Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Snowy Time With Our First Graders.....eBooks, PebbleGo, Interactive Snowflake Creators, Art, and Great Fun!

The holidays have passed, we are into a new year, and right in the middle of a very cold, snowy winter. 

It is the perfect time for my first grade friends, the classroom teachers, and I to learn a little more about snowflakes through beautiful books, a database, websites, and art activities.  
To start out our month of wintery activities, we looked at books with a snowy theme. 

On the first day, I shared The Snowy Day by the Ezra Jack Keats and 

Both of these beautiful books won Caldecott Medals,  The Snowy Day in 1963 and Snowflake Bentley in 1999.  The kids always love learning and talking about the Caldecott books so they were very excited we listened to two of them on the first day.

After listening to the two books, we then talked about winter and snowflakes.  All of them had a fun story about playing in the snow to share with everyone.  
Next, I showed them the websites I added to the First Grade Symbaloo.  I included the two books we listened to from BookFlix, along with PebbleGo and a few websites.  
One of my favorites is the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation website where there are fun games to play based on The Snowy Day. 
Next week when they come to the library we will dive in deeper and learn even more about snowflakes on our favorite database for little ones, Capstone Publishing PebbleGo.
They will research snowflakes using the printout from PebbleGo too.  They love drawing, writing, and sharing what they know.  
I will also show them this little movie about Snowflakes on BrainPop.
And in a few of our eBooks too. 
For the first day after listening to the books, we created our very own virtual snowflakes using two awesome websites.

One website is Make-a-Flake. On the right hand side you click on "Make Your Own Snowflake" and it takes you into the page....
 that lets you create, preview, save, and print your snowflake.
The second is the Snowdays website where it talks about snowy conditions, the shape of snowflakes, and lets you click on snowflakes that others have created.  
At the bottom of the page, you can click on "Create Your Own Snowflake"....
to create your very own snowflake too.  
After one of our first graders Grady created his snowflake, we sent it to his mom.  
His mom in return wrote a comment back to Grady about his snowflake and asked what he learned.  I love the interaction with this website.  
Katherine also wanted to share her snowflake, #11901032.  I sent it to my email and opened it up. 
When I saved it to my computer, it opened up like this.....How cool is that!  I love how it shows off their snowflakes so nicely along with the information about their flake.  
Keith created a very unique snowflake that we thought looked like birds on his flake.
After the kids created their snowflakes, it was fun for them to track their own snowflake.  On the screen above you can see the brown arrow pointing to the snowflake. 
When you put your cursor over the top, the information about the snowflake pops up.
Snowdays also lets you search for the number of the snowflake, names, locations, dates, and even messages that snowflakes have with "Find-A-Flake".   
When I searched for "Van Meter" in "Find-A-Flake" there were 38 of them that started falling from the sky.  The little arrows on the screen above show them.  
This is very fun for them to take a look at all of the snowflakes their friends created too.  
After we start researching and learning more about how snowflakes are made, the first graders will also be creating their very own too.  

By watching YouTube videos and showing examples in class, everyone will be snowflake makers by the end of this month.  
We might even attempt a few designs with our older ones too.....Like these Star Wars Snowflakes.

The first graders and I will brainstorm together and come up with a project to show everything they have learned....maybe an eBook created with Google Presentation and FlipSnack, maybe one using Little Bird Tales, or even an interactive animation they create.  We will discover and plan that part together. 

We hope you try some of these websites out. Even if you are not surrounded by snow right now, you can have the beauty of snowflakes around you too.  

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