2015 Poem In Your Pocket Day (Part 1)

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Each year, Poem In Your Pocket Day morphs into something just a little bit new.  It’s always a day to come to the library and share poems into our open microphone, but we like to mix things up a bit each year.  This year, I put out soft seating instead of tables.  It allowed students to be a bit closer to the speaker and hopefully felt a bit more cozy.

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In the past, I’ve used Adobe Connect to broadcast our day.  While it is a great tool, it has some drawbacks.  I love that it is one room that our online guests can stay in all day long and I can communicate with them via chat.  However, I don’t love the way the archive is created.  I have to setup and name each recording right as I’m starting the recording.  It doesn’t take long, but it’s one more step I have to do.  Also, once all of the archives are done, I have to go in, change them to public, and copy the link to share in order for people to view them.

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This year, I decided to try Google Hangouts on Air.  We use this every day for our morning broadcast, so I’m very familiar with using it.  Ahead of our event, I setup a Google Hangout on Air for each session on our schedule.  Then, I opened each hangout and copied the Youtube link where the video would stream live.  I embedded these videos on one big Google site so that they were easily accessible in one spot.

Click to visit our Google Site

As each group came in, I opened the hangout, tested the sound, and pressed start.  Our guests could watch online, but as soon as I pressed stop the video was instantly archived on that same Google site.  It saved me the hassle of having to go back and find all of the videos in order to share them.  While it’s not huge, any amount of time I can save is valuable to me.

This year, to make up for the chat feature being taken away, we decided to use Twitter to talk about our poems.  We encourage our online guests and future viewers of our content to tweet using the hashtag #barrowpoems I used Tweet Beam to display the tweet on our projection board for students to see.  It was fun to see how this populated throughout the day and how much students smiled when they saw a tweet mentioning their poem.  Teachers even pulled out their phones and helped document the day through pictures, videos, and comments on Twitter.

Also, here’s a little look at what it’s like to be in the room.

This event always amazes me because pretty much every student in the school gets up in front of an audience and speaks.  It’s a small amount of speaking, but I love seeing students get used to speaking to an audience and seeing what that feels like.  This is a very positive and supportive atmosphere, so most students leave the reading feeling validated for their work.

I encourage you to listen to some of our archives and continue to tweet about #barrowpoems

Continue watching us live on April 10th!

 

World Read Aloud Day: Final Connections and Final Thoughts (Part 5)

WRAD map

 

We closed out Read Across America and World Read Aloud week with even more connections.

Our day began with a Georgia connection with Misti Sikes.  We shared Beekle together.  I loved when her students said that Beekle reminded them of Baymax from Big Hero 6.

Next, Ms. Choate’s Kindergarten class connected with Donna MacDonald and her 5th grade students in Vermont.  Donna’s students passed the book around the group and took a turn read Piggie’s part in Waiting is Not Easy and Elephant’s part in I’m a Frog.

 

Ms. Seeling’s 1st grade class got to connect with author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen.  She is the author of many books including Duck, Duck Moose.  Her son joined us  in the Skype and we learned that he was the inspiration for Moose.  We learned a lot about her writing process and how it takes many people to create a book that we see on our shelves.

Ms. Stuckey’s 1st grade class connected with Jeanne Cook’s students in Missouri to read Beekle.   We had a lot of fun sharing some of our favorite books with one another and seeing what connections we had to favorite books even though we were in different grades.

I can’t think of a more perfect way to close out our World Read Aloud week than Skyping with the amazing Jenny Sue Kostecki Shaw.  We have enjoyed reading Same, Same but Different in so many Skype connections with other schools.  Jenny Sue has a new book coming out in May called Luna and Me.  It is the story about a woman who lived in a tree called Luna in order to save the tree and the surrounding forest.  I’ve watched this book coming together through the posts that Jenny Sue has shared over the past couple of years, and I’ve been eager to hear it.  Our students were fortunate enough to be the very first students to hear a book read out loud.  This is the 2nd time this week that our students have heard words from a book read by the author for the very first time.  It is magical!  The students were hanging on every word, and you could tell that this is a book that is going to speak to students.  It is a fascinating and engaging topic, and it shows the power of how one person can truly make a difference.  I can tell that this is a book that will lead to some inspiring conversations and postive action in our world.

When Jenny Sue finished reading the book, our students gave her a huge round of applause.

Then, they had a chance to ask her several questions about writing.  We saw the very first versions of the book and learned that there were over 40 drafts of the book.  We learned about the salt technique that Jenny Sue used throughout the paintings in the book.  We also had lots of side notes from Jenny Sue’s daughter, Tulsi, which made the Skype even more special.

Thank you to each and ever school and author who connected with us this week.  Your reading, conversation, time, and inspiring thoughts have connected us to so many new and old stories.  I’ve seen library books flying off the shelves this week into the hands of readers, and it’s all because of the connections we have made this week.

I hope you will all take a moment to look at our map of connections and walk back through our week through our  Google Tour.  If you haven’t ever tried connecting for World Read Aloud, you can really do it at any time.  You can be sure that our school will be connecting next year during the 1st week of March.

View our Google Tour Builder Map.

Read about our other World Read Aloud connections, too.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Happy World Read Aloud Day 2015: Connecting Through Stories Part 3

WRAD15 Day 3 (3)

The official World Read Aloud Day 2015 is in the books.  We still have 2 days of connections, but it was fun to have a full day for the actual calendar date.

We started our day with enrichment clusters.  I have a group of 2nd-5th graders who are exploring coding and making in a variety of formates.  We connected with Okle Miller and her Kindergarten students in Tampa.  We read Rosie Revere Engineer and then my students had a chance to share some of the inventions that they are creating.  It was fun to see the messages of the book come through in their sharing.  Most students did not have a complete product and most had plenty of failures during the process.

Eli showed a lego mindstorm robot that he put together right before the Skype.  He has designed several robots, and this one was his version of a dog that you could walk since “everyone wants to be able to walk a dog and might not have one”.

Francisco showed his alarm that he made with littleBits that would go off when the sun came up.

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Ludwig and Malachi showed off their video game made of cardboard, Scratch, and MaKey MaKey.

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Louisa and Ansley showed off their blogs about how to use Tinkercad to 3d design.

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Taylor showed off his Barrow Peace Prize medal that he designed and 3d printed.

WRAD15 Day 3 (5) WRAD15 Day 3 (4)

 

Next, Ms. Ramseyer’s class connected with Crystal Hendrix and her students in Asheville, NC.  We read I’m Bored and once again had fun taking turns being the girl and the potato.  We also had the students talk about what they would write for a second book, and they were very interested in having the potato get eaten.

 

Ms. Wright’s 2nd grade connected with Jennifer Reed’s students in Newton, MA.  It was very special to get to share Beekle with one another.  We had some great discussions about the little girl in the book as well as dreaming the unimaginable and having courage.  We even continued our conversation after we said goodbye.

Donna MacDonald’s 4th grade students were such great role models for Ms. Heather’s PreK students today.  It was our PreK’s 1st Skype experience, and it was so special.  We read Wolfie the Bunny.  My students read the part of Dot, and Donna’s students were all of the other characters.

Getting to connect with authors is another really amazing part of the World Read Aloud experience.  Barbara O’Connor was our 1st author of the day, and she connected with Mr. Coleman’s 4th grade class and a few of Ms. Tesler’s students.  She read from How to Steal A Dog.

After the story, she took lots of questions from the audience.  We learned the story of the poster that inspired the book and the story of calling Willie’s real owners to give them a copy of the book.  We also heard about the revision process and how a book that is coming out next year is already heavily into this process with the editor.

Barbara even walked us through her house to show us the manuscript with all of its pages and markings.  Our visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing the 2 famous dogs in Barbara’s house.

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Ms. Mullins brought several 5th graders to connect with Margo Jantzi in Virginia.  We read Crankee Doodle.  Margo was hilarious with her pony voice, and I played the roll of Crankee.

Ms. Clarke’s students had a unique opportunity to connect with Mrs. P from Mrs. P.’s storytime.   Mrs. P. (AKA actress Kathy Kinney) is an advocate for reading and writing.  She is a master storyteller and encouraged all of our young learners to read and create as much as possible.

She told the students a couple of stories, but also gave them some thoughts to ponder.  We had great fun hearing poems and songs about her cat and even heard the very first thing she wrote when she came out of the womb in the delivery room!

We closed out our official World Read Aloud Day with Laurel Snyder.  She read to Mr. Coleman’s 4th grade from Free to Be You and Me, a favorite childhood book.  It brought up some interesting things to think about in regards to “boy books” and “girl books”.  We loved Laurel’s voices for the babies in the selection from this book.

Another thing that I love about World Read Aloud week is that the books that we share aloud and the books that are by the authors that we connect with are immediately checked out of the library.  I love seeing readers get so excited about finding a book that they have a connection with.

I closed out World Read Aloud Day at my house by reading aloud Some Bugs, Toys Galore, and Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons with my son, Anderson.

