Monday, October 24, 2011

Author Letters

Grade 1 put wrote letters to the visiting author. I got this idea from Tara Etheridge's blog. I modified it by having students use the Epson Brightlink interactive whiteboard but switched to paper because I needed to fill some bulletin boards up for the author visit. You can get the idea from the photo. I put the photos on Youblisher and sent them to the author. It helped generate excitement about the upcoming author visit.

Here's the look on Youblisher. I put it in a PowerPoint and saved it as a PDF file. Click on the box and it will enlarge, then click on the arrows in the lower righthand corner to turn pages.
Author Letters

Here's the Epson Brightlink photo. I had saved it originally but can't find the image so here's a photo of what we did. The original will show up in some weird place. I have photos on my photos...

ABC Book with Foss Unit on Trees

Kindergarteners put together an ABC book based on a lesson in Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi's book, Nonfiction Craft Lessons, and tied it in with the Foss Unit on trees. I printed off vocabulary words and photos to go with them. We read the book, Are Trees Alive?, by Debbie Miller, one of the supplemental books on the Foss website. I printed off the vocabulary words from the unit as well and used some of them for the ABC book. Kids wrote the word and colored a picture. They needed an example of a picture to copy. I also had to assign letters. I didn't assign letters the first time and got the same letter and picture from about 8 students. Oops. Remember to assign.

The pictures were displayed outside the library and zigzagged like an alphabet book for the author visit.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Visual Stories

Grade 4 students created a visual story summarizing chapters from the book, Marshfield Dreams, by Ralph Fletcher. Students paired with their writing or reading partners after I read a chapter from the book. Each pair received a paragraph or less of the story in the chapter. They had to use a digital camera and come up with a picture to represent the text. Students were limited to 1-6 pictures. Stress keeping the number of photos small because it will make it easier in the next lesson. This was part 1 of the lesson and took 30-40 minutes.

The second part of the lesson involved students putting the pictures on PowerPoint, adding clip art if they wanted to, and summarizing the text. I told them to change the first person to third person using "Ralph." This helped with not copying. When they were done I sat down with each group and we went over the text. Some groups copied too much of the text and we used it as an opportunity to work on what makes a good summary. Next time, I need to talk to students about using present or past tense. I put the images on Youblisher and sent the links to the grade 4 teachers.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book Talks with iTouch

Visiting author, Ralph Fletcher, is coming to our school in two weeks. I had students in grade 5 get into 5 groups and read his picture books. They had to then create a book talk on the book they read. They wrote a script beforehand and then videotaped themselves using the iTouch and students were able to finish in 45 minutes. The first group decided to setup chairs while the second group propped the iTouch on a chair, reversed the screen, and each took turns taping themselves. It was interesting to see how each group did it differently. Make sure you tell students to not be silly with the cameras and stay with their groups. I will play the book talks on the LCD screen outside the library when the author visits.

The example below is the group that proppred the iTouch on a chair and reversed the screen. I downloaded a 2010 PowerPoint template and followed the directions in the notes to create the video below.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Parent Talk on Reading & Selecting Library Books

I got this idea from Tara Etheridge's, Elementary Librarian at the International School of Bangkok, blogpost. Thirty parents in grades 1 & 2 came to hear a brief talk on reading and selecting books with their child.

Angela MacKenzie, Reading Specialist, and I presented the talk. We had 4 tables of books with one of those tables being new books. We talked about how to select books, read for enjoyment or read for meaning, use  the catalog and consider reading levels, and what the levels mean on Early Readers. We ended with Angela modeling how to read for meaning with a child and ask questions. We didn't want to make it too teacher-oriented. Afterwards we browsed and helped parents one-on-one. One thing I didn't take into account was the parents who came that didn't speak much English. I didn't put together a PowerPoint and I probably should have for them.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Library Mouse Lesson

I read the book, The Library Mouse, by Daniel Kirk to grade 1 students. It's about a mouse who writes and illustrates his own books then hides them in the library. After reading the book the students made their own book. They had to show me their book when they were done and I videotaped them using the iTouch as they read it to me. Afterwards they had the choice to hide the book in the library, bring it home, or put it in our publishing center. What was interesting is that many of the students said more than they had written and some who are just learning English just drew pictures and told the story verbally. We talked about writing with a beginning, middle and end. Here's an example: