Friday, November 29, 2013

A New Way To Share "Holiday Family Traditions"...4th Graders Create Prezi's!

The 4th graders are awesome!  They love coming to the library to be creative with technology, literacy, and digital tools.  

This week they finished up their October Book fact, they presented them the day before we went on break.  

For their October Book Project, they created Google Presentations and then uploaded them into FlipSnack to create a flippable eBook.  You can read about and see their projects here.
For November, they had the choice to read any genre that they wanted to read. 

When the teachers and I got together to plan this next book project, we took a look at the collaborative planning Google Doc(above)to see what skills we would need to cover with this work in December. We talked about the different digital tools that are available and what we wanted to accomplish with the tool that we picked.  

We decided to use Prezi because while still having awesome presentation capabilities it was fun to use and share with others. Prezi lets one really personalize the presentation with their own creative ideas. You can even collaborate with up to 10 people in Prezi....How fun would that be?  
To kick off this project, we created a Prezi just for fun last week right before we went on Thanksgiving break. I created the Google Doc Let's Learn Prezi to give the 4th graders a few easy steps and place to organize their ideas for their Prezi.  
We also watched a few of the videos included in the "Learn & Support" section included within Prezi.

After a few of the short videos and conversation about what their project would include, the 4th graders were off to creating Prezi's of their own.  

Tyler was super excited about creating a project that would show his holiday family traditions. 
He picked a great background of an old wood barn and starting adding content.  
Including what his family eats.....and doesn't eat....for the holidays.  
I loved walking around to see how different every one of the Prezi's were.
Shae loves all kinds of technology and especially loves learning new things.  
Yesterday on Thanksgiving, Shae's mom wrote me a message on Facebook letting me know that Shae had finished her Prezi.  How fun to know that she enjoyed the project and finished it on her own time.  
Shae did a wonderful job on her "My Holiday Family Traditions" Prezi.  I can't wait to see all of the 4th graders projects and put them together to share with all of you.  
A couple of days ago I also included Prezi in the My Teacher Librarian Gave To Me....20 Days Of Awesome Library and Technology Tools and Resources Smore.

For Day 5, I highlighted Prezi with the little Tellagami video below and short tips on how to use Prezi.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Second Graders Put A Holiday Twist On A Few Classic Fairy Tales Using Storybird

The second graders have been learning about, listening to, experiencing, and creating fairy tales for the last couple of months.  This is a big part of second grade.  

Our second grade teachers, Tracy Ferguson and Melanie Smith, along with art, music and myself, have been collaborating on a fairy tale project.  We are excited for this work and can't wait to see where it takes all of us this year. 

There are a few of the 2nd grade Common Core Standards that we are focusing on right now within this collaborative unit.

RL.2.9 Reading: Literature: Compare and contrast two of more versions of the same story by different authors or from different cultures.  

W.2.6 Writing: With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers. 

SL.2.1 Speaking and Listening: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

Today in the library, we used a new digital tool to produce a collaborative project with a partner.  Since they are writing their own fractured fairy tale within the classrooms, I need to do a few things in the library to get ready for the next steps.  

One of these steps is to teach them how to use a couple of new digital tools.  They will be using these tools once they have their fractured fairy tales complete.  

We learned about Storybird today.  This is a favorite among all of our students at Van Meter.  

And one of mine too.  
First they went to the Storybird tile on the 2nd grade Symbaloo.  

This is where you can either login with a username and password....
or you can also sign up your students within "Classes" under your Storybird account.  The picture above shows the 2nd grade class before they signed in themselves with the class access code I provided.  

It also gives you the ability to manage several classes and manage your students easily within this area of Storybird. 
Once logged in, you can go to three main places from the top....You, Create, and Explore.

Under the "You" tab, all of the unpublished and published Storybird's can be viewed, edited, or shared.
When you are ready to create, you go to the "Create" tab.  The first thing you will see is artwork from dozens of super talented artists.  You can search through the artwork and also through the different tags that organize the artwork.

