Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday "Wrap Up"

We are having a massive rainstorm in San Antonio today, so besides almost having to swim to work today, we have had a lot going on this week.  Our library has been filled with storybook characters for our literacy pumpkin patch.
Elephant from Elephant and Piggie
Pout-Pot Fish
Other things going on
- pipe cleaner challenge for 2nd grade makerspace (more difficult for them than the other grades)
- 3 Second Grade nonfiction neighborhood lessons
- 5 Kinder It's a Tiger storytimes
- Halloween Magnetic Poetry with one 2nd grade class
- attended a library pull-out day (great edcamp sessions and augmented reality session with @TechChef4u
- Coding Club
- Newspaper Club - check out our 1st publication of Woodstone eNews

And my wraps this week... Disoriented and Dem Bones

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Technology Tuesday: Halloween Magnetic Poetry

Yesterday got away from me, so this is Technology Tuesday on Wednesday.

I stumbled upon a tweet this week and knew immediately I had to try it.  
How fun is that? And on Google Drawing! What brilliant mind thought of that? Kasey Bell @ShakeUpLearning is the mastermind behind it. 

I took a 2nd grade class to the lab and let them go at it! Some decided to just try to make sentences while others wanted to write a story.  

The teacher loved it because they had just been talking about adjectives and so as she walked around, she read out loud any time she saw an adjective.

The hardest part was getting them logged into their google drive which they had never done before.  

Here is Kasey's original blog post about it  I am already thinking about a Thanksgiving one. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday "Wrap Up"

This week we had two opportunities connect with authors via google hangout.  First with Kate Messner (read about that here) and then with Kelly Bennett, author of the Read for the Record book, Not Norman.

I also 
- had makerspace for 3rd grade
- 4 Second Grade Nonfiction Neighborhood lessons
- 6 First Grade Hallo-wiener lessons 
- 5 Kinder Storytimes with Halloween books
- met with my director about our library transformation

And my nails this week are Dem Bones and Glowing Ghouls

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Time for Change

Today the library director for our distrct stopped by to talk with me about the transformation plan for my library. See, she has a vision of what libraries should look like and offer students,  It is a vision of makerspaces, collaboration areas and really knowing what the students want and need from the library.  Last year, she told us about this "transformation" plan.  We were supposed to think about how we could change our libraries to be more innovative and relevant to today's students.  So I set to work genrefying my fiction collection and creating a teaching space by my smartboard by removing shelves and moving computers from the middle of the floor to against the wall.
Whew!  Done!  Check transformation off the list! Or so I thought...

Last month at our library meeting, she made a comment about phase 2 of the transformation process. Alarms started going off in my head. Phase 2? I transformed already.  I thought I was done.  What more could I do?

She says...Start with a blank template of your library, no shelves, no furniture and think about how you could make the space innovative and functional.  What would you do?  What would you change? Ask the students. What do they want to be able to do in the library?

I am not a very visual person.  I cannot imagine things in spaces or visualize how things might look in a different arrangement.  So panic started to set in for me.  Blank space? Not possible.  I have been living in this library for 12 years.  I love my space just the way it is.  I love the flow.  I love the arrangement.  I don't like change...

But I pretended like I was cool with this and I even asked her to come out and take a look at my space and give me some ideas about how I could redesign. And so she did... and now I am hyperventialting!

What if you moved your chapterbooks to the other side of the library and your Everybody collection over here?  Then you could remove these shelves and this would be a great place for your makerspace.  You could get tables that lend themselves to collaboration and have some comfy collaborative reading areas here and here...  I smile and nod and try not to pass out.

Then I get on twitter tonight for a #ce15 chat about innovation.  And this happens...

They are speaking to me.  My PLN knows what I need to hear tonight.  Another example of how being connected is so valuable for growth.

And so I'll go to sleep tonight.  Return my breathing to normal.  Bring my assistant some donuts in the morning.  And together we will make a plan to transform our step at a time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Technology Tues: Kate Messner Google Hangout

Writing, Writing, Writing... It is definitely an area that our school is concentrating on every year. Especially our 4th grade students that have to take a state writing assessment.  

