5th Grade Learns to Use Prezi

By this time of the school year, I have worked with the 5th grade classes on creating a Chatterpix and PowerPoint.  To add an additional tool in their digital tool belt, we worked on making Prezis.

When working with the students, I’m not really going for a perfect product.  Rather, I am hoping that they will be experienced enough with the tool, that they will be able to use it on their own.  I do look the creations over and have them edit for grammar, punctuation, etc.  But, if after the allotted time and the group is not completely finished, the project has to stay that way.

Unfortunately, students have to be 13 years old to sign up for their own account (and I haven’t been successful in getting teachers to sign up for their own accounts), so they have to use my account.  I will change my password after this project is over!

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Notice that the students are not using their Dell tablets, but the library computers to create their Prezis.  Way easier!

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Coordinated with Social Studies Unit of Inquiry

I designed a graphic organizer that reflected what the students were studying in their current Unit of Inquiry so as to build on the prior knowledge of the topic and to reinforce concepts they are learning in the classroom.  They were learning about the U.S. during the 1920’s and 1930’s.  I looked at the Georgia Performance Standards and based the topics on these standards:

SS5H4 The student will describe U.S. involvement in World War I and post-World War I America.

a. Explain how German attacks on U.S. shipping during the war in Europe (1914- 1917) ultimately led the U.S. to join the fight against Germany; include the sinking of the Lusitania and concerns over safety of U.S. ships, U.S. contributions to the war, and the impact of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. b. Describe the cultural developments and individual contributions in the 1920s of the Jazz Age (Louis Armstrong), the Harlem Renaissance (Langston Hughes), baseball (Babe Ruth), the automobile (Henry Ford), and the airplane (Charles Lindbergh).

SS5H5 The student will explain how the Great Depression and New Deal affected the lives of millions of Americans.

a. Discuss the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, the Dust Bowl, and soup kitchens. b. Analyze the main features of the New Deal; include the significance of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. c. Discuss important cultural elements of the 1930s; include Duke Ellington, Margaret Mitchell, and Jesse Owens.

Livebinders

I created a Livebinder to curate the websites for the students to use for their research.  They bookmark the website and it reduces the time needed to complete their research.  The do use their tablets for researching.

http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=2139444

Livebinder

Final Product

I did not have the students use their 1:1 devices (Dell ProVenue tablets) to create their Prezi as it is too difficult to see what you are doing on the small screen.  Fortunately I have 8 Dell All-in-One computers with large, touch screens! Check out one of their Prezis:

http://prezi.com/qqkie2tcvtyc/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

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4th Grade and World Book Online Timelines

Last week I asked the 4th grade chair what skills that they might want me to cover over the next couple of weeks.  She mentioned that she needed the students to complete a timeline of events leading up to the Revolutionary War.  In the back of my mind I remembered something about timelines on World Book Online and when I checked there is a very easy to use timeline generator.

First Create Student Accounts in World Book Online

First I had to have each student create an individual account in World Book Online, which was easy but time consuming for 4th grade students.  This took about 15-20 minutes by the time everyone gets their tablets up and running, logged on, connected to the internet, keyboards plugged in, blah, blah, blah!  For 2 classes I went into the classroom and used the interactive board to demonstrate how to fill in the blanks and the students followed along.  I did it in the library for the other 2 classes and think it worked better in the classroom, partly because it is a smaller space and I could get around to help the students more easily.

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Searching for events in World Book.  Students used their Dell ProVenue tablets, with keyboards and mouses.

 

 

student using tablet to create timeline in World Book Online.

Searching and saving images to add to an event on the timeline.

Creating a Timeline Is Fun and Easy

After they had their accounts, I demonstrated how to use the World Book Timeline.  It is easy to search the encyclopedia’s content for events and add them to a timeline, but it also very easy to create your own event.  I showed them how to add images and edit any event.  They really enjoyed it and I think the previous experience they have gained throughout the year making PowerPoints and Prezis in the library (saving images, finding out how to ascertain the owner of the image’s rights, etc) paid off by increasing their skill in navigating this digital tool.

World Book Online Timeline is Versatile

This timeline generator is so versatile in that you can take advantage of the massive amount of data in the encyclopedia, but you can also use your own content to create timelines.  I showed them how to print the timelines, but I guess I’m a little disappointed that there is no way to share the timelines (sharing links, emailing links, etc.).  But, I understand as this tool is only available to subscribers and they need to protect their product.  I will definitely being sharing this to other grade levels (probably just 3rd and 5th grades).

