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!
Connecting 1st graders with a shark scientist was one of the most amazing skypes in which I have participated! Jillian Morris, founder of Sharks4Kids, met with Mrs. Burns' class on Friday, June 6. They were so excited to be talking to a real shark scientist. This spring, the students had been learning about oceans and all of the different living creatures that live there. When I saw Jillian's offer to skype with students, I jumped at the opportunity! What better way to learn?
Jillian is a marine biologist and videographer located in Bimini in the Bahamas and is passionate about shark education. Sharks4kids began because she wanted to help create "the next generation of shark advocates through education, outreach and adventure." This came through clearly throughout our skype!
As soon as we connected, Jillian's passion for sharks came through! She shared all kinds of facts and information with the kids, asking them questions and showing them amazing photographs! You couldn't help but get excited! Students were fascinated by all the different kinds of sharks she showed them and the equipment that she uses. They took to heart her message about protecting sharks and many times explained how these creatures are not looking to eat people. Patience is essential when speaking with 6 and 7 year olds. I think the jumping sharks were a favorite!
At the end of the skype, Jillian asked students to work hard to take care of sharks. She challenged them to create posters to share things that they had learned. We got started during library that day. You can see some of the completed ones in the photo gallery below.
Connecting with a scientist inspired my students to take action! Jillian and the other folks at Sharks4kids have a wealth of knowledge, resources and passion for educators to take advantage of. I hope you take some time and take a look.
When I asked students what they liked most about author Barbara Mariconda's visit, 2 answers came to them immediately. Her journals and the family mysteries. Students and staff at Korn School had the wonderful opportunity to visit with Ms. Mariconda in June. Like many authors, Barbara began by telling them a little about herself and how she began writing. It is always fun to see pictures of an author when they are a child and it is really true that they began writing when they were little! It means a lot to the students when they can see that this published author started out just like them.
Barbara talked about all the things that she uses as an author to get ideas and to do her writing, including her little dog! A big point to students: write EVERY DAY!
A unique part of Barbara is her traveling and her journals. What works of art! One that I walked around with was from a trip to Egypt. The journal was filled with pictures, tickets, writing, colorful sketches, cut-out sections to highlight a particular item and more. Many of us (myself included) were inspired to create a journal of our own about our summer adventures.
Throughout her presentation, Barbara spoke about questions she has asked, family mysteries, and interesting stories that she learned about during her travels. Students were fascinated by these stories and loved seeing how she made them come alive in her books. Barbara shared an old family photo album which provided writing ideas. As she spoke about the Lucy P. Simmons trilogy, students could see how her trip to Ireland led her to include the legend of the Grey Man.
At the end of her presentation, in addition to some questions from students, Barbara also did some writing with them (once a teacher, always a teacher). The focus was on helping to create an image through writing. I love how Barbara explained that when you write, you want everyone to get the same picture in their head - so if you are writing about a pirate, describe the pirate you are seeing. What kind of hat, hair, expression on the face, clothing, etc will your pirate have? Students excitedly offered ideas to include in this shared writing experience. Teachers came away wishing we could have Ms. Mariconda visit for a whole day!
For the rest of the day students were clamoring to see if we had copies of the Lucy P. Simmons books and one of the teachers came down and took the copy Barbara left us for her last read aloud of the year. What a wonderful way to end a year of celebrating reading at Korn School!
If you would like to contact Barbara Mariconda or learn more, visit her website:
Want a great way to catch 3rd graders attention in May? Start with a picture and a mystery. Get a suitcase and take out one item at a time and have them try to figure out what Jim Arnosky does for an occupation. A photograph, a date, a notebook, paint and paintbrush, a videotape of an animal safari, an award and finally a book. Amazingly enough, every year it takes them until the very end to figure it out, even though we are in the library! From the book Nonfiction Author Studies in the Elementary Classroom by Jenkins and White, this begins a series of lessons that incorporate exploration of this amazing author/illustrator with a myriad of language arts standards. Inferencing, skimming, noticing, looking for patterns are just a few of the things students will be doing.
Arnosky is a prolific writer with topics like fish, lions, frogs, birds of prey, dolphins and more. These topics are intriguing to kids and over and over I heard, "Cool!" and "Awesome!" and "Look at this!" Students went through a book speed-dating process, looking at books from their pile for 1 minute and then choosing another one. It is chaotic and so much fun! While looking through these books, students have been asked, "What do they notice?" and "What patterns do you see?" They take 3 minutes or so at the end to record their thoughts.
