We Need Your Votes for the 2017 Barrow Peace Prize!

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It is time once again for the annual voting on the Barrow Peace Prize.  This award was established 3 years ago by our 2nd grade.  Each year students select up to 6 nominees from history.

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We hold a Google Hangout with the entire 2nd grade to decide what criteria someone must exemplify in order to win the prize.  This year, we read the book Peace is an Offering by Annettee LeBox before brainstorming our list on a Google doc.

Each student in 2nd grade selects one of the nominees to research.

Students research these people using PebbleGo, Britannica School, Destiny Quest web resources, and books.

Barrow Peace Prize research continues in 2nd grade using Destiny Quest websites. #research #informationliteracy #2ndgrade #peaceprize

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Using Google Classroom and a Google doc graphic organizer, students gather facts about their person and use those facts to write a persuasive essay during writer’s workshop.

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In art, students create a watercolor image to represent their person.

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Back in the library, students use Flipgrid to record persuasive essays and showcase their art.

Now those videos are ready for you to view.  We need you to view, vote, and share!

Instructions:

  • Visit this Smore
  • View videos for each of the nominees.  This can be done as a class, individually, and can be shared with anyone you know.
  • Feel free to click the heart on any video to “like” it because the kids love that!
  • To vote on the Peace Prize, use the Google form here or on the Smore to select one of the 6 people who you were convinced deserves the prize

Voting will end on February 24th where we will announce the 2017 Barrow Peace Prize in a Skype with Flipgrid.  Two 2nd grade students designed a 3D peace prize that was printed on our 3D printer and every student who researched the winner will receive one of the medals along with each 2nd grade classroom.

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Thank you for participating in our project, and we can’t wait to see who you pick!

Who will win the 2017 Barrow Peace Prize? Voting details coming soon. #studentvoice #librariesofinstagram

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The 2016 Barrow Peace Prize is Ready for Your Votes!

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

More University of Georgia #GeniusCon Research Partners

Geniuscon Day 2 (1)Last week a group from Gretchen Thomas’s EDIT 2000 class at the University of Georgia partnered with Caitlin Ramseyer’s 2nd grade class to work on research for the students’ GeniusCon projects.  Students are answering the question:  If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be?

Students topics range from improving the lunch menu to healthier options to adding additional playground equipment to eliminating homework to starting school later in the day.  Even students who share the same topic are taking different approaches to what they would change and how they would do it.

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Today, a new group of Gretchen’s students came to work with the 2nd graders.  Last time, most 2nd graders went through their lists of questions and answered them with their own thinking.  Today’s focus was to move to researching online and in books as well as developing next steps.

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I loved walking around and seeing some of the online reading that students were doing with their partners.

I also loved seeing how the UGA students interacted with the 2nd graders and how they helped to keep our students focused and thinking.  Of course, the UGA students learned a lot too about how much our students know about using technology.

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Some of those next steps involved created Google form surveys that could be emailed out.  Some students crafted emails to send out to the lunchroom or the principal.  We asked students to wait before sending anything out.  The main reason in doing this was to spend a little more time thinking through the content of the email or the survey.  For example, one student had one question in her Google form asking students if they would like more access to the 3D printer.  She was ready to send it out, but after talking with me, she realized that if students wanted access to the 3D printer, we would have no idea what they wanted to do with it.  Our conversation pushed her to think more about her survey before sending it out.  Similar conversations were taking place all over the library.

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At the end, Caitlin pulled her class together to debrief what they had accomplished.

Catilin’s students will continue working on this project and our UGA partners will return again.

 

Honoring Student Voices through Student Book Budgets with Capstone Press

Student Book Survey 2013 2014For the past several years, I have reserved a portion of our library funding to be completely controlled by students.  Over time, I’ve seen student-selected books be among some of the most popular books in the collection.  The library collection is mainly for our students, so why not let their voice be heard in the collection development process.  Part of our library funding comes from the state, and another part comes from fundraisers such as our fall and spring book fair.  Since students and their families shop at our book fairs to build their home libraries while supporting our school library, I see student book budgets as being one small way of giving back to our community.

This year, our book budget process has gone through some changes.  In order to involve a few more students at various stages, I broke the process into parts.  Part 1 was to gather data from the school.  Every Tuesday and Thursday I have a group of five 5th grade boys who work in the library as a service project.  Together, we developed a Google form to gather information from the school.  We wanted to track the number of students we surveyed at each grade level, the number of boys and girls, specific reading interests, and specific requests.

Once the survey was created, we generated a QR code so that they could quickly scan the code and go out into the school to survey students with iPads.  This was mainly needed with our youngest students.  For older students, I emailed the survey to them to fill out.

Each year, we tend to see similar results with our data, but I told the students that we can’t assume that we know what people are wanting in the library because it can change.  Here’s a look at the main data they collected.

