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

Friday, February 27, 2015

First Grade Biographers

The first graders have finished the biography unit we began back on January 7th! It's amazing how snow days and a forgotten early release day can really throw a project off course!

The students began the project by exploring the biographies in PebbleGo. They had to choose a person to study by the end of the period. 
The next two visits to the library had the students reading and listening to the biographies and taking notes and creating a draft of a picture about their person

Now, unexpectedly pause here for two weeks.

With faith in my students and a healthy capacity for constructive chaos, this next visit involved a quick refresher of Kid Pix.
The students created a picture about their person (always MUCH better than mine). Understandably, some of the students needed a refresher on the person they had chosen as well as help decoding notes. Two weeks is a long time when you are in first grade, but these amazing first graders created their pictures, named them with the naming conventions, and saved them to the desktops.  

Here are some example of what they created:

Okay, now take another week off for vacation. 

Here we have arrived at yesterday and my optimistic idea that I can get all the students' comments recorded in one forty-five minute class. I knew that some students needed a few minutes to finish their art, so it was going to be a bit tight. The lesson began with me showing them how to record their voices in Kid Pix. This involved me modeling: recording and then listening to and rerecording my comments; saving my comment; dragging it onto the image; and saving the image. 
Off the students went.  Here's where my heart grows big with pride and excitement. What began with many little hands in the air looking for help turned into a quiet buzz of activity and students helping each other. The first few to record and save their pictures went on to then help their classmates. 

How can projects like these be managed with just one teacher and the occasional (and helpful) aide? Put the students in leadership roles. 
I think the students would have had longer comments on their slides had we not had the breaks in learning, but maybe not, if you listen they really got to the essence of their person. Here are some of their projects.

The students are excited to share what they have learned and created with each other. I am excited too! 

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