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Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Book Spines and ABC order!

We love picking out our favorite holiday books to share with students this time of year. This year, we added an extra layer of learning by adding a lesson on abc order and library book spines for our first and second graders. Here's how it worked......

On week one, we read a holiday book to our students. I decided to share An Otis Christmas by Loren Long. It is a wonderful story of bravery, Christmas magic (and surprise!), and the true meaning of Christmas. The pictures look like paintings and our library has a copy signed by Loren Long! Every class I read it to (all 15 classes) loved it and were on the edge of their seats.

After reading, we talked about ABC order in the library and how we look at author's last names when putting fiction books in order. This was review for our students. I then used Reflector on my computer to show my kids how to play the game Shelver on Mrs. Lodge's website on my iPad.
I had an iPad on each table for kids to play. It was such a success for all levels! It was such a great way to reinforce the skill.

At each table, while one student was playing Shelver, the other two were working on creating a book spine for a holiday book. They were the authors and had to create the title. They used real books as reference tools and did a great job.

Next, on week two, we are just starting the process of putting the book spines in order on a bookshelf I made out of paper and hung in the hallway outside the library. I also have created a bookshelf on a board in the library--I'll never fit them all on one bookshelf! I have been having classes put an other class's book spines in ABC order since most know the order of their class. The kids have been doing a great job of putting all 20-something spines in order! Success!

The large bookshelf in the hallway.
A close up of some of the spines
Some first grade examples
I'd like to see this book..Santa Likes to Toot! Kids would love it! 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

iPads, Doodle Buddy, and K - 1 Students

Our K - 1 students have just a couple rotations left in the library rotation cycles before the holiday break, so we decided to break out the iPads and pair them with holiday books. After looking at several different apps, we chose Doodle Buddy as our drawing app of choice.
Doodle Buddy

Students listened to Little Santa by Jon Agee or An Otis Christmas by Loren Long, and then in partner groups, they were to recreate a scene from the story.

Students chose backgrounds for their images, then added stamps, text, drawings, or their own drawn art to their pictures. 

Here are two examples of their work:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Our First Mock Caldecott

After reading about several elementary library lessons related to the Caldecott Medal, we decided to try our own Mock Caldecott unit. (You can read about The Busy Librarian's lessons and Travis Jonker's lessons, too.) We roughly followed their lead, but of course we had our own timelines, books, and student needs to consider. :)

In our early stages, students listened to several Caldecott Medal winners and honor books, as well as examined them on their own. Students discovered some were wordless books. . . 

. . . some illustrations were black and white. . . 

. . . and some were really funny!

After looking at many, many books, students worked in their table groups to evaluate the wide selection of nominees for our first ever Mock Caldecott Award. We teachers modeled how to complete the scoring guide, and students then practiced assigning points to books at their tables before scoring them "for real."

Based on their scoring, these seven books were the finalists at Dallas Center Elementary:

Again taking our cue from the librarian blogs we'd read, our next step was to discuss the Caldecott Medal itself before students designed a medal for our own buildings. In class, students voted for the two medals that would be our "finalists," and they also voted on the winning book from our narrowed list of nominees.

So what book was the 2013 Mock Caldecott winner at Dallas Center Elementary School? Cat Secrets, by Jef Czekaj.

The winning book now features the Mock Caldecott student-designed medal, and the other six books--our Mock Caldecott Honor books--will feature the medal as well.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our Technology Follow-Up with Otis & the Puppy

Today was Round 2 with our 2nd grade friends in Mrs. Zweibohmer's Mason City class. The plan was to work in partner groups that matched with the other class's partner groups, and together the 4 students would create an illustration related to a portion of Otis & the Puppy. When all of the pages came together, we'd have our very own class book!

So how did it go? Well, the advance planning was great. . . until our link invites needed to be refreshed during class time. :) Then the collaborating could begin! Here's a glimpse of what it looked like from our end:

We didn't get as much time to work together as we were hoping, but we're all about being flexible. :) That means that we're chalking up today's work to practice, and we're going to try again when we're back from our holiday break. Ultimately, we're hoping to create our own class book of an Otis & the Puppy retelling.

As class ended, we did get a final farewell in--lots of waving and good-bye-ing! Until next time, our Mason City friends!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Otis, Part II

What an exciting few days! When Mrs. Stine's class used Google Hangout to meet with a 2nd grade class in Mason City, we learned that Otis author Loren Long was going to be at a book signing event in Omaha, NE. How could we stay at home?!

Loren Long appeared with author Jon Agee at The Bookworm, a bookstore in Omaha, to promote their Christmas books An Otis Christmas and Little Santa. A big "thank you" goes to the staff at The Bookworm who were so kind and generous--they even gave Mrs. Ellis their promotional items so the authors could sign them!

Both authors shared their books with the audience--and even offered sound effects and took on speaking parts in one another's books. 

Loren Long confirmed something for Mrs. Ellis that she had wondered about ever since reading Otis more than a year ago. In one scene, Otis looks out over the farm with his friend the calf.

Loren Long shared that one of his favorite books as a child was The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf. (It's one of Mrs. Ellis's favorites, too! You can read about it HERE and HERE.) This particular scene in Otis is a tribute to a scene in Ferdinand--notice the similarity?

Jon Agee and Loren Long then took time to talk with the audience and sign items for everyone who was there. They shared Otis and Little Santa ornaments and tattoos (be on the lookout for Mrs. Ellis to sport an Otis tattoo soon!), and they graciously talked with everyone, young and not-so-young alike!

Mrs. Ellis's daughters joined her on the trip, and we all had the chance to be in a photograph with Loren Long, who also signed Mrs. Ellis's copy of An Otis Christmas

The trip was extra special, as Mrs. Ellis hadn't originally planned to make it to the event. She commented on Twitter about the event, and Loren Long replied!

And we're not finished with Otis yet! Our 2nd grade Mason City friends will be joining us in the next two weeks to finish our activities with Otis using Aww, an online whiteboard, where students will draw and share their favorite parts of Otis and the Puppy. Stay tuned!