You really don't! But it is fun to read about them! Students this week are having fun enjoying fab author Ame Dyckman's latest book, illustrated by Liz Climo. Always a lot of fun, there were lots of laughs as we read this one aloud. Burping rainbows?!? I promised I would post the book trailer, so here it is! Enjoy! We can't wait for Read the Book, Lemmings! due out Nov. 7!
Do you see it up in the corner? That's it - Cubetto. My students are in love.
I have been using Cubetto from Primo with my kindergarten classes this spring. It has been so much fun and every adult who is in the room with me is astounded. There are so many things I love about this robot.
I purchased the Cubetto + Adventure Pack. Here's what you get: Cubetto, Board, 16 blocks, 5 World maps made of cloth & 5 story books.
We got started simply by bringing half a class down on the floor where I had Cubetto ready to go. (You do need AA batteries!) The kids were so excited! Everyone got to touch the robot and pat it on the head. Then we started to try out the different blocks. We loved that the green block moved it forward and the red block turned it right because they were easy to remember. Yellow turns left and the blue (function block) was a mystery for a while. Next, we noticed the compass rose and talked about the directions on the map. Cubetto starts on the compass rose. Then we started reading the story and away we went. I made sure each child got to add blocks and push the blue button to execute the program.
Here's one more action shot:
Even my 10 year old was fascinated by Cubetto!
Cubetto gets kids to think about what must happen to accomplish different goals - that idea of computational thinking.There is all kinds of great language building happening too! It's coding without the screen. It's creative, play, and fun!
There are many resources available for Cubetto and I'm excited to have my students try some new things, such as building their own course to maneuver Cubetto through. I think there are endless possibilities with Cubetto!
Besides the amazing opportunity to "see" the ALA Youth Media Awards streaming live on Monday morning, I was particularly excited to learn something important too. Sibert is pronounced with a long i sound - not an e sound as I had been doing for the past two weeks.
And what a way to start off Monday! Of course I was thrilled to hear the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott and Geisel Medals announced, but perhaps even more special was to hear about some of the awards with which I was less familiar. Congratulations to all the amazing authors and illustrators for their important work.
And the winner is . . .
Because we were attempting to finish our Mock Caldecott reading, as well as learn about some possible nominees for the Sibert Award, my students did not get to spend as much time interacting with the texts as some of the other smackdown participants did. But all six of my library classes that had third or fourth graders were able to look at and read most of each of the books I was able to find. Click here for my post about the awards and books on which we focused.
For the #SibertSmackdown:
My students chose Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton and illustrated by Don Tate. Not too far behind were Animals by the Numbers, Coyote Moon, and Giant Squid.
We had a lot of fun sharing thoughts with students from around the U.S. and the world, using Flipgrid and Padlet. Check out Michele Knott's post about her students' ideas about these books. Listen to students from Erika Victor's class in Malaysia on the Flipgrid too!
For the Mock Caldecott:
The students overwhelming selected Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat. I think it was the dinosaurs that hooked them!
We are ready! My library classes have been reading and thinking critically about many different pictures books and this week, we join some very special committees as we select our own winners. It is not going to be easy. Have you read these books yet? Many of us are agonizing over the decision. And this is just for the few books we read together. We cannot even imagine what each committee has gone through! Monday, January 23, the ALA Youth Media awards will be announced. Woo hoo!
Our Mock Caldecott nominees
Mr. Schu has a terrific list of Mock Caldecott titles so that is what we used. Take a look!
There's still time to share student voices! Read Melissa Stewart's blog post to get title ideas. Then check out our #sibertsmackdown page and the Flipgrid (on the Flipgrid app use code: 30fa9c) on which your students can record which Mock Sibert title they chose and why. We can't wait to hear what you think!
I think that my sketchnotes sum up what I felt were key features of each of the 4 tools, but here are a few more thoughts.
Troubleshooting! We can learn from the authors’ experiences here!
Finally - the wrap up: Helpful tools are better than beautiful ones and once again, be sure you are involving students in their creation in order to get that ownership and creativity!!!
Here are my reflections and things that just caught my eye while reading these chapters!
I just loved the reminder about the massive amount that kids have to think about and process every day in school (and out) and all of it is “important”. I have long wanted to do what Kate did and follow a student for a day. I think all teachers and administrators should do this once in awhile. I believe it would be very eye opening.
Love these authors! Carol Dweck, Daniel Pink, Kylene Beers! Pink tells us that autonomy leads to engagement. So true! Given the right tools, they can do it on their own and will actually want to do so, not just to please their teacher, but so they can accomplish something.
Make clear what the hard work looks like through micro-progressions.
The teaching tool is not there forever!
Chap. 3: Timing, behavioral cues, and rigor all help you know when to move students away from the tool. Setting goals and challenging students reminds me of gamifying their learning. If they aren’t ready yet, no big deal. I also love how the authors state that if the student isn’t ready, to set a future date to try again without the tool.
Chap. 4: Working overtime, reflections on growth, helping others - 3 more signs kids are ready to move away from the teaching tool.
Rigor and 5 ways to Culture Intrinsic Motivation - these were new to me, but how awesome! My school district is really taking a look at whether students are truly engaged or not and I think these 5 ways are good reminders of how to reach every child. Maybe you are good at one or two of these areas, but working to include more of them would be valuable.
Carl Anderson’s reminder (p. 69) that we should not be more tired than the students. There has been a lot of buzz lately about who is doing the work? That could be a tricky thing I suppose, but I understand the point. This happens with my son and I when I am helping him practice soccer - he should be doing more than me. I have to be planned out and know what skills he needs to work on, but when it’s practice time, he needs to be practicing the moves. Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris's book Who's Doing the Work: How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More is going to be another one of my summer reads.
As an elementary librarian, I love reading professional books with both an eye for how I can use these ideas in the library, as well as sharing with my colleagues. I am particularly excited this year, because we are going to be using the Reading Units of Study and I believe that this book will be a wonderful way to support teachers and student learning.
Here are my takeaways from this week’s chapters:
How to find strategies:
What stands out for me is the focus on creating and supporting students as they become more and more independent. I am fascinated by Burkins & Yaris’s book, Who’s Doing the Work? I haven’t read it yet, but I think this is an important shift. In the library, there are many areas that these tools can help my students learn. Immediately strategies for notetaking, for reading informational text, for selecting books, for using technology tools come to mind.
Since going to ISTE last week, I have been trying out Sketch noting. Thanks to Matt Miller for a terrific session getting me started! It is something I've wanted to do for a long time and now I am really excited to bring this strategy back to support the learning of students and teachers. The brain research is really interesting and I think Sketch noting makes a lot of sense. I think my Sketch is still way too wordy, but I'm working on that.
Here is a link to my Amazon Professional Book list with a number of Sketch note/Doodle books.
Summer reading time is almost here! I don't want to forget about LISTENING to reading too! There are huge benefits such as enhanced vocabulary, fluency, and listening skills. Snuggle up and read aloud with someone. Here's something else to try: Brewster School has a subscription to Tales2Go - an audiobook service with some terrific titles. All Brewster students have used Tales2Go in their library classes this spring.
Use Tales2Go in the car or plane if you are traveling this summer or curl up with someone and listen.
For further information:
Kindergarten parents, your child will be coming home with a letter which includes their login information. First and second grade parents, your child should know their login information, but if they don't, please email me.
"The most engaging learning tool on the planet." --Flocabulary.com
They aren't kidding. Really. I have been hearing about how amazing Flocabulary was for a while and so I finally checked it out. There is so much to talk about, it is hard to know where to begin. What is it? Using rap and video, students K-12 are presented with content on a wide variety of topics, from your traditional subject areas to ones such as current events and computational thinking (yes videos about coding)! There are tons of additional resources for each video which can be used for both learning and assessment. Want to take it further? There are activities, lessons and games too. But my favorite is when the students write their own academic rhymes and can even perform them!
Interested yet? Want to learn more?
Use this How-it-works video to see it all in action or click on the image below for your free trial.
What do the kids think?
It's fun! It's poppy and energetic!
Makes you want to get up and move!
The raps are fun, but still give you information and explain!
We love singing along with the main parts.
It helps us get started understanding a topic.
Teachers, read more here!
Teachers, with Flocabulary, you have many, many resources right at your fingertips. Videos are organized by subject area, but you can also search by Common Core Standards which makes it so easy to find just the right resource. Graphic organizers are provided too, along with everything needed for each lesson. Use as much or as little as you want. The academic rhyme writing begins with basic couplet writing and adds figurative language, storytelling and song creation. Your students' raps can be even be shared, increasing the power of student voice. One of my favorite sections is the Week in Rap Junior which is perfect for students K-5. For example, this week I will use the latest video which raps about Groundhog Day and Chinese New Year in library class to engage my students and get them asking questions. Using a variety of different media, both print and digital, is essential and Flocabulary gives us an easy-access, high-quality way to do it.
Thank you Flocabulary, for giving us a chance to try out your site! Sign up for a free trial by February 29!
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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