Friday, February 21, 2014

Yes we Do Know Dewey and we Create on iPads

The Dewey Decimal System is part of my curriculum. Every year I try to find a new, fun, innovative ways to help students find books in the non-fiction section of the library. Don’t tell them but I am also getting them to look at books they normally would not seek out for themselves. It is my sneaky way of exposing them to a broader selection of non-fiction that may spark their interest. But if they ask me if that’s what I’m doing I deny, deny, deny! Yet one of the outcomes of this lesson is an increase in non-fiction checkouts. I do believe in the Dewey Decimal System as a way of categorizing books and I have talked about Library of Congress subject headings in the past as being good for tagging on the Internet. I believe in order so that information is easy to find. But to most people the Dewey Decimal System is boring, and I can almost see the eyes of my students glaze over when I start the lesson each year. The major outcome of this lesson is students becoming independent library users, meaning they are able to locate the information they need on their own, the first step to becoming lifelong learners. When students can find information on their own, they become more confident library users. But worksheets and even library scavenger hunts are boring. I needed something new, something fun. The something new came as a burst of inspiration during an iPad introduction class I took through Eduspire. I was introduced to an app called Book Creator. What makes Book Creator interesting is that students can take pictures for their book pages right through the app, they don’t have to take the pictures first and then import them into the app (a step that sometimes is difficult for younger students to grasp). I wrote a lesson plan that was a combination of a scavenger hunt while creating an ePub document through the Book Creator App. It was an ambitious undertaking and it almost did not happen because of snow days. I signed out the iPad lab and it sat in the library for almost a week before students got to use it. Not everyone used the iPads to create a Dewey Decimal ePub. Students were given a choice between a traditional worksheet and the Book Creator project. It amazed me that some students chose a worksheet but when asked their reasons were valid. Most said they learned better when they wrote someting down, I was impressed by their knowledge of their learning styles. Those that created a book with the iPad also had nothing but good comments. I heard things like, "can I do another one?" And, "this is fun, can we do it again next week?" Some actually came back during their free 8th period time slot to do more work on their project. Enjoy this Anamoto of some of their great hard work. I am very proud of what they accomplished in such a short amount of time!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

My PLN is AWSOME!!!!

4 members of my PLN have begun a poscast that they record on their luck breaks each week. I am learning so much from people that are AWSOME Educators. All 4 are ed-tech specialists in their school districts and the program is called EdTech Chat 'n Chew.
Watch as they share some apps, technologies, tools, and passions they are going to incorporate with their students in the new year! Way to go Mike, Diane, Karen, and Andrea. This is so cool!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Fun School Closing Announcement

As I sit here for yet another snow day and watch June vacation getting further and further away I am buoyed by the rock star teachers in my Personal Learning Network that post fun stuff as well as educational gems. Wouldn't it be fun to work for a school district who's administration enjoys snow days as much as their students... check this out:

Saturday, February 01, 2014

What is a Scientist?

Our school has purchased multiple copies of the book What is a Scientist for every student in grade 2. Problem is every student in grade 2 can not read the book on their own so to help out the teachers I recorded the book so those students who can't read it on their own can have the book in front of them and hear the book being read to them at the same. In this librarian's opinion this is one way to improve student fluency.  I also love that this books makes science fun and gives students a foundation for following the scientific method.

Ground Hog Day and Dr. Seuss's Birthday!

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. In Pennsylvania it is a big deal as Punxsutawney Phil is awoken from his winter-slumber to three taps of the predisent of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's cane, ceremonously pulled out of his hollowed out stump, and paraded around Gobbler's Knob to the glare of television cameras. Who wouldn't see their shadow under those conditions (ha, ha). For the first time ever Groundhog Day and Super Bowl Sunday are on the same day. Time will tell which will get the bigger play in the media tomorrow.  Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel is already in Punxsutawney to report the big day! And while I get very excited about Groundhog Day it means we are just a month out from National Read Across America Day, Sunday March 2nd, also know as Dr. Seuss's Birthday! Which leads to the video I found this morning. Neil Gaiman reading Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham! Can't wait to share this favorite author with my upper elementary elementary students reading a clearly lower elementary book- Green Eggs and Ham!

It will be a fun Seuss's Birthday- too bad it's on a Sunday this year but my student's won't mind because it is also time for our Scholastic Bookfair! Nothing gets their hearts beating like a book fair for Dr. Seuss's birthday!