Monday, May 20, 2019

"Look What I'm Reading" Bitmoji Posters

It is so fun seeing posters posted by every teachers door within our school and others that I see through my travel and work. These are such a great way to promote favorite reads and books that their school community might like to read too.  

It is also such an easy, fun and powerful way to celebrate our lives as readers, as they are posted in a place students see them every day.

That is when I thought,  What about if we put a twist on this!  Instead of having a picture of ourselves holding a favorite book, what is we made posters celebrating what we are reading?  Not only could we celebrate one book, but multiple books throughout the year by changing the cover. 
 
And how about using a cute little Bitmoji to make the posters?  Our readers would love these! 
With Bitmoji, anyone can make a personal emoji to use all kinds of ways. One of my favorite ways to use my Bitmoji, is to use them for...
....branding and marketing within the library and school, professionally and with my family and friends too. 
As I worked on this idea, I asked a few of my colleagues, family and friends to send be Bitmoji's of them reading.  Megan,
 Jessica,
 Hagan and I,
 ...Tracy and I,
my sister, Heather, and I,
and even my girl, Brianna and I, celebrating reading through these adorable Bitmoji's.
For my poster, I used a reading Bitmoji to....
...create these super fun posters.
I took the Bitmoji and covered up the book with a square to layer a book cover over the top.
That will make it easy to change between two....
...book covers too. 

As we get ready for the summer, I will work with our teachers to create their Bitmoji Look What I'm Reading posters for all of our classroom doors as we kick off a new year in the fall. 

I can't wait to show off what I'm reading all year long! 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Flipgrid's Stop At Van Meter For The Student Voice Bus Tour!

Last Monday, on May 13, our friends from Flipgrid showed up at Van Meter School for their first stop on the Heartland Flipgrid Student Voice Bus Tour!
We were so excited to welcome our Flipgrid friends, Jess Boyce, Adam Parker Goldberg, George Melookaran and Ann Kozma, to our school.... 
...as they kicked off our day with an awesome Student Voice Rally with our 3rd through 7th graders.  
They not only shared a wonderful message about the power and impact of student voice,   
they shared the story behind.... 
...Flipgrid and the people.... 
...who make up Flipgrid too. It was super interesting and empowering to hear the four of them share.  
After their presentation, our students asked tons of amazing questions and we all really enjoyed hearing the answers.   
When the Student Voice Rally was over, our kids loved taking pictures and....  
...talking with...
...Adam, George,     
Ann,   
and Jesse.  They were so inspiring to our students.  
Thank you friends for coming to our town in Iowa and making our school community one of your stops.  It meant the world to us and everything you do everyday makes a difference for all of us here at Van Meter...and for so many others around the world. 

You are all a total inspiration!  See you soon. 

Love, The Van Meter School Students and Teachers

The 2nd Grade Fractured Fairy Tale Crayola creatED Board Game Project!

One of my favorite projects we have focused on this year at Van Meter have been the different types of games we have created in kindergarten through 12th grade.  

We have created games focused around all kind of different topics with Bloxels and digital BreakoutEDU's.  It has been been so inspiring and fun to see what our students have created from our kindergarteners creating video games with Bloxels for their animal research PBL's to digital BreakoutEDU's from our 4th graders and biology students in the secondary.  

But guess what? Those aren't the only two platforms they have used to create games!  
At the beginning of the year, our friends at Maker Maven introduced us to a brand new product from Crayola called creatEDwhich has brought even more learning, writing, creativity, collaboration and fun to our school community.  

The Design A Game, a Create-to-Learn STEAM Program from...
 ...createED, a Project Based Learning program by Crayola, contains everything needed to create amazing board games which can focus on absolutely any topic. 
Each Design A Game, contains so many wonderful resources to engage and excite every age. 
They include pencils, markers, paper cards, wet-erase cards, sticker sheets for dice, game board and more. 
Everything that your students will need to create their own game is included, which is what makes this kit stand out above the rest!

You can read this post to learn more about the kit. 
After I received the kits, I went to two of my grade levels, 2nd and 5th, to see if they would be interested in collaborating and creating projects around this super cool product. 

