Background from

Monday, May 22, 2017

Listening to Reading with QR Codes

Dallas Center Elementary first graders recently scanned QR codes to access electronic books to listen to reading, then responded to the texts using handouts from Digital Divide and Conquer on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Access the free handouts on TPT by clicking HERE.
I wanted to use different texts to match some that we have here in our collection, so after browsing YouTube for appropriate and engaging read alouds, I created my own QR codes, printed them, and then taped them onto the handouts. That allowed me to keep the quadrant questions, and when I printed the handouts front-back, students had two stories for listening and responding. After a quick lesson about how to use our QR scanner on the iPads, students were ready to go!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Book Recommendations & ChatterPix

Recently Dallas Center Elementary kindergarteners used ChatterPix to recommend different books we'd read throughout the year.

Using our author/illustrator books, parts of a book read alouds, and Iowa Goldfinch books, students had several from which to choose. After a quick tutorial about how to use ChatterPix, students worked on their own recommendations.

You can see a few of their videos below:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Online Research Using Google Classroom

Again this year, 4th and 5th graders at Dallas Center Elementary worked on a research and presentation project. It was a multiple-step project lasting several weeks, but students' presentations are now complete and they're working on reflections related to the projects.

Step 1: Choose a Topic
Students looked at four of our AEA databases and two websites for a topic to research. The only requirement? Students' topics must be in two of the six options. Students accessed sites from our library Symbaloo and completed a ticket out including the topic and location of their articles.

Step 2: Note Taking
After determining a topic, students accessed a note taking page in Google Classroom and recorded their work to come back to later. The note taking page related directly to students' non-fiction reading in their own classrooms, asking them to write about their new learning, inferences, questions/wonderings, and text features.

Step 3: Presenting the Information
Once students gathered their information, the next step was to organize all of it into a Google Presentation. Requirements included adding at least one image, so this led to a conversation about citing sources and using the EasyBib add-on in Google Drive. As a part of their presentations, students created a works cited slide that also included the citation information from the databases and websites they accessed for information.

Animals were popular topics, especially ocean and rainforest animals; however, other topics such as national parks and monuments, forces and motion and magnetism, and sports were popular as well. Below are a few slides from different presentations. 

Step 4: Reflection
On our final day of the project, students viewed at least three presentations and completed a reflection page inside Google Classroom. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue--Our Revised 3rd Grade Myths & Legends Unit

Such great times in 3rd grade recently! Each spring in library classes we work with our 3rd grade teachers to address the reading standards regarding myths and legends. (That's our "something borrowed," as these aren't mentioned specifically in AASL library standards.) We began our work with Greek mythology, gaining background knowledge from Britannica Online articles related to different gods and goddesses.

Students used this handout in Google Classroom to record their work. We were looking for how the humans interacted with the gods and/or how the gods treated one another.
You can access the handout HERE.

We then read and shared different star stories using the TrueFLIX book Constellations, including the story about the constellation Scorpius.

A favorite assignment among third graders, designing their own constellation and creating the story behind it was next--our "something old." In this two-day activity, students plan their stories and stage a picture for their final projects. Students brainstorm possible constellations and stories using the handout below.
You can access the handout HERE.
Check out some of the students' work on their constellations and stories:

And now for our "something new"--a visit to Scholastic's website called Myths from Around the World. Again using Google Classroom, students accessed the site and read myths and legends of their choosing from a wide variety of cultures.

After reading myths and legends of their choice, students then accessed a world map on Google Maps--the "something new." Their work came full circle as we returned to our original conversation about the purpose of myths--to explain something in nature, to teach a lesson, or to celebrate a hero's story. On the map, students were to place a pin on the country from their reading and identify the purpose of the myth. You can see their work below:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

We're Flipping Over Flipgrid!

Dallas Center Elementary K-2 students have been using Flipgrid with recent lessons, and we all love it! This website and app allow us to record students' work and hear their thinking in their own voices. Each of the grade levels focused on different lessons but ultimately recorded their work in Flipgrid. Check it out!

Students have been reviewing the differences between fiction and nonfiction text. We looked at examples both from our own library collection, as well as pairs of books featured on BookFLIX. As a final assessment, students looked at various books at their tables and determined whether the book was fiction or nonfiction. As groups, then, students recorded their responses using Flipgrid.
After talking about ABC order and the importance of alphabetical order in the library earlier in the year, we circled back to those concepts to write and illustrate our own ABC books. After some read aloud examples, students looked at different kinds of ABC books in their table groups.

Students then wrote and illustrated their own ABC books, taking inspiration from the many examples they saw. It was then time to record them reading from their own books.

You can access their Flipgrid videos by clicking on the caption below:

2nd Grade
Thanks to a fellow K-5 teacher librarian, we tried a new lesson looking at books that have had very few or zero checkouts in a year's time. Reading a book together, we talked about the story and the pictures, offering our opinions about why the book is one that we should recommend to students or one that we should maybe remove from the shelf. Students then looked through books at their tables to choose one that they then used to complete the handout below.

After making decisions about the books they'd chosen, students then recorded their responses on Flipgrid.
If you're looking for an engaging and user-friendly way to assess your students--and want your students' voices to be loud and clear!--Flipgrid is a wonderful tool to add to your toolbox! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Statewide Book Award Winners Announced

Earlier in March, K - 2nd grade students voted for the Iowa Goldfinch Award book winner after several weeks of read alouds and activities. Favorites like Ivan: The Remarkable Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole were contenders, but in the end, Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio was the DC Elementary building winner.

Students in Grades 3 - 5 also voted on the Iowa Children's Choice Award book after listening to read alouds of I Survived: The Great Chicago Fire, Dash, and Loot. If students had also read a second nominee, they were eligible to vote. Winning the Iowa Children's Choice Award at DC Elementary was Loot by Jude Watson.

Iowa teacher librarians met today for their annual conference and state-wide winners were announced. A drum roll please. . . the Iowa Goldfinch winner was The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak. Statewide, 152 elementary schools participated in the voting with almost 6,250 votes submitted!

And the Iowa Children's Choice winner was I Survived: The Great Chicago Fire by Lauren Tarshis. This book was the second place vote getter among DC Elementary students. Statewide, 218 schools participated in the voting with more than 17,100 votes submitted! 

Stay tuned for the announcement of the 2017 - 2018 state award nominees. Remember, if you read two books on the list, you'll be eligible to vote. These great books make for some good summer reading!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

More Goldfinch Books Activities

It's been a busy few weeks reading and talking about and working with our Iowa Goldfinch nominees! Two books that became quick favorites were Rosie Revere Engineer and The Most Magnificent Thing.

We talked about both main characters' struggles to make "just right" and magnificent things and how frustrated they became--either on their own or because other people made them feel as though their work wasn't their best. All of us could relate to the characters and could connect to their stories. We talked about times in our own lives when perseverance and a growth mindset paid off.

To celebrate our individual creations and show our own "magnificent things" at work, we folded paper airplanes. Students could fold the planes as they'd like, and we also had a pattern to follow if students wanted to use a template. We then stepped into the hallway to test our designs.

What "magnificent things" have you created recently? And, how have you shown a growth mindset with your work?