"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mix It Up... Just like my students

This morning, I happened upon 
three second graders reading Mix It Up...

(apologies for the audio...
you can hear that there was a lot of great reading going on around these girls.
Also...I did go back and show them the red and yellow experience.)

...and Press Here

by the talented Herve Tullet.

It was is if these girls knew of my afternoon plans, for I was going to read Mix It Up with my first grade students. 

I did read it and they loved it. Mix It Up holds the same magical allure of it's predecessor, Press Here. To make today's experience extra special, we began by reading Press Here. I love watching the students watching the pages change as little fingers press, tap, and rub dots, while other little hands shake and tilt the book. Let me just say that listening to 24 students vigorously clapping as dots grow larger brings this experience to a satisfying end.

All I needed to do was pick up Mix It Up and they were ready to go! This reading experience was just as magical. Expectant faces and eager hands led the way. I read the second half of the book without student assistance in the mixing and smudging. The two classes of second graders were in awe as they watched colors change. (I managed to be pretty slick with the page turns on the open and close the book commands).

After reading the book, the students went off to Mix It Up using the program Kid Pix. Check out there creativity:


Friday, October 17, 2014

"Don't be mean or rude to people online, think before you type."

The Internet Safety project from the 3rd fifth grade classroom is finished! 
If you haven't seen them, here is classroom one and here is classroom twoThis class used the Tellagami App as a tool to express their knowledge.  Having watched the students working through the four different projects, I can see that each has its strengths. 
With this project, the students met as a group to write out a script for their Gami. 

This week, the students revisited those scripts, cleaned them up, and then recorded their Gami. 
I like that the Tellagami App requires the students to be concise. Each Gami can only be 30 seconds maximum. This particular project is a bit odd because I had the students work in groups with the one 30 second Gami. I was feeling pressed for time, but now that I have seen this project in action, I think they could each produce a Gami. I do like how some chose choral reading to make it not as odd that different voices are emanating from a single character. This does mean more editing for me, if I choose to drop them into one movie. *decisions, decisions*
Check out the 
Internet Safety/AUP videos:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Flashlight: an illuminating book

shines the light on the world at night. 
The magic of an evening in the woods 
is illuminated by a child's flashlight beam. 

The forest comes alive within that beam: colors pop out, shapes take form, hidden treasures emerge. Even the moon gets involved in the act - throwing light on some evening bloomers. What is not illuminated waits to be revealed. Readers are able to peer into the darker recesses of the woods to discover hidden animals and marvel at the textures and shapes in the nighttime forest. 
Flashlight is a book that begs to be explored because on each reading of the pictures new details emerge, such as noticing that all the animals that the young child has wakened are now following along in the shadows. The plants are delicate and beautiful when stripped of their colors and shown in black and white. The trees are a celebration of texture and shape, each asking to be explored. The cut outs are like doorways into other worlds.
This quiet but stunning book can easily stand on its own, but as a teacher, I want to share it with as many students as I can. Here's what I am thinking, the students have a writing unit on perspective. I think this book would be a concrete way to talk about perspective and help the students understand the concept. I am then thinking that I can create a writing prompt where the students can focus in a flashlight beam to show the different perspectives. I'll share this when I create it. I might possibly read the book, then read a Goldilocks or Three Little Pigs or one of their own stories and write from a different perspective. I am also thinking that this activity can be paired with The Dark, written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by John Klassen.

~Other Resources~

Here is a link to Book trailers created by my 5th graders last year, including one for Inside Outside.

You can read about Flashlight on Goodreads.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lizi Boyd's previous book, Inside OutsideIt is one of those books that has to be revisited again and again. The students loved the detailed drawings and cut outs. During our first pass read aloud, the students asked to turn back a page and turn forward again and again as they watched the objects that the cut outs revealed.

Stay safe online by watching these videos

This is the Internet Safety and AUP project from the second fifth grade classroom. This classroom created Animoto videos (skip to the end to view the videos). To see how this lesson transpired and read the background, please visit this post: If you follow these rules you will be happy and safe.

The students had used Animoto for our biography project last year, I relied on that knowledge and a quick modeling of using the App to get them going.  As with all projects, the student spent time brainstorming what they would share and how they would share it. I had shown and talked about taking a picture with the iPad and including that in the video, as well as browsing the stock photos in Animoto. What transpired was jaw-dropping, inspiring, and reaffirming. 

As I walked around the library, I heard students sharing ideas, but even better brainstorming ways to to communicate those ideas, and when they couldn't find what they needed they created it. Students logged into their Google Apps accounts and opened Google Draw to create a sad face emoticon. Students launched our library Webpage to demonstrate how to get to resources. Students used the Google Apps login to model not sharing passwords. Students set up scenarios to photograph. I am often torn as to how much to model, how much to scaffold, and how much to define a project. This experience was incredibly reaffirming. The students didn't need me to do a lot of that, their ideas were much more creative. Any troubleshooting was easily done on a small group basis.

When the students came today, they cleaned up and finished their videos. 

I want them to introduce and explain what they think it successful about their videos, so they also worked out how they would present their movie, ensuring that each member had a speaking part. They will be presenting the videos to each other next Wednesday. At this time, they will evaluate their experience and their product.  I want to talk with them about music choices and speed of slide changes, but other than that, I am feeling like they understand how to communicate their messages.

They'll be presenting to their buddy class next Thursday. I also plan to use these with 3rd graders and then bookmark them on our browser for easy review!

"If you follow these rules you will be happy and safe!"

As I approached the fifth grade Internet Safety lessons, I thought, "How can I not repeat the amazing experience I had with my 5th grade students last year?"  (You can read about the lessons and experience here: Students as Teachers.)

I thought that, but I couldn't just repeat the previous year's lessons and not push myself and my students, SO , each fifth grade classroom engaged in a different project that allowed them to share what they know about Internet Safety(slightly daunting). My hope is to compare and contrast the results and determine the best method for next year!

All four classrooms started the same way: the previous week, we watched the AUP video I created and had small group and whole group discussions. When the students arrived for this lesson, we reviewed the AUP. I then explained that instead of me telling them about Internet Safety, I wanted them to tell not only me, but each other, and their buddy classes (younger students) about Internet Safety. .

The class project that I am sharing today was the one that mirrored last year's. The students in this class made posters. 

To do this, they worked with a brainstorming sheet I created, sketched out their design, and set to work. 

This week, the students presented their posters to each other. They worked hard practicing public speaking skills and modeling being an engaged audience. I forgot to give them a few minutes to set up their presentations, so they also had to practice extemporaneous public speaking! (Sometimes 30 minute lesson periods make me move too fast). Despite this shortcoming on my part, they did a great job. 

After presenting to each other, they worked in their groups to put their presentation into first-grader-friendly language.  They will be heading down to their buddy classes early next week. I will be using the fifth grade projects are visible reminders around our school and in our library.