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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Historical Fiction Focus

With so many great books released in the last year, how about a look at a few that are historical fiction, like the Newbury Honor book Wolf Hollow? Readers will find themselves pulled into the story of Annabelle, Betty, and Toby; can we trust what we believe we've seen, and do we really know the people in our lives?


Other great historical fiction promoted throughout the year in the library include some newer titles along with some old favorites:

If you haven't read many historical fiction titles--or if you're eager to read some more--we're happy to help you with that next book to read!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Pinterest Book Recommendation Board

Occasionally during the year we take the time to highlight new books or recommend old favorites using Pinterest. Both book trailers and cover images of K - 5 books are there if you're looking for something to read! Want to take a look? You can access the board by clicking in the caption below.
CLICK HERE to access the Pinterest board.
Want to see something added that you think others would like to read onto the board? Let Mrs. Ellis know, and maybe you'll see it there!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Using our AEA Databases

We are so fortunate to have access to a wide variety of databases from our area AEA, Heartland. Throughout the year, teachers and students alike use them for everything from pleasure reading to research to project creation support. Often, these databases become part of our library lessons, too.
Of course, BookFLIX and PebbleGO are wonderful listen-to-reading tools for our younger students, but both are quick research resources for all of our students. Throughout the year, the nonfiction materials in BookFLIX and the many available titles in PebbleGO support a number of students' projects. 

Also supporting students' research needs were Britannica Online, MackinVia, and TrueFLIX. You can read about fourth and fifth grade students' projects and their use of databases HERE
3rd graders use Britannica Online to gather information for a project.
A specific resource that we rely on for supporting videos is Learn360. We've watched everything from Franklin Loses a Book during our look at library expectations and book care with our K-2 students to The Curse of the Hope Diamond as fifth graders gained some background knowledge before the Iowa Children's Choice read aloud of Loot by Jude Watson. (You can read about the pre-reading activity HERE.)
4th graders gain background knowledge on Dash, an Iowa Children's Choice Award from 2016-2017.
As databases are updated and revised, we look forward to their continued use! Many projects await!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Destiny Quest

Using Destiny Quest is a big part of our library time with students. During check out at each session in the library, students can access Destiny Quest, log in, and do any number of things there.

Most often, students respond to friend requests and send other request themselves, sometimes making book recommendations when they do so. Students also add books to their virtual bookshelves, adding not only books they've read themselves, but also books they've enjoyed as read alouds. 

Part of our library curriculum includes writing book reviews, and Destiny Quest--along with our online catalog--offer students an authentic audience for their writing. We take several library sessions to draft and revise our reviews, and slowly our online catalog has become a place where students can read peers' reviews and thoughts about books in the collection.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Featuring New Books!

Many new books will greet students when they return in August. Want a sneek peek at a few of our favorites?


Popular author Gordon Korman's new book is realistic fiction and features Chase, who remembers nothing after falling from his roof. As he begins his school year, Chase comes to understand that the person he was before the fall isn't anything like the person he is now. Will the influence of his friends sway him to return to his juvenile delinquent/bullying ways? Or will he take the opportunity to restart and become a different person?

For fans of author Sharon Creech, she has a new realistic fiction book titled Moo that follows Reena and Luke as they try to settle into a new life in Maine.

You can see the trailer below:

The last featured title is also realistic fiction. The Courage Test by James Preller tells the story of Will and his father as they set out to follow parts of the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Like Lewis and Clark, Will and his father meet a native American (who just happens to be his father's friend from college) and a girl who's been away from her family and is trying to reunite with them (like Sacagawea). Along the way readers see a new relationship develop between Will and his dad--a dad who has begun a new life after divorcing from Will's mom. As the two make their way to the Pacific Ocean, Will discovers he has his own challenges to face, just like Lewis and Clark.

Do one of these realistic fiction titles seem like a book you'd like to read this fall? Be sure to ask about them when school starts!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: QR Codes in the Library

One of the tools we like to use in the library during lessons is QR codes. They're such a handy, easy, and convenient way for students to access information! Our Dallas Center Elementary students in Grades 3 - 5 started the year using QR codes in a scavenger hunt that provided beginning-of-the-year information for them. All around the library, students found and scanned QR codes to learn more.


Throughout the year, students use QR codes to access research-related websites, like PebbleGO, and near the end of the year, 1st graders used them to access book trailers. 
CLICK HERE to access the blog post for this activity.
Stay tuned--students will likely use QR codes again in the coming school year!

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.