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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Library Centers Approach at DC Elementary

Library centers have been in full swing for more than 1 1/2 years at DC Elementary, and with the new semester just a few days away, it's time to reveal a new approach to the centers. In the past, students participated in centers based on their table number.

Centers rotated each cycle, and students often had choices related to books and reading, technology, word play, and story telling. (You can read about previous library centers posts HERE.)

Now, however, centers will all be free choice, with nine options from which to choose rather than seven. Check out this Vine video that shows a quick overview:

The nine choices relate to some of the same kinds of topics, but also included are centers that feature building and observation, along with some favorites like storytelling and technology.

Stay tuned for updates to the poster and different centers available to students! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Balloons Over Broadway

Students in kindergarten through second grade have been celebrating Thanksgiving by reading and talking about the book Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet.

We brought the parade to life for students by sharing online images from early Macy's parades, and we took students to Macy's website to talk about the stats on some of this year's balloons.

Finally, we played a short video that showed students how people work together to move the balloons along the parade route.

Students then had the opportunity to color or draw a balloon that they would like to see in the parade, and some even wrote about their balloons in an attempt to convince Macy's to include certain balloons.

All of the students' "balloons" now hang in the hallway for our own parade!

South Prairie students even created a running parade at their tables, and now they hang around the library.

Enjoy the parade! And maybe you can watch the real Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ninja Swag!

While the Scholastic Book Fair was in our Dallas Center Elementary library recently, one of the featured books was Corey Rosen Schwartz's The Three Ninja Pigs.

During an exchange on Twitter, the author indicated she had ninja swag for students if we were interested. Of course! 

So today, Day 5 students received some great bookmarks and stickers from Corey Rosen Schwartz! Such a great surprise, and they were so excited to show off their swag!

As a way to show our thanks, students in Mrs. Stine's second grade class also used the app Skitch to take pictures of themselves with their swag and write a quick thank-you note for the author. Some examples appear below:

Such a great surprise today--and we're already excited to read Ninja Red Riding Hood next!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Exploring ABC Order in the Library

First graders have just completed a unit relating to ABC order as it relates to the library. Over many cycles, students read and listened to ABC books, created their own book spines using their own last names as the authors' names, and practiced ABC order using a variety of apps.

We began with some of our favorite ABC books, like Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel and LMNO Peas by Keith Baker.

After reading a variety of books--and pointing out the spine labels--students determined that an author's last name is represented on the spine label. With another ABC book under their belts--Superhero ABC by Bob McLeod--students created their own spine labels on a paper book spine. Our building superhero theme along with McLeod's book inspired many students to give their "books" a superhero-related title.

With our book spines, students determined how their "books" would be arranged on a shelf in the library. They stood in alphabetical order by their last names, and in a small moment of celebration, one of Mrs. Ellis's first grade groups sang the ABC song.

Finally, it was time to practice our ABCs individually. Students had iPad access to some different apps--Alphabet Order, Alphabetizing by Montessori, and Alphabetic Order from slpToolbox.

On their own, students then worked to put letters and words into alphabetical order.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Responding to Reading with ICCA Books

DC Elementary students in grades 3 - 5 have been listening to read alouds from the Iowa Children's Choice Award list: The PS Brothers by Maribeth Boelts, Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow, and Mathlete vs. Athlete by W.C. Mack.


During each cycle, students have different activities related to various reading strategies on which they focus. Recently, students had large pieces of paper at their tables and were asked to draw on it what they had visualized during the read aloud.

Another activity focused on making connections, and rather than return to a paper-pencil activity, students instead participated in a live back channel conversation using TodaysMeet.

Students were to make at least two connections to the read aloud, then comment using TodaysMeet. Each class had their own room in which to "meet" and comment, and using QR codes, they could easily access the site, join using a nickname, and begin commenting.

A partial transcript from one of the classes's conversation appears below:

Stay tuned! More response activities are coming up as we continue to work our way through the read alouds!