At this point, they are so curious about Jim Arnosky's life and have lots of questions. We will be using our next library class to learn more about his life and connect it to his writing.
My favorite part? "Mrs. Lussier, can I take this book home?" I love when they are hooked!
Today 4th graders at Korn School played in the sandbox. No, we didn't bring sand into the library (although that might be fun). Our tech integration teacher and I shared a new app with them and let them figure it out. We talked with them about some C words: Creative, Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration (P21.org poster) and the folks at Fablevision added Compassionate. We loved talking about thinking outside the box too! A final thought before students got to work was the idea of Failure - not giving up and trying again in a new way to solve the problem. We believe that these are key ideas for 21st century learners.
We want students to use these 5 C's as we use the 3D printer from Makerbot in our library in the next weeks. Students will be using the Blokify app to create designs that we will print. We cannot wait to see what they create!
On December 4 & 5, Mrs. Martin was a special guest at our library! She came to help us get excited for this year's Science Fair which will be taking place on Thursday, February 27, 2014. Mrs. Martin talked to us about the difference between a demonstration, where we watch something interesting happen, and an experiment, where a question is asked and a hypothesis tested. We are hoping that all students will be presenting an experiment.
For more information and the permission slip, please go to the Science Fair page.
We had so much fun reading great picture books and sharing them with all kinds of friends this month. Especially fun was the Picture Book Smackdown on Google Hangout. What a fantastic way to share. Special thanks to Andy Plemmons, Cathy Potter, Shawna Ford, Kathy Kaldenberg and authors Laurel Snyder and Ame Dyckman.
Following some great discussions about our reading habits, I showed my third and fourth graders how I keep track of my books: Goodreads. I love almost everything about this site and have a great time reading recommendations and seeing what my friends are up to in their reading lives. I am continually inspired. My students thought it was pretty neat too! They were so thrilled when a friend on Goodreads had read and reviewed a book that we had just read too!
So I decided that I really needed to get Biblionasium going with my kids. Biblionasium is an online bookshelf for kids. I love how kids can keep track of what they are reading, recommend books to one another, find ideas, and so much more. I have been thinking about using it for over a year, but wanted to be sure it was safe. Another reason I decided to go for it was being able to hang out with its founder at AASL in Hartford. She was amazingly passionate and wanted to know what kinds of things we would want to use Biblionasium for and what would make it better.
So when I returned from AASL, I got busy putting the classes in - and boy was that easy to do. Just have the information in an Excel spreadsheet and it just goes right in. I also love that multiple teachers can be added to each class. That way myself, classroom teachers, reading teachers, special education teachers, the principal - can all be involved with creating that culture of reading and sharing books.
The kids LOVE it! They had so much fun choosing an avatar, adding books, and then recommending them to each other and their teachers. It has been one of those weeks that is so much fun because they were so into it. Many of them went home and spent time doing more.
I can't wait to log in and check out some of the great book ideas they have sent me.
Inspired after reading Donalyn Miller's new book Reading in the Wild last week (and the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book birthday), I began talking to my 3rd and 4th grade classes about Reading Habits. Things that perhaps they never really thought about before - I certainly didn't. I shared with them how I "read around the edges" - with 2 kids and a job, I don't often have huge chunks of time for reading. They went off to think about their "edge" times and here are the results!
We have our copy of The Dot by Peter Reynolds. The playdough has been purchased. The iPads are being updated with the Press Here! app and Colar app (for amazing 3D dots!) We have plans for paint too! Tomorrow is the first of my 2 Dot Days: first Brewster and Thursday at Korn. We are so excited! It is amazing to see the excitement, wonder, and fun that goes along with Dot Day. This year close to 1 million participants will be exploring how to "make their mark".
In addition to our Dot Day at school, we will continue to be inspired as we connect the dots with schools from around the world. Check out the map below. Some will be old friends, but many will be new. We will share stories and things we did on Dot Day. Stay tuned for updates, pictures and more in the next week or 2.
How will you make your mark this year?
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!), wondering, using technology and having FUN!
The Nonfiction Detectives
A Year of Reading
Great Kid Books
Free Technology for Teachers
The Styling Librarian
The Book Whisperer
The Busy Librarian
Barrow Library Media Center
Watch. Connect. Read.
Kid Lit Frenzy
The Daring Librarian
Librarian in Cute Shoes
Read Write Reflect
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