Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book trailer collaboration with another international school

Collaboration. One of my goals as a librarian.  Lessons are more meaningful if you collaborate with the teacher in the classroom and pepper your library skills in a lesson that supports the classroom curriculum.

Welcome to the 21st century and the World Wide Web. Today collaboration has taken on a whole new meaning. It is a way to communicate with others that previously was not possible. Yeehaw, I say! Grab a lasso and reach out globally - try to rope a few classrooms into your lessons. It is a rich experience.

Two years ago Jeff Utecht suggested I follow this librarian at ISB , Tara Ethridge, who liked to use technology in her library. I have stolen a few of her great lesson ideas and we started collaborating on some library projects. The lastest project we began together was a grade 2 video book trailer. I worked with several grade 2 classes and created a book trailer blog and she worked with one grade 2 class and made a Wiki. I had one class watch her book trailers and leave comments.

What I liked about this lesson was seeing the differences in how we did the lessons. The ISB Wiki page used audio with a picture from Fotobabble, whereas my students used an iRig microphone with an iTouch. When I surveyed the kids after my project one of the things they said was they were scared. An audio project would eliminate this. Next year I want to give them the option of using audio or video. I also liked the format ISB used with students explaining why they would recommend this book. I think I'll add this to mine. Plus, they did a nice job adding more book details - I think we could have beefed ours up a bit.

What I didn't like about the Wiki page was that it was hard leaving comments. I had to have the students handwrite them and then type them under the discussion posts myself. The comments are on a page separate from the book trailers.  It's easier commenting directly on a blog under the trailer. Also, the audio was so soft, our students couldn't hear a lot of the book trailers (we were using 4 year-old computers). That is one of the strengths with the iRig microphone. The audio is fantastic.

Honestly, isn't this incredible? We are sharing content from Taipei to Thailand. Students are motivated. I'm motivated. It's really fun. Jump on that horse and corral a classroom. It's worth it.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Grade 3 book trailer modifications

I made some improvements on my grade 3 book trailer lesson. Students kept losing their Photostory by saving it wrong. Oftentimes they would have to do the project over. Also, the bootup time of the computers was slow. We setup the laptops before classes came and logged on with a generic name and saved projects to USB disks. Students were not allowed to save but only an adult saved the projects. By grade 4 students know how to save but grade 3 just can't get the hang of it. I made six folders on the USB with grade 3 teachers classes and numbered each USB assigning students a disk. This worked well with no  hiccups.

Rather than have students fill out the teamwork form, I changed the assessment to the oreo cookie reflection that I learned from my husband. It goes like this... after watching everyone's video students get in a circle. They will get an oreo cookie and the 2 outsides symbolize the two things you thought you did well or your classmates did well. The inside symbolizes the one thing you would do differently. Don't ask the students to name two things they liked and didn't like. I made this mistake and didn't get thoughtful answers.  Below is an example of a student reflecting on the project:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Trailers Final Project

I have a book trailer project that I do with grade 3 students using Photostory. Students need to talk about the problem in the story and get viewers excited to read books. This project is hard for students and has been time-consuming. I decided to introduce book trailers in grade 2 so that I can reinforce what is happening in the classroom, as well as, build on the language arts curriculum from year-to-year. The unit they had just finished is Reading: Serious About Series (Week 23, 6 Weeks), and can be located on Rubicon Atlas.

Grade 2 students made a book trailer using the iTouch and iRig microphone. The students just finished a unit on identifying character traits in stories. I had students get into their current character groups and pick a book to read that they really liked. First I showed them an example that I had done. Next they were told to make sure they had the Title, Author, Character, Problem (don't give away the solution), and give the author's message.

I was surprised by how many students said they were "nervous." I don’t get this reaction in grade 3 and I think it is because they are only doing audio through photostory. One student was so scared he actually hid. He had to do it next library visit and I videotaped him in my office. He was fine then. Perhaps I should give them the option next year of doing audio or video.The first class I had students do the video themselves but this didn't work because they were putting the microphone too close to their mouths and moving all over the library. It was too chaotic so the next group I tried to videotape them myself. This too was chaotic and took too long. The following group I had a library assistant help me and that was just right. Yes, I do feel like Goldilocks in my lessons. I usually don't get the kinks out until the third time.  With the assistants help I was able to tell students where to go and conference with them.

This was a difficult lesson to do in 30 minutes. I was literally sweating by the end of class. The first class I had the students choose their own books. This took them too long – from 10-15 minutes. The second class that came in I emailed the teacher and asked if she would have the students come down with a book from their classroom. From then on students came with their own books.

I uploaded the videos to YouTube and the IT person had some students (page 3 or this example) put them on their blogs.  Not everyone was able to do this because of time and difficulty. I created a book trailer blog with student videos. I plan to use this from year-to-year and build a database of book trailers made by students.

I am collaborating with another grade 2 class in Bangkok where students created book trailers. We are going to read and comment on each's other books, but they just finished so I will have to update this post when we finish.

Here's the powerpoint I did for the class presentation. There's video's in it

Friday, April 13, 2012


Sometimes I hate technology. Hate, hate, hate. (Sounds like kindergartener, Junie B. Jones, eh?) But sometimes when things go wrong it forces you in another direction. Sometimes a better direction.

Such is the case when my book blog data with 150 plus posts went corrupt. I lost my links, my tags, my categories, and my sanity (briefly that is). After the temper tantrum passed, I decided to put all my blog posts onto Goodreads. The tedious process was worthwhile as I connected with other book fanatics like myself. Things I like about Goodreads: I like the feature where I can add friends from Facebook or Twitter or email accounts. I get emails telling me my favorite new authors latest books that have been published. I've had two authors read reviews I've written on their books and "like" it.  I have also found quite a few teachers who use it at school, as well as, students. There are some amazing reviewers as well. Try children's librarian, Elizabeth Bird, or author, Kate Messner - two of my favorites.  Bird explains how she likes Kirkus Starred picture books and tries to read them. Messner writes an insightful review on a novel-in-verse that grade 5 students might like. It's a great community for gathering information for my job as a librarian. My hate is now love. I love it.