Already making some changes in my Learning Commons after attending Reimagine:ED last weekend.
First change – bought one of these chairs for my office. We are going to see what it is like and then (hopefully) purchase 6 of them for the desktop computers in the Learning Commons.
My principal is really into the idea of putting a stage in the Learning Commons. We have been exploring and talking with the folks at Stage Depot.
I will be removing most of the tables in the library to create more open space.
And, there’s more to come! Stay tuned!
Other cool things going on in my Library Learning Commons last week include:
Skunkdog lesson/storytime with Kindergarten.
I did this lesson/storytime last year with K – 2 because Skunkdog by Emily Jenkins was a South Carolina Picture Book Award Nominee. This year, I only did it with kindergarten because A. they weren’t at our school last year and B. they are learning about the 5 senses in their classroom. This is a perfect book to tie into that! I start by showing them the front cover of the book. We talk about what they think the book will be about and why we might be reading it this week in the library. Most of them catch on to the fact that this book must be about a stinky dog or stunk and that we are reading it because they are learning about the sense of smell in their classroom. I do have to lead them to that conclusion sometimes…but, they get it. Then we read the book. After reading, we spend a little time retelling together. After retelling, it is time to checkout. As I am handing out their library cards, they come up to a cotton ball that I have put vanilla on to see if they can “guess that smell.” I set up a graph in Notebook (for the SMARTboard) and they move a box over what they think the smell is (choices are peppermint, lemon, cookie, or tree). Once everyone has had a chance to smell and guess, we count the boxes for each smell, and I reveal that the smell is COOKIE (because that is what vanilla smells like to me – and to most of them, I must say!).
With 5th graders this week, my co-teacher for that class (our Technology Integration Specialist) introduced QR codes to them on Monday (I wasn’t there – still recovering from Reimagine:ED). They had so much fun with it, so we extended the lesson for the whole week. The first day, she showed them QR codes and they scanned QR codes found around the room and in magazines and sales ads (we borrowed 12 iPads from the district office and they worked in pairs). On Tuesday, we showed them how to create their own QR codes and during this time, I decided they should create a QR code for each classroom teacher to put on their door. When you scan the code, it takes you to the teacher’s webpage. We will distribute them tomorrow. We used QR Stuff with our kids, but there are lots of apps and websites out there to explore.
I suppose this could go in my “aftermath of Reimagine:ED” section. But, during the summit, we learned about a cool project that Georgia Tech is doing: Urban Remix. It is an app/website that allows you to record and upload sounds to a map. The idea is that you can create a map that not only shows you location, but lets you hear what a place “sounds” like. It just so happens that one of my 3rd grade teachers mentioned she was starting a unit on sound with her students this week, so I told her all about it and she and another 3rd grade teacher took off with it. The folks at Urban Remix have been SO HELPFUL. It isn’t really open for everyone to make their own projects with, but they graciously gave us some “space” and I think it is really turning into something pretty cool. I won’t share “our” link just yet, but if you want to explore the app itself, you can find it here.
With Boys and Girls Club yoga this week, I read My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. Then, we got into poses from the story (lots of animals in the book that inspire poses). Our new breath for this week was Buzzing Bee Breath. We danced to a Kidz Bop song and when I stopped the song, they froze in a yoga pose. Next time, I will find a song that is either animal themed or color themed to stick with the theme of my book. Finally, during shavasana (relaxing), I read a “color meditation” to them. This worked much better than what I’ve done in the past (just have them close their eyes and listen to music. They always end up giggling or not relaxing). This meditation encouraged them to close their eyes and imagine a color filling them up and making them happy and full. We talked about the colors we imaged and then it was time to go.
Busy school week!
Personal stuff – one positive note, my mom is doing good – tired, but good. For all of you sending good thoughts to her, please keep them coming. One not so positive note, I found out this week that one of my best friends has cancer too. So, when you are sending good thoughts to my mom, please send them to her too.