Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Author Visit: Aaron Reynolds

OMG!! He was AMAZING!  I have been so looking forward to his visit since some of the librarians in my district had him in October and couldn't stop gushing about how great his presentations were and he was every bit as fantastic as they said.  He was engaging and energetic (I'm sure his theater background help there) and his presentation were chock full of interaction with the students.  In his Joey Fly presentation for my 4th and 5th graders, he challenged the students in a race against the clock to solve a real-live mystery, all the while teaching them the different elements a mystery has to have.

His Creepy Carrots presentation for the younger students was just as fun.  For my 2nd and 3rd graders, he discussed how a book goes from a story to an actual book, using students from the audience as the Author, the Illustrator and the Publisher.  The kids were fascinated to find out that he has never met the Illustrator of Creepy Carrots in person.

After school, many of the teachers came by to tell me how great they thought he was and how their students could not stop talking about him all day. I highly recommend an Aaron Reynolds visit!  You will not be disappointed! 

And Aaron if you are reading this, please don't judge me on my comma usage ;)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Technology Tuesday: Graphic Novels (Finally!)

My third graders do a big research unit on forces of nature right when we come back from winter break. In the past, each class has researched a different force of nature ie hurricane, tsunami, tornado, etc and then each group within the class writes an article for the class newspaper devoted to that force of nature. Well, this year, since I now have iPads in the library, I was talking with a colleague on day and we came up with he idea of having the kids do a whole lot of app smashing and make a graphic novel! It was a really cool idea and we played and played with it, wrote out directions, and tested the directions and tested it some more and played some until we were sure it was fool proof. Ha - that is until one of the apps apparently updated and part of the directions didn't work and then scribble press wouldn't upload the finished books and we had a fire drill and 2 unplanned assemblies and I had to make a plan B and a plan C.  Lucky for me I have awesome 3rd grade teachers who just go with it!

So this is what we did.  The kids researched their force of nature and their specific question in order to make their page of the class graphic novel.  Then they used a story board to plan out the pages/s to give information about their group's specific question.  They then took one or two pictures of each person in the their group and found some backgrounds of their topic in SIRS Discoverer. Then in Puppet Pals they made characters out of themselves and put themselves in a scene using the various backgrounds they chose and took screen shots. Then here's where it gets interesting... In all of our testing the screen shots from puppet pals we put into the StoryMe app and they speech bubbles we added.  In real life, with 21 kids, the StoryMe app would not find the pictures of the kids on top of the background in the camera roll. It would see the individual pics of the kids and the pics of the background but not he screen shot of the kids ON the back ground.  Insert Plan B... 

The kids make the frame of their pages in Strip Design and save those to the camera roll and then insert that page into Story Me to add the speech bubbles. Story Me is a really cool app that cartoonizes pictures. Then they email it to me and I put the whole book together using the PAID app Scribble Press and then we share 7books on the iPads in the 7 classrooms so the kids can read the other classes books and answer questions during their station work. Insert Plan C...

The PAID Scribble Press app would not upload the book all the way for some reason. So after several failed attempts I tried using the FREe app Book Press and voila it worked beautifully.

Here are a few pages from our tornado book

I might be a little biased, but I think they turned out great and will definitely be doing it again.  What kind of products do your students create for research?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My New Obsession

On top of it being WAY hard to get back into the groove after the two-week winter break and starting 3rd grade research projects and having technology issues with said 3rd grade research projects, I have become a consultant for Jamberry Nails!  I am obsessed with these way to cute nail wraps that are so easy to apply with heat and pressure and stand up to the daily duties of a librarian and mom for at least two weeks!

Check out my Jamberry Page  and follow my facebook page for more information.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Technology Tuesday - postponed

I was going to have a great post tonight about thd graphic novels I am doing with 3rd grade UNTIL... What worked a million times when I did it, didn't work when I had 21 kids. And I had to come up with plan B on the run. Gotta love technology! Hoping to have it tomorrow. I do think its good for teachers to see that it happens to us too, though. Would love to hear about a time you had to think on your feet. Post in the comments.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

To Genre-fy... Part 2

Happy New Year!  Who can believe it is already 2014?

So when I left off in December, I was telling you about my genrefication project. I had gotten to the part where I was labeling all my book spines with the genre.  I have some 5th grade girls that come in the morning for a half an hour so I started making stacks of the books waiting to be labeled. It looked liked this.
Yes, it was a mess for a while.  But each morning the girls would come in, grab a stack of books and the sheet of labels (you can see the post-it-notes on the counter that tell them what genre) and labeled the books.  When the were finished with a stack, they would put them on the cart for my assistant to shelve still according to alphabetical order.

 Once all the labeling was done, the next step was for my 5th grade helpers to pull all the books off the shelves and sort them by genre on the floor.  They just made stacks and stack under signs I had posted.  Now my shelves looked like this.
And it totally freaked the kids out as wehy were walking in the halls.  Luckily, most of this part was happening during my book fair week so the kids were not checking out.

Once I figured out how much shelving each genre was going to need we started reshelving the books alphabetically by author within the genre.  We decided that the genres would be front and back on the shelves and that if a genre required more than one shelf we would push them together to make genre "islands".  I was a little worried because even though I had weeded more than 400 books during this process, we almost ran out of shelving.  Here is a picture of my sci-fi (obviously I need to beef up that genre).
But you csan see how much space there is that before was filled because we were going alphabetically.  Here is my realistic fiction "island".
I made different colored signs for each genre so that we could direct the kids as they were learning where the books were. "Look in the pink, humor section".  

Finally we were done!  We had a week before winter break so I can't really report yet as to how it is working but I do think once we get used to it, it will be GREAT!