Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Our Kindergarteners Get "All Mixed Up" With Eric Carle And New Friends In Alabama For Global Read Aloud

The kindergarteners and I have been celebrating Eric Carle by participating in Global Read Aloud for the last three weeks.  In the classrooms, with their teachers Christa McClintock and Lynne Caltrider, they have been celebrating the author and books we all love too.  
Last week the book that everyone participating in GRA read was The Mixed-Up Chameleon.  What a FUN book about a very mixed up chameleon who thinks he just wants to look like all of the other animals in the zoo.
To make reading and celebrating Global Read Aloud even more fun, we connected with my friend Kelli Etheridge, an amazing educator from Alabama.  When we started talking about connecting for GRA, Kelli introduced me to Sara Gross and Patti Norris, who are both kindergarten teachers in her school, and Kim McDonald, their teacher librarian.  

We decided to connect the students by reading the Eric Carle books together over Skype.  The kindergarteners absolutely loved this connection and listening to us read the book back and forth.  

Before that day, we also brainstormed ways to create a project focused around Eric Carle and the connections we were making through Skype and by reading the Eric Carle books for Global Read Aloud. 
As we were reading to our two classes it came to me!  

We could use the website "Build Your Wild Self" from the New York Zoos and  Aquarium. With this website, you can choose if you are a boy or girl and then all of the things that makes you, you.....hair, eyes, mouth, and clothes.  Once you have a little person created, it is time to "wild yourself" by adding on things like head gear, backsides, and tails.  
I quickly added a tile for "Build Your Wild Self" to the kindergarten Symbaloo webmix so they would be able to find it easily as they went to their laptops. They also like knowing that they will be able to get to this new site when they are in the classroom and at home too.  
Before they started, I reminded them about how the chameleon felt in the book we read.  We laid the book out on the tables so they could look at the illustrations to make these connections and picture what the mixed up chameleon felt and looked like.   
The kindergarteners had such a fun time creating themselves WILD!  I loved seeing how creative they were. They were having a great time talking to their friends about their creations too. 
When they were finished, I had them let me know so I could share their wild things with my email.  It is very easy to do and can be found at the bottom of the page.  
This is what the "wild thing" looks like when they are emailed.  I really love how their names can be added to the top of the "wild thing" they created.
The kindergarteners and I talked about what we should do with all of their "wild things". We decided to put them together in an eBook again.  Our first project of the year was creating the "Just Me and Little Critter" eBook using FlipSnack as we get ready for our visit with Mercer Mayer in a few weeks. They loved this project and wanted to make another eBook to read and share with their families. 

We first made a front cover using ReciteThis.  This is one of my new favorite digital tools and something that is so easy to create posters, pages of a book, cards, and more.  
Since we used FlipSnack to create our first eBook I wanted to use a new digital tool with the kindergarteners this time. 

Another one of my favorite digital storytelling tools is Little Bird Tales.  You can create your very own book to share online with pictures, text, and even illustrations that are drawn right in Little Bird Tale.  

And the BEST thing about Little Bird Tales is that once the pages are added to your book, you can add voice to each page!  

I took all of the "wild things" that the kindergarteners emailed to me, saved them onto my desktop, and then uploaded each one into "The Mixed Up Kindergarteners At Van Meter" tale.  Next week they will record their voices over the top of their page and we will type a sentence underneath describing what themselves all mixed up......just like the chameleon in Eric Carle's book. 
We can't wait to share our new eBook with everyone at Van Meter....and especially with our new friends in Alabama.  Maybe they will even add their very own mixed up kindergarteners to our book too.


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