The 2018 Barrow Peace Prize Goes To…

Our 2nd graders have been working on our annual Barrow Peace Prize project since January, and for the past few weeks you have been voting on which person from history will win the award.

On February 28, we all gathered in the library for the big announcement.  Prior to this day, students researched a civil rights leader, wrote a persuasive piece of writing, created artwork to accompany their writing, and recorded themselves in Flipgrid. We asked people around the world to view and vote on which civil rights leader should win.

People in 160 different locations around the world cast their votes.

During the Barrow Peace Prize Ceremony, we connected with Flipgrid via Skype. Brad Hosack set the stage for our ceremony by reminding us of the history of this project that has gone on for many years since Flipgrid was an emerging edtech tool.

Then, we launched into student recognitions. Each teacher selected 3 students to recognize for Prolific Persuader, Outstanding Opener, and Dynamic Designer.

A member of the Flipgrid team announced the winners in each category and I handed out certificates to rounds of applause.

Awards are all ready for tomorrow’s Peace Prize announcement. #studentvoice

A post shared by Barrow Media Center (@barrowmediacenter) on

Next, we recognized our Barrow Peace Prize designers. A few years ago, a student said that we needed an actual prize for the peace prize. Since then, a group of students designs the peace prize using Tinkercad and we 3D print it.  Every student who researches the winning civil rights leader receives a medal.

Finally, it was the moment we had been waiting for. Nate from Flipgrid announced the 2018 Barrow Peace Prize winner………………Martin Luther King Jr. The votes were super close and this was the first year that MLK was one of our finalists for the peace prize.¬† Every student who researched him received their peace prize medal and we also gave a medal to each classroom to share with all students in 2nd grade.

This ceremony really is a celebration of the collective work of 2nd grade. Yes, several students hear their names called, but we all celebrate knowing that our work has reached well beyond the walls of our school to inspire others.

Thank you to every person who watched the student videos, voted, and shared this project. It means the world to the students to know that their videos have been seen.

 

We Need Your Votes for the 2017 Barrow Peace Prize!

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It is time once again for the annual voting on the Barrow Peace Prize.  This award was established 3 years ago by our 2nd grade.  Each year students select up to 6 nominees from history.

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We hold a Google Hangout with the entire 2nd grade to decide what criteria someone must exemplify in order to win the prize.  This year, we read the book Peace is an Offering by Annettee LeBox before brainstorming our list on a Google doc.

Each student in 2nd grade selects one of the nominees to research.

Students research these people using PebbleGo, Britannica School, Destiny Quest web resources, and books.

Using Google Classroom and a Google doc graphic organizer, students gather facts about their person and use those facts to write a persuasive essay during writer’s workshop.

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In art, students create a watercolor image to represent their person.

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Back in the library, students use Flipgrid to record persuasive essays and showcase their art.

Now those videos are ready for you to view.  We need you to view, vote, and share!

Instructions:

  • Visit this Smore
  • View videos for each of the nominees. ¬†This can be done as a class, individually, and can be shared with anyone you know.
  • Feel free to click the heart on any video to “like” it because the kids love that!
  • To vote on the Peace Prize, use the Google form here or on the Smore to select one of the 6 people who you were convinced deserves the prize

Voting will end on February 24th where we will announce the 2017 Barrow Peace Prize in a Skype with Flipgrid.  Two 2nd grade students designed a 3D peace prize that was printed on our 3D printer and every student who researched the winner will receive one of the medals along with each 2nd grade classroom.

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Thank you for participating in our project, and we can’t wait to see who you pick!

American Symbol Research in Kindergarten

Students in 2 Kindergarten classes have been hard at work researching American symbols as part of their social studies standards. Doing research projects with the youngest learners in our school doesn’t look like it does in the upper grades. We think about what some of the biggest barriers might be for our young creators and put pieces in places to support students in getting over those barriers.

First, students chose one of four American symbols to research: American flag, statue of liberty, liberty bell, and bald eagle.  In the library, we introduced students to a graphic organizer for collecting 3 facts about their chosen symbol. I learned from another Kindergarten teacher a few years ago during research to set an expectation that allows all students to succeed or exceed during the first research session. We asked students to have a goal of writing at least one fact during the first work session, but if they still had time, they should keep going.

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Students used Capstone’s PebbleGo for their research. We love this database for many reasons but mostly because it breaks information down into manageable pieces and reads the text in a human voice for students. I modeled for students how to listen to a portion of the text and then think about what they had learned by listening. Then, we talked about what we would write on our organizer. This modeling was done with a different American symbol than the one students were researching.