I love just going down the page and browsing through the different artwork.  It is such fun artwork .....the kids get so excited to find something that they love too.
Once you have selected an artist, you can either create a story or poem.  

In the picture above, this shows me creating a story.  The artwork can be changed by simply dragging it to the boxes on the pages.  You can add text and even change the layout of the page.  The pages can be added, deleted, and switched around at the bottom of the page.  
In the left hand corner, you have a few options.  

One of my favorite things about Storybird is that you can collaborate with others on your stories.  Even parents can be invited to collaborate which can be a really special project between school and home.  

This is also where the Storybird can be published.  It can be made private or public.  All of the second graders stories will be public so we can share them online with each other, our school community, and others.  
Today when we started, the kids and I brainstormed some ideas for what their Storybird could be about. We decided as a class to have it be a holiday fractured fairy tale.  With Thanksgiving a day away, this would be perfect.

I love some of the ideas they came up with.  The one above is going to be a holiday version of Jack and the Beanstalk, except Jack is a girl named Katie.
This group was very excited to find an illustration of the abominable snowman.  They were going to use this as holiday version of Goldilocks and Three Bears.....except the abominable snowman is Goldilocks.
And in this Storybird, Naida and Bailey are going to tell us the story of the Three Little Elves and the Big Bad Santa.  
It was fun watching the second graders work together and share their Storybirds today....not just between each other, but also between the groups.  They are excited to present these right after our Thanksgiving break.  I am too!  We are going to ask another grade level if we can come share them with their students and teachers.

By creating using a digital tool, working together, and retelling a classic fairy tale, they are gaining lots of knowledge and skills that will be valuable and essential in projects to come.  

Next up.....taking the fractured fairy tale they are writing in class and using LittleBirdTales to illustrate and write their very own digital eBook.  We will be sure to share this part too. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Teacher Librarian Gave To Me....Tales2Go on Day 4

On Day 4, I shared Tales2Go, an awesome Netflix-like service that streams thousands of name-brand audio book titles from leading publishers to your computer or device.
We have our Tales2Go available through Van Meter's MackinVIA.  It is located under the "Audiobooks" tab on the left hand side.  It is very easy to use and find audio books for students of all ages.

Tales2Go will be perfect to check out over the holiday season when you are at home and traveling with your family.

My son Hagan is reading Swindle and I was so excited to find it is here in Tales2Go too.  We will definitely be listening to this over our break.

Happy Day 4 and please follow the Smore below for each of the 20 Days.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Handful of Digital Tools Used To Create Really AWESOME eBooks By The 4th Graders

I always enjoy working with the 4th graders and their teachers, Staci Braun, Cindi Byrnes, and Eldonna Skahill, on the monthly book projects.  
At the beginning of the year we all sat down and laid out the different genres they would read.  Then we talked about what we wanted to accomplish with the project, in addition to them reading a different genre each month, and the different Web 2.0 tools we would have them use to create their projects.   
For the October book project we would have them create flippable eBooks using Flipsnack.  The first step would be to create their pages using Google Presentation.  

By using Google Presentation they could easily create their pages and also share them with us so we could help with editing.  
I always give them lots of choices for making their projects extra special.  Photo editing tools like PicMonkey, ReciteThis that creates cool posters, and Wordle that creates fun word clouds are just a few of these digital tools and ones that they used for this book project.  

I put links to all of these digital tools on the 4th Grade Symbaloo so they could get to the different sites easily.  
All of the 4th graders really loved this project.  I love how engaged they all were as they worked in the library and classroom.  
They are just so creative and love using the digital tools to really personalize and spice up their work.  I love how they use Google Presentation to make the pages their very own.

I just knew they were going to come together to create really awesome eBooks in FlipSnack.
Today when the 4th graders came for library and technology time, there were several students who were all ready to upload their Google Presentations into FlipSnack.
This is really simple to do.

All you have to do is "Download" the Google Presentation as a PDF.
Then go to FlipSnack, create a new one, and upload that file you just saved on your laptop of the Google Presentation.

When it has uploaded, you will also be able to choose how you want your flippable eBooks to look and the background it is on.  You can also give it a title, subtitle, and description.

