Category Archives: Uncategorized

Third Grade-Book Character Poems

Third grade students used picture book characters as inspiration for their poetry writing in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I selected picture books with strong characters and randomly assigned them to small groups of students.  Using a template, the students read the book and decided who would be the subject of their poem.

Book Character Poem

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We emphasized using text evidence for their writing.  If you are going to say the character “sees” something, be sure that you can point to the evidence.  This template could also be used as book report.

The second library visit was used to finish up with those groups who hadn’t filled in all the lines or who needed some help editing.

Recording the Poems and Uploading to YouTube

The third library visit I video taped the groups reading their poems and I used Windows Movie Maker to create a movie, which I uploaded to YouTube.  Shared the links with the teachers so that the students could view the finished product.

One more class needs to be taped and now that the craziness of state testing is over, I might get to it!

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Class watching their video of poems on YouTube.

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“Never” Poems, Second Grade and National Poetry Month

We celebrated National Poetry Month with all grade levels. Second grade students wrote a “Never” poem which features repetition and alliteration.   We used a template I found on WriteShop.com (https://writeshop.com/writing-a-never-poem).  The students used dictionaries & thesauri to find words if they got stuck for ideas.

 

Recorded Poems on Flipgrid

I used Flipgrid so the students could record themselves reading their poem. This gives them an authentic audience and practice reading aloud.  I also shared this on the school’s Facebook page to further widen the audience and let parents see what their children are doing.

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Check us out!  https://flipgrid.com/876d05

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Kindergarten Poem in My Pocket

I have been celebrating National Poetry Month for several years with our students with most grade levels writing different types of poems.  I wanted to do something with the kindergarten students this year, but couldn’t figure out how to have them write poetry.  I came across the idea of Poem in Your Pocket Day.  That was it!!!

First I read several poems to the students and we talked about poetry (what it was, etc.) . I created a template for a pocket, labeled “Poem in My Pocket” and had the students decorate it. There was a place for them to write their name.

Choosing Poems for Their Pockets

Before their next library visit I glued a back onto their pocket front and punched holes into the top.  I tied yarn onto it forming a loop.  I copied a variety of poems for them to choose from.  They got to choose four different poems and fit them into their pockets.pockets

 

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Choosing her 4 poems.

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Fitting their poems into their pockets.

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Modelling the Give!

When I first told the students they would be giving away their poems, several of them said, “No, we want to keep them!”  We decided they could keep one or two but should share the rest.  I took a couple of students from each class and we went in search of someone to share our poems with.  Success!

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Giving a poem (and reading it) to one of our custodians.

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The art teacher receiving a poem.

 

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Our Assistant Head of School, who then read her poem aloud with lots of expression and enthusiasm.

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Our Head of School who after reading the poem, dated it and added the names of the students as she put it on her bulletin board.

The first day I did this last week, one of the students asked to give our Head of School a poem, but she was in a meeting.  After dismissal duty while chatting on the sidewalk, she said a “little fellow” gave her a poem as he got on the bus and I explained about Poem in Your Pocket Day.  Yessssss, success!  I love when a plan comes together!

I will definitely do this again next year.

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Blackout Poetry with Fourth Graders

I decided to be a risk taker and try blackout poetry with my fourth grade classes.  I saw this several years ago but wasn’t sure how it would work and whether they would “get it”. Previous examples used newspaper or magazine articles and I just didn’t think this would excite our students.  But I think it was a success with most of them really enjoying it and excited by the process.

Finding the Right “Hook”

Somewhere I read about a librarian who used photocopies of the first page of chapter books for the basis of the poems (I would attribute this idea if I could remember where I saw it).  I browsed our fiction section to choose ones that really grabbed the readers attention.  This group also needs motivation to pick out chapter books and actually read them.  I thought this activity might inspire some of them to check out the books.  I didn’t reveal what books they came from until after the had completed the poems and they were excited when they recognized their page.

Introduction and Examples: Google Slides and YouTube

I created a brief Google Slides that contained examples of blackout poetry and then I showed the students a video about Austin Kleon, a writer who is well known for his newspaper blackout poetry.

Then I randomly gave out the copies of first pages along with pencils.

The Creative Process

Some students struggled a bit at first, but after they relaxed and were assured there really wasn’t a “right” way to do, they made progress.  This activity was completed over two library visits with instruction and creating taking about 20 to 30 minutes each time.

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Students in the initial stages circling words in pencil.

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Getting serious now!  Blackening in with crayons.

Sharing Using Padlet

I wanted a way for the students to be able to read each others poems so decided on Padlet.  After taking photos of each completed poem I uploaded them.  I emailed the classroom teachers the Padlet link and asked that they share with their students.  In the case of one of the teachers this will be her only opportunity to see her students’ work as she nearly always sends her para to the library while remaining in her classroom!

Here are the two links:

Made with Padlet

Made with Padlet

I will definitely do blackout poetry again next year for National Poetry Month!

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Science in the Library

I have been reading  Roald Dahl’s The BFG to my fourth grade classes trying to encourage them to read (and finish) chapter books. After several weeks and realizing that I wouldn’t finish before the end of the year, I bought 3 copies of the book from the bookstore and gave them to the teachers after they promised they would read everyday until they finished it (I will be checking with the students and ask for my book back if they aren’t holding to their promise).

Hands-On Activities in the Library: Science Meets Literature

Sooooo…what to do next?  I was thinking of some sort of hands-on, maker space sort of activity and with our school system’s science olympiad coming up soon, I looked at the state science performance standards.  As a judge for the science olympiad I know a laser light relay is one of the events and decided to set it up in the library.  This would also give the students going to the olympiad some practice. The Georgia Standard of Excellence: Science: “S4P1 b. Plan and carry out investigations to describe the path light travels from a light source to a mirror and how it is reflected by the mirror using different angles.”  I borrowed most of the supplies from our science lab, but did have to scrounge up 7 flashlights!

