The 2016 Barrow Peace Prize is Ready for Your Votes!

flipgrid peace prize recording (29)

Our Barrow 2nd graders have been hard at work researching 6 people from history to nominate for the Barrow Peace Prize. As part of this process, the students developed a list of criteria for what character traits should be represented by the winner of the peace prize. They wrote persuasive essays and created pieces of art work with Ms. Foretich, our art teacher.  You can read more about what the students have done in the post, Beginning the Barrow Peace Prize.

flipgrid peace prize recording (15) flipgrid peace prize recording (8) flipgrid peace prize recording (2)

This week, students have been coming in to the library in groups of 4 for 15 minutes to record their persuasive essays. When they come, I give them a quick overview of Flipgrid and remind them that there work will be seen by lots of people. Then, they split up around the library and we make sure that the space is relatively quiet for recording. I setup a question for each person from history so that all of the Ruby Bridges videos are together, all the Langston Hughes videos, etc. During the process, students take a picture of their artwork for the Flipgrid and then record themselves reading. Some chose to show their artwork while recording, and other chose to have their face on the video.

flipgrid peace prize recording (16) flipgrid peace prize recording (7) flipgrid peace prize recording (4)

One of the things I love the most about Flipgrid is that the videos are instantly uploaded in one central place. I don’t have to spend hours uploading and naming 100 videos after students have recorded.

Now that the videos are recorded, we need you and everyone you know to watch the videos and help us decide which person from history should be the 2016 Barrow Peace Prize winner.  I’ve created a Smore page to pull everything together.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Visit https://www.smore.com/dfmsd-2016-barrow-peace-prize 
  • Click on the link to each grid an watch as many videos as you can.
  • Click the heart icon on any video that you “like”.
  • At the bottom of the Smore, you will find a link to the Google form to vote on the person you think should win.  Or…you can click here.
  • Finally, please share our project with your students and networks so that we can have a record-breaking number of votes this year!

On February 18th, we have big plans for how we will announce the winner.  We can’t reveal exactly what is going to happen just yet, but we promise it’s big!  Happy voting!

 

Connecting Voices through Robotics: An EdCamp Global Event

This year, our library is fortunate to have a robotics loan from Birdbrain Technologies. We have 12 Finch robots that we are using throughout the year for coding experiences for our students. Currently, a group of 2nd-5th graders are meeting every Friday for one hour to learn to code these robots and create projects with them.

Donna MacDonald (Vermont) and Jenny Lussier (Connecticut) are two wonderful friends who inspire me through my professional learning network, and they also have these robots on loan.  Jenny and Donna wrote their robotics loan application with plans to collaborate with one another, and they have invited my students to jump in to their learning. We recently started talking on Twitter about how our kids could collaborate both synchronously and asynchronously, and we were looped in to a conversation about EdCamp Global.

I wish I had clued in to EdCamp Global sooner because it was an amazing opportunity.  Across 24 hours over 51 countries and more than 800 classrooms empowered students’ and teachers’ voices in multiple online formats. Not only did voices from around the globe come together but there was also a true global audience to watch the work happen. I definitely want to do more with this the next time around.

Thanks to Donna and Jenny’s enthusiastic energy, we pulled together a session on the EdCamp Global schedule to allow our students to share.  Jenny got the application in, setup the Google Hangout, and got everything up and running for us. Donna created a Google doc of resources for the session and started advertising our session on social media.

On the morning of the hangout, I was able to pull a couple of my Friday students from their classrooms to join the hangout and Jenny & Donna both had classes of students rotate through their libraries.  Across the 1-hour session, we talked about the Finch loan program and how we got started. We also talked about other robotics tools that we are using in our schools such as Sphero, BB-8, Dash and Dot, and Ollie.

My favorite part was when students took turns sharing their experience with robotics.  My two students showed programs that they were working on within Level 1 of Snap!  Donna and Jenny’s students also told stories of challenges they had faced with the robots, things they had figured out, and plans for what they hoped to do over the next few weeks.

 

Tweets during:

Toward the end of our time, Jenny had her students start experimenting with Scratch and Finch. They had just enough time to come over and demonstrate what they figured out during the hangout.  I can’t wait to share what we learned with the rest of our 2nd-5th graders so we can continue to explore programming the Finch.

Donna created a Padlet where we can post challenges to one another.

Jenny created a Flipgrid where students can share video challenges or tips about the Finch robots.

I think it is just incredible how students in multiple locations can come together to collaborate in real time when our schedule allows, and that we can continue to collaborate even when we aren’t meeting together at the same time.  My group is just getting started, so I can’t wait to see what we learn from Jenny and Donna’s students and what we are able to contribute along the way too!

What kind of reading makes you feel curious and fills you with wonder? #WRAD16

LitWorld 7 Strengths

Each week leading up to World Read Aloud Day (February 24th) we want to join our voices around the world to celebrate one of the strengths of reading aloud.  During the week of January 10-17, we celebrate how reading makes us curious about our world.

