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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Snowy Day display

I really enjoy and believe in the benefits of creating whole school experiences for the kids. I do this every year with my Goldfinch Award books. I think there is something about 500+ kids reading the same book and being about to talk about it and connect to each other through this common ground. Right before Christmas, I was wanting to work on making connections with the students. I came up with the following lesson and what was created was so much better than what started in my head!

                    One Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats at South Prairie Elementary

I don't have any windows in the library, so I started my lesson by playing a youtube video of snow falling as the kids walked into the library. For some classes I had gentle snow falling, for others I'd show a snow storm; really, it just depended on my mood!

I had the kids go around and tell me one thing that came to their mind with the word "snow"- we turned it into a wordle. What I really like about wordle is that it will enlarge the words the more they are stated, so the kids get a quick visual of responses. 

Next, we read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I told the kids to look for things that they had mentioned from our Wordle. I also told them to pay attention to the illustrations in the book. When they were done, I told them that we were going to have our own snowy day illustrations. Here is what I provided for the kids:
1. I had taken their photo in groups of 5-6 the week before. I printed these out as 5x7 and cut them apart so that each kid got a pic of his/herself, but I wasn't wasting a lot of ink by doing individual pictures. 
2. I had silhouettes of the various "poses" that the boy in The Snowy Day has. Kids could choose one.
3. Scrap paper to make sleds or other props.

Kids made their snowy day "character" and then hung it on the snow hills I had put in the hallway. By the end, our snow hill was very crowded! But most importantly, kids in our building had a shared experience. They could look for their friends, see their classmates creativity, and instantly have their worked "published" for all to see! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Using iPads to Create Book Promotions

Students in third, fourth, and fifth grade recently used two different apps to create book promotions to share with their classmates. Before they even put their hands on iPads, though, students needed to choose a favorite picture book or fiction chapter book that they felt they could easily talk about and promote to others. With books chosen, students were to take a picture of it to use as a background, then choose Tellagami or Chatterpix to create a promo.

To guide their work, students used this directions page:
Students worked throughout the class period to create their promotions, often talking with one another about their choices and helping one another use the apps, neither of which they'd used before.

Below are some examples of the ChatterPix promos that students created, along with photographs of them at work:

And here are examples of students' Tellagami promos and photographs of their work in progress:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Using the Online Catalog

Second graders have been practicing how to use our online catalogs, including working on a bingo card. (You can read about the full lesson HERE.) Students searched the catalog on iPads for clues related to author, title, and subject searches. To wrap up their work, DC Elementary students tried a "new to them" app--Sock Puppets--to share important tips for online searching.

After generating a class list that included several key ideas for searching the catalog, students created a Sock Puppets scene.

Below are some of their creations: