iPad Photography Part 2

Last week half of Mrs. Hunter’s ELT class came to the library to work on iPad photography.  Read about it here.  Over the past 2 days, the other half of her class came for the same exploration.  Once again, students chose their favorite photo to email to me for our blog gallery.  Enjoy many of their Halloween inspired photos below and feel free to leave comments about their work.

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Storybook Celebration 2012

Today was our annual Storybook Parade now renamed as “Storybook Celebration”.  The name change comes because we have expanded what this day means for our school.  Rather than just have an assembly and a parade dressed as storybook characters, we used the entire day to celebrate the joy of reading.

Students began the day with guest readers arriving in their room to read  story.  We’ve never done guest readers as a part of storybook celebration, and it was a challenge to find people.  Many of my regular guest readers were unavailable, and I found myself struggling for readers.  The power of digital communication and social networking came through for me though.  Many thanks to Jen McDowell, David Ragsdale, Ellen Sabatini, and several other unnamed parents who willingly recruited readers for our classrooms.  We ended up having 2 readers in almost every room.  Here are a few of the reactions & reflections from some of our high school readers this morning:

My experience with reading to the Kindergarten students at Barrow Elementary today was very fulfilling. The kids interacted and seem to respond to me asking them question that related to the book. And it made me day to be asked out by a kindergarten student today. Seeing their faces light up while reading to one my personal favorite child hood stories was absolutely amazing.
– Jackie Gordon
 
The reading was fun. I think the kids were excited. A lot of them already knew the story and wanted to help me read it. The teachers were very nice, too. 
-Jada Haynes
Reading to younger kids has always been an uplifting experience for me.  Reading to the kindergartners at Barrow Elementary was no exception.  The kids engaged in the story, were respectful, and were very cute.  I had a great time and really enjoyed sharing books with elementary school students.
-Henry Siebentritt
 
I had such a great time reading with the kindergardeners! I went to Barrow for seven years and it brought back so many good memories. The class I read to was the cutest ever and it seemed like they were interested in what we were reading to them. I want to go back next time there is an opportunity like this! 
-Chloe Alexander
 
I really enjoyed reading at Barrow this morning. I was in a 2nd grade class and I read A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade. It was a fun and cute story and the students seemed to enjoy it. One girl was especially enthusiastic about the pirates. A parent read a story about a square pumpkin before me and I enjoyed listening to him. This was a great experience overall. I loved getting to share such a fun book with kids and getting to be back in an elementary school again. 
– Katie Googe
 
My experience at Barrow Elementary was fantastic and very nostalgic. I had a lot of fun reading to the second graders and seeing my old teachers. I hope my other classmates enjoyed this experience as much as I did.
-Michelle Legette
 
There is a kind of magic that pervades the classrooms, offices, and halls of an elementary school, Barrow in particular. Upon entering the school, it is impossible not to be enveloped in a kind of warmth. When we went to read, I was immediately drawn to the bright decorations adorning the school, crafted by students, and the enthusiastic, costume-clad staff ready for the wonderful Storybook Parade. Although in a different building, this day, this atmosphere, this school is exactly the way I remember– it is as joyful as it ever was. Seeing children at this age is so special, because there is so much excitement for everything–to read a book, to dress up, to walk in the halls. The love for learning in this school is nearly tangible. I loved getting to come back and enjoy stories together, focusing on appreciating each next sentence and page. Thanks for setting this up! 
–Dory MacMillan
 
I had a fantastic time reading to the children.They were good listeners and I was happy to be there. It brought back good memories of my time at Barrow Elementary. 
-Patrick Humphrey
 
It was nice to go back to elementary school and read to kids. I enjoyed their costumes and appreciated their interest in the book I read. 
-Nida Javaid
Today, volunteers were given the opportunity to read at Barrow Elementary. I read a book by Lemony Snicket, 13 Words, That taught the kids words like “despondent.” Reading to the costumed kids was an enjoyable –experience, and more people should do it.
– Alanna Pierce

Following the readers, we enjoyed our huge outdoor space at our temporary school by going out to the fitness loop (track).  Grade levels sat together along the inside perimeter of the loop.  Parents and guests sat on the outside of the loop.  Each grade level stood and paraded around the fitness loop while the whole school cheered them on.  I served as the announcer and read blurbs from each grade level and some individual classes.

