This week, I shared South Carolina Children’s Book Award Nominee Booktalks with 4th graders. I continued reading The One and Only Ivan with one 4th grade class and they Skyped with their Global Read Aloud pals in Canada.
Kindergarten students are learning about the 5 senses in their classroom. I have a lesson I love (I’ve written about it before) that ties in perfect with the 5 senses. I read Skunkdog and then we have a smell “test.” I dab a cotton ball with vanilla and they have to guess what the smell is. They “vote” on the SMARTBoard. Their choices are cookie (that’s the correct answer), tree, peppermint, or lemon. As they vote, they are creating a graph of their choices. After everyone votes and checks out, we count the number of votes each smell got and then I reveal what the answer is. It’s fun. I like it and so do they.
Our 5th grade Media Technology students produced their first podcast. I hope this will happen weekly.
I hosted a Book Taste on Thursday for 2 5th grade classes. The teacher requested that I introduce some good picture books to her classes…she has noticed that they are only checking out chapter books or novels (whether or not that is “just right” for them). There are so many wonderful picture books out there that are better for upper elementary, that I was happy to do this lesson! Instead of regular book talks (like I’ve done in the past for this lesson), I decided to use the Book Taste (or speed dating) model…I did this a couple of times last year and it worked really well. It worked great this time too! Basically, you pull one book per student and set them around a table with paper and a pencil. The students spend about 2 minutes with each book and write down the title of the book, any notes they want to write down about it, and circle if they want to read it or not. After the 2 minutes is up, they exchange books with someone else. Easy! AND, a number of them checked out great picture books.
On Friday and Saturday, I went to Greenville to attend the AASL Fall Forum. The topic was Transliteracy. To me, this refers to how we gather and receive information – via print formats (books, magazines, pictures) and digital formats (eBooks, blogs, podcasts). It is about how we integrate all literacies in our teaching (media literacy, information literacy, etc.) On Friday, Henry Jenkins spoke much about what I learned last year when I attended the Reimagine:Ed conference in Atlanta. The idea of making the library a space where students can create and feel safe and make mistakes. The importance of blending our spaces so that we have a good, balanced collection of print materials and digital materials. On Friday AND Saturday, Kristin Fontichiaro spoke to us about the practical side of making what Jenkins spoke about work – if that makes sense. I liked that she was there to bring that side into it – YES, we want to be there for kids to create and research and take their time exploring, but HOW do we do that when there is hardly any time for their teachers to TEACH? And, how do we connect it to Common Core? Barbara Jansen completed the day with lessons and examples of how to teach these concepts to our students. My biggest take away from her presentation was to remember to relate what we are doing back to the real world. For example, when doing research on inventions, go beyond just what year was it invented, who invented it, etc. Relate it back to our world now. How do we use the invention, does it make life easier, what would it be like if that item had never been invented, etc. Or, even better, present a problem to them and have them invent something to solve the problem. Always think about if the question can be answered with a simple copy and paste. If it can, then you have to think deeper. I am going to try to remember this when working with my teachers to do research – especially with the upper grade levels. However, if I think about some of the projects I’ve done in the past with my teachers, they do a good job with this as it is. We talk a lot at my school about higher order thinking and “bumping it up.” Overall, a worth it way to spend my Friday and Saturday 🙂
Enjoy the rest of your day, blog friends!