Media Center Persuasive Writing Contest 2012

The Barrow Media Center is sponsoring our very first persuasive writing contest.   The contest starts now through February 10th.  All entries are due by 3PM on February 10th.  Students in any grade at Barrow may enter.  This contest supports the Georgia Performance Writing Standards that grades 1-5 are working on during 3rd quarter and it is an extension of our Picture Book Month celebration from November.  Students are asked about the following topic:  Picture books….important for today’s kids or not?  Essays must be 500 words or less and preferably typed.  Students can use any resources as inspiration, but we recommend the picture book month website and the New York Times article, Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Today’s Kids.    Consider using persuasive writing techniques such as big names, playing into emotions, building trust, using facts and numbers, and backing up your stance with reputable research.  We will award certificates to the top essays in Prek-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-5th.  The top essays will also be recorded for our blog and morning broadcast.  The media center will also hold writing workshops for whole classes and small groups on persuasive writing and conference with students on their writing prior to entering the contest.  We can’t wait to see what students come up with.


Great Early Elementary Reads book list – Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)

Great Early Elementary Reads book list – Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).


The ALSC 2011-2012 School-Age Programs and Services Committee recently announced the updating of the Great Early Elementary Reads book list. The committee recommends these titles for children who are just learning to read and beginning to read on their own. The books included were published between 2009 and 2011

Football Double Threat: An ebook triple review

Three 5th grade boys just finished a book study with me in the library using our e-readers.  The boys were interested in reading something football-related, so we looked at several options before deciding on Matt Christopher’s Football Double Threat.  Three days each week, the boys came to the library, read aloud at a table, and discussed the book.  They also used the e-readers to highlight text and to look up words that they didn’t understand.  At the end, the boys each wrote a review and used the iPads to record their reviews.  Here they are for your enjoyment:


5th grade Student Math Tutorials

Three students filming their tutorials

Ms. Cross’ 5th grade ELT class has been doing some amazing work demonstrating various aspects of their math standards.  Each student took a different standard and found ways of demonstrating that standard through drawings, manipulatives, and explanation.  She was so impressed by their work that she thought it would be helpful for the students to create tutorials on their math components that could be used as mini-lessons or review sessions throughout the year in class.  The tutorials could even be used by other classes.

In planning for this, we thought that students should have options for how they might document their process in solving various math problems.  One option was using Glogster to create a review poster.  Students would have written components, video or audio components, and possibly images of their work.  Another option was to use the iPad to film a tutorial using all the pieces that had been created during the project.

Clare sets up her recording booth on a media center table

So far, one student has chosen Glogster & iPad and 5 students have chosen the iPad.  These 6 students explored their options on these tools and did some initial experimenting to see how each tool worked best.  Then, students spread out around the media center and used their tool to begin creating.  I conferenced with each one to talk about what was working, what they had questions about, and what they might consider trying.  On their own, students met with one another to show their work in progress and give one another feedback.

After getting all the pieces in place for creating their final product, the six students worked one final time in the media center to create their videos on the iPads.  Their videos were uploaded to dropbox on the iPad, downloaded into My Videos under their accounts, and then put into their teacher’s network dropbox.  I took the videos and also uploaded them to our media center YouTube page.  Much of my time during these final steps was spent troubleshooting and also showing a few of the students how to do the many steps to get the videos to where they needed to be.  After that, these students helped the other students.  I love how quickly students figure things out and how willing they are to teach and support one another!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

International Dot Day (Extreme September 15-ish)

Students using Drawcast to make dots on the iPad

I thoroughly enjoy collaborating with preK.  They have a very organic planning process that comes from the things that the students get energized about or the things that come up naturally in their classrooms.  Last week, a preK teacher asked me if I would read The Dot by Peter Reynolds to her class.  Her class had been examining what it means to be an artist and she is pulling in multiple ways of discussing the topic through activities and literature.

As soon as she mentioned The Dot, I remember International Dot Day on September 15th and how sad I was that I missed the celebration this year at our school (I have big plans for next year!).  So…I thought, why not just celebrate now instead of waiting.  I examined the Dot day resources online and discovered the Dot Project  using iPads to create dots.  I took this idea and looked for a free app rather than the drawing app that the students in the Dot Project used.

In the lesson, we read the book and discussed what it means to be an artist.  Following the lesson, each student took a turn to make a dot using the app Drawcast.  I gave very little instruction on Drawcast so that students could discover things for themselves.  I only showed them how to change their colors and brush sizes.  Students got busy making their dots, and I circulated and gave them tips when they needed to erase or when they couldn’t figure out how something worked.  Each finished dot was saved on the iPad and then uploaded to Dropbox.  On my own computer, I pullled the images from Dropbox and imported them into Animoto to make a video of all of the dots.

This same process repeated for 2 other classes and the final video was shown on our morning broadcast.

This trial run gave me some experience with dots on the iPad for next September’s Dot Day and at the same time gave students an opportunity to use a new technology while expressing their artistic selves to an authentic audience.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Math Buddies Project

Today I had a wonderful time collaborating with Mrs. Mullins, Mrs. Maher, and their 5th grade/1st grade buddy partners.  The first grade teachers has noted that the 1st graders are being challenged by math word problems, particularly those that they write themselves.  Most of the students get the basic information of the problem down, but they forget to ask a question at the end and are often unsure of how to answer the problem.  The 5th grade buddies have been supporting the 1st grade students in this challenge.

Today, all of the buddies came to the library.  We began on the carpet where I read aloud the book Elevator Magic by Stuart J. Murphy.  When each subtraction scenario appeared in the story, I paused and the 5th grade buddies worked with the 1st grade buddies to figure out the problem.  We pinpointed the information that was provided, identified the question that was being asked, and vocalized our strategies for getting the answer.

Next, Mrs. Mullins demonstrated some math word problems on the smart board using the names of the first grade buddies.  Once again 5th graders and 1st graders worked together to find a solution.

Finally, buddies went to tables to craft their own word problems using any numbers and objects they wanted.  They were asked to jazz up their word problems as much as they wanted.

Mrs. Mullins, Mrs. Maher, and I all visited with buddies as they worked and listened to the many strategies that they were using.  They crafted a whole variety of problems that ranged from single digit problems to problems dealing with thousands.  Now, Mrs. Mullins plans to type up these problems and share them with the 1st grade teachers for use in class.

The buddies will return to the media center in January for another math experience with fractions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.