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Thursday, April 19, 2018

We've Been Busy!

It's been a long time since we've posted about our students' work and activities. What have we been doing? All sorts of things! Take a look!

Fourth and fifth graders are working on several things at once: accessing our AEA databases, reading nonfiction for main idea and details, and citing their sources. Eventually, their notetaking will lead to the creation of a Google Slides presentation.

Third graders have just wrapped up their look at mythology and myths from around the world using a Scholastic site.
Access the site HERE
Students read myths, identifying main characters, summarizing the plot, and determining the purpose of the myth.

Online catalog work is the focus for our second graders in the fourth quarter. Students learn about the visual and basic searches, then practice using the catalog to find books on the shelves.

First graders are busy using PebbleGO to browse for an animal of interest, then learn facts about their animal that they then combine with make-believe information. The facts, along with their added silliness pieces, come together in a storytelling activity on Flipgrid.

 Finally, kindergarteners take the last several cycles of the year to read and listen to a variety of themed books. For example, recently students read Diary of a Worm and Diary of a Spider, then created their own Diary... books featuring animals or objects of their choice.

Our year's not over yet--stay tuned for more work and activities!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Doin' Dewey

Fourth and fifth graders in several buildings have recently been learning about the Dewey Decimal System and practicing finding books in the nonfiction section of our libraries.  Here's a brief look at the DDS activities.

Day 1
Before starting our conversation about the DDS, we discussed various collections we already have at home, like DVDs, video games, clothes, and yes, even books! Students offered different ideas about how to arrange these collections: by gaming systems, popularity, release date, color, height, or no arrangement at all. We then talked about the arrangement in libraries--that Melville Dewey's system of arranging books became the way by which nearly all libraries arrange their nonfiction books. We followed up the conversation with the book Do You Know Dewey? by Brian Cleary.

We further explored the DDS with a Kahoot! It is a public Kahoot! so others who are interested can access it online.

Day 2
This day had students up and moving around in the nonfiction section of our libraries, searching for books that satisfied different task cards. On Teachers Pay Teachers, this particular bundle of DDS/nonfiction task cards was especially great--it's from Staying Cool in the Library and available for purchase at TPT.

Students worked in groups of 3-4 to search for the books in our catalogs, to find the books on the shelves, and to record their findings on an answer sheet.

Day 3
Finally, students demonstrated what they learned about the DDS on a Google Form quiz that they accessed through Google Classroom.

As they wrapped up with their, students could also visit a variety of sites to learn more about the DDS. Click on the caption to access the document and the links within.
LINK to document
Students found the rap quite entertaining and the concentration game much more challenging than the 16 cards led them to believe it would be!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Talking' about Traits

As part of our Iowa Goldfinch Award work, students spent some time talking about character traits. To help us understand the difference between a character trait and other traits (like appearance), we used everyone's favorite orange cat as an example.

We decided that a character trait had to do with a person's (or cat's!) personality. So, while we could all say that Garfield was a big, orange cat, we couldn't say those traits referred to his personality. Instead, we decided that he was lazy.

Then, it was on to more Goldfinch read-aloud books to practice talking about character traits in books. We used This a Moose and Meet the Dullards for this activity.

Students talked about two groups of characters from each book: Moose and Duck from This is a Moose and the parents and the kids from Meet the Dullards. Here are some of the descriptors they arrived at when talking about character traits:

Moose: determined, brave
Duck: angry, hypocritical
Parents: boring, surprised
Kids: bored, sneaky

Students then used Flipgrid to record their thinking. Using our lists of traits, students chose a character and trait, then said why they believed that character showed that trait. Click on the link in the caption to access the students' responses.
CLICK HERE to access the grid.
Stay tuned--we're not done yet with our Iowa Goldfinch Award nominees!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Goldfinch Work, Part II

It's busy times in the library during Goldfinch Award book "season." :) We've paired additional books and have had thoughtful, creative work from our students. Recently, we read The Little Shop of Monsters and Fright Club.

Students quickly picked up on the mood of the books and enjoyed the unexpected "scariness" of the cute little creatures in Fright Club and the silliness of the monsters in The Little Shop of Monsters

As an extension of the day's readings, students at South Prairie visited The Little Shop of Monsters website, where they watched a video first and then designed their own Pocket Monsters. 

Students at Heritage Elementary and Dallas Center Elementary used iPads to design their own monsters using the apps Doodle Buddy and Monster Moogle Maker.

Both apps allowed students to choose a background and design a monster, usually an animal that they then modified to include physical features and accessories to create the perfect, scary monster!