We have 2 more days of connectionthis week, and we can’t wait to see what happens!

Let’s All Connect For LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day Again In March

World Read Aloud Day — LitWorld

On March 4th, we will celebrate World Read Aloud Day with LitWorld.  This special day “calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories”.

For teacher librarians and other educators, it has come to be a week-long celebration of sharing stories through Skype and Google Hangouts. This year, these connections will happen on March 2-6.Jenny & Ame (2) small

Connecting through stories is always such a rewarding experience for our students.  Students often discover that we are all very much the same even though we are different.

Shannon McClintock Miller and I invite you to post your schedule to our shared Google Doc and start making connections for this special week.  You may even discover a long-time collaborative partner through this one experience.

2015 World Read Aloud Day Blog   Google Docs

You can read about our 2014 World Read Aloud Day experiences in my post “World Read Aloud Day Final Thoughts” as well as others on the Barrow Media Center Blog.  Shannon shares how she documented her school’s World Read Aloud Week via a Smore journal.

Be sure to check out the LitWorld site for more information on planning for World Read Aloud Day.  They even have a special classroom kit with ideas for schools.

World Read Aloud Day — LitWorld (1)

If you are interested in connecting with others on this day, please add your name, schedule, and ideas to the informations in the Google Doc that we started.  This will begin to fill up with others around the world as they want to connect their students and schools too.  We plan to celebrate throughout the entire week of March 2-6th.


Google Tour

We think it’s important to know that there’s no “right” way to plan for World Read Aloud Day.  Whatever you decide to do will be the right plan for your school and your students.  Whatever you do, your life will be richly rewarded with the power of spoken word and voices connecting together across the miles to lift up our right to read!

In the words of Kate DiCamillo, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, “Stories Connect Us”.  We can’t wait to connect students around the world through story.

Celebrating Our Explorer Project with the Flipgrid Team

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Today our 4th graders had the chance to Skype with Charlie Miller and the rest of the Flipgrid team in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  This was the conclusion of the explorers project that 4th grade students have worked on for the past few weeks.  As part of the project, we encouraged people around the world to watch our Flipgrid videos and vote on whether explorers were heroes or villains.

The team congratulated our students on their hard work on this project and also took questions and suggestions from students.  Several 4th graders stepped to the microphone and shared suggestions such as:

  • Extending the 90 second time limit by offering a choice of time limits
  • Allowing you to categorize your video with tags

Other students shared what they liked about Flipgrid such as:

  • the ability to watch other people’s videos before making your own
  • the like button
  • being able to film your video again if you weren’t happy with it

Since this Skype came the week after our hour of code lessons, it was also a great time to hear about how an app was developed.  It sounded like developing an app is a much longer process that developing a website because in one of the student questions we learned that the app took about 6 months to create while the website took 2 really long weekends.  We also heard how an app is never really done because you are always trying to make it better.  I loved how this connected both with our hour of code sessions but also to other areas such as writing instruction.  Students also learned about how the name Flipgrid was chosen since the videos are on a grid and they flip when you play them, but they also heard other considerations that go into a name such as web domain registration and what is actually available.

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One of the most fun parts of the Skype was the announcement of awards.  Several students received awards for Excellence in Writing, Shout-outs from authors, and Global Persuader awards.  I sent these names to the Flipgrid team and they took turns calling out student names as I handed out the certificates.  Students had fun giving silent cheers for their classmates as awards were handed out.

I also took time to share with the students the results of all of the voting that had taken place for their project.  It was interesting to see their reactions as they heard that Christopher Columbus was the only explorer voted to be a villain.

Just for fun, we closed out our Skype with a Christmas singalong of Rudolph.  Luke performed on the guitar and we belted out our best Rudolph even through the time delay on Skype.  It may not have sounded like it was together, but it was still fun.

Thank you to the entire Flipgrid team for creating a tool that has helped our student voices to reach a global audience, and thank you for taking time to celebrate with us.

Talk Like a Pirate Day 2014

Our pirate map of connections

Our pirate map of connections

September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day.  There are so many fun pirate stories out there, and each year we seem to discover a few more thanks to the connections we make around the globe through Google Hangouts and Skype.  Planning a day of connections like this definitely takes some time but students love talking with people around the globe, sharing a story, and learning a bit about one another.  It always seems to reinforce the idea that we aren’t alone in our bubble of routines of day to day life.  There are other people out there doing the same things that we are and quite possibly they are doing those things in different ways.  I love the spontaneous conversations that take place on days like this that you could never plan through a standard or a lesson plan.  Students always bring up a question or a comment that makes the day special.

