Connecting Through Stories: World Read Aloud Day Part 4

WRAD15 Day 4 (19)

It’s snowing in the northeast, so today’s WRAD15 connections were a bit tricky.  I had 4 cancellations today, but that did not stop classes from coming to the library to still hear some good stories read aloud.

Ms. Wright’s class read I’m Bored.  Ms. Yawn’s class read Goodnight Already and Wolfie the Bunny.  Ms. Li’s class read The Story of Fish and Snail.  Great conversation filled the air even though we were disconnected from our friends through Skype.

Ms. Spurgeon’s class also had a cancellation, so we used this time to hear some oral stories about Harriet Powers, a former slave from Athens who made a famous Bible story quilt.  I have a replica of the quilt, so we sat around the quilt and heard stories about Harriet Powers and the various symbols she put on her quilt.

The day still had connections.

Ms. Hocking’s Kindergarten class connected with Sherrell Stepp’s 1st grade in Gilbert, South Carolina.  We read Same, Same but Different.  Students asked questions about their schools to hear things that were the same but different.  We both have a college in our towns but they of course have different mascots.  We both have recess but our school has recess before lunch and their school has recess after lunch.  It’s always fun to see how same but different we are even if we are just a few hours away from each other.

Ms. Lauren’s PreK students connected with Catherine Word’s 4th graders in Baton Rouge, LA.  We shared Elephants Cannot Dance.  I was elephant and Catherine was Piggie.  Catherine’s students were the squirrels.  We took time to share our favorite Mo Willems books as well as other favorite books.

Ms. Ramsey’s class connected with Kelly Light, author of Louise Loves Art.  She read the book to us, but what we loved was how she pointed out so many details in the pictures that you can miss if you go too fast.  Kelly reminded us all of how important it is to slow down when we share a story aloud and spend time examining and talking about what we see in the pictures.  I know I need to do more of this as an adult.  I’m often rushing too fast to just get to the words.  I loved how Kelly told us that she chose red because it is a “strong color”.

Ms. Ramseyer’s 2nd grade class closed our Day 4 by connecting with author, Peter H. Reynolds.  Peter showed us all around his studio, let us asked questions, and just had a hangout session.  It was a blast.  We saw some examples of how he puts together a book idea such as putting ideas and sketches on index cards and then putting them in order.  Peter closed with Susan Verde’s You and Me and gave our students some encouraging words to go out and change the world.

Once again, we learned how much stories connect us!

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.

WRAD15 Day 3 (38)

 

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!

Connecting through Stories: 2015 World Read Aloud Day Part 2

WRAD15 Day 2 (79)

Wow!  Day 2 was busy.  We had much smoother Skype connections and plenty of stories.  Here’s a quick look at what happened.

Ms. Hicks’ 3rd grade ELT students connected with Crystal Hendrix in Asheville, NC.  We shared the story I’m Bored.  Then, students had fun asking about life in each other’s communities.  We made several connections between Asheville and Athens including college towns and weather.

Next Ms. Brink and Ms. Wright’s 2nd grade connected with Carol Scrimgeour and her 2nd grade in Essex, VT.  We read the story Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.  We had our students form lines and step up to the camera and take turns reading pages of the book.  It was great fun to hear student voices reading across the miles.

Ms. Yawn’s 2nd grade came and read Elephant and Piggie Waiting is Not Easy.  We had some trouble getting the right Skype accounts connected for our author visit, but we finally got it worked out in time to make our connection with Alison Randall, author of The Wheat Doll.  She told us about her book and then read from Roald Dahl’s The Witches.  It was scary fun.

Ms. Clarke’s 3rd grade class connected with Cathy Potter’s students in Maine.  We were fortunate to be joined by Natalie Lloyd, author of A Snicker of Magic.  We got to meet her camera-shy dog, Biscuit.  Then, we saw some of her favorite books before hearing her read aloud the first chapter of Snicker of Magic.  It truly was magical to hear her words drifting to Georgia and Maine from Tennessee.  We even got to hear just a bit about her book that was just sent off to the editor.

