Saturday, December 31, 2016

The "Gift of Reading" Tree

Over the Thankgiving break, I saw this post on Facebook and reposted it on my library Facebook page.
On of my teachers texted me and said I should do that in the library.  I loved the idea, but wasn't sure about the logistics of it.  I had a few days to think about it and talk it over with my assistant and a few teachers and decided to do it.  I borrowed a small tree from another teacher and set it up the in the library. My assistant and I pulled enough books from my stash of book fair purchases and freebies to give one student in each grade level a book for each of the school days in December - 90 books!  We wrapped them and put them under the tree.  I asked the teachers to each send me the names of 3 students in their class that either came from a book barren home or could use an extra gift this holiday season.  I put the names in envelopes by grade level and every day on the morning announcements I would call one student from each grade to come to the "Gift of Reading tree to choose a book.  

The students were so happy to get a book of their own to keep.  

Teachers told me that every day students would cross their fingers, hoping their name was called. We wanted the students to unwrap their books in the library so we could see what they got, but a lot wanted to wait and open the book back in the classroom with their teacher. 

This was a really fun way to celebrate reading during the holiday season. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Technology Tuesday: Coding with Kinder

My kinder students have seen the "big kids" using Dash in the library and they keep asking when they will get to play with it.  I talked with the kidner teachers and we decided that during December's Hour of Code would be a good time to introduce Dash to the students.  We had school for three weeks between our Thanksgiving and Winter breaks so I decided to do a progessive introduction for them.  We started the first week using the Kodable app on the iPad.

The second time they came I introduced them to Dash and the Wonder Path app where students could make Dash follow a path they traced on the ipad with their fingers.  They had such a blast with this. 

The third week, we tried using the Wonder Blockly app.  I showed them how they could use the words to make dash do different things and limited them to the Movement, Animation and Sound commands since most are nonreaders.  This was by far the most challenging for them because of the words, but they still enjoyed it.They loved finding new noises and animations for Dash. Their favorite was the burping sound and the kissing animation.  

Maker Monday: 1st Grade Make Toys

In December, my first graders research transportation, communication and recreation in Colonial Times.  You can read about that here.  This year, I deceided to kick it up a notch and invite the classes in for time in the makerspace for students to make their own toy.  We talked about how in the Colonial Times there were no factories to make toys, no plastic and no batteries.  The children had to make toys from what they had on hand.  I showed them some of the different materials in our makerspace and then let them have at it.  Once again, the creativity the children showed, amazed me.