At tables, I setup computers for students to use in pairs. We chose pairs because it gave students one more source of support as they worked. Also at each table, we tried to place an adult for support. The teacher, classroom paraprofessional, and me all worked at tables. If a parent volunteer or student teacher was available, they stayed at the 4th table. Otherwise, the adults took turns checking between tables.  We found that we had to continue modeling for students how to listen, ponder, and then write rather than just copying a sentence off the screen. However, some students still chose a sentence to copy.  All students left with at least one fact but many left with 3 or more.

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After this initial work session, students continued their research in centers in the classroom.  Then, they returned to the library for another work session in small groups. Each group came for 15-20 minutes. We did a short tinkering session with Chatterpix Kids to see how you can take a picture of something, draw a mouth on it, and then record that picture talking. Ahead of time, I chose creative commons images of the symbols for kids to use for their pictures. Rather than having every student create their own Chatterpix, each group created one Chatterpix video with the iPads. Each student chose one fact from their research to read.

Before recording, students chose their fact. We decided the order students would read and practiced a few times. Students helped take the picture of the symbol and draw the mouth. Then, we pressed record and passed the iPad to record. If we needed to record a few times, we did. Then, we uploaded our videos to Youtube and created a playlist to share with the class, families, and you.  I hope you will take a moment to listen to their work.

I love building foundations of research in our early grades and seeing where these students end up by the time they are in 5th grade. We have a lot of work to do, but we celebrate the work of these Kindergarten students and what they have created.

Ms. Lauren’s American Symbols:

Ms. Boyle’s American Symbols:

Beginning the Barrow Peace Prize: A Flipgrid Project

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Each year, our 2nd grade takes on a big research project that has evolved into a project called the Barrow Peace Prize. Students research one of six people from black history, write a persuasive piece convincing people to vote for their person to win, and record their writing using Flipgrid. These videos are shared with the world along with a Google forms voting ballot. We celebrate the winner with the Flipgrid team via Skype.

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This year’s project is off to a great start, and I’m amazed by what these 2nd graders are doing with their technology, especially since they aren’t 1:1 in their classes. ¬†With fewer devices to practice on, it takes these students a bit longer to navigate tools on the computer.

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To start, each student chose one of six people: Langston Hughes, Wilma Rudolph, Bessie Coleman, Jesse Owens, Charles Drew, and Ruby Bridges. Using Google Classroom, each teacher shared a Google doc graphic organizer with students. In the library, students brought class computers and I provided additional computers so each student had one. We did a review of how to login to Google and navigate to Classroom to get the doc. I also showed students how to click between tabs in Chrome, how to copy and paste facts, and where to look for information.

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Students started in 2 resources: PebbleGo and Encyclopedia Britannica. I love these sites because they have great information and both will read the content to students who need that extra support. I debated about teaching students how to copy and paste because I don’t want to set students up for just copying. However, we wanted students to have access to a collection of the best facts when they prepared to do their writing without having to weed through all of the articles. The writing workshop time would be the time to focus on taking those copied facts and put them into students’ own words.

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We did 3 hour-long sessions of research. Each session we saw students get more proficient at navigating the technology, and even in the frustration we faced, I reminded myself and the teachers to step back and really look at what 7-year olds were doing. Students were logging into email, accessing Google Classroom, finding a Google doc, visiting multiple resources, using ctrl C and ctrl V, keeping track of where facts came from, and leaning to use the research tool in a Google Doc. This list could definitely be added to because there was a lot more.

Once facts were gathered, teachers began writing workshops in their classrooms for students to start writing scripts for their videos. Prior to this, we held a Google Hangout where all classes tuned in from classrooms. The purpose of this was to establish a list of character traits that someone who is deserving of the Barrow Peace Prize might represent. We read about Alfred Nobel and looked at Malala and why she represented peace. Then, classes added to a Google Doc to create a list of these character traits. This list was displayed during writing times for all students to consider in their writing.

Now, students are continuing to fine tune their writing before recording takes place. ¬†We can’t wait to share the videos with our school, families, and classrooms around the world. ¬†Be on the lookout for a post in the next couple of weeks inviting you to view and vote for the 2016 Barrow Peace Prize.