Ms. Clarke plans to read Natalie’s book to her class as their next read aloud, so The Beedle just happened to put a new copy of the book in Ms. Clarke’s box.

Ms. Ramsey’s 3rd grade connected with Shannon Hyman’s Kindergarten in Virginia.  We were joined by author Melissa Guion.  She shared her wonderful penguin stories and illustrations.  Shannon’s students were able to share some facts about penguins that they had just learned.

Ms. Em’s 1st grade connected with Okle Miller’s Kindergarten in Tampa, FL.  We were joined by the amazing poet Laura Purdie Salas.  She had our students chanting poetry about rocks and listening to poems about books and unusual pets.

Ms. Slongo’s 4th grade had a special treat Skyping with Barbara Walsh, author of The Poppy Lady.  Barbara visited our school last year in person and it was her very first school visit.  This time, we were her very first Skype visit.  Our students loved hearing about the Athens connection to Moina, who is responsible for getting the poppy to be a symbol of remembrance.

Finally, we closed out our day with a high-energy Skype with 2 authors, Ame Dyckman and Adam Lehrhaupt.  These two were full of laughs and energy.  They took questions and then shared some stories.  Adam shared a book that isn’t coming out until October (shhhh….don’t tell anyone).  Ame shared Wolfie the Bunny.  Ame even sent some amazing book swag for all of the readers in the class.

It was truly an amazing day.  It was exhausting, but we feel connected to so many readers across our great country.  Thank you to each and every author and class who connected with us for World Read Aloud Day.

Connecting through Stories: 2015 World Read Aloud Day Part 1

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Our first day of Read Across America and World Read Aloud was filled with wonderful stories and plenty of technical difficulties, but we didn’t let the technical difficulties prevent us from connecting through stories.

The day began with my first cancellation emails.  Since World Read Aloud Day is right at the beginning of March, many states are still experiencing winter weather.  Two connections were cancelled before we could even begin due to snow.  Did this stop us? No.  Ms. Wyatt’s 1st grade class still came, and we read aloud Goodnight Already and Waiting Is Not Easy and noticed many similarities between the two books.  We just didn’t have a Skype connection to go with it.

Ms. Freeman’s 5th grade students came to connect with Cassandra Ogletree and her students in Forsyth, GA.  Before we connected, our students made predictions about where they thought Forsyth, GA was located.  Then, we used Google Maps to take a look.  During our connection, we read Goodnight Already with Cassandra and her students.  I was Bear and Cassandra was Duck.  Since our 5th graders are studying perspective, they noticed how the book showed the different perspectives of bear and duck.  As usual, students had time to ask one another questions about where they live.  We often take for granted that students realize how connected we are around the world, but these Skypes surface that our students have lots of wonderings about the day to day lives of others around the world.  When we disconnected, we took time to look at a street view in Google Maps to see the school that we had just Skyped with.  Student were amazed by the lack of buildings around the school.  It seemed to be way out in the country surrounded by pastures and trees.  This is very different from our school that is right next to UGA.

Ms. Boyle’s class skyped with Colleen Friel and her 1st grade in Long Island, NY.  We shared The Story of Fish and Snail.  Our Skype calls kept freezing or dropping, so we reached a point where we just had to stop the call and finish the story on our own.  Once again, the students were so patient during the technical difficulties and we didn’t let it stand in the way of the story.

Ms. Haley’s class had an opportunity to connect with Elizabeth Garton Scanlon, author of wonderful treasures such as All the World and The Good Pie Party.  The downside was that we couldn’t get Skype to work at all in order to connect with her.  I tried every trick I could think of to make the connection better and faster and nothing worked.  Finally, I took out my phone and we huddled around my phone for over 30 minutes listening to her share about her books, her ideas, her dog, and her upcoming work.  We had the treat of hearing the first few pagers of her upcoming book The Great Good Summer.  Within just a few pages, several of our students started opening up about connections they had to the book.  One student shared about losing her dad.  Another talked about her dad being gone on tour.  I love how stories help us make connections to the emotions we wrestle with and give us a pathway to conversation with one another.  It must be amazing as an author to hear how your words open up conversations for readers.

