Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Our Dear Friend, Robert Forbes, Helps Us End Poetry Month On A Very Special Note

As we were leaving April and Poetry Month yesterday, we had a very special friend help us celebrate poetry one more time.  

Robert Forbes, who just happens to be my favorite poet, stopped by to share and talk poetry with our second graders.  As always, it was such great fun.  
We all loved listening to Robert read from his books Beastly Feasts and Let's Have A Bite.  

It is such a special treat to listen as he reads his poems and just as much to see the wonderful illustrations by Ronald Searle that accompany each poem.  
The kids also had a chance to ask Robert lots of questions.  They had so many really awesome ones this time.  

Porter asked him, 

Did you play sports when you were young?
And Charli wondered, 

Do you ever come to a point where you have trouble writing?
Thank you my friend for Skyping with us and bringing so much happiness to our library and school.  Your poems and books will always be our favorites.  

Please check out Robert Forbes website for more information.  

Our Fourth Graders Using HaikuDeck & Photos To Create Poetry With Our Friend And Poet, Laura Purdie Salas

As we get to the end of Poetry Month, I thought it would be fun to have a few more connections this week for our students to poets, poetry, and creating poems of their own.

Yesterday, the fourth graders connected with the poet Laura Purdie Salas.  Laura and I have become friends through Twitter and Facebook.  We were super excited to make this connection with her and the kids at Van Meter.
One of her books that we have in the library is Picture Yourself Writing Poetry....Using Photos To Inspire Writing. With the fourth graders all having their own iPads, I thought this would be a perfect way to connect and create something cool together.
Laura first spoke to them about using photographs to inspire writing.  She brainstormed with them and showed them how to write a poem with different visualizing techniques.
For this project, I thought it would be fun for them to use the HaikuDeck app. HaikuDeck is one that is new to the fourth graders and one I wanted them to use before the end of the year.  They would be able to put together words and images into a presentation really quick and easily.  It is also easy to share these with others.   
We had the students get with a partner and gave them the task of either taking a photograph or finding one within HaikuDeck.  They then wrote a poem to go with the image they choose.  
We gave them 15 minutes to create and told them we would come back together with Laura on Skype when they were ready to share.  
All of the groups shared their HaikuDeck Poetry.....They did an amazing job!  
 It was so much fun to listen and see what they created using photographs.
The fourth graders published their HaikuDeck's and were excited to add this digital tool to their own "tool box" of things to use on future projects.  
Thank you Laura for connecting with us through Skype and for teaching all of us about visualizing and having fun with words.  We can't wait until you come visit us again.

"Do You Want To Hear MY Driving Question?", Said All Of Our Kindergarteners At Their PBL Project Playground

"Look, Look! Do you want to hear MY driving question?"  

"I want to tell you what I learned about the wholly mammoth being in Iowa." 

"Did you know that raccoons really don't dip their food in the water?"

As I walked around the library yesterday these were all things I heard our wonderful kindergarten students saying to each other and the guests they invited to our "Iowa Animal Research Project Playground."  Parents, grandparents, teachers, and siblings were among the special guests all learning so much from our youngest learners.  

It was an amazing hour to just step back and see how even five and six years old can be the best teachers in the world.  They have so much to contribute and this is just the start of engaging them in amazing learning, creative, and collaborative experiences.   

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Our Kindergarteners Share Their Iowa Animal PBL Projects With Seymour Simon As They Prepare For The "Project Playground"

It was such a special day and was the perfect way to engage our little ones as they participate in their first big research project.  This was such a fun way to start as they developed their very own research and project.  

Today we will be hosting our very first "Project Playground" with the projects that our kindergarteners created highlighting their driving questions and different facts about their Iowa animals.   Last year we had all of them take turns sharing by standing up in front of the room and basically reading their report. This year we wanted to get them involved by taking ownership over their learning, having fun, and sharing what they learned in their own special way.  

And not just with each other.....but with the their parents and outside of the four walls too.

Instead of reading a report or having something completely prepared, the kindergarteners will be focusing on sharing their driving question and what they learned from this.  

We wanted to give them a chance to practice having these conversations so we invited Seymour to Skype with both classes of kindergarteners.

Monday morning we Skyped from Miss McClintock's classroom at 9:00am.  Each student had a chance to come up, tell Seymour and their class about their Iowa animal, and what drove their research and learning.

They were all so proud to share.
At 9:45am, I went over to Mrs. Caltrider's classroom to give them a chance to share their beautiful projects with all of us too.
As you can see.....these little ones were just as happy and proud of all the learning they had done.
We are so thankful for our friend Seymour and what he has brought to this project, our school, and especially to our little ones.  

Thank you my friend.  
In the afternoon, each kindergartener brought their project to the library to help set up for the "Project Playground" in the morning.  

They were all smiles and so proud that their "community" within the school and globally would see their work.....their thinking, their research, their creativity.  
It will be a fun morning at the "Project Playground" and one that I know we will all learn a lot from.

And one that we will never forget.