Background from

Monday, January 27, 2014

You Wouldn't Want to Be…Research Projects

Fourth and fifth grade students have recently begun work on a long-term research project that begins with the book series You Wouldn't Want to Be. . . 

Our first day of work focused on reinforcing the 5W's lesson students had in their grade-level classrooms. Their task? Read only the introduction page of their book and complete a 5W's index card.

As a ticket out--and as a way to encourage students to browse further in the books--groups wrote about a Handy Hint found in their books. They were encouraged to find a Handy Hint that they thought was especially funny, grotesque, interesting, informative, etc. These tickets out then became part of a library display. Check out the progression of the board!

Next steps in the process include looking at the books' text features and completing a note-taking page. We'll also be talking about main ideas and related search terms before heading to Wonderopolis to find out more! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More 5th Grade WIN Group Book Trailers

With the success of a recent WIN Group Animoto book trailer, the next group of students also completed book trailers for three more books: Deep, Dark, and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn, Wild Life by Cynthia DeFelice, and The Candymakers by Wendy Mass.

Check it out!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Responding to the ICCA Read-Alouds with iPads

Now that we've finished reading the three ICCA books to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, it was time for a wrap-up activity. Drawing upon last year's response questions, students worked in pairs on iPads to create a Popplet or Skitch project with answers to two of the questions.

Students had several options when completing this work: choice of the two apps to use, choice of the two questions to answer, and choice of partner with whom to work. What was required of all was a project that included their answers to the questions.

Third grade students read Ghost Dog Secrets by Peg Kehret. Below are pictures of students in action and some of their completed work.

In fourth grade, students listened to and wrote about Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power by David Pogue. Students were excited to work around the room and at tables to complete their projects.

All eight sections of 5th grade also wrapped up their time with Lisa McCann's The Unwanteds by completing the same kind of project. Pictures and projects abound!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Iowa Goldfinch Lesson Two, Technology Version

With our chicks running wild in our libraries and hallways, the Dallas Center Elementary 2nd graders tried a different approach with the second lesson with the Iowa Goldfinch books. These groups also read Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson.

Instead of creating their own chicks, though, these groups used two apps--Farmyard and StoryMe--to create their own new versions of a barnyard story of animals and the food they like to eat. You can get both apps free at the AppStore.

First, students created two pictures in Farmyard: one picture included whatever animals they'd like, and the second picture needed to include the food these same animals love to eat.

Here's an example of a picture from Farmyard before it was placed into StoryMe:

Next, students used StoryMe to put their pictures into a 2-panel layout, and they wrote a caption and a speech bubble to tell viewers about their animals and the foods those animals loved to eat. Students could then take screen shots of their work to be saved on the camera roll.

Stay tuned! More Iowa Goldfinch books and projects coming up!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Iowa Goldfinch Award Lesson Two- Chicks Gone Wild and Cows Love Cookies!

For our first week of Goldfinch reading, we paired together two books about animals doing some surprising things! Before reading, I reminded the kids that we were starting to read books that were in the running for the Goldfinch Award.

For Cows Love Cookies by Karma Wilson and Marcellus Hall, we talked about how a farmer takes care of  his animals. One way is by feeding them food. We brainstormed some ideas about what different animals eat. Next, we talked about making a prediction based on the title and the cover of the book. We made some predictions about why the cow loves cookies and whether or not the farmer wanted his cow to eat cookies! We read the book and kids loved the rhyming, the surprise about why the cow loves cookies, and (my favorite) the last page.

Next, we read Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Ward Jenkins. Again we made predictions about what we thought the book would be about. I told them that in the last book, we had a surprise. I told them that this book had a fun surprise at the end, as well. Kids loved the details of the pictures. They loved the rhyming and the ending. I love their reaction to the ending.

Finally, we made our own chicks running wild. I asked the kids to think of how they would  run wild after bed time and see below for what we came up with.
Supplies Needed
A Wild Chick!  

 See below for my hallway and my BB display.
BB display of two classes of chicks

Some first grade Chicks

 Hallway Display Waiting for Some Chicks