Even though we just have a few of the FlipSnacks finished, I just couldn't wait to share them.
On Monday, I go to the two 4th grade classrooms for the morning.
We will be uploading all of the Google Presentations to FlipSnack and adding the flippable eBooks to the Padlet, Van Meter 4th Grade October Book Projects...FlipSnack eBooks.

We can't wait to share their eBooks with all of you.....The 4th graders hope they inspire others to read the books they read too.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A LittleBirdTale With Lots Of Scary Five Senses Poems From Our 3rd Graders

The third graders in Jenny Stephens room have been working on the Halloween Five Senses Poems project over the last few weeks in the classroom and library.
They wrote their Halloween 5 Senses Poems with Jenny in the classroom.  They also drew awesome pictures to illustrate their poems.
Jenny uploaded the illustrations into LittleBirdTale and then I helped them record their poems on their pages.

The LittleBirdTale turned out so adorable....I love being able to see and hear what they have created.  It is a wonderful tool for them to use for listening, speaking, and writing.

Enjoy Miss Stephen's Little Bird Tale.....

Halloween Five Senses Poems

A Special Visit From Our Friend Seymour Simon For "StarWalk Kids Media Week"

This week we are celebrating StarWalk Kids Media and all of the amazing fiction and nonfiction eBooks included within this awesome platform.  StarWalk Kids Media was created by Seymour Simon and Liz Nealon.....You can read more about it at this post I wrote, StarWalk Kids Media"....Amazing Nonfiction and Fiction eBook Collection, "Teaching Links" For Each eBook That Connects To The Common Core, and More!

Over the week we have been taking a closer look inside of the eBooks from StarWalk Kids, making sure we know how to get to them within our MackinVIA, and sharing favorites with each other in the library and at home.  
To make the week even more special we invited Seymour to come visit our 2nd graders in the library.

They are such huge fans of all of the eBooks within StarWalk Kids and also of all the Seymour Simon books we have on our shelves, so this was a very special visit for all of us.  
I always love how Seymour starts out the Skype.  He has the kids wiggle their fingers above their head....and then tells them that their fingers, and even more, make up how many books he has written.
Seymour told us all about how he became an author when he was in 2nd grade, which gets them all so excited about writing and publishing as authors too. 
I loved watching Seymour talk to the kids....They always have such a wonderful conversation. 
The kids also love going to the Seymour Simon website so I can see them connecting to what they have learned here too throughout our visit.
All of the 2nd graders had their hand up ready to ask Seymour a question when he told them it was time for their questions.
They have the most thoughtful questions for Seymour.
They were all very excited when one of their friends asked Seymour if he could read from the book Ghosts.  This is one of the most popular within StarWalk Kids Media for my students.  I find them so many times curled up reading and listening to this one. 
As he read from the book, it was so much fun watching their faces....
and big smiles as they wondered if they should look at the pages or not.  
He also shared a few other favorites of his and gave the 2nd graders all kinds of ideas on new eBooks to read within StarWalk.  
After our visit with Seymour, they couldn't wait to get into MackinVIA to read more.  
They first get into "Groups" within MackinVIA.  
Then they go down to "StarWalk Kids Media eBooks."
I love the Groups within MackinVIA, because it is very easy for everyone to find the different eBooks and eResources.
We now have 157 eBooks within our StarWalk Kids Group.  Like I said earlier, I really love that StarWalk contains such wonderful fiction and nonfiction.
Not only are the eBooks the best choices, there is also such a variety of books on different topics.
As I walked around the library, I saw all of the kids putting Ghosts into their MackinVIA Backpack.  It was fun seeing how they couldn't wait to keep reading and listening where Seymour left off.

On the first day I highlighted StarWalk Kids.  
You can watch this little video I created using the Tellagami app to learn even more about StarWalk Kids Media and MackinVIA.
Thank you again Seymour for visiting the 2nd graders this week.....We always love your visits.

And thank you for bringing StarWalk Kids Media and so many beautiful print and eBooks to all of us.