Give Our Students Some Pie (by Sarah Weeks)

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We have a wonderful opportunity at our school.  Author Sarah Weeks is coming to visit on May 8th to promote her two new books Glamourpuss and Honey.  She is also author of the amazing book Pie.  

From the book Pie:

From the award-winning author of SO B. IT, a story about family, friendship, and…pie!

When Alice’s Aunt Polly, the Pie Queen of Ipswitch, passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily fat, remarkably disagreeable cat, Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice.

Suddenly, the whole town is wondering how you leave a recipe to a cat. Everyone wants to be the next big pie-contest winner, and it’s making them pie-crazy. It’s up to Alice and her friend Charlie to put the pieces together and discover the not-so-secret recipe for happiness: Friendship. Family. And the pleasure of donig something for the right reason.

With Pie, acclaimed author Sarah Weeks has baked up a sweet and satisfying delight, as inviting as warm pie on a cold day. You’ll enjoy every last bite

Some schools in our district benefit from the amazing Books for Keeps, which gives 12 books to every student in the school to read over the summer.  We don’t benefit from this program, and I have always wanted to give students something to read over the summer.

We have never done an “On the Same Page” or “One Book” event at Barrow, but this seems like a great time to try getting lots of our students reading the same pages over the summer.  We would love to give every student in 3rd and 4th grade (rising 4th & 5th graders) a copy of Pie to read over the summer.  We will have lots of online ways to talk about the book over the summer and a celebration of the book when we return in August.

For now, we have a bit of urgency.  We need to raise enough money to purchase these books from our local independent bookstore, Avid Bookshop. We have created a GoFundMe campaign to raise $1000 over the next month.  We expect the miraculous, so we truly believe that this opportunity will be miraculous for our students and we will miraculously raise the funds.

Any amount helps.  Please consider donating a few dollars to get books into the hands of our summer readers.  Click the picture below to visit our GoFundMe campaign.

2015 World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge Week 2

It’s time once again for the World Read Aloud Day blogging challenge as we count down the days to this special week-long event of sharing stories with one another across the miles.  My friend and super librarian, Matthew Winner, has outlined the challenge on his blog.

The World Read Aloud Day “Speak Your Story” Blogging Challenge begins February 9 and runs through March 8. If you choose to take the challenge, each week you will be asked to write a post in response to a prompt or question (outlined below), for a total of 4 posts counting down to World Read Aloud Day.

Each of the prompts addresses the WRAD theme “Speak Your Story.” Speak Your Story encapsulates that simple yet effective way that we connect with others by sharing our stories aloud. Your voice is powerful and when a story is shared a bond is made.

For week 2, we have been exploring these stems:

Pick a question to answer with a partner. 1. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…2. I think everyone should read… 3. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is…

Barrow students used Flipgrid to respond to this question:

Week 2 WRAD Challenge

For this week’s challenge, I interviewed my Facebook friends to see what they would say about these stems.  I love the idea of crowdsourcing content and how technology can pull together so many voices. This has been especially helpful since I’ve been sick most of this week and losing my voice by the end of the week.  It was so interesting to see various friends take time to respond to these stems and learn something new about them that I didn’t know before.  Thank you to all who responded or paused to reflect!

I think everyone in the world should read…

Me:  Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.  I love that this story is about making connections in your community, listening to each person’s story, and finding the magic in your everday life.  Each time I read this book, it makes me feel good and makes me want to go out and explore my community.

Facebook:

  • El Deafo by CeCe Bell (Matthew Winner)
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (Kaycie Rogers)
  • Wonder by R J Palacio (Julie Moon)
  • Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (Shannon Thompson)
  • Austin Kleon (Carolyn Foote)
  • Anything that sets your imagination on fire! (Amy Fowler James)
  • Whatever, whenever, and wherever they can! (Diane Cordell & Judy Serritella)
  • As many books as you can (Lee Rogers)
  • Anything, everything! (Frances Hensley)
  • Everyday (Em Tendo)

If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me, it would be:

Me:  My daughter.  She is just now learning how to read, so it is truly amazing to see how she has gone from a baby staring up at my face reading aloud to her to a reader who is working hard to figure out those letter and picture combinations on the page.

On a celebrity note though, it would have to be Jessica Tandy.  There is something about her voice that is calming and peaceful to me.  Listening to her characters in Driving Miss Daisy and Fried Green Tomatoes makes me want to hang out with her all day and just listen to stories.  Her voice and her way of bringing stories to life through spoken word exemplify what it means for me to get lost in a story and suspend time.

Facebook:

  • Alec Baldwin (Lizzie Faville Payne)
  • Morgan Freeman (Jennifer Biddle)
  • My Grandmother (Ashlee Hembree)
  • My Grandchildren (Sherry Horton Jones)
  • Christopher Walken (Matthew Winner)  Read Matthew’s post on the Busy Librarian
  • Anthony Hopkins (Dera Weaver)
  • Shelby Foote (Amber Dawn Suman)
  • Andy Plemmons (my mom!)  She says that I make the story come to life 🙂
  • Hemingway (Beverly Hembree)
  • Sarah Koenig (Amy Fowler James)
  • Maya Angelou, Lauren Bacall, William Hurt, Antonio Banderas…(Deborah Bambino)
  • The struggling reader with a good fit book. (Em Tendo)
  • Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Billy Collins (Frances Hensley)
  • James Earl Jones and Mel Blanc together (George Webber)

When I read aloud my favorite character to impersonate is:

Me:  I absolutely love to read aloud Epposumondas.  I love making the southern voices in the story and watching kids’ reactions to the voice changes.  Sometimes I struggle to find the right voice for certain characters, but the characters in that book just come to life for me.

Facebook:

  • Skippyjon Jones and Pigeon (Frannie McClester)
  • Eeyore (Lizze Faville Payne
  • The Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk and the Big Bad Wolf from Three Little Pigs (Amy Fowler James)
  • Emma from a made up story (Cindy Plemmons)
  • The Dump Truck from Little Blue Truck (Amber Dawn Suman)
  • Junie B. Jones (Amber Pace)
  • Pruella the Boo Hag (Dera Weaver)
  • Violet Beauregard (Laura Smith)
  • Veruca Salt (Holly Wolfe)
  • Pigeon (Donna Carney)
  • Any villain (Em Tendo)

The genre or author that takes up most of my bookshelf is:

Me:  It’s no surprise to people who know me that it’s Kate DiCamillo.  I have every book she has written and most of them are autographed.

Facebook:

  • Stephen King (Lizzie Faville Payne)
  • Poetry (Dera Weaver)
  • Harry Potter and Kathy Reichs (Frannie McClester)
  • Female authors Toni Morrison & Anne Pachett (Frances Hensley)
  • Cookbooks & Crafts (Em Tendo)
  • mo willems and michel foucault (Sarah Bridges-Rhoads)

My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is:

Me:  I love reading aloud because it brings the story to life in a different way.  When a story is spoken into the air and heard by an audience, we all experience it together in many different ways.  We laugh.  We gasp, We question. We discuss.  Reading alone is fun, but when you read aloud, the story comes to life.

Facebook:

  • Listening to how my daughter’s R sound evolves and becomes more developed. I can listen to her mature, and it’s amazing! (Dawn Jameson)
  • Getting to share the private experience of a story with someone else. (Lizzie Faville Payne)
  • Watching the faces of my first graders as I read to them, and then watching THEIR faces as they read to me! (Laura Smith)
  • I loved working with first graders @ the beginning they could not read then by the end they were reading a book! I miss those days! I love for Jacob to read to us! Read the Christmas story out of his bible Christmas Eve (Sandra Williams)
  • Seeing the expressions on the faces of my students when they get lost in a story…all kids deserve to be read to…even the older ones! (Tiffany Whitehead)
  • moving all around and acting out the characters! (Sarah Bridges-Rhoads)
  • My favorite part of reading aloud is doing funny voices. (Shannon Thompson)
  • The students’ interactions with the story and disappointment when the story is over that can be replaced with excitement when another is read. (Frannie McClester)
  • Becoming part of the story and “reeling” the kids in. I believe reading to children is the first step to helping them love to read. (Amber Pace)
  • Getting lost in a story, whether I’m reader or listener. (Dera Weaver)

Join me and countless others as we celebrate LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day on March 4th, 2015 and throughout that entire week.  Check out the shared Google Doc to find a connecting class or post your own schedule.

