In preparation for the announcement of the new 2014 Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 27, we talked about the Geisel Award and Mo Willems (will he win another?!?) We read First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Not a Box by Antoinette Portis, we watched a video of Mo Willems introducing us to his new Cat the Cat series, then we read Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep!
We studied the Geisel Award (see above) and read Chicken Said, Cluck! by Judyann Ackerman Grant and Hello, Bumblebee Bat by Darrin Lunde. Then we had a great discussion about whether they were fiction or nonfiction. My favorite response? . . “Hello, Bumblebee Bat is fiction because bats don’t talk.”–I love it when students show you that they are really thinking 🙂
We continued our study of world folktales because it connects with the country/culture informative writing research project that they have begun in Social Studies (more on that later). We read Tony’s Bread (Italy) by Tomie dePaola and So Say the Little Monkeys (Brazil) by Nancy Van Laan. We continued to think about what a folktale can tell us about a country’s culture.
Third Graders are hard at work on their Massachusetts biography projects. In Mrs. Doherty’s class, students learned how to use the research tool in Google Drive to add cited pictures to a page that they printed for classroom work. In Mrs. Cunha’s and Mrs. Lynch’s classes, students were introduced to a great new app, RWT Timeline by ReadWriteThink. It’s a super-fast and easy way to create timelines that include quick bits of information and pictures. In fact, we are loving all the new apps from ReadWriteThink
Students in the fourth grade are learning how to create books in Book Creator. Mrs. Finn’s and Ms. Hayes’ class continued their work on transforming their writing into illustrated eBooks. Mrs. Visocchi’s class, fresh off of researching National Parks, started finding Creative Commons pictures that will go into their National Parks informational eBooks.
Ms. Marcus’s class began a new challenge: Create a video book review that looks professional and effectively persuades someone else to read the book. We watched an exemplar video for the book Small as an Elephant found by Fox Hill Librarian, Mr. Murphy. Next, we created a criteria list of video elements that we thought made that video effectively persuasive and look professional. Then, students chose a book for their challenge and began planning the project using a Project Timeline. We are looking forward to creating these videos and sharing them with Mr. Murphy and students at Fox Hill.
We started research lessons about nonfiction text features, note taking strategies, and using Britannica online with the second grade for the Country/Culture project (more on that later).
iReady testing continued in the Computer Lab.
After we had sent an email to faculty telling them about how the LTC was going to be celebrating Picture Book Month, Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Potts, wrote back to say that she’d love to work on an ELA project together around picture books. We decided that we would study stories without words (aka wordless picture books) and create a writing project around illustrations. Naturally, we thought of Storybird as the perfect tool to have students look at professional illustrations and write their own stories. We were also very excited when Mrs. Parnell and Mrs. Babajtis wanted to do the project, too!
During LTC classtime, we read The Giant Seed, The Lion & the Mouse, A Ball for Daisy, and The Boy and the Airplane. While we read, we used the Visual Thinking Strategy of asking, “What is going on in this picture?” and “What do you see that makes you say that?” The students even offered their ideas of what sentences and dialogue could be on the page if it had words.
Then it was time to write our own stories. We found three sets of illustrations in Storybird that we thought would be appealing to Kindergarteners and chose five illustrations from each set. We printed them out and made a poster for each set.
To introduce the students (and the teachers) to Storybird, we read a Storybird story from the gallery called Little Panda’s Rescue. Then students did a gallery walk (museum hands and all!) to look at the three different sets of illustrations. After the class voted for their favorite one, we started brainstorming using the same VTS questions, “What is going on in this picture?” and “What do you see that makes you say that?”
We worked in small groups, each group brainstormed for one illustration in the set. We modeled how to brainstorm with one of the illustrations and then the students were able to work in their own groups (there was an adult at each group doing the writing and recording 🙂
Finally, as a class, we took everyone’s brainstorming ideas and turned them into sentences. Because the ELA learning goal for this project was to teach the writing skill of Beginning, Middle, and End, we focused on sequence and using transitional words, such as, “Then” and “Next.”
The Kindergarten teachers enjoyed this process and asked if we could print out more brainstorming sheets so the students could work on writing their own stories. Absolutely! For little ones, it’s a great idea to do an entire project as a Guided Practice which can then be done again as an Independent Practice.
Here are the stories the Kindergarteners created. We do hope you enjoy them! And keep an eye out for those transition words . . .
This week we wrote our Storybird stories! Look for a blog post featuring these great stories soon!
Continuing our study of award-winning books, we talked about the Robert F. Sibert Medal which is given to the best in children’s nonfiction. We read Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet. Not only did we learn about Tony Sarg but we also had a great discussion about biographies.
We continued to ask the questions, “What does a folktale tell us about a country’s culture?” by reading Fin M’Coul: The Giant of Knockmany Hill by Tomie dePaola (Ireland) and Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema (West Africa).
We used LTC class time to research information for our Massachusetts Biography project. We used books from the LTC, Britannica Encyclopedia Online, and Kids InfoBits for resources.
This week we worked on learning about and creating eBooks in Book Creator, one of our Core iPad Apps! Ms. Hayes’s and Mrs. Finn’s classes are working on turning work they’ve previously written into illustrated books. Mrs. Visocchi’s class has been working all week on researching National Parks so they can turn that research into nonfiction texts. Mrs. D’Elia helped students cite their sources and find missing information.
Ms. Marcus’s class finished reading Mock Caldecott books with Mr. Tiger Goes Wild and Bluebird, then they were able to vote! Check back on the LTC blog soon to find out the winner!
This week we posted about the second grade science/art green screen weather project.
The LTC had a great visit with Mr. Fuderich from Derby Academy who came to learn about the great uses of technology in the classroom here at Pine Glen.
On Thursday many fourth graders brought their new friends from the Bridges program on a tour of the school, and it wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the LTC!
The Lab was continually busy this week with i-Ready Reading Assessments. Those should wrap up next week, followed by a few weeks of Math Assessments.
Happy New Year! Since we all know how effective New Year’s Resolutions can be (note the “wink”), the LTC decided to make one this year! We will take a moment at the end of each week to write about the learning happening in the library & technology program.
We have been studying Stories Without Words and now were ready to create a Storybird story. I read a Storybird story to the students called Little Panda’s Rescue as a mentor story. Then students chose their favorite set of illustrations from three sets that I had previously selected. We are using the Visual Thinking Strategy of asking, “What is going on in this picture?” and “What do you see that makes you say that?”
We finished reading and voting for the Mock Caldecott picture books. We read The Dark and Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom. Once I tally the votes, I will announce Pine Glen’s Caldecott winner!
We read folktales from around the world to help kick off the Social Studies unit of culture and tradition. We read The Empty Pot by Demi and Martina the Beautiful Cockroach by Carmen Agra Deedy while asking, “What can a folktale tell us about a country’s culture?”
They have begun the Massachusetts biography project. We talked about how biographies are organized on the shelf (alphabetically by subject) and students had the chance to find books on their subject independently (with a little guidance). It also ended up being a great review lesson about how fiction and nonfiction are organized in the collection.
We began to implement the EdTech Team’s SMART Goal of increasing students skill and efficiency on the Book Creator app. We gave Mrs. Finn’s class the pre-assessment while Ms. Hayes’ class was ready to learn about the Book Creator project they are going to create with creative writing they have already done. Mrs. Visocchi’s class began an informative nonfiction writing project about one of their Social Studies topics, National Parks. Our district is using a new writing program called Explorations in Nonfiction Writing and Mrs Visocchi is giving this program a shot! I taught classes on finding and using print and digital resources (Britannica, Kids InfoBits, preselected web sites, and ebooks) and citing sources. More research next week!
Fifth graders did not have LTC class this week due to the new ice skating schedule.
In addition . . .
Pine Glen started the mid-year i-Ready assessments so the computer lab has been busy. Mr. Callahan has been busy editing together the green screen weather projects that he’s been working on in conjunction with the second grade and Miss Fallon. Here’s a sneak preview while you wait for the post with all the videos: