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.