Friday, December 2, 2011
Here is an outline of what I did each week with the students. I used the AWESOME discussion guide from Kate and Scholastic to guide my planning of this unit. Where it says "discussion questions" below, I used the questions from this guide. The other great thing about Scholastic is, they released this book as both a paperback and hardcover at the same time - there is no way I could have purchased 17 copies of the book in hardcover, but could do it in paperback! I assigned chapters for them to read every week, but they could always read as much as they wanted to, I had some kids finished with the book by the second week!
Marty McGuire Book Study Unit
Week one: Introduce the book and the author, look at Kate Messner’s website. Give the kids bookmarks I created.
Week two: Use discussion questions for chapter 1-3 and also read a picture book version of Princess and the Frog.
Week three: Use discussion questions for chapters 4-6, use the databases (our school subscription to World Book Kids and PebbleGo) and National Geographic site to gather information on frogs. This is where I was hoping to bring in a live frog, but catching a bull frog seemed much easier for Marty then it was for me!
Week four: Use discussion questions for chapter 7-9 and talk about improve and do an improve exercise (this website has some good improv exercises for kids). Introduce what reader’s theater is and give them their parts for the readers theater. We used a reader’s theater from the book: Fairy Tales Reader’s Theater by Margaret Allen from Creative Teaching Press we used the reader’s theater To Kiss a Frog
Week Five: Use discussion questions for chapters 10-12 and practice readers theater
Week six: Use discussion questions for chapters 13 & 14 and practice readers theater (we were hoping to do a Skype visit with author Kate Messner but we had a compatibility issue, she was so willing to connect with my students, but I couldn’t figure it out this time, going to try harder next time to come up with an activity that we can connect with Kate!
Week seven: Perform the reader’s theater to classmates and start writing, as a group, a book trailer for Marty McGuire (show examples of book trailers to them before we started).
Week eight: Create the book trailer – the students drew pictures illustrating the book and we used those illustrations plus some video and audio recording I took to create the book trailer. I created the final product this time, but might have the students try their hand at it next time.
Here are the finished book trailers:
Next up we will be doing a unit using Mr. Poppers Penguins starting in January.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I thought back to this summer when we visited author Matt Tavares and his family and we went on a letterbox hunt for some letterboxes that his family had created and hidden on Marginal Way in Ogunquit. Letterboxing is a lot like GeoCaching but without having to use a GPS system - the low tech version. Someone hides a box somewhere, in the box is usually a stamp and an ink pad, a notebook and sometimes a little trinket. You can get the directions to different letterboxes at sites like this one or you can just send out the directions to friends and family who might want to go on a treasure hunt.
My second graders were still having trouble understanding how to find books in our catalog (Destiny Quest) and then writing the call number down and finding the book in the library, I thought this might be a great way to create a "scavenger hunt" to show them in a fun way how to do this.
I had some old plastic video boxes that I should have thrown out awhile ago, but just KNEW I would find something to do with them - these became my letterboxes.
I filled them with a stamp, a stamp pad and a question. I added a spine label to the spine of the boxes and a sticker asking not to remove the boxes (so far only one student has removed one and asked what it was!)When the students find the boxes from the clues I give them they get to stamp the stamp on their paper and in the box there is a question they have to answer (they write the answer on the same paper that they put their stamp on). SInce I have fairly large classes this year I had the class break up into groups of three or four to do this activity.
I created 8 letterboxes and "hid" them in the library. I put the clues on index cards and each group got a clue, when they found the letterbox and answered the question they came back to me for another clue, this way I did not have more than one group looking for the same clue at the same time. Here is an example of one of the clues that the students needed to use to find the letterbox -
1. Go to Destiny on the computer
2. Search for a book on Hank Aaron
3. Write down on scratch paper the call number of the book
4. Find the book in the library using the call number to guide your way. You should find a letterbox near the book. Follow the instruction on your letterbox sheet once you have found the letterbox.
I hid letterboxes in all the key areas of the library (non-fiction, biographies, fiction, everybody, magazines and reference sections.) This lesson followed my lesson on how to use Destiny and a review of call numbers and areas of the library.