We have created a Flipgrid for you to share your responses to the following question:

What kind of reading makes you feel curious and fills you with wonder?

We hope you will share this Flipgrid with other educators, students, and families around the world and record your responses which can last up to 90 seconds.  Wouldn’t this be a great way to practice some informational writing in classrooms?  Wouldn’t you love to hear stories from the families that you serve?  Aren’t you curious about the perspectives on this question from around the world?  Let’s join our voices and contribute responses all week long.

http://flipgrid.com/#47700909

One of the things we plan to do at Barrow Elementary is weave the theme of curiosity into the 4th grade PACT time (Parent And Child Together).  We will use a book such as Rosie Revere Engineer that embodies curiosity, have the families explore something together inspired by the book, and then have families reflect together on the Flipgrid question this week.

In addition, you might also consider coming up with your own posts in response to this week’s theme on your own blog or site.  You might write about 3 things you are currently curious about and invite your friends and followers to do the same in order to expand your list of wonderings.  You might share pictures of books that embody the theme of curiosity.  Whatever additional ways you choose to celebrate “Curiosity Week”, please tag your posts with #wrad16 and #curiosityweek as well as mention @litworldsays (Twitter) and @litworld (Instagram, Facebook).

It’s not too late to share your schedule for World Read Aloud Week on our shared Google Doc and find someone to connect with around the world.

Let’s share how we are all curious readers who are part of a global community.

Digital Book Talks and Exploring How We Belong for #WRAD16

Belonging Week (8)Ms. Tesler’s 4th grade class has been exploring how they can be leaders within our school community.  Back in the fall, they started writing shelf talkers and displaying them on shelves at the front of our library. After all of their suggested books were quickly checked out, they are looking for ways to expand their leadership.  They have decided to take the “7 Strengths of Reading” challenge leading up to World Read Aloud Day and explore each week’s question.  They have also decided to take their shelf talkers and make them digital.

Belonging Week (7)

Across 2 days, the class came to the library to work on their next steps of this project.  We began by talking about our memories of being read aloud to.  I shared about my 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Deloache, and how she read Brer Rabbit stories to us with so many voices that I can still hear in my head today.  Ms. Tesler shared an experience of being read aloud to in college and how that stuck with her even as an adult.  Many other students began to share their own memories of being read aloud to.

We used this to launch into a new purpose of exploring the read aloud.  We are thinking about books that others might enjoy reading aloud.  We are also thinking about books we might read aloud to our buddies in other classrooms. Along with this, we started discussing how reading aloud builds community and how certain books help us feel connected with a community. To close, I shared my own example of a book talk and a reflection on the #belongingweek #wrad16 question on Flipgrid.

Belonging Week (15)

The first task was for students to select a book or books to read.  We wanted them to choose a picture book for this first book talk and question.  I pre-selected some books that had a theme of belonging, but students were welcome to choose any picture book.  Once students chose a book, they sat down to read it.  If they finished, they could start writing their shelf talker or their reflection on this week’s #WRAD16 question: “When has reading helped you feel like you belong to a community?”

Belonging Week (13)

In class, students continued to work on their reflections and they returned to the library with their completed writing.  I’ve been sharing the belonging week Flipgrid a lot on social media in the hopes that other schools would contribute.  When the students arrived to record their own, I was happy to share with them that Donna MacDonald in Vermont and Kathy Schmidt in Georgia had students who contributed to the Flipgrid.  We started by taking time to listen to them.

We used these contributions to consider pieces that were included as well as what we needed to do when we recorded our own.  Students pointed out things like speaking clearly and loud enough to hear.  They pointed out how there wasn’t a lot of movement behind the students who were recording, and that they introduced themselves.

Students spread out all over our library and recorded two Flipgrids.  One Flipgrid was a digital book talk sharing a new book.  This set of answers will be displayed on a monitor in the library and put in slideshow mode.  This will cause the videos to constantly scroll through and advertise books in our library.  We also hope that other schools will contribute their own book talks.  Renee Cunningham in North Carolina is already planning to do this with her students.

http://flipgrid.com/#b9bd04f0 

Finally, our students reflected on the belonging week question for World Read Aloud Day.  I loved hearing students make connections to their own lives and the sense of belonging.  I also loved hearing students pick out parts of a book and how a character felt like he belonged to a community.  It was a natural way to collect some analysis of text from students.

I hope you will take a moment to listen to some of their thoughts.

http://flipgrid.com/#8e21e4e6

We are just getting started, but I hope to see many more schools contribute to both our book talk Flipgrid as well as our weekly 7 Strengths of Reading grids.  If you are interested, feel free to add your students’ voices!

Share Your Stories for #WRAD16 Belonging Week

WRAD16

Each week leading up to World Read Aloud Day (February 24th) we want to join our voices around the world to celebrate one of the strengths of reading aloud.  During the week of January 3-9, we celebrate the sense of belonging that reading aloud gives us.  

LitWorld 7 Strengths

We have created a Flipgrid for you to share your responses to the following question:

When has reading helped you feel like you belong to a community?