Crowdsourced Rockology with Blendspace and Thinglink

3 ELT Rockology   ThingLink

A group 3rd graders have been working for several weeks on a project in Blendspace.  They are using this tool to combine their notes and photographs from class along with research and instructional videos they are finding online.  They are also creating their own pretests and post tests within the Blendspace lessons as well.

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Ms. Hicks, the Spectrum teacher, and I wanted their projects to be crowdsourced into one location so that an audience could easily access all of their lessons on rocks and minerals.  Crowdsourcing the Blendspace lessons would also make it efficient when sharing their work with one another for peer review as well as sharing with families.  There’s even potential to share this work with other schools who might use their content or offer feedback to improve the work even more.

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To crowdsource, we used Thinglink.  Ms. Hicks selected an image of rocks and minerals positioned in rows.  Then, she assigned students to the various rocks or minerals.  I uploaded the image to Thinkglink and made it unlisted.  Then, I allowed anyone to be able to edit it.

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Ms. Hicks emailed the link to the image to all of the students.  They went to their Blendspace lessons and selected all of the privacy permissions that they wanted to.  Then, they copied the link to their Blendspace lessons and connected them to the Thinglink image.  We did run into a problem with several students trying to edit the image at the same time, but as long as they kept retrying, they eventually were able to edit the image.

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Now, students are looking at the image to access all of the projects in their class. They are viewing the work and offering feedback to their peers.  Since the links are active, any changes they make to their Blendspace is automatically connected to the Thinglink.

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I love this way of getting student work out to an authentic audience and I invite you to take a look at their work.  Feel free to leave them a comment here on the blog.

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.

Flipgrid Book Talks with 5th Grade

Flipgrid. Relax and discuss.A few weeks ago 5th grade reading teacher, Melissa Freeman, asked if her students could have some time in the library reading picture books and informational books related to the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement.  I quickly began pulling a big stack of books for them to read.  We wanted some way of capturing this experience to refer back to during Social Studies time, so I’m so glad that I discovered Flipgrid!

flipgrid civil war & rights (11)Each 5th grade class came to the library today.  I had the books spread out on tables.  We started in the floor for an overview.  I shared our purpose of reading books connected with our social studies content.  The teacher and I both stressed that our main goal was to spend quality time reading the books and preparing to do a book talk.  Flipgrid was going to be our tool to capture these book talks, but Flipgrid was not our focus.  We also talked about why Flipgrid was the chosen tool.  We brainstormed ideas such as the ability to go back to these book talks during social studies to find books that matched standards.  Students also thought that others in the school could visit the grid to learn about some books that they might not check out on their on.

With our purpose established, I showed students an example of what a book talk video might look like.  I also quickly walked through the Flipgrid screens to show what each one looked like in order to record a video.  This overview took us about 15-20 minutes.

Students each went to the tables, chose their book, and found a cozy spot to read.  As students finished their reading, they got index cards and pencils to write down a few notes to help them with their book talks.  Finally, they got an iPad, typed in the flipgrid code, and found a quiet spot to record.

flipgrid civil war & rights (8)The student response to this tool in 5th grade was very positive, but they did have some suggestions for improvement:

  • When they held the books up to show them on the video, the words on the books were flipped backward.  We did not figure out how to fix this in the recording screens.
  • When students submitted their video, sometimes it put the video up to 8 times on the grid.  I had to manually go in and delete the extras.  We are not sure why this happened to some students and not others.
  • Some students received a timeout error message when uploading their videos.  They had to repeatedly submit the video until they got the successful upload message.

I typed all of these comments in an email and sent it to Flipgrid support.  We hope that we hear some answers to these issues or see Flipgrid continue to improve.  Even with the technical problems, the students all hope that their teacher and I will continue to use this tool.

Listen to their book talks here.  Students will continue to add videos to grid during their reading class with Mrs. Freeman.

