Monday, September 30, 2019

Let's Get Ready To Read Across America & Celebrate Diversity All Year Long!

One of my favorite literacy events every year is Read Across America.  This wonderful event is sponsored by the NEA and as share on their website, 
Every spring we celebrate Read Across America and finds lots of meaningful ways to celebrate literacy all year long. 

Not only does the NEA to celebrate Read Across American, they invite all of us to join them as we celebrate a nation of diverse readers with these recommended books, authors, and teaching resources that represent an array of experiences and cultures.
If you haven't visited NEA's Read Across America website lately, you are in for a wonderful surprise as it has a new look with lots of amazing resources available to all of us.  I want to show you a few of these in this post. 
One of my favorite resources is the Read Across America Calendar. This yearly calendar has a special calendar for each month,
 which promotes a theme and books around that theme.
For example, in September the theme was Spread Hope and Possibilities so the books of the month for Elementary, Middle School and Teen (found at the top of this page) tie into that theme. 

When you click on Teach This Book, 
it then takes you to more information about the book and ways to apply it in the classroom, questions for discussion or reflective writing,
related teaching topics and more titles to try. 
Each month also lists literacy and reading events that are happening.

If you click on the highlighted words in each event, it will take you to...
...information and the site about the specific event.  For example, check out this United States event, International Literacy Day
 The entire 2019-20 year is already up from August 2019 through...
 ...July 2020, which makes it so handy as we plan out our year and collaborate with others within our school and community.
When you click on the 2019-20 Calendar at the top, it gives you the option to view the Digital Calendar or...
...Print Calendar, which makes it easy to display in the library or classroom.  It is beautiful!
I love how you can find the 2018-19 Calendar still which holds lots of ideas and resources too.

You will find that here.

In addition to the Read Across America Calendar, there are lots of other awesome resources included on the site.  You will find....

...Tools and Resources that bring tips for readers to recommended books that showcase diversity and help us create passionate readers. 
Under the Plan a Read Across America Event tab, you will find ideas, tips, the RAE Promotional Event, free books, logos and art.  
There are also resources under the About Read Across America tab from the NEA to support not only this event in March, but literacy in our schools and communities all year long. 
And the last tab, let's browse titles by age and topics bringing us to an important and impactful collection of diverse books for all ages.  You will find it here
As you explore this site and take in all of the amazing resources, please visit this article as it shares how NEA's Read Across America Rebrands With New Mission and the new focus on books that tell children of color of of different gender identities that they belong in the world and the world belongs to them. 

That is what every one of us want for our students, libraries and communities and we thank the NEA and Read Across America for helping us get to this place where we can all make a difference. 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

An Ozobot Homecoming Parade....Created and Coded By Our 3rd Graders!

The third grade teachers and I have been collaborating on and creating ways to bring more innovative learning opportunities through robotics and coding to their students this year.
We will be Skyping and learning with Sphero in October, reading and discussing wonderful picture books like How To Code A Rollercoaster by Josh Funk and Rox's Secret Code, and last Friday, we kicked off this exciting work with our new Ozobot Evo Classroom Kit...and WOW, was it awesome!

In fact, this first experience with robotics and coding brought something very special to our students with a little Ozobot Homecoming Parade!  With that day being the day all of our students would go outside to watch the annual homecoming parade in Van Meter, we thought this would be a fun tie in for our kids.
To start the day, we brought all three sections of third grade into one classroom so we could tell them about the Ozobot Homecoming Parade they would be creating all morning long. 
First, we share a video called, 

How To: Color Codes from Ozobot, which explains to the students how to code the tiny robots by creating color codes with four different colors of markers. 

We explained that they would be put into small groups and each group would get a big piece of white butcher paper, a Ozobot robot, a set of markers and lots of other fun craft supplies. 

The objective of their group would be to create their very own Homecoming Parade coded route on the white paper for their Ozobot to travel through.  They could create it anyway they wanted, taking into account the basics of coding with the Ozobot.  
The tips sheet on drawing lines and the....
...two Color Codes sheets from Ozobot would help them as they worked together to create their route successfully. 
You will find these Color Codes sheets here.  
And to make it even more fun and unique, they could decorate their robot to make it look like a homecoming float, Van Meter bulldogs or anything their team came up.  We should them lots of ideas online too. 
The teachers, Amy Garrison, Ann Volk and Amanda Wright, got them into groups of 3 or 4. They split the groups equally between their three classrooms where they would work. 
We passed out the materials and had a craft station in each of the three rooms...
...for them to choose the supplies...
... they needed for their homecoming parade. 
With the Ozobot's being so handy to charge on these cool little charging stations, it was super easy to give them each a full charged robot and tell them they could plug in if needed throughout the morning too. 

Next, they set off to work! 
Each group did such a wonderful job of working together from the start.  
They did some practice and figured out...

...what worked for them as their parade route was created first with pencil, and then....
...with marker. 

We watched them figure things out when they didn't go so hot the first time too.  This was amazing to watch.  

One of the things I loved about working this way on the project, was that everyone in the group had a job.  Some of the students took over the drawing of the route, while others wanted to decorate the paper around it. 

And lots of them, especially are little crafty thinkers, 
took the role of turning their Ozobot into a float or character. 
No matter what role they had, they all worked together to create an amazing project. Take a look at the work that took place...
When all of their work was complete and the robots floats were ready to go, we had the first ever, 
Ozobot Homecoming Parade at Van Meter! 
Each big group took turns rotating through each class to see all of the fantastic creations. 
They loved seeing how each one was different and....
took pride in the work they had done, the parade route they coded for their robot and the costume they gave their Ozobot.
This is the first stop for Ozobot at our school. 

For our 3rd graders, the next stop will be learning how to code our Ozobots using the OzoBlockly program.  You can check this program out here

So, check back in with us soon.  We can't wait to see where Ozobot will take us this year!