After the parade, 5th graders enjoyed some hot chocolate while the rest of the school went back inside to begin reading activities for the rest of the day.  Grade levels individually planned how they would spend the day.  All of the specials teachers and the library offered literature-related activities for classes to sign up in the place of their specials.  For a 30-minute block, teachers had common planning time while their class was at a “special”.

In the library, I read election-related books such as Grace for President, Duck for President, My Teacher for President, Babymouse for President, and Otto for President.  After reading some of these (and looking at a few others), students used our 10 iPads and a Google form to vote for which storybook character should be president.  Once voting was complete, we analyzed the results on the smart board and saw who was taking the lead throughout the day.  The students and I used my phone to tweet the live election results via our media center twitter account and facebook page.

It was a busy day with many kinds of reading taking place across the day.  Now, we’re ready for a 3-day weekend!

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A Lunch Lady Connection

Remember this post about our virtual comic workshop with Jarrett Krosoczka?  After the workshop, Jarrett read my blog post about how many students created comics as a result of the workshop.  He and I chatted via twitter and email about the event and how inspiring it was to my students (and students around the world who watched).

One of the neat stories from within our school related to this workshop involves Marquavious, a 5th grader.  He is a huge Lunch Lady fan and has read all of the books multiple times.  When I announced that teachers could send students to the library to view the virtual comic workshop, his teacher immediately signed him up.  Marquavious took it a step further, though.  He found other 5th graders who were also interested in comics, graphic novels, and lunch lady and worked with his teacher to arrange for all of them to attend the workshop during lunch.  

Now that I know about just how much Jarrett Krosoczka (and lunch lady) mean to Marquavious, I often share with him tweets and blog posts that I read from Jarrett.

Another amazing thing happened as a result of my blog post and the work students did during the virtual workshop.  Jarrett Krosoczka mailed us some of the original artwork that he created during the workshop, and he autographed it to our school!

Today, that artwork arrived in the mail.  As soon as I opened it, I went to get Marquavious.  He was beaming when he saw the art.  I let him take a look, and of course, took his picture with the pieces.  I told him we would frame them and hang them up in the library.  He asked if he could help me when I was ready to hang them up, and I of course said yes.

Making connections and opportunities like this for individual students is a huge part of the participatory culture of our library.  I push myself to look closer for these kinds of opportunities.  They are hard to catch, but when I notice them, they result in powerful learning and contributions that truly matter to the members of our library.

iPad Photography

A group of 4th grade ELT students have been studying photography with their spectrum teacher, Mrs. Hunter.  They have also been working in the library to learn about digital photography and tips for taking great photos.  They collaborated on a Google doc to crowdsource a list of tips for taking digital photos, and they have explored many artistic ways to take photos around our school.

Over the past 2 days, these students have used our iPads to try even more ways of taking photographs.  Students explored the following apps:

  • Photobooth-Take a photo with many fun options.
  • Camera!-Take a photo and apply many options to edit it.
  • Pic Stitch-make collages and apply filters, stickers, and many other effects to each picture.
  • Panorama-take a panoramic photo and apply filters to it.
  • Pic Collage-Make a collage of photos from the camera roll, add text & stickers & backgrounds.
  • Tap FX-Take a photo or use the camera roll and apply effects & filters
  • PS Express-Use a picture from the camera roll and do basic to advanced photo editing.

The favorite by far was Tap FX because of the many explosions and fire effects you could add to a picture.

Once students tried several apps for taking photos and editing them, I asked them to select their favorite and email it to me.  They used their school Google accounts to attach their picture.  For many, email was still a new task, so this did slow us down a bit.  I loved seeing their creativity in taking photographs but also in using apps to apply filters and effects to their pictures.  I think their work has a lot of implications for future projects.  These students could become consultants that teach others how to use the various photography apps for projects.

Take a look at their favorites in this gallery:

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GPEE Bus Tour Across Georgia

 

Winning t-shirt design from Smiley Face Graphics

Remember this post about 4th graders traveling to the state department of education to model 21st century learning?  A part of this lesson was students designing a new t-shirt for our school.  This year, the designs were voted on and every student and teacher in the school received their very own shirt.  Today, we all wore them for a special event, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Bus Tour Across Georgia.  This trip brings together influential people from around the state and tours them through multiple Georgia schools across Georgia.  This year the theme was “Georgia’s Public Schools: Using Technology, Creating Pathways for Student Success.”  Our school was selected as a stop on the tour based on the innovative work that occurs in our library and classrooms.