Student Book Survey 2013 2014   Google Drive

Next, I blocked off some library time during 4th and 5th grade’s recess time and asked for students who would like to participate in an alternative recess for a few days to spend money on books.  I’ve tried doing this during lunch and it is just too complicated to juggle food, catalogs, vendor websites, etc.  I didn’t get as big of a response from students this year, so we’ll see if we return to this model next year.

On day 1, the 4th and 5th grade book budget students came to look at the survey results.  They made some decisions to inform how much money should be dedicated to various categories.  I printed the specific requests of students and Savannah and Isaiah spent time highlighting some specific titles that students were asking for.  It was a tedious process for them!  The even got down to searching the library catalog to see how many copies of books we had like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and discussing if there was justification to order even more copies of existing titles.  We finally all agreed on some overall categories of:  Comics/Graphic novels, sports, humor, scary, world records, and action/adventure.

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Even on this 1st day, they started having some tough conversation.  For example, they saw that World Records was a highly requested category, but from experience, they know that students are mostly talking about Guinness World Records.  They decided that instead of dividing the budget and giving this category several hundred dollars, they would just buy 2 new copies of the 2014 World Records for about $60.  It’s always fascinating to see how quickly students realize how a budget works and how hard it is to make decisions for the library.  One of them said, “Mr. Plemmons, I know this is only a small part of your job, but it sure is hard!”

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On day 2, we welcomed Jim Boon, Capstone Press Sales Rep.  I love working with Jim because he treats the students like young professionals.  I also love that Jim listens to what students are asking for and tailors his talk and display to the goals that they have.  He setup displays of books that matched their goal categories with a few books that connected to their themes in different ways.  He gave every student a new Capstone catalog and a pen.  As he proceeded to show students various books, he invited students to turn through the catalog, circle books of interest, and fold down the corners of pages.  After he shared some specific books, students came up and started browsing through the books on display.  Jim and I proceeded to have individual conversations with students about the books in the catalogs and help them see where prices could be found.  We also mentioned to students that Capstone offers Capstone Rewards and various incentives.  For example, if we spend $1750 on our order, we get 30% back in Capstone Rewards, but if we spend less than that we get 10% back.  I love the math that comes into this project each year because it is real world application of an important life skill.

I also love that in our individual conversations there are stories that emerge.  Jim had a great conversation with one of our students, Ember.  She consistently asked Jim about the prices of every book.  The budget was weighing heavy on her mind and she was thinking hard about how to get the most books for our money.  In their conversations, there were a few books that Ember desperately wanted in our collection, and I loved that Jim made sure to leave one of those books that she requested for us to add to our collection!  I know Ember will greatly appreciate it.

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Students were having so much fun that they decided to take their catalogs with them to continue marking titles of interest.  I’m a little scared of seeing what they come back with!  It’s such a hard process to cross books off of the wish list, but it is an important process to choose the very best books for our collection at the current time with the funds that we have.

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This process is beneficial to me as the librarian too because I get to see books that students are getting excited about.  For the purposes of the project, I remind students to focus on their goals and only purchase what matches the requests.  However, I’m over to the side writing down titles to put on my own ordering list for this year or the beginning of next year knowing that the titles already have a group of readers waiting on them.

Thank you to Capstone Press for your tremendous customer service, your professional relationship with all of your users including students, and for giving our students a voice in collection development.  You are superstars!

Our next step will be to look at one more vendor to fill in some holes in our wish list, and the we will start the tedious process of cutting books from our list until we have our final order.

 

A Flipgrid Celebration with 2nd Grade and the Flipgrid Team

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Our 2nd graders just wrapped up a huge research project.  During the project, they chose a leader from black history, researched that person, wrote a short persuasive piece about their person, designed a US postage stamp, and recorded a video using Flipgrid.  Their videos were pulled together on a Smore which included a Google Form for people to vote on their favorite leader from black history to be featured on a postage stamp.   Read more about our project:

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Along the way, the students had several connections to an authentic audience.  They started the voting portion of the project by sharing at our schoolwide assembly.  Students stood in front of the entire school and told about the project as well as shared a video from each question of the grid.  The Smore was emailed to every teacher and student in the school.

I also shared the Smore on Twitter and our library Facebook page.

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Shawna Ford, librarian in Weatherford Texas, saw my tweet and had her 2nd grade students view the project.

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As the project continued, my posts and tweets were shared and retweeted until our Smore had 480 views and counting.

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Our project was viewed in 161 locations and counting.

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Throughout the project, Charles Miller and Bradford Hosack, our friends at Flipgrid, were following along and sharing our work as well.  It has been an incredible experience for students to use a tool, encounter success and frustrations, and be able to offer feedback to developers that respond to that feedback.  The Flipgrid team has been so responsive to all of the feedback we have provided to them, and they consistently work on Flipgrid to make it better.