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Student Researchers: Interviews Using Google Hangouts

The tools that we have in today’s libraries and classrooms are just amazing. ¬†Gone are the days where you have to look for an expert in the local community that can leave his or her job long enough to come to a school to speak to a whole class or an individual. ¬†While that is certainly possible, the collaborative tools we have online make the entire world our local community.

Today, a 4th grader came to the library to hold an interview with Joey Shea at Southface Energy in Atlanta.  Danny is doing an inquiry project for his 4th grade class.  He recently read a book about energy that made him very curious about how energy can disappear and what we might need to do in the future in order to conserve energy or find new ways of producing energy.  His teachers found Mr. Shea and began an email dialogue with him to setup a time to Skype or Google Hangout with Danny.  Danny worked on a list of questions, and I setup the technology side of things.  I communicated with Mr. Shea in a few emails to determine that we would use a Google Hangout.  I setup a Hangout on Air so that Danny could record the interview to refer back to in his researcher.

For 30 minutes, Danny setup in my office and talked with Joey Shea. ¬†It was awesome. ¬†Danny was the leader through the whole interview, and Mr. Shea even got a chance to ask him some questions about our school and his project. ¬†I love that when students interview someone through Skype, Google Hangout, or Facetime that it doesn’t intrude very much on that person’s schedule. ¬†I also love that students see the person in their own setting and often get to see parts of a career that couldn’t be carried into a school.

I don’t think that this happens often enough. ¬†I hope that we will continue to find opportunities to connect young learners with experts in the world. ¬†It empowers them to realize that they have a voice in seeking answers to their questions and it connects adults with the young learners of today to remind them of the upcoming generations and their curiosities.

Thank you to all of the teachers who help make these experiences happen and thank you to people like Joey Shea for taking time to connect.

Kindergarten Researchers in Action

Planet Research (4)Ms. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten class is hard at work again. ¬†They were so excited by what they discovered using the Storykit app, that they decided to continue their work by making their own nonfiction book. ¬†Their last adventure was about creating their own versions of folktales.

You can read and listen to their folktales online:

Ms. Kelly’s class has been very curious about space, so they decided as a class that they would work on creating informational books about the planets and solar system. ¬†Ms. Kelly put the students into groups of 2-3 and each group chose a planet or part of the solar system to research.

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In the library, I pulled our books about space as well as checked out some books from the public library.  I also setup 2 computer areas.  One area was focused on PebbleGo and the other area focused on TrueFlix.  Even though the content of TrueFlix is written for older students, I felt like the read aloud function would support Kindergarten researchers.

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In class, students filled out a KWL chart to bring to the library. ¬†When they came to the library with their questions, Ms. Kelly and I did a quick intro to the 3 areas available to them. ¬†I loved how Ms. Kelly set a realistic goal for students in this big venture. ¬†She said, “I want you to have at least one fact written down before you leave today”. ¬†Of course, most groups wrote more than 1 fact, but every group left the library with a successful experience of meeting their expected goal. ¬†To support students in their research, Ms. Kelly, a parent volunteer, and I rotated among the groups to help students with navigating the information in front of them. ¬†Students continued this research for the next week in class.

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Next, the students came back to the library to work on prep for their book production.  Their KWL charts were filled with facts that they had discovered.  Ms. Kelly even shared that some groups had conflicting information about the order of the planets, so they had done some fact checking as a class before they came.  During this 2nd library session, we started in the floor again to establish our expectations for the day.  Every group had small squares of white paper, a long sheet of lined paper with room for illustrations, and a pencil.

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The task was to sort through the KWL chart and identify the facts that would go into the finished book.  One fact was written onto each piece of white paper.  The whole group worked on this part.  Ms. Kelly, the paraprofessional, and I circulated among the groups to assist with reading the KWL charts, correcting spelling, and searching for additional facts if needed.

Once 4-5 facts were identified, students sequenced the facts into an order that made sense.  Again, the adults helped students read aloud the facts that they identified and facilitated sorting the facts into different orders until a final order was chosen.  Then, the adults taped the papers to the larger lined paper.

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If students had time, they thought about what they could use in the school to photograph for each fact on the sheet.  They made notes or drew a picture to remind themselves what they talked about.  Ms. Kelly ad I encouraged students to stretch their brains to think about what they could creatively use to take a picture.  One group had a fact about the crust of their planet.  They decided they would take a picture of a piece of pizza in the cafeteria and draw an arrow to the crust.

