"A Swisstastic Journey of Me and My Students"

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mock Caldecott Unit....which one will prevail?

Ok so I am starting my Mock Caldecott Unit too late once again but I have so much fun with it that I am not going to skip it.  I will start it and we will just announce our Mock Caldecott winner after Jan. 11 (the day of the actual announcement) if that is what is needed.  So this week my first graders spent sometime exploring two of the books that we think may potentially win the 2015 Caldecott.  The first two are:

We are really excited because Loren Long lives in Cincinnati, OH.

We examined them with the following criteria and then students cast their vote on which they felt met the criteria the best.  

Excellence of Technique
Appropriateness of Technique
Importance of Illustrations
Appeal to children

Friday, December 18, 2015

Last minute change of plans....YOGA in the Media Center.

So today during my plan I was reading a blog from a Media Specialist that I model so many of my lessons after because she is amazing.  Her blog is Reederama.  She was helping her students stay focused by doing some Star Wars yoga in the Media Center so I quickly decided to do the same.  With the excitment of the new Star Wars movie my kiddos were thrilled with the dramatic storytelling of the lady on the video and managed to relax on this exciting day.  Take a look at some pictures and video.

Here is the story/yoga video. 

May the FORCE be with you!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Perfect Gift...All Summit Kindergartens Recieve a Public Library Card from the Public Library of Cincinnati

What better way to start our Christmas Break then to give the gift of Literacy to my kindergarten friends.  There is country-wide initiatave to get public library cards in the hands of all kindergarten students.  The Anderson Public Children's Librarian reached out to me about coming out and passing cards out to our students and my principal and myself jumped right on board.  Many parents are uneducated on to the possibilities of what a public library can give them.  This card will allow students to check out up to seven items and not receive any fines. 


Kindergartener friend proudly wears his

 "I got a Library Card today" sticker.


5th graders are creating Digital Projects with CODING!

So we have been coding at Summit.  I have given my students, grades 4-6, three weeks of CODING experience.  We have used Code.org, Code Academy, Scratch, Tynker, and Light Bot to practice all the amazing skills that coding offers.  Including problem solving, critical thinking, reading, math practice, writing, analayzing data, and the list goes on and on.  One of my excellent 5th created a Google Doc, in which she shared with students and asked them to place some of the coding projects on it.  I love how she listed the DIGITAL EXPECTATIONS  at the start of the doc.  Here is what the doc looked like.

Here are examples of what students posted here:

Small Talk Kylie G.
Christmas Small Talk Audrey S.

2nd graders explore Google Docs while writting what they are OK at

After my 2nd graders read The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal for the Global Read Aloud Project.  We loved The OK Book so much we decided to tie poetry into it.  Students talked about words that describe being better at than OK at something.  We made a list of these words.  Students then created poem listing activities they were OK at and then activities they were better than OK at.  Here is what are word list looked like.


Students then created a poem with 10 sentences using these words.  They then typed these in Google Docs.  Students learned about changing font sizes and colors.  They also learned how to spell check and center words.  

Here are a few of their poems.  We will be adding pictures to these after our Christmas break.

Words That Describe Better than OK

                      by Maureen Carpenter


I’m an OK dancer.
I’m a super star gymnast.
I’m an OK ice skater.
I’m fabulous at arts and crafts.
I’m an OK reader.
I’m a super star at roller skating.
I’m an OK runner.
I’m a great writer.
I’m an OK waiter.
I’m a brillant pottery maker.

Words that Describe Better than OK
by Audrey Mendralski

I’m an OK waiter.
 I’m a number 1 ice skater.
                                          I’m an OK somersaulter.
                                        I’m an outstanding dancer.
                                              I’m an OK sleeper.
                                            I’m an epic swimmer.
                                             I’m an OK swinger.
                                            I’m an  perfect singer.
                                              I’m an OK hiker.
                                           I’m a fantastic friend.

Here are what the final projects look like. They are so cute. Next year I will do them earlier in the year so I can learn more about my students sooner.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What should we read next? Use our 5th gr. Book Trailers to help you figure it out.

