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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Author Julia Cook Visits DC Elementary

With a generous grant from our PTO, Dallas Center Elementary secured an author visit on Tues. Nov. 24, 2015, with award winning writer and former guidance counselor Julia Cook.

Julia's schedule that day allowed her to speak with our 3rd - 5th graders for approximately 60 minutes. She talked about how she became a published writer and read three of her books to the students.

She also talked with the students about managing their time, especially when electronic devices and activities can take up so much of their time.

Using two staff volunteers, Julia also talked with students about the importance of face-to-face communication. She used the example of tossing a ball back and forth: when we tell our partners or show them where the ball is going, the likelihood of catching the ball increases. When we don't communicate face-to-face, catching the ball becomes much more difficult.

Julia also introduced the students and staff to one of her popular characters, Kirby. She is one of the featured characters in the book I Want to be the Only Dog, a story about sibling rivalry.

Julia Cook also took time that morning to talk with our students in grades K - 2. Using a similar format, she shared her writing journey and read books, including Soda Pop Head, a story about controlling one's anger.

Later in the day, Julia spoke with students in small groups. Students were able to ask questions about her life and books, as well as her writing process. Kirby also returned to make an appearance!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

ABC Order in the Library

Our first graders at Dallas Center Elementary have been talking about using ABC order in the library. For several cycles we've been reading ABC books, talking about the arrangement of books in the library, and practicing using ABC order.

We began with ABC books like Bad Kitty, Superhero ABC, and LMNO Peas.

After talking about spine labels and their connection to ABC order and the arrangement of library books, students created their own spine labels, using themselves as the authors of the books. They then stood themselves in alphabetical order so we could put their "books" on our hallway "bookcase."

Even with the book fair in our space, first graders were able to continue their ABC work by using different apps on the iPad to practice ABC order.

And we wrapped up our work with ABC order in stations: 1) LEGO station, 2) coloring sheet, 3) magnetic words, 4) book characters, 5) seasonal items & animals, 6) book spines, and 7) cup stacking.

Our assessment for this work was to create a short video on ChatterPix. Students took one another's pictures, then used the app to tell why ABC order is important in the library. They could also edit the project as they wished. A few of their videos appear below:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

We're Using Destiny Quest!

Our online catalog features a social/visual component called Destiny Quest.

Once students are logged into their Destiny Quest account, the system allows them to:
  • search the online catalog
  • place books into virtual bookshelves--Now Reading, Have Read, Want to Read
  • send and receive friend requests from other DCG students with accounts
  • recommend books to friends
  • view similar read-alikes
  • write book reviews
Recently, all students in Grades 3 - 5 at Dallas Center Elementary created and then accessed their Destiny Quest accounts to see everything it has to offer. On the QuestHome page, students can see the Top 10 books based on current checkout statistics, browse different public lists for reading suggestions, and see what books have most recently been added to the collection.

To access Destiny Quest at home, please refer to this bookmark:

Dallas Center Elementary students used Destiny Quest during library lessons earlier in October. Be sure to ask them about it!

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Release--Elephant & Piggie

Our friends Elephant & Piggie are in a new book to be released on Oct. 27, 2015. Are you ready?! The new book is called I Really Like Slop!

The author Mo Willems is featured in a book trailer for the book--check it out:

Be on the lookout--we'll be adding the book soon to our libraries! Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

We Did a Google Hangout!

Mrs. Updike's 5th grade class recently participated in a Google Hangout with Mrs. Washington's 2nd graders at South Prairie. It was a great morning for all of us--especially some of the 5th graders who'd had Mrs. Washington as a 2nd grade teacher. Our plan for the lesson was to read a book together, meet a partner & share two things we liked, and design and create a robot based on our partners' likes.

We began by sharing the book Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman in a read aloud. This was one of our Iowa Goldfinch Award books last year, so some of the 2nd graders recognized the story.

Students then introduced themselves to one another, giving their names and two things that they liked. Frequent, common likes were Minecraft, pizza, basketball & football, and chocolate. Students recorded this information onto a handout.
CLICK HERE to access the handout.

Finally, the completed robots are ready to send to our new 2nd grade friends! We're eager to continue our collaboration and look forward to "hanging out" again!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Celebrating Dot Day

September 15 is International Dot Day, so we celebrated for several days around the day itself. At every grade level we read a complementary book along with The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds. Our conversations about using our imaginations carried over from a previous lesson, and students carried The Dot forward with suggestions as to how the boy could turn his squiggle into different pictures. Then our dot fun began!

Kindergarteners listened to Patricia Intriago's book Dot before reading The Dot.

These students created large dots in table groups, and each group's dot was matched to another class's dot. Now their dots are stuffed and hanging along the long wall in the library!

First grade students listened to and participated in an activity related to HervĂ© Tullet's Press Here. Then they designed dots and made their marks on paper plates that we've grouped together into a display.

Second graders read another Hervé Tullet book--Mix it Up!--before working on their dots, which now hang in a display in the hallway.

Our third grade students read the book 10 Black Dots and talked about the things they could make with black dots. Then they worked on their dots for display--dots designed on coffee filters and then sprayed with water to give a watercolor effect. These now hang above the library doors.

Fourth grade students read and talked about the book Lots of Dots before working on buddy dots. They designed dots, cut them into fourths, and then we reassembled them into a display that features all students' dots.

Finally, students in fifth grade listened to Andrew Clements' book A Million Dots and then created dots that were attached front-to-back with others and then hung in a mobile-like fashion around the library.

After celebrating Dot Day for the first time, we know that it will become a yearly event for us! We made our mark that week--how did you make your  mark?