Over 100 guests arrived at our school and were split into 14 groups.  These groups were escorted by student tour guides to 5 different stops in our school.  Bus riders saw incredible instruction and technology use in multiple classrooms.  They also stopped by our library where select students from K-5 were showcasing projects that had already been completed.

For example:

  • Kindergarten students showed their digital alphabet books and photo stories
  • 1st graders showed how to use PebbleGo.
  • 2nd graders showed their Regions of Georgia commercials on Youtube.
  • 3rd graders showed digital inquiry projects about rocks as well as a rock pathfinder
  • 4th graders showed how we used a gadget in a Google form to collect data about locations of various Native American locations
  • 5th graders showed digital inquiry projects using Animoto, Glogster, Prezi, Simplebooklet, and Power Point.

It was truly amazing to step back and watch students from every grade talk about what they had learned from their technology projects.  They taught many of our guests about tools that they had never heard of, and many of the educators within the group plan to go back to their school to begin using some of the Web 2.0 tools featured today.

I was once again reminded of the expertise that hides within our buildings and how we need to give students the space to play, explore, create, and share their knowledge both about content and technology.

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4th Grade Native American Research

I am so thankful for time to get together with other librarians to learn.  We recently had a professional learning day in our district where many of our school librarians/media specialists shared how they are using Google apps with students.  The amazing Tanya Hudson, librarian at Chase Street Elementary, shared how gadgets could be embedded in Google forms.  She had used this tool with a 1st grade Common Core lesson using the book How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.  Her sharing made my brain wheels start turning about how this gadget might be used with other projects.

Our 4th grade is currently studying Native Americans.  Their standards have them look at how location and environment affect the food, shelter, and clothing of groups of Native Americans in each region of the United States.  Once again, I used a transliteracy model to think about all of the ways that students could experience these 6 groups of Native Americans.  I pulled informational books, folk tales, and stories from each group and put them at tables.  In the computer lab, students used a pathfinder which included Youtube videos, databases, and informational sites on clusters of Native Americans but also group-specific information as well.  Students used a graphic organizer to gather their information.

Filling out the Google form

For the portion inspired by Tanya Hudson’s work, I created a Google form and asked 2 questions:  What is the Native American group you discovered? and What is their location?  I used 2 iPads as a station in the library where students could go and input thisinformation as they discovered locations in their research.  I also embedded a map gadget in the form so that each time a student filled out the form, it pinned a location on a Google map.  This map was displayed on the smart board.  As the map started to populate, students began exploring what other students had posted onto the map, and an interesting thing happened.  Students quickly discovered that students were entering incorrect information.  The coolness of the iPad was causing some students to skip their research or type what they “thought they knew” into the form.  The great thing was that other students started to call them out on this error.  Other students discovered that you had to be specific on the location.  Simply typing “southwest” did not necessarily put a pin in the right place of the map.  Students began looking for specific states or, even better, specific cities.  Our time simply wasn’t long enough, but a logical next step would be to have students begin to weed through the information in the form and decide what is valid and what is not.  The data can be easily erased and disappears from the Google map.  I already have one student who is interested in doing this by himself, but I think a whole class exploration would also be great because it lends itself to authentic conversation about why we do research in the first place.

Google map with pins

Once again in this experience I allowed students to freely move from place to place.  Most migrated and remained at computers, while others stayed at the books for the majority of their time.  Students who went to the books commented on how much information was in one place rather than having to look at multiple places on the computer.  It was interesting to hear this come from them rather than me telling them myself.  So many interesting conversations and teachable moments occurred  and I wished that our time could be extended.  This will be helpful in future planning to schedule multiple sessions or longer sessions with classes.  In all, I think students gathered enough information collectively that they can share their information back in the regular classroom.

Opening the Space: School Libraries as Places of Participatory Culture

On Tuesday October 9th, I presented a webinar for the American Association of School Librarians called Opening the Space:  School Libraries as Places of Participatory Culture.  This webinar was a part of the September/October issue of Knowledge Quest.  The slides from this webinar are posted below and the archive of the webinar will be available soon to those who registered.