I am planning on doing this a few times this year to reienforce the skill so hopefully by the time they leave second grade they will be EXPERTS at finding materials in our library.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
For most of my kindergarten students this was not only the first time they had seen a virtual visit (Jarrett did the visits every hour on the hour via his UStream channel from 9am-5pm) but also the first time they had ever seen a REAL author. We were able to interact with Jarrett by posting questions using the chat function on UStream. My kids were SOOO excited when Jarrett answered our questions "ON TV" (as one of my kids told me later).
Friday, October 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Matt Tavares' new book, Over The River And Through The Wood is a beautiful picture book of the song we all know, Matt also included some background information on the song that I didn't know about! I just love the book trailer!
Laurel Snyder's new book, Bigger Than a Bread Box is about divorce, Bruce Springsteen songs, Baltimore, Atlanta and a magic bread box. It is SUCH a great book, and I am not just saying that because she is a friend and because at her book party on Friday night at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur she is serving TastyCakes (butterscotch krimpets - YUM!) I gave the book to a 5th grader on Friday, she read the book this weekend and had the BIGGEST smile on her face Monday morning when she came in to tell me she loved it - she keep stopping me in the halls telling me more about what she liked about it!
There is also a slew of other great books out today - check out a list and book trailers at Kid Lit Frenzy.
Who says kids books are dead???
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
I have been busy in the media center and here are a few things we've been working on:
Follow that Peach - we have sent our decorated peaches to Van Meter, Iowa as part of a multi school project - the students are so excited to see where their peaches are going! Here is a blog that the schools participating will be posting to.
Dot Day (which is actually on Thursday). I have loved the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds for years, so when I heard about Dot Day from my friends Shannon Miller and John Schu I knew I had to do something. Today I showed my 3rd grade technology class the TumbleBook of The Dot then the kids made their own Dots using the program KidPix. Tomorrow I am going to show my Kindergarten classes the TumbleBook and I am also going to read them the book New York's Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne. We are going to talk about heroes and how people leave their mark on the world. Then the kids will create their own dot with paint and crayons and markers.
And finally, today I had my first Club Click meeting. Shannon Miller and Diane Cordell started Club Click last year at Shannon's school Van Meter - well a bunch of us joined in on the fun this year and started clubs in our schools. My club is an after school club for fourth and fifth graders. We will learn about digital photography, share photographs with the other schools and learn how to use digital photography to tell a story. The kids were very excited today and they started taking photographs of our school to introduce our school to the other members of Club Click.
I also had a few costumes already this year - the first one was for a little video I created for an in-service meeting of media specialist for our county - I am SUPER LIBRARIAN and my tag line for the video was 'Even Super Heroes Need Capes" this was in reference to the fact that we all need mentors and a PLN (personal learning network) to rely on as we try to be the best librarians/media specialists we can be!
And my next costume was for a contest author Jarrett Krosozka (and fellow Worcester, MA native!) was holding for the book release of the latest Lunch Lady book - Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco. Even if I didn't win, it was worth it to see my 13 yr old daughter absolutely MORTIFIED by me dressing up in the middle of downtown Atlanta (she was my photographer)! I kept telling her it could have been worse and I could have worn the cape too!
It's been a busy first six weeks and a great, if not hectic, start to our year!
Monday, August 15, 2011
This year my media center schedule looks a lot different than in years past- I am teaching a fifth grade technology special (basically teachers planning period) everyday and teaching a third grade technology special two days a week. I scheduled all of kindergarten, first and second grade to come in once every other week for story time. With the success of my readers theater collaboration with our fourth grade gifted teacher, I have had two second grade teachers ask if I can collaborate with them with their gifted students twice a week. I am still working with the fourth grade gifted teacher with a reader's theater unit, only this year instead of meeting with two small groups once a week I will be meeting with one very LARGE group once a week. After I put my schedule down on paper, I realized I have very little flexible time to meet with classes for projects and special things. I am hoping that as the year goes on I will realize my schedule isn't as packed as it seems and I can fit in more special collaborations, but time will tell.
|Summer Reading Bulletin Board, filled with postcard book reviews sent in by students this summer|
I have also been looking at the possibility of acquiring some Nooks in our library. I have been working with the Principal trying to figure out the logistics and the funding and am hoping ((fingers crossed)) that we can get these in here sometime this fall.