My fifth graders are learning about BOOK TRAILERS.  This is a foundational lesson for many book reviews and projects to come. We spend time as a class watching other book trailers and talking about copyright.  I have many 6th graders who came back this year and asked me things about making videos.  Students have to work in groups to come up with a book they have all read.  They then have to create a script of what they want their book trailer to look like.  The scripts have to be approved before they can begin looking for images for their trailers.   

Here are the forms we use while planning out our trailers.  All of these are completed through Google Docs.
The first scriptSo I would show them this book trailer and then I would show how my script matches the finished trailer.
Example of first script....

  1. __Imagine yourself alone in the wild________________________________
  2. That’s Me.  My name is Squirrel.  I am not a Squirrel but I am a stray.  A stray dog.___________________________________________
  3. My brother Bone an dI know how it feels.  We’re strays trying to survive._______________________________________________
  4. We know how to hunt and find food.  Our mother taught us before she disappeared._______________________________________________________
  5. _We try to hide from humans.  They could be mean and leave us on the side of the road.__________
  6. But we always had each other.
  7. Until Bone got adopted and I was left all alone._
  8. Scare and hunger I wondered through the woods.  Looking for a place to stay.
  9. _________I tried to track Bone like my mama taught me.
  10. I miss him.  I want a home too and I’m really hungry.
  11. Wait, I hear something.
  12. Oh, no they look hunger too.
  13. Will Squirrel ever find Bone?  Will she ever find a good home?  Find out by reading Ann M. Martin’s A Dog’s Life: The autobiography of a Stray.__________________________________________

After the students have their 1st script approved they then move towards gathering their digital pictures. We spend a lot of time discussing copyright and citing sources. We also learn how to use the Advanced Search Features of Google to find copyright free pictures. Here is an example of a digital storyboard.

Here are our book trailers. They are still coming in so be sure to revisit.

day BoMondayok Tra


Tuesday Book Trailers


(not linked yet)


Whatever After bad hair day

(not linked yet)

Friday Book Trailers

Monday, December 14, 2015


Likes this article ALOT so I wanted to share it on my blog.  Many of my kids are HEARING what is means to be a good digital citizen (that doesn't mean they do it all they time)but now I need to move them to the next step of becoming a digital leader. This visual helped me understand the concept better.

Moving Students from Digital Citizens to Digital Leaders


Friday, December 11, 2015

On the RIGHT track..

I received some confirmation today that the Forest Hills Media Specialists are moving towards the right direction with our Reinventing the Library program.  The White House came out with their National Educational Technology Plan and many of the concepts we are building into our district media curricula were listed on this plan.  This graphic was extremely helpful to understand the directions that our country wants to follow when implementing technology in our schools.


A few important concepts I pulled out from the plan were:

Technology also can help capture learners’ attention by tapping into their interests and passions.

Technology can enable personalized learning or experiences that are more engaging and relevant.

Technology can help organize learning around real-world challenges and project-based learning—using a wide variety of digital learning devices and resources to show competency with complex concepts and content. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Monsters took over Summit! Reading will give you Goosebumps!


We placed a random monster leg on the stairway to get the students thinking about what the theme could be this year.  

We just completed our fall book fair!  The air was filled with monsters as students competed in a Monster Mash contest, in which they were asked to create a monster at home out of everyday objects.  The students would then vote on their grade level  monsters and the winner would receive a gift certificate to the book fair.  Take a look at the monsters that were created.


Noah and Nolan were our 1st and 2nd gr. winners.  

More Amazing Monsters



Mr. Devine's 6th grade class led the pack for our All for Books Contest.  This was a contest where we collected extra money to buy books and materials for the Media Center and the classrooms.  Together Summit raised $459.01.  This is also a service project because Scholastic will match that amount and donate that amount of books to kids in needy or distressed situations.  


Our top contributors to the All for Books got to help mummify the principals on our morning announcements.  The principals then visited the classrooms so students could enjoy the MUMMIFICATION!  This was a reward for Summit students selling over 1,000 books at the fair.  We sold 1556 to be exact.  That equals 280,080 minutes read.  Congratulations to all!

I love listening to students discuss books from the fair.  This is a memory I have from my childhood and I want them to have it also.