Mrs. Brand's kindergarteners were so proud today to be the teachers! Mrs. Darby and her third graders from Lawrence School in Middletown, CT celebrated Dot Day last week and wanted to share how they were making their mark. This was their very first connection! While we had some technical difficulties, we persevered. I simply gathered my students around my desktop computer and off we went.
I started talking with her class before my students came and they were so excited, nervous, and interested in what this whole thing was about. When my students arrived, we showed them how we begin a connection. First, we gave them a huge "Happy Dot Day!" which they returned. Next, I had a student come up and introduce our class. We always include our grade, school, town and state. It was so much fun to see how proud the kindergarteners were to model all of this for our buddy school.
Next, we took turns sharing some of the artwork that we each had created. My students took the first letter of their first name and covered it with dots. Mrs. Darby's students have done a ton of really neat things! They read all kinds of books with dots (I'm going to get some of the titles from her!). Students were each given 5 black dots and they created artwork from them. So creative! They also shared the dot murals
We also gave the Lawrence students a chance to ask questions and they asked things like "How old are your students?" and we told them some details about our school. One of their students even knew our Outdoor Ed teacher who makes honey and maple syrup. It was a wonderful conversation taking place between students who live in neighboring towns.
The "making" has begun! As I have written about before, I have become pretty excited about the idea of makerspaces and getting kids (and adults) to create and innovate. Last year, I was fortunate enough to have a Makerbot 3D printer grant funded (thank you Makerbot and some amazing donors!) and my third and fourth graders worked hard as they learned about creating and failing and trying again. In the spring, I applied for and was awarded a grant from a wonderful local group, the Coginchaug Valley Educational Foundation, for makerspace items. This summer, I got to work ordering some amazing items such as Raspberry Pi, littleBits, MakeyMakey, and Makedo. The librarian in me could not forget about the books and there are beginning to be more and more great ones available. To complement the maker items, I added books such as Rosie Revere, Engineer, Iggy Peck, Architect, and the Nick and Tesla series (mysteries with some making happening in between chapters).
EdcampCT took place on August 16th this year and the first session I went to was a Maker session with William Ian O'Byrne (Twitter: @wiobyrne), professor at the University of New Haven. He brought some simple supplies and got people making! The project was a LED nametag. Here is his blog post with ideas and directions. People had a lot of fun experimenting and trying to get them to work. It was a little tricky, because the LED lightbulbs are TINY and you have to get things just right in order for the circuit to work. But that challenge is part of the fun.
One of the first grade teachers at Brewster School didn't get to go to that session, but was so inspired and wanted to try it with her students. So we went for it! We only had 30 minutes that first day, which in hindsight was way too short. When the students arrived in the library, I got them seated and started out by reading Rosie Revere, Engineer. We had to skip some parts, but I wanted to establish a purpose for our project with them.
I had pre-cut card stock and students selected the color they wanted. Mrs. Loffredo helped the use a craft punch to punch a small hole in the card. Copper tape with sticky backing was given to the kids, as well as a button battery. We helped them place the 2 strips of copper tape parallel to each other and get that LED bulb in the right place so that the circuit works and the bulb lights up! Such excitement on the faces of the kids when that bulb lights up. It is not easy, which makes it all the more worthwhile.
We only got 4 of the students' nametags completed during that 30 minutes, but Mrs. Loffredo took the supplies to finish up in her classroom. She continued the experience by having students write about it in their journals. It was a wonderful way to begin another year of collaboration in the library!
Special thanks to the Coginchaug Valley Education Fund for supporting us!
Our last day of celebrating Making our Mark! What a week we have had! It is amazing to see the faces of our students as they connect with the teachers and students from around the U.S. We have had discussions about digital citizenship and geography, and shared many readings of The Dot.
Mrs. Frances' 3/4 class connected with Mrs. Flickinger's class from South Burlington, Vermont. We only had a short time to connect, but we shared some of the Trading Cards we had created using Morse Code.
Our second Skype of the day was a new connection with Ms. Garcia's 3rd grade class. To our surprise, they were from Albuquerque, New Mexico! Mrs. Greco's class loved talking with them and asking questions about New Mexico and finding out that we had a lot of similar interests. We shared our Trading Cards in Morse Code and are looking forward to sharing them with her class!
Mrs. Sorensen's 3/4 class was scheduled for 2 Skypes. Unfortunately, the students for the first Skype had to finish testing, so we asked Ms. Staudt, their librarian, to talk with us for a few minutes. They live in Mason City, Iowa, not far from the Minnesota border and only a couple hours from the Mall of America! We shared back and forth and then promised to connect again when the students could be there. Mrs. Flickinger's class of 1st graders joined us for a few minutes at the end of library class and we shared art that they had created and our trading cards.
Our last Skype of the day connected Mrs. Kozlik's 3/4 class with Mrs. Groden's 1st graders from Medford, Massachussetts. The 1st graders had made trading cards giving us ideas to try. They were amazing! Many of them said to Try Hiking. The 3rd and 4th grade students loved talking with the younger students and were terrific role models for good digital citizenship.
