Thursday, March 29, 2012

Native American Wordle

Our 5/6th grade AG class has been working on researching various Native American tribes in the United States including elements like housing, dress, government, food, and how they survive their climate. The used this information to write a paper including full citations, then also created a Wordle from their finished paper (after editing and typing!) The AG teacher and I discussed how to grade the Wordle since if they are using a variety of vocabulary you can't count on certain words to stand out. As a result, what we settled on for the Wordle grade is relevance of the larger words to the tribe as a whole. (The paper is getting its own separate grade to be combined with the Wordle grade.) Here are some of the finished Wordles and some pictures of the citations being created and paper being edited and typed.

Citation Maker

Edited paper and creating Wordle

Editing and Typing

Making your Wordle

They enjoyed the Wordles and they are quick and simple to do with an already typed paper! It helped them see the main ideas of their papers in a very visual way!

Easter Fun!

Usually I don't get a lot of time for just fun stories and activities with the kids due to all the things we need to cover and I mostly focus more on information sources, Super 3, and things like that. However, sometimes we have a double class and I take the opportunity to have fun with some books and activities with the kids, especially around holidays! Today I had a Kindergarten class and it is the day before Spring Break, so we read a couple of books about Easter eggs, and then I had the kids create Easter eggs using patterns of colors. (I knew they were working on pretty advanced patterns in their calendar time in the classroom by this time of year.)

Here are the books we read and some of their patterns!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lino It!

I just came across a great resource called Lino that I thought a lot of us could use in a lot of different ways. I have just started playing with it but I think it could be used in a thousand different ways. You could use it as grade levels to collaborate and share sources or ideas, you could use it with students to pose a question and have them each post a sticky note response, use it as a brainstorming board with students, and probably a lot more I haven't thought of yet! Let me know if you come up with other good ideas! My first thought was collaboration, my second thought was you could have a daily question that students each post an answer sticky note.

Here is an example of one I started brainstorming some of the projects I do with my 3rd graders.

It says there is no limit to the number of boards you can have and is easy to figure out and use. It is free, you just need an email to make an account. You can embed them on your website, give links, make them public or private, and allow others to also post sticky notes. Could be a great resource for LTMs (Learning Team Meetings at my school where grade levels meet to plan) or for a canvas for each unit you do with your grade level? Just a thought that I wondered if some of you might be able to use. Here is a how to.

Have a great Wednesday!

Who We Are

I have not been posting as much the last week or so because we have been busy here at Caleb's Creek getting ready for a school board presentation about our school. We do so much here that we wanted to show it was hard to pare it down, get it together, find video and pictures to represent so many things, but we did it! Here is our final presentation that my principal gave to the school board. After the first few information slides, you will see slides with video and pictures representing each level of the Bloom's Taxonomy, and then some other videos too. As you are looking at the presentation, just either click on the slide or use the space bar to advance to the next video or slide.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Egyptian Newspapers

A class about to read The Egypt Game came in to do some quick research on an aspect of Egypt. We let them look around the livebinder I had made and choose their own topic, but we talked about thinking about narrowing down a topic so it is not too broad. Many of them chose a god or goddess which surprised me. I thought most of them would want to do something with mummies or pyramids. Some did those, and some did particular Pharoahs also, but the majority were researching a god.

Our original plan was for them to do a museum box but I am still learning how to use that so we changed it to the newspaper generator. I was excited to use it, I posted about it earlier this year, but had not used it with a class yet. We had the students type their articles and do citations in Microsoft Word first so they could save it, spell check, and edit since you can't save it in the newspaper generator. Once they had that, they went to the newspaper site and just copied and pasted it in. NOTE: The newspaper generator only allows a certain amount of text. It didn't say that anywhere on the site, so we didn't know, but it would cut off the articles partway through if they were longer or not have all the citations, etc. So, we just had the students print off their Word document also to be able to grade the whole thing, which was another plus for having them type it in Word first.

The kids really got a kick out of making their articles look like they were actually in a newspaper. I do wish they didn't limit the space amount though.

Here are some samples of finished products - keep in mind some got cut off.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Please keep helping us try to win $25,000 for our school!

