By the time our students get to 5th grade some of them have made a PowerPoint. I surveyed them again this year and although about one third said they had made at least one, once we got into this project I noticed that their skill levels were pretty low. This reassured me that this was an important skill for me to cover in the library.
Our students have tablets which are very tricky to use to create PowerPoints without the use of a mouse and keyboard.
In order for them to have some topic for their PowerPoint I decided that I would cover website evaluation in the 2 weeks before starting the PowerPoint. I used an outline I got from Kathy Schrock’s 5 W’s of Website Evaluation (http://www.schrockguide.net/uploads/3/9/2/2/392267/5ws.pdf). I gave each student a copy of my adaptation of Schrock’s 5 W’s and suggested that they take notes on this paper so that they would have something to say in their PowerPoint. Of course some students didn’t write down anything and others took plenty of notes. Then when we got ready for them to create their PowerPoint those who hadn’t taken any notes came up short as they didn’t have any details to fill out the outline.
We spent 2 library visits working on their PowerPoints and I created a rubric so they would know the expectations (ie. minimum of 7 slides, 2 images, etc.) in advance.
I gave them minimal instruction on how to create the PowerPoint as I knew the students would share their knowledge and help others to problem-solve. I circulated around to help them out.
This was a successful instruction/learning experience and the students were very enthusiastic about creating their PowerPoint. I know they will use their newly acquired skills in years to come.
Hands on: Dictionary
Near the beginning of each school year, I introduce second grade students to two reference tools, dictionaries and encyclopedias. I plan the topics they look up around something they are already covering in the classroom (if possible).
First, they used a dictionary to look up words about Jimmy Carter, such as submarine, peanut, and governor (they are currently studying Carter). They were instructed to copy down one definition for their word. They had practiced alphabetical order and guide words the week before but it was a bit of struggle for most to actually find their word. Their teacher and I provided lots of support in this part of the activity.
I saw a couple of students all excited after the structured activity was over. It is so heartening see students get enthused over library skill lessons, however, my heart was destined to be dashed just a bit. These students had continued to browse the dictionary and were gleefully pointing out that the word “zombie” was in the dictionary! But hey, they found out there are interesting things to be found in dictionaries!
World Book Online Encyclopedia
The next week I showed these second grade students a print version of an encyclopedia and we compare the amount of information found in a dictionary with that found in an encyclopedia article. Then I have them use an online encyclopedia, World Book (the Kids section), to look up facts about one of three historical figures: Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson. These three individuals are part of the Georgia Standards of Excellence: Social Studies. Some of the children were so into this activity that they didn’t want to stop with just one fact. The students really liked the very large photograph at the top of the World Book Kids entry for each historical figure. They were also making connections with what they were reading in the encyclopedia to what they had learned in the classroom.
Third grade students used atlases to find places located on the prime meridian and the equator. After locating London, England and Nanyuki, Kenya, they took photos of those places with their tablets in order to document their finds. I showed them a photograph of me and my husband standing on the equator in Nanyuki, many years ago so that they could see what it looks like at the equator. I also told them about the water draining demonstration the guides did while we were there.
It was good practice in taking photographs using the tablets (which I don’t think they get the opportunity to do very much) as well as figuring out where the photos are stored.
We went on to see how Google Maps works and looked at satellite maps. I looked up the two locations again on Google Maps and projected onto the big screen and we discussed the differences between the maps in the atlas and Google Maps.
I recognized International Day of Peace with most of the grades this year and for the fourth grade classes I read Jean-Francois Dumont’s book, The Chickens Build a Wall. After reading the book, I posed several questions about the book and asked them to respond to one of them.
Padlet: Student Writing
I introduced Padlet to these students. The questions were posted in columns and the students used their tablets (we are a 1:1 school) to access Padlet and write a reflection. Time did not allow for the students to respond to their classmates ideas, but I hope the teachers will take this digital tool and use it in the classroom where they have more time. They did enjoy reading what other students wrote.
Making a Connection with the Real World
One of our students made a connection with the central idea of the book to something they heard was happening in the United States today. Check out Kate’s response: