Tag Archives: student writing

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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Third Grade Opinion Writing and Padlet

I wanted to give the third grade students another opportunity to practice typing on their tablets and wanted to have another go at using Padlet.  I choose to read Hannah and Phillip Hoose’s book, Hey, Little Ant (illustrated by Debbie Tilley) and we focused on the International Baccalaureate concept, perspective.  The last sentence of the book is, “What do you think the kid should do?”

Padlet

I created a Padlet using the “shelf” template so that I could create two columns, one headed “Squish the ant” and the other “Ant goes free.”  I instructed the students to choose one opinion and write a response citing two reasons to support your opinion.

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Technology Set-Up

The first time I introduced Padlet to this grade level a couple of weeks ago, I had them bring their Dell tablets with their keyboards and mouse.  They have to have an external keyboard as our tablet case cover “bounces” as they use the on-screen keyboard and that keeps opening up response windows.  That didn’t go so well; tablets weren’t charged, keyboards were forgotten, they couldn’t type the shortened URL in correctly, etc.  So this time I logged into 6 of our library desktops in advance and had the website pulled up.  This went much more smoothly.  It wasn’t a whole group activity, but I just kept rotating the students through.

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This second time around they were more focused on their writing and less on trying to read other students’ responses.  I think this is partially because they weren’t seeing so many boxes popping up in real time, which really distracted them.

I also encouraged the students to type with two hands (even if they are only using their index finger).  This speeds up their typing and this is important on the state test where they have to do several extended responses.  Unfortunately, we don’t have structured keyboarding instruction.

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I do have one iPad which also worked. 

Padlet

One student who was responding later in the visit noticed that more of his classmates had decided that the ant should go free.  Interesting that he noticed and heartening to see that more of them are respectful of the ant!

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Second Grade-People Who Change Their Community

After looking at the 2nd grade’s current IB/PYP Unit of Inquiry, I asked our second grade chair about what we should be working on in the library.  I suggested that I could read some picture book biographies about people who have made an impact on their community and she liked that idea.  The students were learning about people who make a difference in their communities, such as Jimmy Carter, MLK Jr. and Jackie Robinson.   I read Jeanette Winter’s book, Wangari’s Trees of Peace, which is an excellent biography about Wangari Maathai for this age group.

Cover of Jeanette Winter's book, Wangari's Trees of Peace

Credit: Amazon

As I was reading the author’s notes in the back of the book, the students all perked up when I read that Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  They would  say, “Just like Jimmy Carter” or “Just like Martin Luther King, Jr.!”

Writing Practice

After reading the book we discussed how Maathai changed her community.  I asked the students for words from the book that were important or key and we created a word wall on a white board.  Note: I had to write “woman” and “women” because many of our students used the singular form of the noun when referring to the plural or they use “womans”.  IMG_2213

Then I asked the students to respond to one of  two questions: How did she change her community? or Whose lives did she impact and how?  I asked the students to provide text evidence (one of their ELA standards).  IMG_2212

Video Recording via Flipgrid

Some students wrote a sentence of two and were immediately ready to video tape their response on Flipgrid.  Others needed some help with editing, which the teacher and I provided them with.  Since classes are scheduled for about 30 minutes we did the actual recording at their next library visit.  They love to see and hear themselves.  I email the link to the teacher after all students have recorded their reflections.

Check them out!  https://flipgrid.com/f4e331

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3rd Grade, St. Patrick’s Day and Flipgrid

I wanted the 3rd grade students to have another opportunity to write while in the library, as this will be their first time taking the Georgia Milestones (our state standardized test), which has a portion for open-ended response.  Last week they used Padlet to respond, but I checked with one of the teachers and gave her a choice of Padlet or Flipgrid for this week.  She opted for Flipgrid, as bringing the tablets with keyboards and mouses can be time consuming. Most of our 3rd grade students have had at least 2 experiences using Flipgrid since I have used it with 1st and 2nd grades in the past.

First we read Tomie de Paola’s Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato: An Irish Folktale.

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Then I asked them what they would wish for if they caught a leprechaun.  After writing their responses on index cards, they recorded them on Flipgrid.

These students have become very independent users of Flipgrid.  I set my laptop up on a chair and showed them how to place their index card up against the screen.  I had one or two students in a line observing the student who was recording and off they went!

Student recording on Flipgrid.

These 3rd grade students are pretty independent now when using Flipgrid.

Amongst the usual wishes (lots of money, a pot of gold, magical cars, etc.) there were a couple that tugged at my heart.  Hannah wished for world peace and Kyrique who wanted money to pay homeless people.  Check out the 3rd grade responses.  What would you wish for?

Mrs. Orme’s class (Hannah is a student in this class) flipgrid.com/36ca5f

Ms. Cook’s class (Kyrique is in this class) flipgrid.com/f7d65f

Mrs. Cambron’s class  flipgrid.com/7732bf

 

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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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Flipgrid, 2nd Grade & Native Americans

Each year our 2nd grade students study Native Americans, as laid out in the Georgia Performance Standards SS2H2 The student will describe the Georgia Creek and Cherokee cultures of the past in terms of tools, clothing, homes, ways of making a living, and accomplishments.   Being an IB-PYP school we expand the concept to include native peoples from other parts of the world.

Each year I read Jan Andrews’ book, The Very Last First Time which describes an Innuit girl, Eva’s first time to walk alone on the sea bed, under the ice, to collect mussels.  We also watch a video clip from the BBC showing Innuit adults collecting mussels. It’s pretty cool. Check it out:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlOt9368Q7LfZsQ0XPXWMoo-Tvbm7LPM0

IB-PYP Learner Profile & Flipgrid

This year I decided that I would have the students pick out an IB-PYP Learner Profile or Attitude to describe Eva and her actions in the book. We have the Profiles and Attitudes posted on the library walls, so the students could walk over and refresh their memories (and for the new students the opportunity to see all the profiles and attitudes).

I gave each student an index card and they wrote their sentence, citing evidence from the book.  “Eva was a risk-taker because she…”  Our students need so much practice writing, so I like to give them every opportunity to write.

 

If they put in a serious effort to compose a sentence, they then had the chance to record their response using Flipgrid. Students so enjoy hearing and seeing themselves.  A lot of smiles and giggles!

Flipgrid

Check out their response https://flipgrid.com/74c2b605

 

 

 

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