The third week we review the information they gathered about snow and go on to cutting out paper snowflakes.

Cutting Paper Snowflakes

The first time I did this activity with students I was amazed that not one student had ever cut out paper snow flakes.  I spent hours as a child cutting snowflakes out of white paper, pages from magazines, any kind of paper I could get my hands on.  So it is so much fun watching them unfold their snowflakes and almost universally gasp when they see their creation!

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Exploring Websites with Thinglink

I revised my Thinglink image and attempted to have the students use their tablets (we are a 1:1 device school).  https://www.thinglink.com/scene/479319938847211522captureI tried out the Thinglink on a tablet and the links all worked, so I had the first class  bring their tablets.  However, the best laid plans…only 2 out of 21 tablets displayed the website correctly! So, plan B was to use the 8 desktops in the library.  This meant the students had to share, but otherwise it was smooth.  I figured out that I could use Livebinders as I have used it successfully in the past; it’s just doesn’t look as cool as Thinglink!

http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=2164842

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Reflection Component

I designed a graphic organizer to guide the students as they used the Thinglink (or Livebinder) and explored the various websites.  I think it helped the students stay on task.  It also gave the students a way to think about what they were watching, reading or exploring.

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Students creating digital snowflakes! It’s very addictive.

 

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1st Grade and Jon Klassen

Shout out to Jennifer Reed who inspired me to do this activity.  Check out her blog post on Reederama- “ReedALOUD: The Many Hats of Jon Klassen”( https://goo.gl/HMzc4G).  She worked with 2nd grade students, but I decided to do this with 1st grade.  Our school is emphasizing writing across all grade levels and I was pretty sure the 1st grade students could do this.img_0670

Session One-This Is Not My Hat

Jennifer used a trifolded piece of paper, which I also did.  I had pencils and crayons on the table.  After reading This Is Not My Hat, I asked the students what they thought happened in the place “where the plants are big and tall and close together.”  I instructed them to write a sentence to describe what happened and illustrate it.

Students reflecting on what they thought happened in the place where the plants grow close.

Students reflecting on what they thought happened in the place where the plants grow close.

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Session Two-I Want My Hat Back

I have about 30 minutes with each class when they visit.  This allows me about 15-20 minutes max to do instruction and activity, so I decided to do one Klassen book each week.  In the book, I Want My Hat Back, we see the bear seating on crumpled grass and saying “I would not eat a rabbit” although, I told the students, we don’t really know if he did eat the rabbit.  So I asked what they think happened to the rabbit.

Students writing and drawing how they think the bear got his hat back.

Students writing and drawing how they think the bear got his hat back from the rabbit.

The bear asked "nice lee."

The bear asked “nice lee.”

Session Three-We Found a Hat

For the last Klassen hat book, I asked the students what they thought happened the next day.  Lots of different explanations from the positive (they share the hat) to the not-so positive (they fight over the hat)!  Really the point of this 3 week activity was to practice writing sentances, ensuring that the sentances started with a capital letter and had some sort of puncuation at the end.

The turtles share (ser) the hat.

The turtles share (ser) the hat.

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The Klassen books were very popular and it was funny that they got the humor of them and usually laughed in the same places.

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UPDATE: Today after reading the book, Swap! by Steve Light to a first grade class and the students were getting up and going to check out books, one of the students asked, “Are we going to write today?”  I was stumped for a minute.  Write?  Then the light bulb went off.  For the past 3 weeks these students had been writing and drawing each time after reading a Jon Klassen book.  Ah, so maybe some of them were really enjoying that part of their library visit!

 

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5th Grade- Civil Wars and PowerPoint

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After surveying the fifth grade students at the beginning of the school year, I realized that most of the students had minimal experience with creating PowerPoints.  So I decided that one of the first digital tools we would work on would be PowerPoint.  Since they would be studying the U.S. Civil War in the fall, I chose that topic.  The Syrian Civil War was in the news at that time (we completed these projects in late October & November, but I’m just getting around to finishing up this blog post!). As an IB-PYP school, I also wanted them to realize that the U.S. Civil War was NOT the only civil war that had occured and that there were civil wars happening right now.

Graphic Organizer and Curating Web Resources

I used Livebinders to curate websites and online encyclopedias for the students to use.  My emphasis in this project was more on the technical aspect (PowerPoint) rather than in-depth research.  Livebinders was used to curate websites and online encyclopedias for the students to use.

http://www.livebinders.com/play/play/2079390

Livebinder is very useful for students as it visually organizes the topics.

Livebinder is very useful for students as it visually organizes the topics.

They only had to have 5 slides and at least 2 images. I also emphasized the citing of resources and giving credit when using images.

 

 

 

 

Student Tablets

Our school is a 1:1 technology set up, so all students have a Dell ProVenue 11 tablet.  One catch was that Office 365 had to be downloaded before we could do this project and that takes awhile!  But after that, the students caught on pretty quickly and were usually anxious to help each other problem solve.  I think they have a basic understanding of creating a PowerPoint, inserting images, text boxes and are aware of the different slide types (ie. they had to use the Comparison slide for the body of their PowerPoint).

So far this year I have taught the 5th grade classes how to use Chatterpix and PowerPoint.  We are getting ready to start on Prezis in the next week.  My goal is for these students to have several digital storytelling tools in their technonlogy toolbelts by the end of the year.  No more just relying on PowerPoint when they get to middle school!

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2nd Grade and Sundial

SundialOur second grades study Georgia Performance Standards Science “S2E2. Students will investigate the position of sun and moon to show patterns throughout the year. a. Investigate the position of the sun in relation to a fixed object on earth at various times of the day. b. Determine how the shadows change through the day by making a shadow stick or using a sundial. c. Relate the length of the day and night to the change in seasons  d. Use observations and charts to record the shape of the moon for a period of time.”

Being an IB (International Baccalaureate) PYP (Primary Years Programme) we add our own touch to the standards.  So in addition to the scientific side of investigating the sun and moon, the students are also exploring how different cultures use stories to express their understanding of the sky based on their ideas and beliefs.

I was asked by the 2nd grade chair to bring in my sundial from home.  We met outside at the beginning of their library visit time and looked at the sundial; talked a bit about the sun and whether it moved or the earth did; how people kept track of time before watches.  I had the students move the sundial until the shadow fell on the correct number.  Of course, my sundial has Roman numerals so I wrote the numbers on sticky notes in Arabic and we placed them corresponding to the correct Roman numeral. Sundial second grade students   We had to delay this one week as it was totally cloudy all for several days.

We went inside and I read a book, The Sun and the Lizard by Alma Flora Ada.  This bilingual retelling of a folktale set in Mexico tells the story of how the lizard found the sun who had been asleep inside a rock and so the Earth remained dark.   After reading the book and checking out their library books, we went back outside and checked to see how the shadow had moved.  I had the teacher take a photo of what the sundial looked like at the beginning of the visit so that they could easily compare the two “readings” of the sundial.  One teacher used her phone, another used her iPad.  The students were consistently amazed that this device could tell time!  I left the sundial out through lunchtime in case they wanted to check back later.9780440415312_xlg

 

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