Thursday, October 31, 2019

Pear Deck QR Code Cards! A Quick and Easy Way To Get Your Students To Pear Deck!

We are having such a great time integrating Pear Deck into all grade levels at Van Meter. We have been thinking of lots of ways to bring it to all of our elementary students too.  

This week, I worked with third grade, second grade and even with....
...Christa McClintock and her kindergarteners, as they learned more about bats through the Pear Deck we created for her class. 
We kicked off the time listening to Christa read Bats in the Library
After the story, they brainstormed things they already knew about bats, as Christa used Pear Deck to draw the things they were sharing. 

Next, we wanted them to log into the Pear Deck on their iPads so we....
...created QR codes....
... with QR Code Monkey using and an image of Peary. 

I put these onto full size pieces of paper.  Once we started passing them out to the kindergarteners, I realized these were just a little too big, making it hard for them to easily scan with their iPads, not to mention they were getting stepped on and crumbled too. 

I left her room thinking about how I could make that easier for the kids and for us, as teachers. 
I decided to take the image of the QR code and make it into small little cards for the kids to hold onto easily. 

In the Printer Settings, I pulled up the QR code and set it to print 16 copies per page, as shown in the screen shot above. 
This makes it so easy to make mini cards that can then be printed, 
cut apart and laminated. 
And so much easier for our little friends to hold them in their hand while trying to scan them sitting in a group of others, at their desk or center, or even at home or on the go. 

I am excited to pass these out to Christa's kindergarteners and lots of others this fall too.  We know they will be such a quick and easy way to get our students to Pear Deck.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The NEW Buncee 3.0 App Came To Van Meter Today!

Something very exciting came to the Van Meter 2nd graders today!  
It's the NEW Buncee 3.0 iOS app and we couldn't be more excited to bring to this to our students and share with all of you. 
When my colleague and friend, Megan Warwick, who is one of our 2nd grade teachers, and I were collaborating on a Halloween project last week, we thought it would be great to focus around one of the books being shared on our It's Halloween....You've Been Book'd list. 

They are enjoying them so much and we wanted to give them a chance to share their favorites and what they loved in a Buncee Booktalk where they could add stickers, animations, images, text and even their own voice as they share their favorite book. 
After collaborating, Megan created a little sheet to guide them in the creation of their Buncee. Megan made an example of her favorite book from the list, Christopher Pumpkin. 

This was the first step in this project and one they finished before starting on their Buncee. 
As we started the Buncee part, Megan and I decided to use the NEW Buncee 3.0 app for this project with our new iPads.  We were very excited about the possibilities of them creating using the app.

Since they have used Buncee before, her students were familiar with how Buncee worked, but Megan did go over little tips before they started their Halloween Book Buncee.
The app is very similar and initiative as they use stickers, animations, words and other assets to share their book review. 
She even showed them how to add their voice to different assets which will be so much fun for this Halloween Buncee....
 ...ghost and witch sounds, sharing their story and more will bring their Buncee to life.

Tomorrow, they will be finishing up their Buncee's and adding them to a Buncee Board to send off to their pen pals in New York. 

You can learn more about the NEW Buncee 3.0 App here on the Buncee Blog and...

We can't wait to see what you create too! 

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Teacher Librarian's Guide To Newsela!

As a teacher librarian, I am always on the look out for those perfect resources that will encourage engagement, support differentiation and take learning to a new level across the curriculum and through interests.  As I collaborate and co-teach with other teachers and support the achievement and learning of our students, Newsela is my go-to resource for bringing wonderful content through a large variety of interesting and timely topics to both students and teachers within our community.

Newsela gives us the tools and text we need to reach all of our students, aligning in the most effective and meaningful ways.  And it is loved by our students and teacher for these reasons and even more.
As the Newsela site states,

Students in grades 2-12 have unlimited access to more than 10,000 texts from 20 genres...all at 5 different reading levels.  The texts have standards-aligned reading activities and real-time insights to support daily instruction and differentiation across the curriculum.  
Even though this content is for grades 2-12, the content for our young learners is specific to and appropriate for grades 2-6 an so we never have to worry about them seeing articles about troubling subjects. 

Let's take a look inside Newsela to see how this all works.
 From the homepage, there are tabs at the top that take you to all kinds of important places. 
For me, as a teacher librarian, the Library is one of the most important places as it connects me to all kinds of content in a variety of subjects from Art & Culture, World History, Primary Sources, Famous Speeches and more. 
I love how Newsela makes it easy for me and the teachers to assign an article that fits the content we need.  With this content, we can create custom assignments, search for content by standards, assign classroom-ready Text Sets, and control the reading levels students see.
For example, let's say I am looking for an article in the Arts & Culture category. 
I can click on one of the articles I want to assign to the students or share with a teacher to Assign it to them.
It gives you several options to personalize this Assignment for your students.
 I can also select one of the five reading levels, which remember is on every text within Newsela.
 One of the super cool features as a Pro Subscriber is the Activities button at the top.
This gives teachers the option to assign...
....a variety of Activities such as....
 Power Words, 
 and Quiz. 

Next, comes News and again, there is a wide variety of relevant, interesting and timely news articles that will fit the curriculum and interests of your school community. 
Within each News Category, there are several Articles included.

There are lots of ways to narrow down these articles from the tabs found at the top under the news category.  
It's so awesome being able to search articles that fall into different Reading Skills.  You can see from the image above how to narrow this down and apply it to the search. 
Text Sets are collections of texts or articles from within Newsela.  There are lots of different Text Sets as you can see under the tab.
 I found one for Iowa News under the State Text Sets. 
And I was very excited to find a bunch of Text Sets under Text Sets at My School!  The teachers are loving being able to pull texts together and even add content and questions around the text like...
...Lacie Corsaut, one of our middle school teachers, did here in this fantastic Text Set for Primary Source Analysis about Christopher Columbus. 
Assignments can be created around Text Sets, copied and even shared with others. 

As you can see, Newsela is such a powerful partner to use throughout the curriculum and age levels. 
It is easy to use and works with lots of different technology tools districts are using such as Google Classroom, Clever, Microsoft, Classlink, Schoology and Canvas.  This makes it very easy to set up classes, share texts and assign assignments to students. 
When we kicked off the school year, I worked with our teachers and met with them in groups and on an face-to-face basis.  

That's when the Educator Center really came in handy...and it sure does throughout the year too. 
In the Educator Center, you will find everything you need to get started. 
They have included videos which make it easy to understand and... organized to start using Newsela right away.
At the end, they even give suggestions as to the content and grade level you teach, making it a quick hook to get started with Newsela today. 

We have been using Newsela within all different subjects and grade levels.  Our students love reading the texts and interacting with not only the content, but with the learning tools and resources as well.

Newsela has brought something very special to our school community and we can't wait to see where it will take us from here!
In my next post about Newsela, I will share one of our new favorite features....The Newsela Daily Deck that is their new partnership with our friends at Pear Deck.  

Check back soon!