I do admit, 5am comes AWFULLY early and I really am missing the somewhat lazy days of summer, but I think this is going to be a great year and I can't wait to see what exciting things happen here in the media center this year!
|My already out of control desk|
Monday, July 18, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
21st Century Classroom Prezi
If you have any questions or comments about the presentation please feel free to comment here.
Thanks for stopping by!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
I also have been busy talking about summer reading to my students. I have started a blog for the students to follow this summer, my goal is to post at least twice a week... we'll see how that goes. My hope is that I have some students who do log on and take a look, I have spent the year introducing small pockets of students to things like blogs and podcasts and I am hoping to expand that next year... baby steps sometimes work best in a VERY large school setting, but sometimes I am just too impatient for these baby steps to happen - I want ALL my students blogging and podcasting and sharing, but like I said, baby steps....
Speaking of summer reading, check out my friends (and FABULOUS librarians) Shannon Miller and John Schu's summer reading project - it will KNOCK your socks off (and I am wondering if I can enter a picture in their contest, even though I am not one of my students??)
Next week we will have end of the school year meetings and I will be preparing my web 2.0 course that I am teaching to some media specialists and technology specialists from my county in early June. I will also be tap dancing - our recital is in TWO weeks - YIKES!
Happy summer to those of you who have ended school and happy last days to those of you who are still dealing with the CRAZINESS of the end of the year.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
I wrote about Poem in your pocket day, but we also had a great Poetry Cafe in the Media Center - due to state testing we had some scheduling glitches in getting a lot of classes to come in and share their poems, but the classes that did get in here had a great time sharing poems they wrote and some of their favorite poems by others - my favorite was the first grade class that shared the Kentucky fight song as their group poem (can you tell where their teacher went to school!).
Not very exciting, but necessary. We were lucky that it did not take too long and in the end we were only missing about 6 items - not bad for a library with over 18,000 items!
For Children's Book Week we celebrated by having two authors visit us.
Monday we had my friend Laurel Snyder - she was GREAT - I wish more of my teachers could have listened to her, she had some great tips for my kids in their writing and was very inspiring - and FUNNY!! The best compliment to a program that you run is when you have a parent come up to you and say "Johnny came home and couldn't stop talking about the author visit"
Tuesday we had Eric Litwin, author of Pete the Cat. He was SOO FUN! His program had guitars and harmonicas and storytelling and just a lot of FUN.
Both is these authors have some AWESOME stuff coming up and if you are local, you MUST get them booked for your school for next year - I really think both of these people are going to be BIG (as in, I knew them when kind of big...)
Tomorrow is our 4th annual used book sale (here is a story from the first sale we held) - I am so excited, I have been sorting books all week and we have some great ones to sell - I am hoping we make about $500 to donate to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Monday, April 18, 2011
First up, one of my first grade classes Skyped with a kindergarten class at Van Meter school in Van Meter, IA where the FABULOUS Shannon Miller is the media specialist. My kids shared their poems and her kindergartners shared a poem all together that they had learned.
Next up, one of my fifth grade classes Skyped with a group of students and teachers and even the Principal at Brook Forest school in Oakbrook, IL where Mr. Schu is the media specialist (and also the coordinator of this FABULOUS day). My students shared their poems and Mr. Schu had students and teachers share poems with us. Our favorite was when his principal shared a poem about picking your nose with us!!
My fourth grade gifted students (who have Skyped with me before) got to share poems with 4th grade students at Kickapoo School in Kickapoo, WI. Mrs. Malphy, the media specialist, even shared a great poem about rocks making good pets!
My last Skype of the day was with Mr. Gagnon's 4th graders in NH and one of my kindergarten classes. Of course I couldn't help but start off our Skype visit with a little Red Sox talk, but wouldn't you know it, one of his students, sitting front and center was a Yankee fan! The 4th graders shared their poetry with us and I had two of my kindergarten students share poems that they had written THEMSELVES.
