Happy International Ninja Day!

Did you know there was a day dedicated to ninjas?  Well, I didn’t either until my friend, Matthew Winner, pointed it out.  International Ninja Day is December 5th, and even though it’s a Saturday this year, it doesn’t mean you have to pass by the opportunity to read some ninja stories in December! Over at All the Wonders, you’ll find a whole toolkit to celebrate the day at home, in your classroom, or in your library.

International Ninja Day is December 5th! Celebrate at All the Wonders.

Yesterday, I had 4 Kindergarten classes in the library who wanted to have a storytime and checkout, so it was the perfect opportunity to talk about ninjas.  We started by sharing all the things we know about ninjas.  Words like sneaky, training, ninja moves, and fighting were of course brought up.  Then, we thought about characters we knew who were ninjas.  The overwhelming favorites were Ninja Turtles and Lego Ninjago.

This connected us to our read aloud of choice for the day which was Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Scwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat.  Since we were already talking about characters, we took some time to talk about Red Riding Hood and what we knew about most Red Riding Hood stories.  We held onto these ninja and Red Riding Hood ideas to see how they unfolded in the book.  Once the book was complete, students picked out some of their noticings.  They were so observant, and there were many memorable moments.  I think my favorite was when a student talked about how Ninja Red Riding Hood didn’t need a woodsman to help her.  She saved the day with her ninja grandma.

After our quick but rich conversation, we hurried to tables to make our own ninja masks.  I printed off an online template and students used crayons to decorate their masks in any way they wanted.  Some chose the Ninja Turtle route and colored with their favorite character colors.  Others chose to create patterns on their mask like a rainbow ninja.

This was a whirlwind time in the library because all of this along with a checkout happened in 30 minutes, but I guess that goes with the ninja theme.  We didn’t have time to finish our masks, so the teachers were gracious to take the masks back to class to finish.  As I was in the halls during dismissal, I spotted a student who was proudly carrying her finished mask to take home for the weekend.  She stopped me and said, “Mr. Plemmons…I forgot my backpack at home, but I’m carrying my mask home.”

I’m often asked if I do “traditional storytime” because I do so much with technology.  The answer is a huge YES!  It’s not about print vs digital.  It’s about how all of the tools we have available to us come together to help us experience the world.  Sometimes it’s an iPad, and sometimes it’s a box of crayons, a paper mask, the power of our imagination, and our curiosities about becoming a ninja.  Happy International Ninja Day!

Book Trailers with 4th Grade

book trailer 4th (2)Today Mrs. Rogers and her 4th grade ELT group came to the library to explore book trailers.  They are currently reading a novel together and had the idea to create book trailers for each chapter of the book.  I guess we should really call these chapter trailers.  For our lesson, we looked at three trailers:

 

 

Our purpose in watching these three trailers was to think about how different each trailer could be.   Students talked about what they noticed about each trailer after watching it.

For Carnivores, students noticed that:

  • 1 actor was used 🙂
  • music was used throughout
  • text was used at the beginning to set the scene
  • there were lots of clips put together
  • the funny tone of the book came through in the trailer
  • the trailer didn’t give away all the details of the book

For Boy + Bot, students noticed that:

  • questions were posed for the reader to consider
  • images from the book were used in between the questions
  • music was used throughout
  • the trailer was very short

For Wonder, students noticed that:

  • there were multiple actors
  • there were multiple shots that needed a lot of direction
  • there was text, live action, and music
  • the character’s face was never shown

Students even spent time thinking about the difficulty level of these 3 trailers and what they were each willing to commit to for their own project.  They also thought about why each type of trailer might have been picked for each book.  We talked a lot about purpose.

After this great discussion, students spent time exploring iMovie on the iPads.  This is the tool they will most likely use for their trailers.  Most had no experience with iMovie, so I invited them to spend about 20-25 minutes messing around and figuring out some of the features.  I encouraged them to share what they learned with each other, and it didn’t take long for collaboration to begin.  As soon as students figured something out, they were eager to show and help others.

Ludwig, a 4th grader,  really jumped into the trailer part of imovie.  He began planning out a quick trailer and sprang into action filming it.  He didn’t make it all the way through, but you can see what he figured out here:

Reid, another 4th grader, explored the movie part of iMovie.  He put together a little idea and started filming clips to put a quick sequence together.

We closed our time together by showing these videos and setting the stage for students to begin planning their own trailers. Once again, I was amazed  by what kids could figure out and share when given the space to explore.  I reminded them to continue to share their expertise with one another as they progress through the project.  They will continue work in their classroom, but I will also collaborate with them at various stages of the project.