Read for the Record fell right into place as Mr. Schu and Mr. Winner skyped with 1st graders and Kindergarteners! We had such a good time reading back and forth, and sometimes even together! Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad was a great read (and connected with the insects Grade 1 was studying!). Shortly after, author Stephen Cranie tweeted that he was going to be doing skype sessions for folks that signed up! How awesome is that? After reading his Mal and Chad books, my family and I were hooked!
I shared my excitement via Twitter and the next thing I knew, my one of my second grade classes was invited to skype with Mme. Madeley and her French immersion students in Canada. 20 minutes was not enough for these kids - they had so many more questions. Our fabulous tech integration specialist Michelle Gohagon (@mgohagon) had a blog up in no time called Our Friends to the North and the classes are continuing to learn from one another. Amazing! What an opportunity for these kids to have!
Enter Ivy & Bean! October 13 was the day to celebrate the Ivy + Bean series by Annie Barrows. I wanted to throw an Ivy + Bean celebration in the library and I began reading chapters from various Ivy + Bean books aloud during library to hook them! 2 parties were planned to accommodate 3rd and 4th grade lunches and recess on October 11. I put up some posters, set up Ivy + Bean books in the library, and handed sign-up sheets to the teachers. 100 out of about 180 students signed up! Whoa! That's a lot of s'mores! These students were so excited to be a part of this celebration! What a connection we were forming together! Who wouldn't love a gooey s'more while sitting around our "flashlight" campfire listening to Mrs. Lussier sing and read parts of Ivy + Bean Make the Rules? We stuck worms on Bean's sister Nancy and acted like zombies. Then I sent them out to play.
Today was Ivy + Bean celebration #3. Oh yes. About 30 kids had soccer games last week and were so disappointed that we had a make-up party. It was awesome!
Lastly, my amazing assistant Mrs. Miller finished genre-izing our 3/4 library and I have already noticed a difference. Kids are going places and taking out books that they just haven't before. When I ask if it is easier to find things now, the answer is always yes. They are connecting with the Korn Library and with books they love!
What does it all boil down to for me? Connecting. Whether it is a bunch of us sharing a story together in the dark, meeting new friends from around the continent, or doing a shared reading of some kind, I think kids love being with people who are excited about what they are doing. They want to learn about one another and are fascinated when they get the chance to ask their own questions.
I am hoping to carry this idea of connecting throughout the year. I am about to begin adding QR codes with book trailers attached to the inside covers of books. Students will read the QR codes using iPod touches purchased with money from a grant from the Coginchaug Valley Education Fund. We will wait and see what kinds of connections come from this next step.
It's an exciting time!