We hope you will share this Flipgrid with other educators, students, and families around the world and record your responses which can last up to 90 seconds.  Wouldn’t this be a great way to practice some informational writing in classrooms?  Wouldn’t you love to hear stories from the families that you serve?  Aren’t you curious about the perspectives on this question from around the world?  Let’s join our voices and contribute responses all week long.

http://flipgrid.com/#8e21e4e6

In addition, you might also consider coming up with your own posts in response to this week’s theme on your own blog or site.  You might post a photo of you or a loved one with a book that helps you feel connected to the world.  You might tag or mention friends who inspire you as a reader to let them know how they are a part of your own reading community.  Whatever additional ways you choose to celebrate “Belonging Week”, please tag your posts with #wrad16 and #belongingweek as well as mention @litworldsays (Twitter) and @litworld (Instagram, Facebook).

It’s not too late to share your schedule for World Read Aloud Week on our shared Google Doc and find someone to connect with around the world.

Let’s share how we all belong to a global community of readers.

Let’s All Connect for LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day 2016

It’s time for us all to start making plans and building excitement for Litworld‘s World Read Aloud Day 2016.  This year, World Read Aloud Day takes place on February 24, 2016, but many of us will celebrate the entire week of February 22-26 and into the next week for Read Across America.  We also have an exciting addition this year called the “7 strengths” of reading aloud, which will give us an opportunity to connect our voices leading up to the official World Read Aloud Day.

WRAD map

World Read Aloud Day “calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories.”  When we connect our students through Skype, Google Hangouts, or other web tools, they experience the power of the read aloud and realize that they are connected with a bigger world that is both the same and different from them.

IMG_5339

Shannon McClintock Miller and I invite you to start posting your schedules on our shared Google Doc.

WRAD 16 Doc

http://tinyurl.com/wrad16

When you share your schedule, be sure to include:

  • Your name
  • Your contact info such as social media, Skype, and/or email
  • Your role
  • Your school and grade levels
  • Your location
  • List your time zone when posting your available dates and times

After you post your own schedule, take a look at the other schedules and sign up on someone’s schedule to connect your students.  We’ve found that it doesn’t matter if same grade levels connect with one another. Often times, an older grade can read aloud to a younger grade or younger grades can find parts of a books that they can read aloud to an older grade.  There’s not just one way to connect.  Part of the fun is meeting new friends, planning your read alouds, and seeing what magical things happen during your connection that you weren’t even expecting.

IMG_5337

We have many ideas from previous years on our blogs.  You can read more about World Read Aloud Day 2015 on Expect the Miraculous and The Library Voice.  Litworld also has several resources for you to use in your planning and connections including:

Litworld WRAD16

Each week leading up to World Read Aloud Day, we will be focusing on one of the 7 strengths of reading aloud.  Wouldn’t it be fun to hear voices from around the world reflecting on these strengths as we await our real-time connections?  We’ve made a series of Flipgrids that anyone can add to.  We hope you will all will reflect on these questions with your students, teachers, and families and have them all respond on a Flipgrid.  All you need is a computer with a webcam or a free app on a tablet.  We’ll be sharing more posts about these strengths and questions later, but for now, here is a list of the strengths and the links to the Flipgrids.

LitWorld 7 StrengthsWe have an opportunity now more than ever before to connect our voices around the world leading up to World Read Aloud Day and throughout WRAD week.  We hope you will take advantage of all of these tools to show our students and the world that reading aloud makes us strong and connected.  Please let us know if you have any questions along the way.  Happy connecting!

Andy Plemmons @plemmonsa

Shannon McClintock Miller @shannonmmiller 

Picture Book Smackdown 2015 is a Wrap!

smackdown (8)Wow!  We had the most students ever participate in our 3rd annual picture book smackdown.  Even sickness and technical difficulties didn’t stop our students in 5 states sharing favorite books along with author, Laurie Thompson.

Here are a few behind the scenes notes:

  • There were multiple emails and tweets sent between the participating schools in this smackdown. We established etiquette for the hangout such as keeping things moving, muting microphones when we weren’t speaking, and only having about 5 students at a time share
  • We all prepared our students in advance of the smackdown but we each did it in our own way.  My own students had a basic script that they filled out.

  • The amazing Cathy Potter helped organize Laurie Thompson to join us. Unfortunately, Picture Book Month founder, Dianne de Las Casas wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t join us.  She was with us in spirit, though!
  • I had a group of 50 students!  Luckily 2 volunteers and a teacher helped me keep them organized in chairs and a parent frantically wrote down as many titles of shared picture books as she could.

smackdown (9) smackdown (15)

  • We all came into the Google Hangout early to test our cameras and microphones.  We communicated with one another through the chat in Hangouts as well as through text messaging if needed.

All of our Picture Book Smackdown content can be found on our Smore.

I would like to thank all of the schools who participated, Laurie Thompson, our volunteers, and all of the people who viewed and sent out tweets.  Thanks for celebrating Picture Book Month with us!

We’ll see you next year for our 4th annual smackdown!