I am going to be moving one of my schools this year - staying at Brewster School which is K-2 and also working at John Lyman School which is K-4. My website address had been the name of my 2 schools and that just wouldn't make sense anymore. So I have decided to keep it simple and just use http://mrslussier.weebly.com. In addition, Mr. Klimas, who will be working at Korn School, will be adding a blog page to this site to share what he is doing each week. I apologize in advance for any confusion!
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.
Take a look at these ideas to keep your learning going this summer!
One of the times of year that I look forward to most is World Read Aloud Day. It has turned into an exhausting week, but the fun we have more than makes up for that! This year we celebrated with 31 Skypes: 3 authors and 28 classes from around the United States. Part of the fun is meeting all these new friends and connecting with old ones! Many thanks to LitWorld for sponsoring this amazing event!
Both of my schools had activities going on to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday throughout the week, starting off with Brewster's "Wheel of Seuss" on Friday which I had the honor of emceeing. Korn classes had many different guest readers coming in to share favorite books. Tuesday afternoon brought guest readers to Brewster School for Brewster Loves to Read. I love to see all of the different ways we show that we are communities of readers!
Bonus this year - no snow days! Happily we were able to fill in for schools who did have some winter weather to contend with!
Monday, March 3
Tuesday, March 4
Wednesday, March 5
Thursday, March 6
Friday, March 7
What an amazing week and I am so grateful to all who were able to connect! These celebrations of reading and learning provide our students with the opportunity to communicate and collaborate, important abilities for our students to have as they go forward! But most importantly, it is just so much fun!
Having an author visit at your school is one of the most exciting events of the school year! We are revving up the excitement for April 28, when Jarrett J. Krosoczka comes to Brewster and Korn! Extra-special thanks to the BKPTA for making this happen!
So far, we have shared Lunch Lady books, read Punk Farm and Baghead at Brewster School and watched lots of booktrailers at Korn. We have partnered with our local independent bookstore, R.J. Julia Booksellers, to provide an opportunity for students to purchase copies of his books and have them signed when he comes!
In the next week we will get started decorating and maybe . . . just maybe . . . having some Lunch Lady gadget fun! Be looking for lots of yellow showing up soon!
Jarrett Krosoczka's latest book Peanut Butter and Jellyfish comes out April 8th! Check out the trailer here.
Students and teachers in Regional School District 13 showed a little courage and a LOT of excitement December 9-15 during Computer Science Education Week. Trying something new that most knew little or nothing about was a big challenge. But the Hour of Code was a huge success!
Students and teachers in grades K-12 participated. Some used code.org to get to the Angry Bird/Zombie tutorial and learn some basic computational thinking. Some used iPad apps such as Kodable, Light-bot, Daisy the Dinosaur or Cargo-bot. However they did it, these newest coders loved it and wanted to do more. Watching kindergarteners, who, when asked if they thought they would be good at coding said, "NO!", grow big smiles on their faces and try again and again when they got stuck, was an absolute pleasure. Fourth graders jumped right in and helped each other when they were puzzled about what to do next. They were all building stamina and the ability to persevere, even when things got tougher.
Teachers were taking risks here - big ones! It definitely made them feel better when they were reminded that they really didn't need to know what to do - the kids could do it! When teachers tried it, they LOVED it! Many confided that they became a little addicted themselves.
The Hour of Code provided a way to show just how essential computational thinking and coding are for the future of these students. I think it truly helped teachers, who had little or no experience with coding, to understand students for whom this is a passion, a little better. I can't wait to see where this excitement takes us next!
Click HERE to see 6th grade coders on Channel 30 news.
Click HERE for article in The Town Times (see pages 14 & 19).
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!
I have a burning desire to know and understand things. All kinds of things - so I read. A lot. That's a subject for another whole post. But I have been curious lately about what books people love - those books that as an educator, you just find yourself turning to over and over again for inspiration, ideas, and a desire to understand. Here are the ones I have been attached to in the last year or so. What others do you have that you cannot live without?
1) The Book Whisperer by D. Miller
2) Igniting a Passion for Reading by S. Layne
3) Readicide by K. Gallagher
4) Energize Research Reading and Writing by C. Lehman
5) Comprehension and Collaboration - Inquiry Circles in Action by S. Harvey and H. Daniels
6) Connecting Comprehension & Technology - S. Harvey, A. Goudvis, K. Muhtaris & K. Ziemke
7) What Readers Really Do by D. Barnhouse & V. Vinton
8) Summer reading - R. Allington
9) Book Love by P. Kittle
10) Notice and Note by K. Beers & R. Probst
11) The Daily Five by G. Boushey & J. Moser
12) The CAFE Book by G. Boushey & J. Moser
13) Real Revision - K. Messner
14) Mindset by C. Dweck
15) Teach Like a Champion by D. Lemov
16) Teach Like a Pirate by D. Burgess
17) Make Just One Change by Rothstein & Santana
18) The Reading Zone by N. Atwell
19) Invent to Learn by S. Libow & G. Stager
20) Children's Book-a-day Almanac by A. Silvey
Mrs. Lussier is a Library Media Specialist at Brewster Elementary School in Durham, 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
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