Linda Sue Park’s Firekeeper’s Son

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I remembered reading a book that had something to do with fires being lit in a relay along mountain tops and after some key word searching in our school library catalog and came up with Linda Sue Park’s book.  I read her book, Firekeeper’s Son, which tells the story set in Korea in the 1800’s which relied on a series of firekeepers atop mountains who lit fires from the coast to the king inland at his palace. If the fires were lit, then there were no enemies invading from the sea.  The students became “firekeepers” using a flashlight.

A Temporary Science Lab

Students worked in small groups and each had 3 mirrors, a flashlight and a photo of a Korean palace (where the king lives).  They had to use all three mirrors to aim a beam of light onto the palace. So they were “firekeepers” relaying the message via mirror to the “palace” so the king would know all was well, no enemies in the land.

It really wasn’t a science lesson, but I just wanted to give the students an opportunity to play around and figure things out for themselves. I don’t think they have enough time with hands-on activities.  After they were successful with the mirrors, they had three prisms to work with. This was also another chance for them to practice team work and social skills. They were so excited and had a great time and they might just have learned something!

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Third Grade-My Teacher Is a Monster

I really like Peter Brown’s book, My Teacher Is a Monster and one night in the early hours I woke up and was mulling over how could I come up with an activity that would go along with the book.  All of a sudden I thought “What is the opposite of a monster teacher?”  Answer: a perfect teacher!  I wanted to combine several concepts: the IB’s Approaches to Learning-Social Skills (formerly known as Transdisciplinary Skills), IB-PYP Profiles, writing practice and art work.

I read the book to the classes and it was very popular with the third grade students.  Some students noticed that the teacher gradually changed from a monster to a more human form.  This gave us the opportunity to make a connection with a IB concept-perspective.  They decided that she didn’t really physically change, but Robert’s view of her did change.

I told the students that they would work in groups to create a “perfect” teacher.

Graphic Organizer: Brainstorming Individually

I created a graphic organizer which combined the IB-PYP Profiles and Attitudes, adjectives, verbs and activities.  Each student received a copy of the graphic organizer and were instructed to brainstorm independently.  I also placed thesauri on the tables and reminded them that if they needed a more interesting word they could find a synonym in these books. This is as far as we got the first week.

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Good review of thesaurus!

IB’s Approaches to Learning: Social Skills

I downloaded a PYP Transdisciplinary Skills Toolkit from Mary’s Store on Teachers Pay Teachers (free) as it had each group of skills contained on one page with student-friendly font and text.  I made copies of the Social Skills and laminated them.

The second week we started by reading the Social Skills of the IB’s Approaches to Learning.  I filled up my tables (which seat six) and each student had a copy of the Social Skills in front of them. They did a round robin reading of the skills and had an opportunity to discuss and ask questions.

I divided each class into small groups of three groups, adjusting for personality conflicts or behavior.  After reading the Social Skills I moved the students so they were seated with their group and they began comparing the attributes of a perfect teacher.  This gave them the opportunity to practice those Social Skills!

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Social Skills

From Mary’s Store on Teachers Pay Teachers

Creating “My Perfect Teacher” Begins

In week three the students finally got to what they called “fun.”  I gave each group a length (about 36″) of white butcher paper and a container of crayons. I drew a head, two hands and two feet on each sheet to give them a starting point for their drawing.  They were reminded of the Social Skills that were reviewed the week before to encourage a positive group experience.  I told them that all of the words on their graphic organizer had to appear on their creation.

Several students said after this session that it was so “fun.”  Judging by the conversation and energy in the room, it was a positive beginning.

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Week Four: Completion!

I gave the students about 20-25 more minutes on their fourth visit to complete their drawings.  They were having such a good time and for the most part working well in groups.  IMG_4437v2IMG_4451v2jpgIMG_4452v2IMG_4434

 

 

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First Grade-Jon Klassen Author Study

 

 

IMG_2713I did this series of lessons last year and the students and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do it again!  I “borrowed” the idea from Jennifer Reed.  I read about it on her blog, Reedarama (https://goo.gl/HMzc4G).

I like to give students as many opportunities to write when they visit the library as possible.  With first graders just reinforcing the idea that “sentences start with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark” is good practice.

This Is Not My Hat: Week One

I love this book and so do the students.  When I read the line, “I just stole it”  there are usually several children who just gasp. They are so innocent.  After reading the book I ask them how they think the big fish got his hat back, after all we don’t see the action amongst the plants.

I fold copy paper into thirds and have them write their response on the top one-third.  They use colored pencils, which they really like.  The directions are to first write your sentence and then illustrate it.  I find that some students need a lot of prompting to think creatively.  Perhaps that is because we don’t give them as many opportunities to think outside the box as we should.  There are no right answers here, just your own opinion.

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I Want My Hat Back: Week Two

We read this book and I ask them what they think happened to the rabbit. They write their response in the middle third and most write that they think the bear did eat the rabbit.

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Translation: The bear “snatched” it off.

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We Found a Hat: Week Three

After reading this title I ask the children how the turtles resolve the problem of having only one hat.  This really stumped a few students.  One girl (bless her heart) just kept repeating, “There are two turtles and they have one hat.”  After much discussion I desperately grabbed two pencils and said, “Let’s pretend there are two girls and they only have one bike (I used a book to represent the bike).  How will they solve this problem?”  Finally the light bulb went off and she said something like, “They take turns.”  Break through!  This just reinforces my idea that we don’t let students problem-solve like we should.

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