They were both in!  
The first grade level project I am going to share is the 2nd grade and their Fairy Tale Crayola Board Game Project! 

The 2nd grade teachers, Staci Braun, Tracy Ferguson and Megan Warwick, had told me earlier in the spring, they were going to be focusing on fairy tales and fractured fairy tales towards the end of the year.  I thought this would be the perfect tie in to this new product. 
When I went to collaborate with them around this focus and the possibility of using the Crayola creatED Design A Game, we discussed how we would lay out the project across the grade level and within each classroom.  

We decided that each class would break into small groups, which would then focus on a fairy tale of their choice. Their game would be a fractured fairy version of their fairy tale, making every one very unique. 
We kicked it off together with all three sections in Staci's classroom.  
To start, we discussed fairy tales and fractured fairy tales and explained how several different ones would be shared by the three teachers and all students would be rotating through the classrooms to listen. 
In order to be prepared for this part of the project, I ordered a whole new set of amazing fractured fairy tales from our publisher friends at Capstone.  They have the best collection of fractured fairy tales from picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, science focused fractured fairy tales and more.  You can search for them at Capstone here
On this first day, we shared a Google Slides presentation that we put together as a little overview of the 2nd Grade Fairy Tale Crayola Board Game Project, which can be found here.
This was a great way to explain not only the project, but also the new product we would be using. 
We should them examples from the Crayola creatED Teachers Guide....
...to show game board design, 
Model Magic characters and props,
and how to create the dice. 
We also brainstormed and explained....
...all of the different jobs needed within their small groups to create the games. It was fun to hear what other jobs they thought we needed too. 
After the whole group explanation, each teachers went back to their classrooms to share the two different fairy tales they were to focus on that day.  We found several fractured fairy tales for each one and...
...added several more along the way. 
It was so fun to visit all three of the classrooms as they not only read and shared several different stories, but....
...discussed and brainstormed how these fairy tales could be turned into the focus of a board game. 

They read and rotated through the fairy tales for two days so every student had an opportunity to hear each one. 
After the different fairy tales were shared, read, and discussed, we thought it was important to have a couple days of playing different board games. 
We wanted them to become familiar with not only how to play different games, but to pay attention to the design of the boards, cards, dice, spinners, game pieces...
...and even the instructions of how to play. 
After watching them play and discuss the different board games, we met up again and decided to have them all model their games after Candy Land.  With only two weeks of the school year left and this being the first time doing this project with the 2nd graders, using Candy Land as a model would help all of us create the best games and experiences possible.  
We found the directions for Candy Land online here and printed off copies for each group. 
We also found this video explaining Candy Land....
...that would be super helpful...
...for them to watch. 
We put together the 2nd Grade Crayola STEM Game Brainstorming Template in this Google Document that you will find here.  Feel free to make a copy and use as your own.  
This is what each group would use as they brainstormed and created their game. 
We made it simple, 
yet gave them a space to write out all of the details to ensure they would be successful in each step of creating their game. 
They would use this page to sketch out their game board idea and then.....
...use a larger piece to sketch out the draft of their game board with details and colors. 
They loved using the Model Magic to create their characters....
....that would tell the story of their fractured fairy tale throughout the game.
They are very proud of their creations and....
...we can't wait to see all of them and how they are used this week as their...
..games are shared, played and celebrated.
They are excited to take their creations home at the end of the school year too. 

This week, the 2nd graders will finish up their games and take turns sharing and playing each others in all three of the 2nd grade classrooms. 

They will also share them with other grades and even team up with our 5th graders who created awesome Crayola creatED board games too!  I will share a post about this project next. 

These educational tools and platforms have definitely made a difference in the learning, engagement and creativity of our learners this year.  We can't wait to see what this week holds and are super excited to bring these to even more students next year. 
We are so thankful for the chance to bring games to our library and students.  Thank you Maker Maven and Crayola for making this possible with this amazing new kit!  
You will find the K-1 Design A Game
2-3 Design A Game, 
 and 4-5 Design A Game kits here on the Maker Maven site.