I have been nominated for "Best Teacher in America" from Worth Ave Group! Please consider following this link and voting for me by 'nominating' me as well to help our school win! The $25,000 for technology in the school would be well used!! (There is a voter prize as well!) You can nominate once a day per email address through March 31st. The teacher that receives the most nominations can win for the school:

GRAND PRIZE (1): The winning Nominated Teacher ("Winning Teacher") will receive (1) iPad 2 16GB unit and (30) iPod Touch 8GB units for use in Winning Teacher’s classroom. The Winning Teacher’s School will be given $25,000 to be used for technology in the School.

SECOND PRIZE (5): Each Nominated Teacher who is a runner-up (“Runner-up”) will receive (1) iPad 2 16GB unit as well as $1,000 to be used for technology in the School.

VOTER PRIZE (10): 1 iPad 2 16GB to 5 random voters and 1 iPad 2 16 GB to the persons who referred each of them.

Please consider taking a minute and nominating Holly DuBois at Caleb's Creek Elementary in Forsyth County in NC. (Or taking a minute each day!) Thank you!

Voting ends soon (on March 31st) and every vote counts!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Jog the Web to Learn About Coca-Cola

I recently learned about Jog the Web, a source that lets you take a group of sites you want kids to go through, add your comments or directions, and it puts it into a webquest sort of format for you. (You can also search for and use other people's 'Jogs' that they have done.) I have a teacher currently working on a cookie marketing project with his students where they are designing cookie companies complete with budgets, storefronts, ads, recipes, and more. He asked for some advertisement sources that show advertising over history, so I collected some into a livebinder for him. When I found Jog The Web, I thought it would be a good topic to try it out on, but you could do it with anything. I narrowed it down to Coca-Cola ads over time to see how they have changed, since that is one product and one they should be familiar with. Below you can see how it looks with the directions at the top of each page directing students to think about things like who are the ads aimed at, what are they using to make you want to buy the product, and how have the ads changed over time. On the left are arrows that take them through the sites, or they can click on the page titles below the arrows.

This is a screenshot of the Jog I made about Coke.
Jog the Web was very easy to use and you can find lots of short video tutorials. I really liked this one that I posted below, and it showed me enough in about 5 minutes to get me off and running. I made my jog in about 5-10 minutes once I had all the sites I wanted to use.

If you create a Jog, please leave the url and topic in the comments below! I think my next one might be on different authors maybe?

How to make a Jog using JogTheWeb from James Smith on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Leading up to Titanic!

The 100th year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is coming up. Kids are always interested in this topic (and I have to admit, so am I!) There are some fun things going on right now that can lead up to it. How can you participate? Here are some ideas.

-Follow Titanic on Twitter and see what people were doing at this time 100 years ago involving the Titanic. For example, here is a tweet from March 12th.

-Look at biographical sketches of people on the Titanic.

-Discuss who survived the most and least and why.

-Look at stats of the Titanic and use in math lessons or compare with other objects. (Width, length, top speeds, length of the gash, depth of the wreck, etc.)

-Look at the Online Titanic Museum and see colors, tiles, swatches, and more from the actual ship.

What other sources have you found? What lessons are you doing with your kids?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thank you Deborah Diesen!

It started with a blog post about our Literacy Day a couple of weeks ago. One of our Kindergarten classrooms did their door decoration about The Pout Pout Fish and the Big Big Dark. Well, imagine our glee when the author herself left a comment on our blog post! I looked up Deborah Diesen's blog and found her email, and emailed her to thank her. I also asked her if she would be willing to skype with the class and she said Yes!!

On Monday I got a wonderful envelope with a picture of Mr. Fish on the return address label.
I opened it and was so excited to find bookmarks for the students each signed by Mrs. Diesen herself!

 Today was the big day! At 9:00 we Skype called Mrs. Diesen and got to talk to her! She answered lots of questions. Many were typical Kindergarten questions such as what are your kids names and how old are you, but some asked book questions like how did you come up with Mr. Fish and are you working on a fourth book. She was very good with the kids and answered everything they asked her with a smile. The kids learned that often authors and illustrators don't work together to make the books, she has a fourth book coming out soon, and she came up with Pout Pout Fish when she was making faces trying to make her son laugh one day!

 Then, she read us Pout Pout Fish and the Big Big Dark!
 She even taught us hand motions to go with the refrain so we could do it together.
 Strong like a shark!

 We passed out the bookmarks and the kids were so excited! One even put both hands on her face and made a face almost like the Home Alone face she was so happy!