What a week! A huge thank you to all my connections, my students who shared these experiences with me, and the teachers who were willing to rearrange their schedules or come back to the library in order to make all of this happen! I sincerely hope that many of these connections can continue throughout the year!
Pictures are coming!
Ms. Hendrix and her 5th graders from Asheville, North Carolina connected with Mrs. Novak's class of 1st/2nd graders. We had a lot of fun sharing trading cards and morse code with them! I can tell we will be doing more connecting in the future.
Mrs. MacDonald was back again with her second graders connecting with Mrs. Sibiskie's 1/2s. We shared Randi Zuckerberg's book Dot together and then shared some trading cards. Off we went to get library books, but then came back toward the end of class to do a quick Skype with Mrs. Reed and her grade 5 students who had a cancellation. Her students did a very quick buzz read of The Dot for the 1/2s! Fastest read ever!
Mrs. Swiantak's class came back to the library for a special treat! A visit with Mr. Winner and his students from Ellicot City, Maryland. His students were in 4th or 5th grade and were thrilled to do a little Morse Code decoding. We created trading cards to send to them, but thought they might be a little small to see via Skype, so we wrote some other messages on chart paper for them. It turned out to be a little easier to read one letter at a time (it almost felt like charades). They were pretty quick at figuring out the words and it was lots of fun for my 1/2s to challenge them! One of the favorites was --• •• - -• - -•• --- -• ••- - which came straight from the fact that our town will be having our annual fair in just a week. Mr. Winner's folks gave us a short challenge: •-•• --- •••- • which summed up what we feel for all of these connections and fun: LOVE.
Mrs. Ciccone's 1/2s were connecting today with Mrs. Schmidt's class from Dacula, Georgia. Mrs. Schmidt is a New Englander living in the south, so it is always fun to talk with her about the Red Sox. We had made trading cards for this class as well, but we decided to share some of the messages on the chart paper. What fun!
Our final Skype of the day was to be with a school in Alberta, Canada, but unfortunately they were having some technical difficulties. I hope that we can connect with them soon!
Today was a day of meeting several new friends from new places! Mrs. Ghoreyeb's class of 2nd graders connected with Mrs. Crook's class from Gaston, North Carolina. We shared some of the Morse Code messages we had written on the trading cards!
Mrs. Lundt's 2nd graders met some 4th graders from Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was wonderful to meet Mrs. Kapp their library teacher as well. We read The Dot and shared Trading cards with them. We also learned some interesting facts about their school, such as that it is round!
Mrs. Lundt's class came back after lunch to meet with Mrs. Reed's 1st graders. We read The Dot together and are going to create buddy dots to send to them in Newton, Massachussetts.
Our final Skype of the day brought Mrs. Canning's kindergarteners connecting with Jerilynn Schaefer's kindergarteners in Hawaii!!! We shared art work with one another and also talked about our locations. Both groups were amazed at the time difference. It was 2:30pm EST in Connecticut, but only 8:30am in Hawaii. My students loved the fact that we were getting ready to go home, when our buddy class had just arrived at school.
I truly cannot think of a better way to have my students develop an understanding of different areas of the United States and the world. Next week in library, we will begin looking at maps to see where our connections live. A great way to learn and grow!
Ms. Stewart's class was so fortunate to start out our Skypes for the day with Mr. Plemmons and his third graders from Athens, Georgia. We took turns reading The Dot together and we discovered that our versions of The Dot were indeed different. We had some fun talking about that!
Later that morning, Mrs. Brand's kindergarteners met another group of kindergarten students from Asheville, North Carolina. Ms. Hendrix and her class were a ton of fun to connect with. We shared the art we had made by covering the first letter of their names with dots of all kinds.
We connected with Ms. Hendrix again later as Mrs. Kosienski's class met some of her 2nd graders. We read The Dot and shared our art again. We loved talking with her students!
Mrs. Caramanello's 1st graders shared their Buddy dots with Mrs. MacDonald's students from South Burlington, Vermont. We shared some of our art work and then Mrs. MacDonald had a great book to share with us called Dot. by Randi Zuckerberg and Joe Berger. How could I have missed this book? Dot spends a lot of time talking and using different digital devices, but sometimes you need to go and do something else. Not that it stops her from talking of course. Thank you for introducing us to this terrific book!
Our final skype of the day brought Mrs. Nels' class from Jupiter, Florida. It was exciting to skype with the kids from Florida and Mrs. Loffredo's students were thrilled. Most of them knew where Florida was and that it was quite far away. Mrs. Nels' class was patient with us as we shared some of the trading cards we made.
Happy International Dot Day! Today was the official day and we had a lot of fun seeing old friends and meeting new ones!
Mrs. Lonsdale's kindergarten class started us off when they connected with Ms. Broderick's 2nd graders. We read The Dot together and listened to The Dot Song. We also shared some of my students' dots - the first letter of their name covered in dots.
Mr. Bernabeo's class connected with Mrs. Sikes library class from Forsyth, Georgia. We spent some time reading The Dot and sharing the art we have been working on - our trading cards asking kids to TRY _____________ - but written in morse code!
Mrs. Costanza's 2nd graders met Mrs. Reed's kindergarteners. We took turns reading The Dot and talking about the author's message.
After lunch, Mrs. Burns' class was busy with 2 Skypes! Our first was with a local connection in Hartford, CT! It was really great to meet them and read The Dot together! Shortly after that, we connected with Mrs. Simmons' students in Columbus, Ohio. We had a wonderful time sharing some of the art that we had created.
Our last connection of the day was supposed to be a Google Hangout with Miss Zauner's class, Mrs. Ford from Weatherford, Texas and Mr. Seaholes from Seattle, Washington. But I couldn't find the hangout, so we missed most of it. Mr. Seaholes' kids had to go to lunch, but we did meet them for a minute. Mrs. Ford's kids were able to share some art with us and talk about our states too! Phew!
What a day! But so much fun to see old friends and meet new ones. It always amazes me how quickly the students take it all in stride, introducing our school, and sharing with the other kids. Global education is so important for us all and I love how International Dot Day encourages us all to TRY NEW THINGS and connect!
I love when I put a book on the chart stand in front of the library class and all I hear as students walk in is, "Oooo! Can we read that today?"
International Dot Day is Monday, September 15th-ish and classes in the Brewster and Lyman libraries began getting ready last week. We all read The Dot aloud and talked about the message that author Peter Reynolds includes.
Kindergarten classes found the 1st letter of their first name and covered them with dots of all kinds!
First grade students created 8" dots that they will cut in half (beginning fractions) and mail to our buddy class.
Second grade students had a real challenge. We tweaked the Dot Trading cards we created last year to include Morse Code! Dots and dashes are used in this code which made it perfect for Dot Day. Here is a terrific set of cards to use with your students. First/second graders and third/fourth graders also made Morse Code Trading Cards.
Students also could use the "swirly, gold frame" to create dots or color in the dot on the Colar app coloring sheet and next week we will watch those come to life in 3D!
It is fun to create using dots, but one of the most exciting parts of celebrating is connecting with classes and authors from around the world. This year we will be connecting with 22 different classrooms including new friends in Seattle and Hawaii! We are looking forward to this!
Finally, we had a HUGE surprise last week. I had been reading one copy of The Dot with my Brewster School students all week. When I got to Lyman on Thursday, I began reading their copy and to my great surprise, the words on several of the pages were different!!! I thought I was going a little bit crazy, but I went and got the Brewster copy and sure enough, the words were different. Vashti begins to paint and paints "a yellow dot, a green dot, a red dot, a blue dot." But in the other book, she paints, " a red dot, a purple dot, a yellow dot, a blue dot." Also, at the end, in one book she says, "Sign it." and in the other book, Vashti says, "Please, sign it." We also found a third book that was slightly different too! We sent a tweet to Peter Reynolds right away.
Best wishes all, for a wonderful Dot Day 2014! How will you make your mark?
I am new to one of my two schools this year. And while I know some of the students, I really don't know their reading habits yet. For the past several years I have been reading books such as Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer and Steven Layne's Igniting a Passion for Reading. They reinforced the idea that you really need to know your students reading habits and interests in order to help them develop as readers. Makes sense right?
For our second library class, I talked with third and fourth grade students about getting to know them better and that one way we would do this is through a Reading Inventory. I got some moans until I read the questions. "Can we check off more than one thing?" they asked. Of course! "What if I don't plan what to read next?" Well, that's important for me to know. "What if my answer isn't there?" Add it in! And off to work they went.
I am eager to read their responses and see what their interests are! The fun of finding great books for each student begins!
What a terrific start to the school year! One of the things foremost on my mind was about letting students know how important reading is to me and so after introductions, the first thing we did was read! What better way to set the tone for the year?
I read a ton of amazing books this summer, but two of them really jumped out at me as perfect to begin the year with: Bob Staake's My Pet Book and Brian Won's Hooray for Hat! They bookended our library classes perfectly.
My Pet Book grabbed students K-4 immediately with its illustrations. They loved seeing the picture of the boy walking his book (But it doesn't have any legs!). They loved how the boy's face turns purple later on. We all had a sense of desolation when they realize what has happened, but the ending always brings applause.
Bob Staake's word choice had students' thinking as well. Words like charity and rarity gave them a chance to do a little problem solving as they worked to figure out the meanings.
My favorite line of course is when they boy answers his mom's question as he is heading up to bed and he simply says, "Because every book's a friend." You can't say it better than that.
After watching two book trailers (Hooray for Hat was one of them) and checking out books, we settled in for one last story. Hooray for Hat is the perfect ending for so many reasons. It is such a fun book, but it also exemplifies our district's Core Ethical value of kindness throughout.
Students love seeing Brian Won's illustrations and participating, chorusing, "I'm GRUMPY!" and "Hooray for Hat!" I love surprising them at the end as I read, "Hooray for FRIENDS!" I am certain that this year, I will be able to remind them that everyone needs a hat once in a while.
Best wishes for a fabulous year of reading and learning!
Mrs. Lussier is a Library Media Specialist at Brewster and John Lyman Elementary Schools in Durham & Middlefield, CT. I am passionate about getting kids reading (ok, everyone!), using technology and having FUN!
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A Year of Reading
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