Thursday, November 29, 2012

Paper Blogging With The 4th Graders.....What FUN They Had!

Our 4th graders are going to start blogging using Kidblog.  Not only do the students LOVE the idea of blogging and connecting to others online, it also fits into several of the Writing Standards within the Common Core.  

W.4.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. 
W.4.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. 
W.4.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.  
W.4.5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.  

And the last Writing Standard that I want to highlight....
Blogging is perfect for this one!   They will be producing posts and publishing them online with KidBlog.  They will also be connecting and collaborating with their classmates and other young people globally through writing, sharing, reading, commenting, and even responding to comments made on their posts.  

(By the way....the screen shot of the Writing Standard above is from the Common Core Standards app from MasteryConnect, which I love having so handy all the time.) 
Before the students start using Kidblog, they have to learn what a blog is, how to write a blog post, and how to comment and respond as well.  

First, we used the new interactive eBooks from Rosen Publishing to work on creating a great blog post with text and images.  Within these eBooks, students work through steps on each page to create a blog post, one of the digital content creation tools included within these eBooks.  This really helped the students think about the structure of a blog post, along with what makes one interesting so others will be excited to read it.  
At the end of the book and when the students have created their very own blog post, they can be printed off to use with the next step of the activity.  

It is time for others to comment on the blog posts.  

But FIRST, we must work on commenting and responding to comments.  This is where paper blogging comes in.  With paper blogging, they not only get much better at writing an interesting, "hook the reader" type post, they also become comfortable sharing their work and looking at others work with confidence and care.  
The 4th graders created their paper blog posts right before Thanksgiving.  They could write about anything personal and that they thought their classmates would be interested in hearing and learning too.  

The first time back from break and it was time to share all of their great work!  We went around the room and read all of the blog posts to get started with our day.  
I explained what a comment was and how to write them.  We talked about what would make a meaningful comment and what would not.  They would take a sticky note, write their comment, and place it on the outside boarder of the blog post.  They had 3-4 minutes for each comment and then they were to pass it to the person sitting next to you. 
Everyone of the students LOVED making comments on their friends blog posts.  It was so much fun watching them get excited about which blog they were going to read next and the seriousness about the comments they were writing.  
After about 30 minutes, I had the students find their own blog post.  I wanted them to have plenty of time to read the comments that everyone left around their post.
The level of engagement and excitement during this project was amazing!  They took this paper blogging experience very seriously but had tons of fun too.
After they read the comments, they took more sticky notes and responded to the comments that were made on their own blog.  

And something really awesome happened during this part too....

They started passing around their blogs again so others could also respond to the comments.  It was so much fun to watch this happen on its own.  
I loved what happened in the library today.  It was a great success for many reasons....educationally and socially; the students could individualize their learning; the students collaborated and created with others; and most of it....

I saw 23 fourth graders get VERY excited about learning.  It was so exciting and inspiring to see.  
Next time, they will be making comments on the blog posts that they created within the Rosen interactive eBooks.

Then we will be setting up their Kidblog's and adding a post about themselves.  We will share their work so all of you can enjoy it too.  And don't forget to look for the hashtag #comments4kids as well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another "A-Ha" Moment In The Reorganization of the Library

Last night I received an email from my friend Maggie Henke.  We have been emailing and Skyping about the reorganization of our library....Maggie is now moving her library around too.  

Maggie wrote, 

"When putting sports books together, do you put biographies of prominent sports figures with the sports section...or separated in the biography section." 

What a GREAT question!  I know we put a new shelf marker with "Biographies" on the shelf, but all of the biographies have still stayed together.  

I started thinking, "Does that make the most sense for our students to be able to find them?  Now with the specific categories like 'Titanic', 'Basketball', and 'Space' wouldn't it make more sense to also move the biographies into these categories as well?"  

When I came in today, I looked at our Biography section.  We have so many wonderful books in this section but they are easily missed.  I pulled a few of the books that would be a natural fit into the new nonfiction categories.  
 I pulled a few books about sports figures....
 We could easily make this a new section entitled "Sports Figures" within our Sports area.
I pulled Escaping Titanic...A Young Girl's True Story of Survival.  This would fit perfect into the very popular Titanic section.
And the books about Neil Armstrong and other astronauts would make an interesting new category next to Space.

And perhaps when we start moving books out of the Biography section we realize we don't even need it at all.  Maybe all of the biographies will find a home in a new neighborhood within our library.

I do know this....These books will now not be passed by just sitting in the Biography section.  They will be seen throughout the nonfiction sections as exciting new additions to our collection.

The students will love checking these books out to read and learn all kinds of new information.

Thank you Maggie for giving me a big "A-Ha" moment. :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

The 5th Graders Created AWESOME PhotoPeach SlideShows!

Our 5th graders just finished up a fun project and created really amazing PhotoPeach's that I couldn't wait to publish in this post.  

Within every lesson I pull in several things from the Digital Citizenship, Technology, Library Curriculum,  as the ones that I pasted above.  For this lesson tying into digital citizenship, I focused on the topic of protecting ones privacy online.  
There were several resources I used for this lesson including Rosen Publishing CyberSmarts interactive eBook series which are housed in Van Meter's mackinVIA.  The 5th graders know how to  go into the "Groups" within mackinVIA and find the group entitled "Rosen's CyberSmarts Series". There are five titles within this series.  They come in print and eBook format.
The students read the eBook entitled Protecting Your Privacy Online during the first class time within this project.  These eBooks are interactive and the students work through a simulation of being online within them.  Our kids really love learning from these eBooks and think it is very cool to work through the eBook while learning so many new things.
From the information that the students gained through the eBook and our conversations, they used the Web 2.0 tool PhotoPeach to create slideshows.  
I created a simple storyboard for them to use as a guide in creating their slideshow.  They pulled information from the eBook and put it into their own words. 
And remember one of the standards I wanted to hit during this project was to "Recognize digital resources that are copyright free"so we also reviewed using iClipArt and they used it to find images for the project.  
 After they had their storyboard filled out with their partner, it was time to create their PhotoPeach.
 The 5th graders worked on these for 3 weeks and did a wonderful job working together.
During the last week, the 5th graders presented the slideshows to their classmates.  It was so much fun seeing what information they had to share and the images, music and words they used to create each project.
I was very impressed with them and just couldn't wait to share them with everyone.

We hope you enjoy and please feel free to share with your students too.  
If you would like to give CyberSmarts a try, click here or contact Rosen Publishing at 1-877-381-6649. You can check out their website here.

The interactive eBooks are also available from Mackin Education Resources.  You can send questions to or call Mackin at 1-800-245-9540.