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Today, our 2nd graders came together in the library to connect with the Flipgrid team via Skype.  The team shared information about how Flipgrid was developed and talked to the kids about coding.  All of the 2nd graders had background in this concept because they all participated in the Hour of Code back in December.  I loved how the Flipgrid team reiterated what I had told the students many times.  You have to work through the frustration.  You have to be willing to fail and learn from your failures to make things better.  The team said more than one time that they wanted to create a tool that works for users, so they are constantly listening to users of Flipgrid to improve their product.  I hope that the students carry these ideas into all area of their lives to be willing to take risks and work hard at what they are passionate about.

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Charles and the Flipgrid team then gave us some stats about our videos.

  • 1875 people watched the student videos
  • 699 people clicked on the heart to like videos that the students made
  • students created 1 hr 15 minutes of video all together

During this presentation of facts, Charles reminded students that when they make a project like this and share it with the world it really is giving them a global voice.  I loved that he said this because it is something we strive for in our library:  giving students a global voice.

One of my favorite parts of our Skype was the awards.  We wanted to honor several students during this segment.  Because each video was “liked” by viewers of the video, I could easily see which videos had the most likes.  This became an award category.  We also had specific students who received shout-outs on Twitter because people watched the videos and cared enough to specifically name a student video that they loved.  Finally, we had some students who worked really hard to express themselves in their writing and persuade people to vote.  I created a certificate to use.

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After selecting all of the students, I sent a list of the awards to the Flipgrid team and they announced the winners via Skype.  It felt like the Academy Awards as the Flipgrid team cheered for students as I handed out the certificates, and it was amazing to hear the shouts and claps of all of the 2nd graders cheering on their peers.

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Mixed in with our connection the kids had a chance to ask the Flipgrid team questions.  I loved the moments where one student said “sometimes it doesn’t work” and another student said “I think you need to be able to turn up the volume for people who talk soft”.  These weren’t questions, but the Flipgrid team let the students know that because of their videos they were already thinking about volume and that they were working to make sure Flipgrid always worked for users.

During and after our Skype, the Flipgrid team and I shared several pictures from both sides of the Skype: Georgia & Minnesota.

We closed our time together by revealing the results of the overall voting for the favorite leader from black history to be on a postage stamp.  The votes were extremely close, but Rosa Parks came in just 1 vote ahead of Jesse Owens.  By this point, the kids were so excited about all that had happened with their project that the vote didn’t even seem to matter anymore.

Thank you to Charles Miller, Bradford Hosack, and the entire Flipgrid team for helping us celebrate this project today before we move on to our next adventures in the library.  Thank you!

 

It’s Time to Vote for Your Favorite Historical Figure from Black History with Our 2nd Graders!

flipgrid 2nd (7)Second grade has been hard at work.  For the past few weeks, they have explored the art of persuasion, researched 5 historical figures from black history, designed potential US Postage Stamps featuring these historical figures, and writing persuasive scripts to convince an authentic audience that their historical figure is the most deserving of a US Postage Stamp.  You can read more about the beginnings of this project here.  

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Over the past 3 days, students have been coming to the library with their persuasive scripts and stamp designs to record a persuasive commercial using Flipgrid.  This tool, which is web-based or available as an iPad app, allows you to create up to 90 seconds of video in response to a question.  I setup a question for each historical figure that was researched.  To record in Flipgrid, you just need the special code that takes you straight to the question where you will record your message.  I made a sheet of codes and placed them by iPads in the library.  Students entered the library, chose a recording spot, and entered their code.

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Next, they had a few steps to complete in order to create their video.  They had to:

  • Click the +
  • Click “I agree”
  • Take a picture.  Some took a picture of themselves and others took a picture of their stamp
  • Record their video
  • Review the video
  • Submit the video to the grid.  Students had to put their first name, last initial, and an email address.  For speed, I put my own email address in the box, copied it, and then pasted it in each time a student recorded.
historical figure smore

Visit our Smore to watch videos and vote! https://www.smore.com/17bq3

Now, students are collectively trying to persuade you to vote for their historical figure.  We have created a Smore to pull all of the information together.  On this Smore, you can visit each set of videos for a historical figure.  Please take some time to listen to the students’ hard work.  If you love one of their videos, click on the heart on Flipgrid which is similar to “liking” something on Facebook.  This will show the students some appreciation for their efforts.  After watching some videos for each person, we invite you think about which historical figure you were the most persuaded to vote for.  Then, use the Google Form at the bottom of the Smore, cast your vote.

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We’ll be asking all students in our school to vote.  In addition, we’ll be posting our Smore to our Barrow Media Center Facebook page and Mr. Plemmons’s Twitter account.  We want as many votes as possible to show students how far reaching their audience is when they put their work out to the world.

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The students have worked so hard on this project.  I can’t wait to tally the results and analyze the data with them.

Visit Our Smore to participate and feel free to share!

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