"A Swisstastic Journey of Me and My Students"

Monday, December 15, 2014

Digital Writing Experiences with Second Graders

The second grade teachers and myself discussed how we could get our second graders writing more using digital tools.  We decided to introduce email to them, which will lead to using Google Docs, then possibly onto the online school course, Schoology, we use with our 3-6 graders.  I hope to also introduce them to blogging in the future.  For now they have been introduced to their email accounts and have sent their teachers a friendly email about something they wish for at Christmas time.  Now I will read Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin to them and then using the website, Make-a-Flake website, they will make their own snowflake and email it to a friend.

Snowflake Bentley 
Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Caldecott Mock Elections with Third Graders

In January I always introduce/review the idea of the Caldecott Award with third graders. This year I decide to hold a mock election with them in which they will use Google Forms to vote for one of the top 10 I have narrowed my top picks down to. I touch on the Caldecott with kindergarten and first grade but jump more into it when they are a bit older in the third grade. After reading these books and listening to what my fellow teacher/librarians were saying about these books these are my top 10, not in any particular order. By the way these are my opinions...they may or may not make the top.

the SCRAPS book 
by Lois Ehlert

Viva Frida
by Yuyi Morales

  The Right Word 
Written by Jen Bryant 
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Click here for your reflection doc for The Right Word:  Roget and His Thesaurus

Raul Colon

Add caption

Reflection Guide on Draw!

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
by Mac Barnett

The Adventures of Beekle The Unimaginary Friend
by Dan Santat

Use this Google Form to cast your final vote for our 2015 Caldecott winner.

Mrs. Wilhelm's Final Vote for 2015 Mock Caldecott Winner

The Adventures of Beekle:  An Unimaginary Friend313%
the Scraps book14%
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole1771%
Viva Frida28%
The Right Word00%

Mrs. Moran's  final vote for 2015 Mock Caldecott Winner

The Adventures of Beekle:  An Unimaginary Friend632%
The Right Word00%
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole1053%
Viva Frida15%
the Scraps book15%

Mrs. Smith's final vote for the 2015 Caldecott Mock Winner?

The Adventures of Beekle:  An Unimaginary Friend519%
the Scraps book14%
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole1558%
Viva Frida312%
The Right Word14%

Monday, December 8, 2014

Kindergarten learn about hibernation through stories

The month of December is cut short due to Christmas Break.  We will learn about hibernation through different stories.

We read Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming.

We read Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows.

We made a list of Wondering Questions that came up from these two books.  The questions included:

-Why do woodchuck's skin get tight before winter?

-Why do animals hibernate?

-Why do birds fly away during winter?

-How do animals eat during the hibernation?

We also learned a song about hibernating:  You can find the song here http://www.preschooleducation.com/swinteranimal.shtml

We took a break from hibernating animals to read The Gingerbread Man retold by Eric A. Kimmel because in the two weeks leading up to Christmas break I have a "Gingerbread Man on the Shelf" in the library, in which is hidden each week in a new spot and kids have to search for him.  They aren't allowed to touch him or he will loose his magic.  Students love looking for him each week.
Next week we will go back to hibernating animals and have the Kindergarteners listen to The Mitten read from YouTube.  I will have kids engage in the story by passing out animals and have them place them in the mitten while telling the story.   Students will take home their mitten and animals to create their on visual to tell the story.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sir Readalot Book Fair a huge success!

Each year we have two book fairs at Summit...one in November and then another in February.  This is the way our Media Center earns the bulk of its funding for new resources.  This book fair was a Sir Readalot Medieval theme.  Our students participated in daily book talks over our WSUM morning TV announcements, participated in a Boys vs. Girls All For Books contest (we raised $99.91 to give towards our PTA's Shop and Share in which they help families in need during the holiday season), had a poster raffle, voted on "How many mints does it take to freshen a dragon's breath," had a school-wide reading contest (the top reader from each class gets to be principal for the day), and the top classes got a special storytime from our principals.  Also we raised over $2,000.00 for the Media Center and teacher classrooms.  So much fun!
Principal for the Day
These students read the most minutes during our Book Fair week.  Their reward was to be principal for the day.  They got to participate in morning annoucements, carry the walkie-talkie around and visit rooms, monitor lunch duty, and hold a staff meeting.  FUN!  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Patricia Polacco visits our school