It was an awesome day and one totally worth all the hoops I have jumped through this year in order to be able to use this resource. In my county, Skype is not readily available to all teachers and I went through MANY hoops and begging and pleading to be able to use it. Hopefully projects like this will show the people in my county what a great resource Skype (and/or some kind of video conference software) can be.
Check out my video with some pictures of the day and read about the celebration at Mr. Schu & Mrs. Miller's blog and at Mrs. Malphy's smilebox presentation.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Our reading specialist arranged to have books given to each teacher for their classroom and a guest reader to visit each classroom. Some of the guest readers included people from inside our school community (Principal, Assistant Principals, technology specialist etc..) and people from outside our school. I arranged to have the mascot from our local minor league baseball team, the Gwinnett Braves and a local tv weather man (Steve Milone from Fox 5) come and participate in our reading celebration. A tradition I started when I worked at St. John Neumann continued again this year, having the TEACHERS dress like a book character. We had some great ones, Pippi Longstocking, Captain Underpants and of course the Cat in the Hat. I gave all the teachers who participated a $10 gift certificate to our book fair (which was ending on Friday). I had been working on my costume ever since I saw the 360 theater production of Peter Pan in Atlanta, I was Tinker Bell and my costume included a light up skirt and lights in my hair - it was FABULOUS! We also had the kids participate by having crazy hair day. The students were encouraged to bring in $1 and they could wear their hair as CRAZY as they could get it. The proceeds from crazy hair day go toward our literacy team and purchasing new books for our book room.
Here is a short video of some of the fun we had on Friday!
Friday, February 18, 2011
I read one of my favorite books about the subject, Lookin for Bird in the Big City by Robert Burleigh. I love reading this book because of the rhythm of the words as you read it. The book is about what *MIGHT* have happened when Miles Davis came to New York City to find and play jazz with his idol, Charlie "Bird" Parker.
After we read the book I play parts of an episode of Reading Rainbow - Hip Cat by Jonathan London. The books is read by the FABULOUS Ann Duquesnay, I don't think I could do this book justice after hearing her read it! If you are lucky enough to have access to Discovery Education streaming video you can download the episode from there (which is what I did). The kids love the music and it is a great introduction to jazz music.
Another thing I did this week for Black History month was with third grade, we did a webquest on Frederick Douglas. You can access the webquest here, but the links are specific to some databases that my school has access to as part of Galileo (our state database portal). I have done quite a few of these webquests with third grade in the past few weeks and they are great for two reasons, one is that they get to learn about the different databases that our school has available and how to naviagte them and two, they learn some facts about the person we are researching (the people are all part of the third grade social studies curriculum). You can take a look at some of the other webquests I created here, but realize that many of the live links will not work unless you are part of my school district.
I hope everyone has a GREAT weekend, it is 70 degrees here in Atlanta today - not bad weather for February!!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
To make the lanterns I printed out this template, I cut off the directions part of the template and enlarged just the template onto an 8-1/2x11 piece of red paper. I hand these out to the kids and they follow me step by step as we create the lantern. I think with my kindergarten students it is the following directions part that is making it difficult. My first and second graders are having a much better time creating the lanterns.
According to Grace Lin, this year, the year of the rabbit "should be a should be a gentler and smoother one" - I sure hope Grace is right!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Galileo, our state database system is being threatened. Our new state education superintendent Dr. John Barge left if off the new budget proposal. The state DOE stated that while it is useful it is not necessary.
I have my students use Galileo databases on a daily basis (example here ) and I cannot imagine not having access to resources like this for my students. Martha Powell, a Georgia media specialist has a great letter up on the GLMA blog about WHY we need resources like this in our schools.
In my own school this week budgets were again cut. The good news is I will have a job as a library media specialist at my current school and I will still have a full time clerk. The bad news is we are having to do more with less staff and this includes me teaching specials next year and I am sure my clerk will be doing many things not related to helping run the library. I am not teaching specials all day, but it does cut into time when I could be collaboratively planning lessons with teachers. I am teaching a 5th grade special this year with the technology person at our school and I have seen that the 5th grade teachers have not been collaborating on many lessons or projects with me this year. A 5th grade teacher told me it was because she figured her kids were getting "what they needed" from me during the special. While, I am teaching research and technology skills during the special class, I still think it means more to the students when both the classroom teacher and I collaborate together.
