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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: 2017 - 2018 State Award Nominees

The state award nominees for the coming 2017 - 2018 school year were announced earlier in the year. Our K-2 students will read and listen to the Iowa Goldfinch Awards:

And our Grades 3-5 students will read from and listen to the Iowa Children's Choice Award nominees: 

Over the course of the coming school year, students are encouraged to read at least two of the nominees from their lists, and should they complete the reading by late February/early March, they will be eligible to vote for the building and state-wide winner. Feel free to read any of the books over the summer, and stay tuned for many activities related to these great books!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Google Classroom in the Library

This year our Dallas Center Elementary students in Grades 3 - 5 started using Chromebooks in a 2:1 environment (2 students for every 1 device), and with the increased access came the use of Google Classroom in the library.
A few of the DC Elementary Library Google Classrooms 

Every Grade 3 - 5 classroom had its own library Google Classroom where students could access everything from our library main page to that day's digital activity. Below are just some of the examples of how we used Google Classroom:

  • accessing and viewing book trailers related to state award books
  • accessing, completing, and turning in reading comprehension activities
  • using our library Symbaloo to find websites and databases for research
  • viewing teacher instructions or lessons

The ease with which students could access that day's work--and return to it as they liked--made all the difference. Assignments that covered several days of library classes became easier to manage, and students could easily see what resources to use to complete different tasks.
3rd grade mythology work and resources pushed out via Google Classroom.
Now that students in Grades 3 - 5 have used Google Classroom for a year, they likely will be able to return to school with a better understanding of how we'll use it in the library. What a great tool to manage classes, share resources and assignments, allow for technology integration, and engage students!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Participate in a Summer Reading Program

Now that we're officially on summer break, it's time to bring back the weekly themed blog post. This year it's "1-Thing Wednesday," and the focus will be on just one thing related to the library, the school year, or the tech world. To kick off the very first 1-Thing Wednesday, let's take a look at the summer reading programs at the local public libraries supporting our elementary schools.

Librarians from the Grimes Public Library spoke with students at Dallas Center Elementary about the summer reading program, and visiting the Grimes Public Library website will provide all kinds of information, as well as allow you to watch a promotional video:
CLICK HERE to watch the video.
The summer reading program began on Mon. June 5 and will run until the end of July. Here's what their website had to say about the summer reading program:

Want to see their Calendar of Events? You can access it from the library website, or you can CLICK HERE to view daily summer reading events

Live in Dallas Center and want to participate in the summer reading program there? They, too, kicked off their program early in June and are excited to sign up readers all summer long! If you're looking for a way to beat the heat, hang out with friends, or try something new to read, why not visit the public library near you and sign up!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Creating Our Own Tall Tale Characters

Second grade students are finishing the school year reading and watching tall tales, comparing and contrasting character traits and plot points. Students talked about Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and Pecos Bill, noting things like:
     •  the men were stronger, bigger, or faster than others
     •  they often had "sidekicks"
     •  they were in contests 
     •  they get credit for making things in nature.

With these things in mind, students then created their own tall tale characters using the handout below:
Access the handout HERE.
Once students had made decisions about their characters, they accessed our class FlipGrid to record their information. While students had used FlipGrid before, this was the first time they independently recorded themselves. You can see part of our grid below and click on the link in the caption for the full list of responses:
CLICK HERE to access the full grid.

Enjoy the students' responses--their creativity and voice definitely shines through!

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!