Students will continue this process in class throughout this week. ¬†Next week, they are checking out iPads to photograph things around the school as well as type their text into Storykit and publish their own ebooks. ¬†I can’t wait to see how their work turns out. ¬†I will most likely push into their class at some point next week to help, or they may schedule a time to come work with me again in the library as they finish their books.

Projects like this show me that it is completely possible for our youngest students to create amazing work that is based in real facts. ¬†They can explore technology that no other class has attempted. ¬†Some of the key factors in a successful project are plenty of time, realistic expectations, adult and peer support, and lots of encouragement. ¬†I love how Ms. Kelly doesn’t rush a project of this size. ¬†She understands that for quality work to be produced, we must give students the space, the support, and the time to make the work happen.

Celebrating Our Genius with a 4-State Geniuscon Google Hangout

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Since January, Mrs. Ramseyer’s 2nd graders have been working in the library and in their classroom on Geniuscon projects. ¬†They have explored the question: “If I could change one thing about my school, what would it be?”

We started our project with brainstorming and some inspiration from Peter Reynolds.

Then, we worked on selecting topics and developing questions.

We partnered with Gretchen Thomas’s EDIT2000 students at UGA to work on researching our topics.

We continued working with our UGA partners to finish research and begin Google presentations on our topics.

Now we’ve arrived at the end of the year with only 4 days of school left. ¬†Students are still finishing up their presentations and thinking about their questions. ¬†Mrs. Ramseyer and I are working to schedule meetings with students and adults in the school who can create change based on their topics. ¬†For example, one student wants more enrichment clusters at our school so he will meet with Ms. Maher, the enrichment cluster coordinator. ¬†One student wants devices to go home and another wants more use of the 3D printer, so they will meet with me in the library.

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We also wanted students to have a chance to share their genius ideas and projects with a larger audience. ¬†Sherry Gick and Matthew Winner have established an Edmodo group for Geniuscon. ¬†This is from Sherry & Matthew’s blog post:

Join the Edmodo group by logging into www.edmodo.com, clicking on ‚Äú+‚ÄĚ symbol next to GROUPS, selecting JOIN, and typing in the code ru9b7d. This will make you a member of our Edmodo GeniusCon group, which is a private community. The advantage of keeping this community private is that we can also keep the work and identities of our participating students private. However, we have the option of also sharing posts publically, allowing the whole world to see what your students have created. These public posts are viewable through our GeniusCon homepage under the PROJECTS tab.

I posted some possibilities for when our 2nd graders would be able to connect.  Then, I looked at the members of the Edmodo group and sent some messages on Twitter.  Shawna Ford in Weatherford Texas had a group of students ready to listen to our 2nd graders.  We started planning a connection and Sherry and Matthew jumped on board with their students too.

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We decided to hold a Google Hangout On Air so that others could watch our students share their genius live, but we could also archive the event for people who couldn’t attend. ¬†My 2nd graders and Sherry’s 8th graders had topics and projects to share.

Our format looked something like this:

  • Introductions from Georgia, Texas, Indiana, and Maryland
  • Matthew Winner set the stage for what Geniuscon is all about since 2 of the classes in the hangout had not participated in the project yet.
  • I gave an introduction to what my students, and then one of my second graders kicked off the event. ¬†Each of my students shared their topic, what their solutions were, and how they felt about what they found out.
  • My students alternated with Sherry’s students sharing.
  • Then, we closed by letting each school give some closing thoughts.

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First, I was amazed by how professional all of the students were in their presentations whether they were in 2nd grade or 8th grade. ¬†I was inspired by the variety of topics and how some of the 2nd graders had some of the same topics as the 8th graders. ¬†It made me wonder about next time and the potential for collaborating between schools on the same topic. ¬†I also loved the different approaches that students took to completing their projects. ¬†Sherry’s students worked in groups while Matthew’s students were tackling one big topic together: bullying.

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It was also fun to know that our students’ voices were being heard by a global audience. ¬†Our librarian friend, Randie Groden, in MA watching live.

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We also had some encouragement from our friends at Capstone Press.

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Uniting our voices in 4 different states was powerful.  Thinking about the power of students stepping up and sharing their genius in multiple states made me proud to be an educator.

My students closed our time with some reflection on our project. ¬†We talked about what we loved about the project. ¬†I loved that one student brought up the idea that even if our projects didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to, we had the chance to learn about so many kinds of technology like Google forms and Google presentation and working together. ¬†There were many meaningful pieces of this project, and I’m grateful to Sherry Gick and Matthew Winner for encouraging us all to help our students share their genius.