I think times will get better and I am VERY fortunate to be in a school system that does value the role of the library and having a full time certified librarian in the library. I think in the mean time, we need to roll up our sleeves and do whatever is needed to help our students be as successful as they can be - I mean, isn't that what it is all about - the kids. Sometimes I think some people forget that.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
MLK day bulletin board
We are on day FOUR of snowpocalypse 2011 here in Atlanta. ^The picture above was taken yesterday in my neighborhood. It seems to be a little better today, but since the Atlanta area does not seem to own any plows or sand trucks, we just have to wait for it to melt - which is a little hard when the temperatures seem to be staying below freezing. I have not left my neighborhood since Sunday, but I am determined to brave the ice and make it out of my neighborhood today! The kids had a great time playing in the snow the first two days, but yesterday I started hearing "I'm bored" I'm cold" I'm sick of playing in the snow" and the best was from my daughter "I hope we have school tomorrow". After two weeks of Christmas break togetherness and now this, I think we have officially had TOO MUCH family time. Unfortunatly my husband was not part of the family togetherness, he works for a local tv station and they were on "disaster" mode this week. He left our house Sunday night and he finally got to come home last night for a while before going back into the station for his "normal" shift. The news must go on!
Next week I start my annual SNOW unit in the media center, where we read snow stories and I "make" it snow in the media center - it is ALWAYS a big hit, but this year I am wondering since the students have seen so much of the real stuff if it will be as big of a hit?
I am sad that I had all kinds of things planned for this week - week two of my Martin Luther King story time (post of that to come), research with some classes, week two of my Animoto unit with 5th grade - now I have to adjust my plans and go on. I did get to read some books and catch up on some laundry, but as my thirteen year old daughter said "I'm all done with this snow now" I have to agree
Some pictures from my snow days
Here is hoping that we get some melting going on today!!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
what I've done:
* started a new IMPROVED Reading Raptors program (my school wide reading program) - I like the way this program is going, although I didn't realize how much WORK it would be for me to keep up with the reading logs and prizes - I have a few tweeks for next year, but I think I FINALLY have something I am happy with.
*brought back the weekly reference question - while I thought I would have a lot more kids participating online, I am happy with the number of kids participating and researching using BOOKS here in our library
* started the Penny Dreadful 4th grade book club. This has been SOO much more than I thought it would be. I had more kids sign up then I could take, the kids who I did take into the book club are excited and having some AWESOME conversations about books. And the most exciting thing - right before Christmas my Donors Choose project was fully funded so I am ANXIOUSLY awaiting 3 sets of books for our club- this will also allow me to add another day to the club - YAY!
* Taught the first 9 weeks of the 5th grade technology special, doing projects on Galileo, PowerPoint, digital cameras and digital photography
* Did numerous story times for grades K-2
* started year two of my collaboration with a 4th grade teacher on our reader's theater project - this year we have added blogging to the mix!
* Presented at GA COMO and at my local districts professional development day
* Ordered LOTS of new books (which I am also anxiously awaiting for)
* and lest not forget running a pretty successful book fair and a helping coordinate a VERY successful school wide literacy night
* I won a scholarship to the Follett User Conference in Chicago in March (with the CHEESIEST video ever made)
* and oh yeah, I was named Teacher of the Year at my school (which I STILL can't believe!)
I feel like I still have SOO much I want to do these next 90 days. I have Dr. Seuss day projects to get going on, a 5th grade oral history project I am trying to get off the ground with a 5th grade teacher, poetry cafe, two author visits, another book fair to run and hopefully lots more teacher collaboration. The other thing I would like to do more of is blog - I seem to have this goal every year and every year I start out strong, but then life gets to me... maybe if I had an iPad to blog on ((dreaming..dreaming..))
Happy New Year!
Oh yeah - if you are in the Atlanta area this Saturday night (1/8/11) and you LOVE kidlit - stop by the first (of hopefully many) Atlanta kidlit drink night - 6pm at the Square Pub in Decatur - I am planning on being there with the lovely and talented Laurel Snyder - it should be a FUN night!