Another pairing of Goldfinch Award books has been The Night World and Sleep Like a Tiger.

Author Mordecai Gerstein's note at the end of The Night World is a great place to start with students as you prepare them for the read aloud, and the sleeping animals on the last page are a wonderful transition to Mary Logue's Sleep Like a Tiger. We also watched a video called Animals at Rest to gain some background knowledge or reinforce what we already know about sleeping animals.

Students then designed their own night worlds on black construction paper using light-colored crayons and colored pencils, or they wrote and illustrated a page showing the animal they most resemble when they sleep.

With Goldfinch Award voting not happening until March, stay tuned for more read aloud pairings and ideas! 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Getting a Start on Goldfinch Books

We've recently begun reading some of our Iowa Goldfinch nominees and completing different follow-up or extension activities. We began with The Bear Ate Your Sandwich and Bear & Squirrel are Friends.

Before listening to the two stories, we watched a PebbleGO video about black bears. We learned that 2 of us kindergarteners lying head-to-toe are likely as long as a 7-foot black bear, and 4 or 5 kindergarteners in a group weigh about as much as one!

After the stories, students completed this handout, choosing two more animals that probably aren't "friends" in nature, but like Bear & Squirrel, maybe they could be friends!

Our look at Goldfinch nominees continued with "the crayon books"--The Day the Crayons Came Home and Frankencrayon.

Kindergarteners got creative and designed their own scribble "monsters" using an activity from Greenwillow Books.

First & second graders focused on two crayons from The Day the Crayons Came Home--Estaban and Neon Red. Acting like travel agents, first graders decided which world tourist destinations Estaban visited once he finally made it out of the house. After choosing destinations, students then wrote a postcard in Estaban's voice, describing something from his travels.

Finally, second graders helped Neon Red visit European landmarks that he may have missed as he made his way back to Duncan. Using Google Draw, students dragged an image of Neon Red to one of several destinations--check out a few of the class examples below:

Stay tuned for more activities and ideas related to our Goldfinch books!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Holiday Season Activities

It's that time of year! With the holidays approaching, we took a break from state award book activities to have a little holiday fun. Students participated in a variety of both technology-related and craft activities to spread holiday cheer.

Time for some reindeer games with our youngest students! Students listened to a read aloud of Little Santa, as well as watched Olive the Other Reindeer before also watching a short Britannica Online video of reindeer in the wild. Students learned that 12-14 of them together can weigh as much as just one reindeer!
Then it was on to a craft, when students cut out and put together pieces of a reindeer to take home with them.

1st Grade
These students listened to Redbird at Rockefeller Center and watched a video to learn about the real holiday trees that have stood between Rockefeller Center and the world-famous skating rink for nearly 90 years. 
 Depending on the students' attendance centers, students then either created a holiday tree of their own, or they used the iPads to access the Quiver app to bring a tree "to life."

3rd - 5th Grade
Our older students also got into the holiday spirit with different holiday games shared with them through Google Classroom. Click on the caption below the picture to access the document.
Looking for more wintery Google activities? Try this post at ControlAltAchieve by Eric Curtis: 
Happy holidays from all of us at the DCG elementary libraries!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

1st Grade Library Detectives

First graders at Heritage Elementary and Dallas Center Elementary have watched several book trailers this year featuring different detective series books, such as the Inspector Flytrap books, the Nate the Great series, and the Chicken Squad mysteries.

To continue our look at detectives, students did some of their own sleuthing around the libraries in both schools. We first read aloud a book from another great children's detective--Scooby Doo!

We talked about the work Scooby and the gang did while trying to solve the case and then compared it to the work in Nate the Great: The Case of the Fleeing Fang.

Nate the Great reminds us beginning detectives that you need to think, notice, work together, and remember when you work to solve a case. It was just these four things our 1st grade detectives did when they approached their first task: to decode different reading messages around the library.

Students first practiced decoding a message in the back of the Nate the Great book, then they set off in partner groups armed with the secret code (made from using the special characters in Google docs), magnifying glasses (because why not?!), and the paper (which included the visual hint as to location) to record their message.

Once students had begun their sleuthing, we continued with a scavenger hunt-type activity that had students first finding the clues around the library then finding books on the shelves that matched their clues.

Again, students worked with their same detective partners and used the magnifying glasses to help them in their search. Students recorded several different responses for the clues, as there were many books matching the clues from which to choose.

With all of the students' work around the libraries, they've become more comfortable looking for items throughout the space, and a few even wrote their own secret codes! Some great additional outcomes after an engaging few days in the library!