This year, 8 classes came to the library for Talk Like a Pirate Day and we connected with 6 different schools in 5 different states.

  • We connected with Edie Crook in Gastonia North Carolina to read the book No Pirates Allowed Said Library Lou.  We had a great conversation about “treasure” and students took turns stepping up to say what treasure meant to them.  We were delighted with words such as being kind, family, friends, Skylanders, and baseball.
  • We connected with Jan Pelias through Google Hangouts in Frisco Texas to read the book How I Became a Pirate.  It was fun to connect with someone in another time zone because we could talk about how time is different at the same moment around the world.
  • We connected with Melanie Thompson in Jefferson City, Missouri to read the book How I Became a Pirate.  Melanie’s students had researched pirates and they took time to share all of their facts.  This made our students very curious about pirates as well.  I have a feeling all of our nonfiction pirate books will be checked out for a long time.  I also love how Melanie embraced her inner pirate as we chatted with each other through Skype chat prior to our connection!

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  • We connected with Okle Miller in Tampa, Florida to read the book No Pirates Allowed Said Library Lou.  Tampa has a pirate festival called Gasparilla .  Students loved hearing how pirates take over Tampa during this festival and kidnap the mayor (all for fun).  The class we connected with even called themselves pirates and used the word “pirate” as an acronym for their classroom expectations and beliefs.
  • Both of our PreK classes came to the library for their first visit of the year.  In class, they made pirate hats and hooks as well as added some pirate mustaches to their faces.  We read the book Pirates Go to School and made a class video chanting the pirate chant at the end of the book.
  • We connected with Carol Scrimgeour in Essex Town, Vermont to read the book No Pirates Allowed Said Library Lou.  We noticed that all of the kids were wearing warm clothes, so we had a great conversation about how cold it had been in the northeast.  It was sunny in both places but with a very different temperature.
  • Finally, we connected with Shawna Ford in Texas and she read a new pirate book we had not heard before: No Bath No Cake Polly’s Pirate Party.  Now the students want to get it for our library.

Before each connection, we looked at a map from our school to the school we were connecting with.  We talked about distance, travel time, and also all of the decisions that go into choosing your route for a trip.  We also created a Google tour of our trip using Google Tour Builder.  After each connection, we wrote a summary together.

We also created a Padlet to write pirate sentences.  This was shared with our friends around the country and became a place to crowdsource our words.

Finally, we spent a lot of time creating pirate sentences, phrases, and even conversations and practicing them aloud.  Students had access to a list of pirate vocabulary words as well as multiple pirate stories to get ideas.

We used Flipgrid as a place to record our favorite pirate expressions.  Students also had a great time trying to imitate a pirate voice and pirate faces and gestures.  Take a moment to listen to them because they are quite entertaining!  I loved how this evolved from a sentence writing activity into a practice of fluency, oral speaking, and performance.  Again, Flipgrid became a place for us to crowdsource our voices with the voices of our connecting schools.

I love how these events connect us with new people around the world.  This year we connected with some old friends, but we also met some new teachers, librarians, and students we hope to connect with again.  I also want to continue to think about days like this to build long term collaborative relationships.

World Read Aloud Day 2014 (Day 3): The Official Day

World-Read-Aloud-Day-2014

Today is officially World Read Aloud Day.  We have been celebrating all week and will continue on Thursday and Friday.  Today can only be described as miraculous!  Here’s a look at our day.

We started by connecting with Donna MacDonald and her students in South Burlington, Vermont.  Our students did a reader’s theater of One Cool Friend.  We divided the parts up between our students so that voices in both states were helping to tell the story.  Students got a chance to find out about state symbols and the weather, but we loved meeting all of Mrs. MacDonald’s library pets!

Donna MacDonald (1) Donna MacDonald (5) Donna MacDonald (7) Donna MacDonald (9)

 

Next, we connected with Matthew Winner and his students in Elkridge, MD.  We shared the book The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman.  We took turn reading pages.  He had 1st graders who read the pages with him, while I had Kindergarten where I read the pages.  Our students also had a chance to ask once another questions.

Matthew Winner (16) Matthew Winner (14) Matthew Winner (7) Matthew Winner (3) Matthew Winner (1)

 

Next, we began connecting with several authors.  Our first connection was with Anne Marie Pace.  She is the author of Vampirina Ballerina and Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover.  During our connection, she taught the kids a great song about how a book is made and had them sing along.

Then, she read Vampirina Ballerina.  It has so many interesting vocabulary words.  On one page, she had the students stand up and dance with her to practice one of the ballet moves.

