Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Twitter Chatting with Students

Last week, one of the middle school librarians in my district, Irene Kistler (@irenekistler) and I were talking about how fun it would be to have the students in our district be able to chat and share via twitter.  She had been tossing around the idea after seeing a tweet from New Zealand .  We decided to make it easy since it was our first time and the week we came back from spring break.  We had 2 questions.
Q1:  What did you read over spring break?
Q2:  What did you do for fun over spring break?

Irene had a form that the students could fill out and then bring to me to get approved.  Then I took them to the computer and let them tweet.  I had the chat up all week on my Smartboard in the library and the students were thrilled to see their tweets pop-up on the screen.  

We also wanted the students to be able to give a shout out to a teacher, so we added that as a 3rd response on the form.  Not all of my teachers are on twitter, so I emailed the tweet to them if a student mentioned them.  

Irene and I let the other librarians in our district know about this and some of the G/T teachers.  As a matter of fact, one of our G/T teachers, Terri Eichholz (@terrieichholz)  wrote about how she used this idea in her classroom here.  It was fun to go through and read the tweets from different campuses. The part that I was missing though, was the students being able to read and respond to others' tweets. Irene had a great idea to have a week of questions and then a week to be able to read and respond. We are in that process now, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out.  


Today, some of our 4th grade students that were in the library during checkout had the opportunity to participate in the #stu2stuchat set up by Sandy Otto (@sandyrotto).


I had seen Sandy publicize this post over the weekend and made a note to check it out.  I happen to have 4th graders checking out at that time so I called a few over to check it out and a few turned into more.  
A couple of our students tweeted, but they really enjoyed seeing what other students were reading. We have plans to join the next #stu2stuchat on April 8th.  


I love that we are venturing in to connecting our students and letting them see things outside the walls of our school.  


Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday "Wrap Up"

This is the time of year that seems to fly by. It is downhill from here - only 10 weeks left! 
- 3 First grade "Wocket in My Pocket" lessons
- 5 Second grade note-taking lessons
- 6 Kinder Folk Tale Storytimes
- lurked on 2 chats about digital citizenship
- helped 3 teachers get set up on Skype to get ready for Mystery Skypes
- started a hashtag with another librarian for our students to tweet to

And my nails all decked out for St. Patrick's Day
Over It and Wee Bit Charmed

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fairy Tale Battle

The Friday before spring break we held our 7th annual Fairy Tale Battle for 2nd graders.  In January, the battle was introduced to 2nd graders and they were given a list of fairy tales and fractured fairy tales to read.  Students can check these books out from the school or public library, read books they already have at home and listen to the teacher read books aloud to the class.  There are 12 classic fairy tales and 7 fractured tales that are included in the battle.  Students have all of January and February to read as many of the books as they can or want to.  On the Friday before the actual battle, a quiz is given to the whole 2nd grade and the top 3 students from each class become the team for their class.  The day before the battle, we have a practice session with the teams and the buzzer machine.  We go through the rules of the battle, a practice round of questions and the students can ask questions.

On the day of the battle, the students on the team are allowed to bring fairy tale clothes they can change into before the battle (usually pieces from Halloween costumes).  The classes march into the library to some instrumental Disney music.  Each class has a shield they carry to lead their lines.  

The teams take their places at the tables in the front and the rest of the class sits on the floor.  

To start the battle, I read the rules and introduce the teams and then it is GAME ON! 
Yes, I dress up too!
 Each team is given a question directed to them.  They have 10 seconds to discuss and for the captain to give an answer (points are added for a correct answer, but not deducted for wrong answer or time violation).  If they give a wrong answer or run out of time, we ring a bell and any other team can buzz in.  The buzz in team receives points for a correct answer but loses points for a wrong one.  


After each team has received 2 questions, it is on to the Speed Round.  These are questions about the fractured tales.  Any team can buzz in at any time during the question to answer.  Points are given or taken away and once buzzed, I do not finish reading the rest of the question.  

There are 3 rounds before a winner is declared and very often it comes down to the fastest hands in the 3 speed round.  Ribbons are given to all the participants and trophies for the winning team.  

The students each get a small trophy and a large trophy is passed on each year.  

This is a fun tradition at our school and even though every year we do have tears, I think it is a valuable lesson for kids to see competition and know that some will win and some will lose.  

We continue this in 3rd grade and 4th grade with Battle of the Books. 




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Technology Tuesday: Kinder Research

More thanks to our wonderful District Library Instructional Coordinator for helping us to take our research up a notch using the Guided Inquiry model.  Our kinder students researched jobs in the community and the tools people need to do their jobs.

This involved kinder coming four times for 45 minutes each time (and we still could have used more time).  We started off discussing what would happen if our school did not have a custodian.  You can read about that here.  Then the students went to tables where they sorted picture cards.  The cards had pictures of people and then tools that they might use in their jobs.
We had a good discussion about what tools people need to do their jobs well.  

In the 2nd lesson, the class was split into two groups.  One group stayed on the carpet with the teacher to look at books and the other groups went to the computers with me to read an ebook.  Then we switched. 

At the book station, I had books from these two series out on the floor.  