Ms. Freeman’s 5th grade returned at the end of the day to connect again with Colleen Friel in Long Island, NY.  This time, our Skype connection was much better since the district worked on the network.  We read the book The Day the Crayons Quit.  Students loved finding out that even though there were 7 inches of snow on the ground, the New York students were still in school.

Finally, we closed our day by doing a triple Google Hangout with Donna MacDonald in South Burlington, VT and Craig Seasholes in Seattle, WA.  Ms. Carney’s Kindergarten class joined their Kindergarten classes in reading 3 Elephant and Piggie stories.  It was fun to connect across the country and hear words being spoken between thousands of miles of the United States.  We had fun, engaged in some silliness while we read, and made some new friends.  Even though Donna had some technical difficulties, we still made it work.  We could hear her, but not see her.

I won’t lie that I was a bit flustered today with all of the problems, but I have to say how important it is to persevere.  I could have easily given up and called it all off, but we made things work with what we had.  Because of that, our students had an amazing first day of connections through stories.

2015 World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge Week 3

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.

Week 3: February 23 – March 1
Profile Partner

Find a puppet, stuffed animal, or image of your favorite kid lit character. Next, take a selfie with the character. You now have a picture with your WRAD companion. He or she can travel with you wherever you go and whenever you speak up about World Read Aloud Day. Post the image as your profile picture on all of your most-used social media venues (Skype, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter).

I wanted to involve my students in this experience, and I’m so glad I did.  This has been a very popular activity in the 3 short days we spent at school last week due to ice.  I really wished that we could have done this longer before I posted.  I pulled all of the plush book characters from around the library and put them on cushions at the front of the library.  I put an iPad with them and invited students to start taking their own selfies.  Some of them got very creative with how they did this!

Every student who came in was smiling and laughing as they picked out a character to hug and pose with.  Here’s a look at our selfie gallery.

Barrow #WRAD15 Selfie (78)

I chose to do a selfie with characters from Kate DiCamillo books.  I specifically chose Despereaux and Winn Dixie.  I love what these two characters represent.  Despereaux is an unlikely hero.  He’s small, looks a little different than a “normal” mouse, but has a huge heart filled with bravery.  I love how he proves that heroes can come from unlikely places and that we all need to believe in ourselves no matter what.  Winn Dixie represents so much about the importance of community.  I love how Winn Dixie was a change agent for Opal’s life in the story.  Because of him, Opal explored her community, met unique people, and gathered the stories of her whole community.  She found friends, made connections, and exemplified the power of sharing our stories aloud with one another.

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.

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.

2015 World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge Week 1

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 1, we have been exploring the question:

What is your favorite book to read aloud or to hear read aloud and why?

My Answer:

I have so many favorites, but right now one of my absolute favorite stories to read aloud is Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.  Reading this story alone is fun, but when you read it aloud to a class of students, it is pure magic.  With each turn of the page, the students get more and more vocal about Sam and Dave’s decision to change directions in their digging.  The students can of course see the massive treasures that Sam and Dave are missing, and they get so frustrated that they miss every single one.  What I love most about reading this book aloud is the many conversations that are sparked by the mystery and the frustration in the story.  I honestly think that students could talk about this book all day long and still come up with some off-the-wall idea that we haven’t thought of yet.  I’m so happy that this book just won a Caldecott honor award.  I know magic isn’t one of the criteria for winning, but this book is filled with read aloud magic.

For the past week, my students and other friends have shared their own favorite read alouds via a Flipgrid.  I invite you to listen in to what we all have to say about our favorite read alouds, and feel free to add your voice too!

WRAD Week 1 (2)