THANK YOU MRS. DIESEN! You made our day and helped this group get even MORE excited about reading!! We appreciate the bookmarks and your time. I think these kids will always remember this experience. I can't say enough about how much we appreciate it and how much we enjoyed it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

We Choose the Moon

I came across We Choose the Moon today while looking through some Livebinders. It is a really interesting site with animation, photos, video, and actual audio of the Apollo 11 flight that landed on the moon. Even your most reluctant learners will be interested in this! Starting with pre-launch and following the astronauts through the mission, you see how the rocket worked, hear audio from the actual event, and the moon landing (though not the actual walk on the moon.) This could be a good interest grabbing introduction to a moon, space, or space exploration unit. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

First Try with Storybird

I was looking at the site Storybird the other day and coincidentally today a 2nd grade teacher asked me about using it with her class. She is having them write fairy tales and wants to use the site along with it. We talked about it a little and I had a lightbulb moment and suggested maybe we read Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude to introduce it. (That is a book about two kids writing a story together and they keep trying to hijack it to go their way.) So, we are both super excited to see what the kids come up with. In preparation, I attempted my first Storybird. Please be understanding - I made it in about 20 minutes and part of that time was figuring out how it all worked!

If the Zoo Came to You! by hdubois on StorybirdWhat are some new fun tools you are using with kids?

Monday, March 5, 2012

North Carolinian Biography Project

'Tis the season for biographies it seems! We have been busy working with third graders on biographical research about famous local people who had an impact on the Piedmont area of North Carolina. It is surprisingly difficult to find much on many of these people, so we relied mostly on NCpedia for information. It is a higher reading level, but the students were working in pairs so they helped each other. If anyone has a suggestion for slightly lower level information on some of these people, I would love the help! Most of them are not on World Book or other online encyclopedia sources. I learned a lot about some people too!

Anyway, back to the project. Students drew a name of a person, working in partners they read about them on NCpedia and took notes on early life, education, accomplishments, and how they helped people in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. Then, they left the computers and put the information into sentences at the tables to encourage them to use their own words. We had them keep the sentences short because of the final project we were doing, but I will get to that in a minute. Next, they typed the sentences in Word to save them, saved a picture, and used a citation maker to create the citation for their information source. Once that was all done, they made one of these!

These magazine covers turned out pretty well and the kids got a kick out of a different way to present the information. (They mostly loved choosing the colors for the sentences really!) These are from BigHugeLabs and are very easy to do, but you can't save works in progress which is why we had them type into Word first so they would not lose work if they ran out of time or something happened. Then, they just cut and pasted the sentences into the cover. **Be aware - if the sentence is too long, it gets cut off. They do have full citations, but you can't see the whole thing on the image. That is why we had them keep their sentences shorter. It did take us a little longer than we expected for the kids to get everything done, so we scheduled 5 classes instead of the original 4 and were done in about two weeks probably. I think if we had an information source that didn't take quite as much time for them to wade through it would help.

Any ideas for information sources on local famous North Carolinians? I found lots of lists, but most of them didn't impact North Carolina, lots of actors, etc.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Literacy Day 2012

What a day this is! We have had live author visits, Skype author visits, a news reporter and other mystery readers, and so many people dressed as their favorite book characters. I am glad I am not the one judging the door decorations this year - they are all wonderful! Here are some pictures from our day!

Author Visit from Jane Edwards and Renee Pappas

Skyping with Suzanne Slade
Wait, who is that sleeping in the office? Sleepy?

Katie Nordeen from Fox 8

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...

Judy Moody and Grace

There was an old lady who swallowed some leaves...

Piggie and Elephant

Why is the Evil Queen using our office computer?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Sneezy was literally out sick!)

Asleep on the job again!! We need to talk to that Sleepy!
Library Door - The Giving Tree (the theme this year is going green so this is 100% reused materials!)

Very Hungry Caterpillar

There was an old lady who swallowed some clover

Dinosaurs Love Underpants

Pout Pout Fish

Amazing Grace

Bridge to Terabithia

Watsons Go to Birmingham

LOVE that they posted the permission to use the Pigeon character from Mo Willems!

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Ramona the Pest

Oh the Places You Will Go

The Foot Book

Green Eggs and Ham

The Giving Tree

Hello Ocean

Where the Wild Things Are

Green Eggs And Ham

Jan Brett

The Lorax

Bad Case of Stripes

4th grade doors from Soft Rain

Al Capone Does My Shirts

Island of the Blue Dolphins

The Landry News

Mr. Lincoln's High Tech War

Sleepy Again???