 Being the non-kinder teacher that I am, I was so thankful for the suggestion to give have index cards prepared with one green sticky and two yellow stickies. 
 As the students looked through the books, the put the green sticker on a page where they found the name of the job and the two yellow stickies when they found a tool the person used.
After they placed their stickies, they went and sat on a different part of the rug and the teacher paired them with another student to share what they found.  Most students had time to do 2 books.  

Meanwhile at the computer station, we navigated to four ebooks that our district owns.  These are called Community Helper Mysteries and give clues about the person all the way through the book and then reveal who it is at the end.  


After they listened to 2 books, they came to the table where they glued the cover of the books that they listened to and wrote the name of the person and a tool they used in their research journal (5 half sheets of manilla paper stapled together).

On the next visit, the used iPads to access PebbleGo and listen to one of the community helpers there. Again, in their journals, they wrote the name of the person and two tools they used.  

On the fourth and final visit, they used 30 hands to make a movie of one of the jobs and tools that they researched.  The librarians in our district had previously all found some pictures to put in a file that the students could access for this part.  The students saved the 3 pictures they needed to the ipads and then I walked them through adding the pictures to 30 Hands and how to record.  We modeled the video after the Community Helper Mystery Books.   The students saved their videos to the camera roll and then I loaded them in dropbox for the teachers to access back in the classroom.  
video

This was a great project for kinder however, as always I wish we had more time.  You'll notice on this video that we forgot to include the source slide.  We talked about citing our sources and how important it is to give credit for where we found our research, but when it came to crunch time we didn't make one to include.  We always seemed to be rushed trying to get 6 or 7 classes in four or five times during the two-week window that our district scope and sequence allows for research.  Wish it could be an ongoing skill through the whole year as interesting things come up instead of a two week chunk of time in their ELA block.  




Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday "Wrap Up"

Hellllooo Spring Break!!

This week we celebrated Dr. Seuss week.  We had a Dress Up day representing a book each day of the week.  My kinder teachers went all out for this.  Love them.

In addition to this, I also had my first experience skyping with another class for World Read Aloud Day.  Read about that here.  I had more skypes planned, but icy weather prevented it.  

We also finished Kinder research finally!  

4 First grade classes read There's a Wocket in My Pocket and used PicCollage to each make a page for a class book.  We loooked around the library for places that these little creatures might hide and made a list on the white board.  The students had to make a nonsense rhyming word to name their creature.  Take a picture and presto, they were the nonsense creature in the library. 

2 Second grade classes had note-taking lessons.  

And my wraps this week - Dr. Seuss Inspired of course
Black & White Skinny, Black & White Chevron and Retired Red Sparkle (you could use True Love to recreate this look.)


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Technology Tuesday: Skyping with Maryland

So last week, I wrote about how one of my students skyped with a few students from Maine. (read here).  Today, after rescheduling from a Maryland snow day yesterday, a whole class was able to skype with another class in Maryland for World Read Aloud Day.

I first heard about World Read Aloud day on twitter.  I asked a few questions and a very nice librarian in Maryland named Mr. Winner answered my questions and volunteered to show me the ropes if I signed up on his schedule.


He sent me the link to the google doc and you notice he is on p. 65.  Yes, it goes on and on, teachers and librarians everywhere looking for schools to connect with for World Read Aloud Day (or Week). 
Mr. Winner and I  discussed via twitter which book we would like to read and  thought we were all set, until Mother Nature got in the way and cause a snow day in Maryland yesterday.  

Lucky for me, Mr. Winner had a cancellation for today and we were able to connect anyway.  He had a 2nd grade class and I had a 1st grade class.  After walking me though a camera glitch, we were finally connected!  One of his sweet 2nd graders introduced themselves and told us a little about their school and then we did the same.  We had decided that we would partner read Shh, We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton.  He read a page and then I read a page.  
    

Then his 2nd graders took turns each reading a page of Hug Machine  by Scott Campbell.  We still had a few minutes so one of his students asked us a question and then we asked them a question. 

We said our "good-byes" and "thank-yous" and disconnected.  

Afterwards, the kids were full of questions about Maryland.  I pulled a map up on the computer and showed them how far it was from Texas.  Earlier in the year, we had talked about communication in the Colonial Times.  That was a great thing to bring up again to talk about how that connecting like we did would not have been possible back then and that people had to wait weeks or months to exchange letters and news and here we did it instantly.  

I am so excited to connect some more and see how my teachers might take an interest in this.  I know I am late to the skyping bandwagon, but I love the possibilities of connecting kids to other kids to talk about geography, parts of the world, books, research... the list is endless.   


Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday "Wrap Up"

One more week until Spring Break!!  Although it sure doesn't feel like it outside.  We have freezing rain right now and it is supposed to get worse tomorrow.  This week was early dismissal for parent conferences so I thought I would get a lot done.  Somehow it didn't work out that way.

  • 11 more kinder research lessons
  • 2 kinder classes FINISHED with research!
  • skyped 2x with students who were trying to finish a BINGO for ConnectED Bingo
  • Planned activities for Dr. Seuss Week
  • Participated in 3 twitter chats
  • Spent the rest of my book budget
  • Entered our 6 Flags Read to Succeed information
  • Walk/Ran 15 miles on the treadmill.  My longest continuous run was 1.5 mles - which is HUGE for me!

And my wraps...