Today, some of my 4th grade classes participated in Kate Messner's Google Hangout sponsored by We Are Teachers.  

She was specifically discussing the writing process of her Ranger In Time series.  This series is about Ranger, a search and rescue dog, who travels back in time to help people.  

Kate was so open about showing different parts of her work.  She held up her writer's notebook with her brief phrases about ideas.  She showed a long piece of paper where she collects all her ideas about a story in one place before she starts.  

The students were shocked to hear that it took almost 2 years to write and publish a book!  They were also glad to hear that even professional writer's have their papers marked up by editors.  

Our students were also surprised to hear one of the guest classes ask a question about what kind of "leads" Kate like to use in her books.  That class was in a totally different state and they called the beginning of their stories "leads" too!  

It sure does make more of an impact on kids when they hear that students in other states and professional authors go through the same writing process that they do... another example of the power of being connected.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday "Wrap Up"

Besides the very fun Kate diCamillo webinar we participated in yesterday, here are the other things that happened in the library.

-  3 Second Grade finding books in the everybody section lessons
-  2 1st grade Pebble Go/Popplet lesson about Objects in the Sky
-  5 kinder storytimes Not a Box
-  4 days of 4th grade makerspace
-  newspaper club

And my glow in the dark wraps from last week are still going strong so here is a picture of another fun fall manicure Apple Cider and Faux Fox

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Being Connected: Another Virtual Author Visit

Thanks again to twitter, the students at my school were involved in another virtual author visit.  This time with Kate DiCamillo.  Last year, Jarret Krosoczka tweeted about a live event he was going to be doing.  I sent the information out to the teachers and almost my whole school watched as he talked abot writing, illustrating and Platapus Police Squad.  You can read about that here.

Back in August, John Schu @MrSchuReads, tweeted about a video conference opportunity in October with Kate DiCamillo.
 I immediately emailed my teachers about this awesome opportunity (even though we were not yet back in school from summer vacation)!  

When school did start, one of my kinder teachers asked if I had any recommendations for a read aloud to do with her class.  I mentioned the Mercy Watson books and reminded her about the upcomming video conference with Kate.  She jumped on the idea and started reading her kids book one and they were hooked!  She would tell me that her kids LOVED the books and couldn't wait for the end of the day when she would read.  They sat mesmerized, still and quiet while she read. They loved how Mercy loved buttery toast and asked questions about why Eugenia didn't like Mercy.  She said in all her years of teaching kinder, she had never had kids respond to a book like that.  So of course when she finished book 1, they wanted to read book 2. So they did.  And another kinder class started book 1. 

Today, they came back from lunch and were so excited to see "Mercy's writer" on the screen and the books that they had read displayed behind her.  Everytime Kate mentioned Mercy, they would gasp and giggle.  They "oohed" and "ahhed" when she mentioned the "buttery toast".  It was really something to be able to connect them with an author of a story they had just adored.

Meanwhile, in 5th grade, more amazing things were happening.  One teacher told her kids about the video conference and that they would only be able to watch the beginning of it since their lunch happened to fall right in the middle of it.  Tonight on her blog, this teacher wrote "After I saw the expressions on their faces, I offered to have them get lunch from the cafeteria and come back to the room during lunch.  They all had smiles on their faces!"  She emailed me after school and said that her kids loved it.  They had watched the whole thing and told me that they had eaten lunch in the room, and that it was the first time ever in her teaching career (21 years) that she had eaten in her room.  Wow!  The power of being connected!  

I love being able to find these opportunites for my students and it is only because I stepped out of my comfort zone and started tweeting that I became connected and in turn can connect my students and teachers.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Technology Tuesday: Coding Club

Last year after the excitement of Hour of Code, two teachers and I decided to start a coding club for 4th graders. (Read about that here). 

It seems like the first week of school the new 4th graders were asking when it was going to start this year. Well, we finally got it going and had our first meeting today. 

We thought we were going to start with the kids that were in it last year right now and then open it up to 4th grade in the spring again. Out if the 20 kids that were in it last year, 10 signed up to do it again (others had conflicting schedules with other clubs). So we decided to go ahead and open it to 4th grade now. We took two kids from each of the seven classes for a total of 24 kids, fourth and fifth grade. 

In the teacher dashboard, we were able to set up two different sections. The 5th graders were able to start making games today and the 4th graders started back at the beginning. 

I think it will be fun to have the two combined. The 5th grade will be able to mentor the 4th graders and the 4th graders will be as to see where they are headed. A win-win for all. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday "Wrap Up"

On Monday I started my makerspace.  You can read about that here .
I am really pleased with how it went this week.  It was fascinating to see the kids thought processes as they tried to build.  I pleasantly surprised to see that each day, girl teams were the ones that were able to make the tallest tower out of pipe cleaners.  

More things that happened...
- 3 Second Grade lessons about how the everybody section is organized
- 4 First Grade lessons about objects in the sky using PebbleGo and Popplet
- 5 Kinder Little Elliot, Big City story times

And my nails... GLOW IN THE DARK!! How cool is that.  At our Jamberry Summit last weekend, they announced the glow in the dark wraps and gave us each a sheet.  I couldn't wait to get home and try them.  On that same day, my Tru Shine Gel Kit came so of course I had to try that to. So here is my Glowing Ghouls Wraps with a Black Cherry Gel accent nail (don't judge the painting of the nail, just look at the pretty color and smooth, shiny finish ;)) 

And here are my wraps at night.  They totally freaked me out the first night I had them on because I forgot about them.  I turned off my bedside light and went to scratch my nose and almost had a heart attack.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Technology Tuesday: Popplet

First grade is learning about things in the sky.  We used Pebble Go and Popplet to make a web of 2 things they can find in the sky.

Popplet was a little challenging since anytime you touch a new popple comes up but the students enjoyed it and hopefully the teachers will start to use it more in the classroom.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Makerspace Day!

Today I started my makerspace!

I am meeting with one grade level each week and 4-6 kids from each class each day.  I decided to have 4 days that I meet with the kids instead of 5 in case there is a holiday or school event that interrupts a day.  That way those kids that missed can come of the 5th day.  

I am starting with 5th grade, so this morning I had about 32 students in the library.  I read them the book The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.
This is a great book to introduce the concept of makerspaces because the little girl has a plan to build the most magnificent thing.  After many attempts of having it turn out wrong, she gets mad and decides to quit.  Her assistant (the dog) suggests they take a walk and as she walks she notices that in all the wrong things she did, there was something a little right in each one.  So she goes back and finally comes up with the most magnificent thing.  After I read, I explained about the makerspace and the schedule and then I went over my expectations for their time.

I did want them to be able to have a challenge the first time, so I gave them the pipe cleaner challenge.   I didn't do it exactly like that because we had only about 10 minutes.  As I walked around talking to the groups I heard things like
"we need a good foundation"
"it needs a floor"
"it won't stand because there is no support"
Every student was engaged with their partner for the 10 minutes.  They were talking to each other and reworking their idea when it fell over. 

The hard part came when it was time to clean up.  They didn't want to stop!  I will have to find a better system of using a countdown timer or something so they can see how long they have to work.  After they put the materials away, I asked the students if anyone wanted to comment.  One student commented that no one had the same idea and that the structures all looked different.  So I took that moment to say that there were going to be no right or wrong answers during their time at the makerspace as long as they were thinking and working it was all good.  

Here are some pictures.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday "Wrap Up"

Can you believe it is already October and 6 weeks of school have gone by?  We are supposed to be having a "cold front" in San Antonio this weekend (meaning our temperatures will be in the 80s during the day instead of the mid 90s, but I'll take it!).

This week in the library...
- 5 Kinder Storytimes (My Teacher is a Monster, No I am Not) - such a funny book for this time of the year as the honeymoon is over and some of the "monsterness" is coming out ;)
- 4 Second Grade Digital Citizenship Copyright lessons
- I met with 3rd - 5th grade teachers to explain how our makerspace will be working since that is starting Monday - Eekk!
- Attended a library Professional Development
- Attended a library transformation planning meeting
- Held our 2nd newspaper club meeting
- More planning for the makerspace

And my wraps... Spellbound -I just couldn't wait any longer - Love them!