Another thing I love is when authors point out details in the illustrations and how they connect with the rest of the story.  Anne Marie pointed out Vampirina’s final pose and how it was the same pose as her ballet idol posted in her bedroom.

Anne Marie Pace (10) Anne Marie Pace (7) Anne Marie Pace (4) Anne Marie Pace (1) Anne Marie Pace (3)

 

Next, a very miraculous thing happened.  We skyped with Kate DiCamillo!  As you know, she has won 2 Newbery medals and has just been named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.  A few weeks ago we were contacted by the amazing people at LitWorld with an opportunity to be in a multi-school Skype.  I immediately said yes and the planning began.  Most of our 2nd grade attended with a few 3rd graders.  It was so inspiring.  We started with a roll call of schools.

Kate shared a poem from one of my favorite poets, Joyce Sidman.  Then, she started taking questions from schools.  This was followed by some reading from Flora & Ulysses.  The moderator also read aloud part of Kate’s first draft of Because of Winn Dixie, and I loved how Kate covered her ears because she didn’t want to hear how it sounded.

Kate DiCamillo (5)

 

Kate took some more questions from schools and ended by having the adults at each school share what they were reading to students.  When it came to me, I just had to tell Kate how I have read p. 130 of Flora & Ulysses numerous times to the students of Barrow and how “Expect the Miraculous” has become a mantra in our library and throughout our school.  She turned to p. 130, found the part, and read it aloud.  It was such a special moment (as you can see from my reaction at the end).

This was an amazing experience for our students.  They were hanging on every word and sat attentively for 1 hour and 15 minutes!  Our local newspaper was also in attendance to document the event.  I can’t thank LitWorld and Candlewick Press enough for this opportunity.  It was inspiring and definitely connected us with so many people through stories, which is Kate DiCamillo’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature platfrom.  During this call, we connected with the following schools along with Kate DiCamillo:

  • Mason-Rice Elementary School Newton, MA
  • Minnetonka Middle School West Minnetonka, MN
  • Van Meter Community School Van Meter, IA
  • Saint Mary Catholic School Paw Paw, MI
  •  Ducketts Lane Elementary School Elkridge, MD 
  • American School Foundation Mexico – ASFM Monterrey, Mexico
  • Roosevelt Elementary Jamestown, ND

Kate DiCamillo (12) Kate DiCamillo (6) Kate DiCamillo (2) Kate DiCamillo (3) Kate DiCamillo (4)

 

Later in the day, we connected with author Barbara O’Connor along with Sherry Gick and her students in Rossville, Indiana.  Barbara read aloud from How to Steal a Dog.

Then, students in each state had a chance to ask her some questions.  We learned about her 2 dogs, Martha & Ruby, as well as where the inspiration for the book came from.  Mrs. Wright’s 2nd grade class loved connecting since they had just finished the book as a class read aloud.

Barbara O'Connor (9) Barbara O'Connor (7) Barbara O'Connor (1)

 

Mrs. Stuckey’s class connected with author Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw and Shannon Miller’s students in Van Meter, IA.  She read her book Same, Same But Different.  We loved hearing her sing Kailash’s alphabet.

Then, she gave us a peek inside her art studio where we saw some paintings from her new book Luna and Me, which will be out in spring.  We can’t wait to see this book in print!  Students also got to ask her questions about her work.  It was fun to see her thought process as the author and illustrator of the book, and we learned that she does both together.

Jenny Sue (2)

 

We ended our day with the entire 5th grade skyping with author Tanya Lee Stone.  She read to us from Almost Astronauts.

This was followed by a chance for students to ask her questions.  They had several specific questions about the book, but we also learned how thorough Tanya is when she researches.  I loved that she included that she uses the Internet to research, but that she makes sure she is using reliable sources.  It was also fascinating to hear that books like Courage Has No Color took 10 years to write!  That was a powerful statement after students were complaining about a 2 hour writing test.

Tanya Lee Stone (6) Tanya Lee Stone (3) Tanya Lee Stone (1)

 

I love World Read Aloud Day.  I love sharing stories aloud, but even more than that, I love knowing that words are filling the air all around the world on this day and across this week.  I love that people are using social media to publicly profess their love of reading, their favorite books, and their celebrations of their freedom and right to read.  I love that stories really are connecting us to one another on this day and every time we share a story out loud.

Our celebration will continue for the next 2 days before we are off for spring break.  We will continue working on a Google Tour that will show all of our connections with a summary of each one.  Look for that in Friday’s post!  Happy World Read Aloud Day!