Monday, September 30, 2013

We Declared Our Rights To Libraries At The School Library Journal Summit

Last weekend I had the honor of attending the School Library Journal Summit in Austin, Texas. The Summit is always my favorite event of the year. I have to say that this years Summit was the best for so many reasons...more to come on that.             
One of the my most special parts was being inspired by my dear friend Barbara Stripling, American Library Association President.  

Barbara spoke about many things close to her heart including the Presidential Initiative Libraries Change Lives She is lifting up the importance of school libraries in the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, as the cornerstone document of her presidential initiative.

Barbara encouraged all of us to plan a event celebrating the signing of the Declaration.  With these events, we can lift up school libraries and support teacher librarians, teachers, our community, and most of all, our children, by signing the Declaration for the Right to Libraries.

 Barbara told everyone that we had the Declaration for the Rights to Libraries there at the Summit too.  Everyone was very excited and couldn't wait to support and lift up school libraries everywhere.

Rebecca Miller, Editor-in-Chief of Library Journal and School Library Journal, was the first to sign the Declaration at the Summit.
Then all of the teacher librarians, administrators, teachers, publishers, and other vendors lined up and waited to sign too.
Joyce Valenza signing the Declaration.
These are the signatures of over 100 passionate individuals who want to continue to change lives and support our right to libraries.
We look forward to hearing how everyone is going to celebrate the signing of the Declaration at libraries, schools, offices, and other places that support the love we have for libraries.

Thank you everyone at the School Library Journal for signing.

As one of Barbara's beautiful slides said.....
They will listen to us and to the voices of our children too.  This will make a difference.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A 4th Grade Student Becomes The Teacher As She Teaches Others About HaikuDeck

Tomorrow I will be at the School Library Journal Summit in Austin, Texas.

I have one class of our 5th graders scheduled for tomorrow, so I made sure to touch base with their teacher Kate Goodwin in the hallway today.  I asked Kate if I could stop in at the end of today to run through HaikuDeck really quick so they would be ready to go tomorrow.

When we realized it would be tricky to connect today, I told Kate that I would make a little video and put it onto the 5th Grade Symbaloo webmix.  That would work great!  They could learn from the video and also refer back to it if they had questions while working within HaikuDeck creating their project.

I got back to the library and the 4th graders came in for their time with me.  They have been creating HaikuDeck Dot Day projects for the last few weeks. Today they were finishing them up and getting ready to present next week.

Then it hit me!

Why was I going to create a video?!?!?!  Why not have one of the awesome 4th graders create a video teaching the 5th graders and others how to use HaikuDeck?  
I asked one of my 4th grade friends, Shae, if she wanted to help me out with a little project and teach others how to create a HaikuDeck.  She immediately said "Yes!" and was so excited that I had asked her.

We have this super handy iPad holder, tripod, and microphone, so we grabbed that and went into the other part of the library where it was a little quieter.  Shae did such a wonderful job showing the HaikuDeck she created and explaining it for the video.
Shae and I uploaded it onto my YouTube Channel and made it public so it would be easy to find and view.

The 5th graders will find Shae's video on their Symbaloo (5th Grade webmix), along with the Haiku Deck for iPad Demo from their website, tomorrow when they come to the library.  My associate Diana will point out where the video is and watch it together as a class first.  If needed, they can always watch it again on their iPads independently as they are working on the projects.

Our students are amazing teachers.  They teach friends, siblings, parents, and others all of the time. My students teach me things every day.

I encourage you to give the young people you work with the voice and tools they need to become teachers too.  It is so inspiring to see this confidence, happiness, and creativity come out.  It definitely does make a difference.
And just as Kate's tweet says....

The kids will love learning from each other too!

4th Graders Inspired To Sing An Original Song By Robert Forbes For Dot Day

We have something very special to share with you for International Dot Day

It is an original song by our wonderful friend Robert Forbes.

When Robert and I realized he would be out of the country for Dot Day, he sent me something very special to share with our students.  He wanted to make his mark on this day at Van Meter too.

And he did with....
a song that he wrote for us to sing and share.  It is called Dotty For Dot Day.  It is based on Peter Reynolds book The Dot and is sung to the tune of Roll Out The Barrel.       

When he sent it to me I was so excited.....I sent it right off to our elementary music teacher Marsha Fries.  She was also excited and loved the idea of being able to incorporate Dot Day into her classroom and curriculum for this special celebration too.

The 4th graders at Van Meter have learned Dotty For Dot Day and have been practicing for a few weeks.  Today they were all ready to share it with everyone....

Especially Robert.

This is for you, Mr. Forbes from the Van Meter 4th Graders.....
The kids did such a wonderful job and really enjoyed singing the song that he wrote for them to sing.  

They have gotten to know Robert through Skype's and other connections with his fun poetry.  
For Dot Day, they also created Haiku Decks using pictures that the took with their iPads....You can read about the project here.

Robert took AWESOME photographs on his trip, added them to his "Bob's Dots!" set in Flickr, and shared it with the kids and I.  

They loved looking at all of the dots he was finding on his trip and these really inspired them as they set off to take pictures of their own.  
Thank you Robert for writing this song for us and adding to the fun and special of our Dot Day celebration.  To see the 4th graders looking at and singing your song today was pretty neat....I couldn't wait to share it with you.
They learned all about writing your own music, putting it to a familiar tune, and performing to share with a bigger audience than the walls of their music room.

You always bring so much to us at Van Meter.....Thank you.  You definitely "Made Your Mark" on the world.


By Robert L. Forbes
Based on the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
(Sung mostly to the tune of Roll Out the Barrel)

Hooray today is Dot Day! 
We’ll have giggles and fun
Making dots my way and your way –
Make lots of dots everyone!

Use marker, computer or paint brush, 
Grab scissors, paper and paste 
Have fun with your imagination –
Dots don't care where they’re placed.
If you can't draw just make a mark; 
Let it be your bright spark. 
Now make another, there you go!
Your dots are flowing! What a show!

Dot! Dot-dot!

Dot-dot- dot-dot-dot-Dot! DOT!
So join us and make dots on Dot Day.
In yellow, green, red or blue,
Or black and white, or light grey,
Or purple – it’s up to you.

They can be large or teensy,
You can make lots or just one.
So, what’s in your imagination?
Let’s see all the dots you’ve done.

Now, share your dots with everyone!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Spy Author Jean Marzollo Visiting Our Library To See The "I Spy Van Meter School" eBook

We have a section in our nonfiction labeled "I Spy".  This is one of those spots in the library that our students gravitate to.  They just love the I Spy books.  

In fact, our secondary students use to go down to check out the I Spy books from the elementary library so we have even added several to their collection too.  

Everyone loves looking at the amazing photographs filled with hidden treasures and reading the playful words that go along with them to create the fun stories.  
Jean Marzollo is the author of the I Spy series and many other books for children. 

After several students asked me if we could Skype with her I reached out and asked her to visit our library virtually.  We are so honored to have Jean visit Van Meter. She is going to visit in October with our 4th graders.   

In the library yesterday I told the 4th graders and they were so excited.  

I then share the letter that was sent about Jean's Skype visit to our library.  She wanted us to do a few things before she connected with all of us.  
We decided together that we would create an eBook called I Spy Van Meter School.  Each one of the students would have their very own illustration and riddle on a page.  

We wrote a letter to their parents reminding them to bring materials to school next Tuesday and Thursday.  I encouraged them to make their photograph illustrations personal and special to them.  We brainstormed all kinds of items they could bring to create their scene for the illustrations.  It will be really fun to see what they bring. 

They will then use their iPad to take photographs of the I Spy scene they create.  Only one photograph will be needed, so they can edit them and choose which one would be best for our collaborative I Spy eBook.  

We will be putting our eBook together using FlipSnack after school next Thursday and Friday.  Any of the 4th graders can come and help us put our book together.     
After setting up the visit I was walking down the hallway at Van Meter and passed by this AWESOME new display created by Janelle Thompson, one of our instructional strategists in the elementary, and her mom.  

I was happy to see that it fit exactly what we were doing in the library and with Jean's visit.  

There are also many resources online that I have put onto the 4th graders Symbaloo about Jean and the I Spy series.  
On her website you can find so many things about her and the books that she has brought to all of us.

I really enjoyed looking over the page of Jean's Books For Children To Explore.
 And check out this page filled with I Spy links to resources and activities. 
Also, Scholastic has a wonderful I Spy website that our kids love!  It contains books, online games, video games, 
I especially like the I Spy The Library online game from the website.  It is so fun to find things hidden in the library pictures. 
They can even "Make a Picture Online" and "Write a Riddle Online" on the Activity Page.  
We are all very excited about creating our very own I Spy book and having Jean visit us at Van Meter.

She will spy some very special young people that day......and we will share their book with all of you too.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An Online Art and Technology Dot Day Show With Our Friends In Georgia

At the end of last week, we had one more really awesome connection to celebrate Dot Day!  

My friend Kathy Schmidt and I wanted to connect our students for Dot Day. It is always so much fun seeing and hearing what Kathy is doing in her wonderful library in Georgia. 

As the tweet and picture show above....we had a great time sharing dots during our Skype!
Kathy's 5th graders created beautiful art work.  They all created an unique dot and their art teacher framed them in gold frames just like in Peter Reynold's book The Dot. I love that idea and you could tell that the students were so proud of their art work.
Our 4th graders have been working on Dot Day Haiku Deck photography projects so they were really excited to show their Georgia friends..

You can read about the project here....The 4th Graders Are Making Their Mark For Dot Day With Photography Haiku Deck Projects.
The photographs they have been taking are amazing.....They have really learned a lot about photography, iPhoto, editing, and Haiku Deck throughout this project.  This is one of the first projects they have created using their iPads so that has been great fun too.
The students all loved presenting their projects.
To give them an audience a little bigger than just their own classroom and school really makes a difference and means so much to them.  
Thank you to Mrs. Schmidt and your awesome 5th graders!  We loved having an Art and Technology Dot Day Show with all of you.

Drawing Digital Pictures for Dot Day Together From New Hampshire to Iowa With Our 4th and 5th Graders

Last week the 4th graders connected with their friends in Mr. G's class in New Hampshire.  Steve and I had been thinking of fun ways to connect using technology to celebrate creativity and the message of Dot Day with our students.  
Then Steve told me that we could connect using the website Aww.  Aww is a web whiteboard that can be used with a computer, iPad, tablet, or smartphone.    
With Aww you can sketch and write in different colors and sizes.  

The coolest thing about Aww is that you can "Invite" others to join your Aww.
Once you click on Invite, it gives you a URL to share with others.  
Steve created a Dot Day Room in TodaysMeet and his students added their Aww URL's to the room. They gave a short description of what they were drawing too. 
I added the Aww website and our Dot Day TodaysMeet to the 4th Grade Symbaloo so they could get to these two websites easily.
The students in Van Meter then went around the room and called out which drawing they were going to jump into online.
Mr. G told the kids a few rules before they got started.

They were using pointillism (drawings created using little dots) to create their art work so the kids in New Hampshire wanted our 4th graders to continue with that style.  Also, they couldn't erase each others work.

The main together to create something awesome.
Shortly after our students logged into the Aww drawings, they had questions for their friends in New Hampshire.  They went to the computer and asked questions over Skype.  It was fun to see them working together.
The 4th graders were a little hesitant to draw first but by asking questions or typing a message they got more comfortable.

Ben, from Mr. G's class, gave good advice to his partner in Van Meter.
I really enjoyed seeing how they compromised and talked through their drawings too.  
We definitely could have worked together for a lot longer than what we had allowed for that day.  But by using these two tools together, Steve and I found a possibility for a future project and connection.  
And the students made their mark while working together with a partner to create a drawing over 1,000 miles away.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Joyce & I Brought Our Students Together For A Little Teaching Across Grades and States

It is so rewarding being a teacher when we see our young people empowered by an experience they have at school.  Especially to have the experience teaching someone something you know how to do really well.

This week my wonderful friend Joyce Valenza and I saw this happen when we brought together the global studies honors class at Springfield Township School in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and four 4th graders at Van Meter Community School in Van Meter, Iowa.
At the beginning of the month, Joyce wrote Where in the world? GeoGuessr as a literacy tool on her NeverEnding Search blog at School Library Journal. I had told Joyce all about GeoGuessr one day because my 4th and 5th graders have been loving it at Van Meter.
My kids and I learned about GeoGuessr from Steve Gagnon and his 5th graders in New Hampshire at the beginning of September.  We had learned how important it is to look for clues in pictures, how to use Google Maps, and a lot about distance.
You can read about connection here...Mr. G's Class In New Hampshire Teaches Our 4th Graders In Iowa About GeoGuesser......Let The Games Begin!
Joyce and I then thought it would be fun to have my 4th and 5th graders teach her global studies honor students all about GeoGuessr.  It would be a great tie-in with global studies with her high school students.

The fourth graders came down to the library early and set up the Google Hangout with my laptop. They were so excited when the laptop rang and it was Joyce and her kids.  They couldn't wait to tell their new friends in Philadelphia all about themselves and being a student at Van Meter.
The 4th graders took turns showing the students at Springfield all of the components of GeoGuessr.  It didn't take long to explain the rules and they were off!

The first round they all played separate from one another.  Our kids gave them some little tips on finding landmarks for clues and how you can zoom in Google Maps to pin point the location you want to guess.
Next round, we set up a "Challenge" within GeoGuessr.  Once you have a "Challenge" created, GeoGuessr gives you a link to share with others who want to play.  We shared this url and gave ourselves 5 minutes to play.  
As the students finished their round, we told them that the scores would be recorded onto a Padlet. They could find the link to the Padlet at the Van Meter School Symbaloo on the 4th Grade Webmix.

I wish you all could have seen how excited the 4th graders were and how happy the honors class in Philadelphia was too.  It was active, connected, and collaborative learning and teaching.

It wasn't just about learning about and playing GeoGuessr.  It was also about making connections with other young people who are older, live in the eastern part of the country, and who attend a large high school.
Everyone was excited and loved the learning that was taking place.
Joyce and I decided hands down that our 4th graders would indeed make great teachers to our older ones.  

And vice versa too. 

I can't wait until we all connect again and see what great will come.