Sunday, November 18, 2012

6th Rotation - reflecting

Kindergarten - I read through my stack of new books. Students really liked The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner. The illustrations are fascinating. She outlines the bear and fills it in with different shapes. It might be a good book for teaching patterns and shapes. On a funny note I read a book about Gertrude Stein by Jonah Winter and it was imitating her play on words. It was supposed to be funny and a boy kept saying, "This isn't funny" which of course made me laugh all the more. I know that Jonah Winter's books don't target the wee ones but it was the last book in my pile of newbies and I really wanted to read it.  

Grade 1 - They are doing character studies so I picked books with distinct characters such as Henry and Mudge, Cam Jansen, Mercer Mayer, Ling & Ting, and Fox. The language arts curriculum describes the goals of the character unit as students studying what characters say, do, and how they change; plus, "they will retell to help them hold onto meaning and will make predictions based on the characteristics of the characters in their books." I could enhance this lesson by having students retell the story using the video on the iPad. The only problem is the books above are too long except for some of the Mercer Mayer. I would have to find shorter books like Biscuit, Pup & Hound, etc.

Grade 2 - I read the book, Okay by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, where the narrator says all the things they are okay at doing. Students love that the character is actually made out of the "O" and "K." They asked me to tip the book this way and that so they could spy the character in the illustrations. I wanted students to write things they were okay at but rather than be burdened with pencil and paper I wanted them to use the Dragon Dictation app. It didn't work. The app doesn't type the correct words and they got so distracted by it that they forgot about the task at hand. Some thought it so funny that they started saying all sorts of goofy things. I don't think the lesson was a complete failure. I think next time I'll just use a recorder. They can record on Sound Cloud their thoughts and I can then post it to the library blog... I need to incorporate my blog into more of my lessons as a way for students to post their work done on the iPad and then check out on their own.

Grade 3 - Teachers asked me to show the students Fountas & Pinnell. Do you know I've done this lesson 22 times?! Nuff said. I did email Follett Company and asked for them to add the advanced feature on their mobile app. Students can't search for leveled books on the app at the moment.

Grade 4 - I read Mrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia Potter. We had some awesome discussions about it in every class. The first class wanted to know how long panda's live. We looked it up online. The next class wanted to find out how Mr. Harkness died. We looked that up on Wikipedia and the information was incorrect! That sparked a whole discussion on information that is accurate and not accurate and how we can learn the difference. It was a teachable moment and the students were so engaged! I was also happy with myself because I made a conscious effort to ask open-ended questions and praise students for their thinking on the text. I am also trying to think more about letting students turn and talk with a partner about the text. I don't do this enough and it is quite powerful.

Grade 5 - We started our book trailers. I showed students a book trailer I did and one done on a picture book by some 4th graders. Next, I showed the app and gave a short demo on how it works. I gave students a graphic organizer to write a book trailer and told them to get in pairs. There are some threesomes and I'm not sure how this will work. They had to choose a book and write a trailer that focuses on the problem in the story. They can't give away the ending. Those who finished quickly I gave an iPad to and let them begin. This allowed for differentiation and seemed to work well. The students were so excited to use iMovie on the iPad. What an amazing motivator. I had one boy come at recess to ask if he could work on it because he didn't want to wait for the next rotation.

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