At a recent department meeting, one of our student teachers presented an awesome way she has been sharing what is going on in her library. She and her supervising library teacher have been making Animoto videos. I'm always snapping pictures (backs of heads!) of my library and I also do a weekly recap on my school blog...why not put the two together with Animoto!
I have made Animoto videos for the past two weekly recaps and they look awesome! Animoto is very easy to use. Each video took maybe 5 minutes to put together.
I love alphabet books. I still have The Flower Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta, which I got when he visited my elementary school in 2nd or 3rd grade. He signed J is for Jessica inside the cover :)
I don't typically have too many of my 2nd-5th graders checking out alphabet books so I decided to make alphabet books a center where students could work on a library alphabet book for our library. I made up an alphabet book template in word, printed out the pages, and made a folder to hold new and unfinished pages. I pulled a bunch of my alphabet books to use as inspiration. I love seeing what they come up with for each letter:
Do you blog with your students? I have a Weebly blog I use with students. I have been using the blog for a few months now and it has been working out great! The kids love it and it serves many purposes:
a way to communicate with students and families - I post fun things we have done in the library, a weekly recap, student work, and book reviews. Parents can see how many different things their kids are learning in library, which is always important!
a tool for teaching cybersafety and digital citizenship - I use the blog as a way to teach my cybersafety lessons. I teach them what a blog is, how it can be used, and how to use a blog appropriately. Students learn how to speak with each other in a safe, online environment. I don't have them publishing on the blog themselves and all comments are moderated before the are posted. If I find someone tried to post an inappropriate comment, it is a great time to talk with that particular student about why it was not appropriate and how they could re-write their comment. We also cover digital etiquette such as not typing in all capital letters, THINKing before we post, etc. It's always great to talk about digital citizenship but the blog allows the kids to use what they learn in a real setting.
a place to curate student work - I use the blog to share student work. Kids can see what other classes are working on, as can parents and other teachers.
generate discussion - students can write book reviews and discuss different books they're reading. They either write them on a book review form or can share them with me in GoogleDocs. I post the reviews and students discuss the books in the comments. I also write reviews myself as I finish books so they can keep up with what I'm reading.
Back in March, I attended the MA School Library Association conference. One of the many fantastic speakers I saw was Buffy Hamilton. While perusing her blog, I came across a post about a book tasting. She is in a high school library and I wondered whether something like a book tasting would work in an elementary setting. Low and behold, one of her elementary level colleagues at the Barrow Media Center had indeed done a 5th grade book tasting. It looked like a fantastic way to expose students to new and different books.
I decided to try out a fiction book tasting with my 4th graders. I made up a "menu", pulled a ton of different chapter books, and set up some classical music on Pandora. This particular class has been challenging to engage and have them stay focused and working independently on most activities we have done this year. As you can see, they were incredibly focused and engaged throughout our entire book tasting! They took new books home and wrote thoughtful responses on their menus! Success!
This is what my menus looked like, although I might change a few things in the future. On the left, you can see in my note to myself this book was taken out by a super reluctant reader. He never wants to take anything out, and his comments on the cover are basically his attitude toward most books I show him. But, he gave it a try and see what happened! On the right is one of my best, most excited readers who ended up taking one of my favorites, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
I'm looking forward to doing a nonfiction tasting with these kiddos next week!
Did anyone else have April Vacation this past week? It was so nice to have a break and we have been having amazing weather in New England (except for today) all week. I hope anyone else who was off had a relaxing break!
Anyway, Library Lady had a few questions about the nonfiction folders in the last post. In case anyone else had the same questions, I put together a little how-to for the folders.
I used plain manilla file folders which we have plenty of at my school. I folded them like this:
Open the folder all the way. Fold in one half to the middle line.
Fold the other side so the edges meet in the middle. If you like crisper edges, you can run a pen across the fold.
In terms of logistics, I have about 80 3rd graders so while it was a lot of folders to make, it wasn't terrible. I did a bunch while watching TV at home and I had one of my fantastic volunteers help with the rest. I don't have time to spend having the kids make them since my teaching time is 15 minutes-ish. If you have the time, I'm sure most kids could fold their own folders. I may also be mildly obsessive about things being straight and I like how all the folders are uniform on the outside. The insides are all over the place and definitely reflect a little bit of personality of each student.
For the insides, I looked at a lot of mini book and foldables online and decided which I thought would work best for my purposes. I made a template for each text feature. Click here to access the template in GoogleDocs. I used paint chips with cut outs for the Table of Contents so there are only TOC labels in the template.
I had students select a book from a cart of books I pulled and the one thing I would do differently would be one book per student. I had kids in different classes using the same books so I had to pull the right books for each class before the class came in (again - short teaching time made it worthwhile for me to have the books and folders ready to go so not everyone would have this problem). If they could just keep their folder tucked in their book, it would be great!
Sorry for the lack of posting! I have had 3 super busy weekends in a row!
My 3rd graders have been working on nonfiction book projects. I gave them a pre-assessment to determine which nonfiction text features they understood and remembered and which I should focus on during our nonfiction unit. First, I had students choose a nonfiction book to work with. I had pre-selected books with the nonfiction text features we would be studying and were about 3rd grade level, give or take. Students could choose one that was just right and of interest to them.
Each week, we focused on a new nonfiction text feature and how it helps them be better readers. Then, students would locate the text feature, fill out a mini book or other paper depicting the feature, and add it to their nonfiction book project folder.