We were so fortunate to be chosen to have the amazing author, storyteller, and illustrator visit our school. She was in our area promoting her new book, Fiona's Lace.  We were chosen by Barnes and Nobles to receive this opportunity at no visit. It was amazing to hear her speak about how her childhood memories have impacted her writing life. I would highly recommend any school to have her...she is amazing. At the end of her presentation she has a piece of the meteteor that landed in her grandparent's farm when she was living there as a young girl. She encourages every child to touch the rock and make a wish. The only rules are as follows: 1.) You can't wish for money 2.) You can't wish to change someone 3.) You can't wish for anything that can be bought with money.  Here are some pics from the day.
After her visit I encouraged my third graders, using Google Docs, to write down their wish. They also learned how to place an image into their doc via the research tool on Google Docs and we talked about citation of the images. Here is some of their work:
A. Christensen
H. Reister

Loved this project and it was great having them up on the wall right before Christmas break was great!  This is what the board looked like.

Digital Citizenship with 5th grade

5th graders have been learning about Digital Citizenship. We created a template on Google Docs and students then used their artistic side to create a bookmark, which was printed off, laminated and then available for all students in the entire school to take from the Media Center.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

SOLE: 6th graders research "What do we need to know about Ebola"

We began our 6th grade SOLE projects the last part of November. For those of you who aren't familiar with SOLE (Self Organized Learning Environment) it is a high inquiry research question that goes beyond being "Googleable" and requires students to create quick presentations (in whichever format they choose) answering the question. Here is a toolkit for those of you who are interested in learning more about SOLE. These projects are leading up to our Genius Hour projects, which we will begin in January. Here are the steps we followed: I covered the expectations of the SOLE: 1.) I am not a teacher I am a facilitator (I will not answer questions but when our SOLE Sheriff comes around midway through the research phrase you can submit questions to him/her and they can ask me the question) 2.) No more than 4 in a group and no less than 2 3.) If your group doesn't have 4 in it and someone asks to join then you have to let them join 4.) Listen to each other 5.) WORK HARD There is alot of freedom in the way the students can present their findings. No instructions are given. Most groups tend to use Google Drive to create a Google Presentations. Here are some of the projects. *I did not focus alot on the kids citing their sources here b/c I didn't want them to feel pushed to do one type of format for their presentation but in the future I will let them know if they choose to use Google Presentation they will need a Citation slide.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Second Graders Find Their Voice with Elephant and Piggy

My second graders always love Mo Willems' and his Elephant and Piggy books. This year I read some Elephant and Piggy books with my students and then had them use the following template to create their own story. They had the choice to work alone or with a partner and then they had to read the story while being filmed. Here are some examples of what they wrote. Elephant and Piggy template Other Examples of our stories: Mrs. Frey's Class Mrs. Steiger's Class Mrs. Thompson's Class

Friday, November 21, 2014

First Graders Learn about Staying Healthy through Mo Willems' books

First graders learned about Mo Willems and listened to Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus via YouTube. They then created their own illustrations for A Healthy Me is Drug Free Week in which they had to keep the pigeon healthy. Here is a Voicethread of them showing their drawings and recording what they wrote. Mrs.Werking's Class: Mrs. Brown's Class Mrs. Beiting's Class Ms. Huntington's Class

Monday, November 17, 2014

Helping Kids to Imagine

I was introduced to an amazing book called The Adventures of Beekle:  The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat.  Inspired by a Reederama blog that I followed I read the book to my 1st graders and encouraged them to think of an imaginary creature they would like to meet.  We then added pictures of their imaginary creatures to large cut-outs of Beekle.

Students watch a book trailer on the book.

Here are the results of our Beekles.

Inspired by another blog...Reederama

Ok so I am in love.  I finally found a librarian that does a fantastic job incorporating books with technology.  This has been a long struggle of mine.  Since my role as a librarian has evolved into more of a technology/media specialist over the last five years I have struggled with maintaining the true reason I went into this profession....sharing my love of books with children.  Reederama is a blog of an elementary school librarian who does a great job of this.  Now before I get people fired up and saying "there are lots of us out there doing this" I want to say that I agree with you but Reederama does a marvelous job of sharing her ideas on her blog, which is why I was so glad to discover her blog.  She has inspired me to share what my students are doing.  Many of my projects I have adapted to incorporate ideas pulled from her blog and some of my posts are identical to her lessons because they were so good there was NO need to reinvent the wheel.  I hope my blog will inspire you like Reederama has me.  Enjoy, copy, comment....I want this blog to be part of something big....something where we are learning from each other.