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3rd Grades: Perspective and Padlet

By this time of the school year I am in need of inspiration.  Standardized state tests are coming up and spring break is still weeks away.  So I asked the 3rd grade chair what skills I should be covering with the students the following week.  I had read Brendan Wenzel’s book, They All Saw a Cat, to them the week before so the idea of “perspective” was on my mind.  I wanted to introduce the students to another digital tool, so after brainstorming we decided we would do something about perspective and have the students use Padlet to record their response.

Photograph and Padlet

I found an intriguing photograph that I thought might inspire some interesting thoughts and could provide different storylines of what is going on. I googled, “What’s going on in this picture?” and found the New York Times’ website, “What’s Going on in this Picture?” https://goo.gl/G21vdd.  I choose the photo by Danielle Zalcman, which shows some Native Americans on horseback facing a line of law enforcement officers.  We don’t really know what is going on; you have to wait until a week after the photo is posted to find out the details.

I created a Padlet and arranged for the students to bring their tablets to the library.  I projected this classic image to grab the students attention and explained perspective:

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Wikipedia: Brocken Inaglory

“Perspective: What are the points of view?” is one of the International Baccalaureate’s Key Concepts.  Then I projected this photograph:

Credit: Danielle Zalcman

We asked the students to describe what they thought was going on.  We reminded them to provide text evidence of their opinions and statements. This was also a good opportunity for the students to practice writing using their tablets, which is a component of the upcoming Georgia Milestones test.

Check out one classes’ responses to the photograph: https://goo.gl/dHrvxx

Screen shot of Padlet

What Is On the Minds of Our Children (Real World Comes into the Library)

You can see what is on the mind of one our Latino’s students:

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This post is also from a Latino student but she focuses on the caring/protective aspect of police work:

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The students really enjoyed reading each others’ posts, too.  Very successful use of technology, a IB/PYP concept and writing practice!

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Read Across America Day 2017

I have organized, planned and executed 12 Read Across America Days at my school.  It’s always the most exhausting but rewarding day (and only 5 more to do before I retire-but who’s counting?).  Lots of walking (to and fro from the office, to classrooms to take photos); excited members of the community coming to read; random parents and volunteer readers showing up unannounced,etc.

Additional Student Involvement: Including Student Readers

This year we involved our students more in RAAD.  I asked some of the 4th grade students who had recently read to fellow students and staff for World Read Aloud Day if they would be interested in reading to Kindergarten and 1st grade classes.  I tried to match up a couple with younger siblings’ classrooms.  I gave them some choices on book titles and we went over how to read aloud to a group.

I will definitely keep this student involvement for next year’s RAAD, but I will spend more time training them and have them practice with me.  They enjoyed reading to the classes and I think it helped build their self-confidence.

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Fourth grade student reading to a kindergarten class.

Further Student Involvement: Official Escorts

At the suggestion of our International Baccalaureate: PYP Coordinator, we added student escorts.  These members of our school’s United Nations Club took the readers to their classroom, guided them to a second classroom if necessary, and escorted them to the front office to sign out of the building.  The students basked in this responsibility and it gave the readers (mostly community members) a chance to further interact with our students. I will definitely continue this next year as well.

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3rd Grade United Nations Club member escort and RAAD reader.

Read Across the World Day: A New Experience

One of our kindergarten teachers came to me a week or so ago with an idea proposed by a parent of one of her students.  The father of the student is in the Army currently stationed in Kuwait.  The mom thought maybe we could Skype and have the dad read a book to the class.  After discussions back and forth, the mom came up with the idea of dad recording himself reading.  She uploaded the video to YouTube and sent me the link so that I could project it on the big screen in the library.  She arranged to come to school and the class came to the library for a “special reader” who was going to share a story.

I had the teacher sitting in a chair with the book as dad (and 3 fellow Army members) read the book from his phone. It took the student a couple of seconds to realize what was going on and then he said, “That’s my dad!”. The teacher turned the pages while the soldiers read the book and the students were very engaged.  As the class was leaving the boy asked his mom if he could call his dad!

The soldiers did a very energetic reading and singing!

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Our long distance reader, a kindergarten student’s father reading from Kuwait via YouTube!

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The kindergarten class after they finished watching the video from the soldiers in Kuwait, with mom and teacher.

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We had 4 news reporters from our local Fox television stations read to the students.  One class of 5th graders asked the young reporter for her autograph!

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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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