3D Printing: A Huge Opportunity from Donors Choose and Makerbot

MakerBot News (MakerBotNews) on TwitterThose of you who know me know that I’ve been wanting a 3D printer in our library for awhile.  It seems that just when I think we’re about to get one, something happens that puts a barrier in our way.  This isn’t just about having cutting edge technology.  This is about allowing kids to experience another level of creating.  It’s about allowing kids to explore a technology that is possibly a piece of technology that we will all eventually have in our homes.  It’s about giving kids the power to dream something up, design it, print it, and  hold it in their hands.  It’s about bringing STEAM education to life for our students.  For these reasons, I haven’t given up hope that we will have a 3D printer in our library.  Recently, we started a conversation with UGA to partner with them and use the 3D printers that they have.  We are very grateful for this opportunity, but we know that if we truly want to have a 3D printer as a part of our daily resources available to students, then we need to have one in our building all the time.

Today, Makerbot announced a partnership with Donors Choose to put a 3D printer in every classroom.  This is a bold claim, but it is a step toward thinking that 3D printers aren’t just for colleges, public libraries, or industry.  Each time I’ve mentioned putting a 3D printer in an elementary library, I’ve been met with the “why” questions.  I’ve also been met by the “I can’t see elementary students doing that…” statements.  My philosophy that I have embraced since reading Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo is to “Expect the Miraculous”.  I have faith that if students have access to a cutting edge tool such as a 3D printer paired with expertise from mentors over Skype & Google Hangouts paired with expertise from our community who already use 3D printers, then miraculous things will happen for students.  I don’t have all of the answers of what this should look like in an elementary school, but someone has to be willing to step up and walk into the unknown and trust that students and multiple experts will learn together, figure things out, and shape how this technology can support what we do and hope to do in schools.

As soon as I saw the Donors Choose opportunity, I submitted a project.  By the end of the day, our project was approved and we already had a matching grant.  This match brought our project down to approximately $1500.  If what Makerbot says is true, as more donors donate to the project, other business and private donor contributions will fulfill this project.  Once again, I’m taking a leap of faith that this project will be filled for our school and we can begin exploring and leading the way for 3D printing in schools.   

Two donors have already contributed to our project along with our matching donation.  I invite you all to take a look at our project, consider donating, or at the very least, consider sharing our project with your circles.  Giving kids the opportunity to create, share, and contribute to the current conversation on 3D printing in education is a great gift to give, especially this time of year.

Makerspace Maniacs

 

 

Poem In Your Pocket Day 2013 is Coming!

We are so excited that National Poetry Month is already here!  In just 2 weeks, we will be celebrating Poem In Your Pocket Days.  On April 11th & 12th, students in every class will come to the library to our open microphone poetry cafe.  The tables will be setup with tablecloths, lanterns, and poetry books.  A stool and microphone will be available for students to come up and read their original and favorite poetry for their class to hear.  Once again, we will be broadcasting all of this live online via Adobe Connect.  This has become a very special event for students because they are able to get their writing and favorite poems out to a much larger audience.  When people type comments in the chat feature of Adobe Connect, I always share those with students in the moment.  It creates a big pulse of energy in the group.  We’ve had family, friends, and other schools tune in from as far away as Afghanistan and England and as close by as the classroom next to us!  We hope you will join us to listen to our poems and leave some comments.  Here is the schedule:

  Thursday April 11, 2013                                               

Time Class
 8:30 3rd Shealey
9:00 1st Wyatt
9:30 1st Watson
10:00 1st Hart
10:30 4th Selleck
11:00 2nd Wright
11:30 4th Freeman
12:00 1st Stuckey
12:30 1st Em
1:00 2nd Brink
1:30 K Hocking
2:00 2nd Yawn

 

Friday April 12, 2013

Time Class
8:00 5th Cross
8:30 K Carney
9:00 K Boyle
9:30 K Li
10:00 PreK Doneda
10:30 3rd Spurgeon
11:00 4th Olin
11:30 K Vertus
12:00 5th Slongo
12:30 PreK Clarke
1:00 2nd Ramseyer
1:30 3rd Griffith

 

To login to Adobe Connect, follow these instructions:

Leading up to the event, we are having an original poetry contest.  All entries are due by this Friday and prizes/certificates will be awarded in multiple categories in PreK-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-5th grades.

Students and teachers are also contributing to a crowd sources poem that I will carry in my pocket on Poem In Your Pocket Day called “Our Library is Not a Quiet Place”.  They are submitting lines through a Google Form.  You are welcome to submit lines, too.  Just go to this link.