Click here to read my post, originally shared on my Elementary Roundtable South blog.
On April 5 I attended an unconference sponsored by the Connecticut Association of School Librarians, the Connecticut Library Consortium, and Scholastic. It was a great day of connecting and learning.
Click here to read my post, originally shared on my Elementary Roundtable South blog.
One of the times of year that I look forward to most is World Read Aloud Day. It has turned into an exhausting week, but the fun we have more than makes up for that! This year we celebrated with 31 Skypes: 3 authors and 28 classes from around the United States. Part of the fun is meeting all these new friends and connecting with old ones! Many thanks to LitWorld for sponsoring this amazing event!
Both of my schools had activities going on to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday throughout the week, starting off with Brewster's "Wheel of Seuss" on Friday which I had the honor of emceeing. Korn classes had many different guest readers coming in to share favorite books. Tuesday afternoon brought guest readers to Brewster School for Brewster Loves to Read. I love to see all of the different ways we show that we are communities of readers!
Bonus this year - no snow days! Happily we were able to fill in for schools who did have some winter weather to contend with!
Monday, March 3
Tuesday, March 4
Wednesday, March 5
Thursday, March 6
Friday, March 7
What an amazing week and I am so grateful to all who were able to connect! These celebrations of reading and learning provide our students with the opportunity to communicate and collaborate, important abilities for our students to have as they go forward! But most importantly, it is just so much fun!
Having an author visit at your school is one of the most exciting events of the school year! We are revving up the excitement for April 28, when Jarrett J. Krosoczka comes to Brewster and Korn! Extra-special thanks to the BKPTA for making this happen!
So far, we have shared Lunch Lady books, read Punk Farm and Baghead at Brewster School and watched lots of booktrailers at Korn. We have partnered with our local independent bookstore, R.J. Julia Booksellers, to provide an opportunity for students to purchase copies of his books and have them signed when he comes!
In the next week we will get started decorating and maybe . . . just maybe . . . having some Lunch Lady gadget fun! Be looking for lots of yellow showing up soon!
Jarrett Krosoczka's latest book Peanut Butter and Jellyfish comes out April 8th! Check out the trailer here.
Today 4th graders at Korn School played in the sandbox. No, we didn't bring sand into the library (although that might be fun). Our tech integration teacher and I shared a new app with them and let them figure it out. We talked with them about some C words: Creative, Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration (P21.org poster) and the folks at Fablevision added Compassionate. We loved talking about thinking outside the box too! A final thought before students got to work was the idea of Failure - not giving up and trying again in a new way to solve the problem. We believe that these are key ideas for 21st century learners.
We want students to use these 5 C's as we use the 3D printer from Makerbot in our library in the next weeks. Students will be using the Blokify app to create designs that we will print. We cannot wait to see what they create!
Adult and child read aloud thoughts
For this week's challenge, we were asked to talk to a child about reading aloud. Since we have been snowed in and on vacation for 5 days, I found 2 eager participants right in my living room. They were happy to share!
Question 1: I think everyone in the world should read . . . .
Me: Dr. Seuss - Very few people do not love Dr. Seuss. Everyone has a memory of hearing his books read aloud and reading them -finally- on our own. One of my earliest memories of school is making green eggs and ham in Kindergarten. It was amazing to me that we were actually eating green eggs! Dr. Seuss made reading fun and accessible for so many. Kids still love the rhyming, the funny creatures, the fun! When I started getting ready for World Read Aloud Day and Dr. Seuss's birthday a couple weeks ago, I just filled a table in the library with Dr. Seuss books. Students were drawn to them like magnets. It always makes me smile.
Owen (age 9): Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Tessa (age 6 3/4): Magic Tree House books and Dumpling Days by Grace Lin
Question 2: If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be . . .
Me: my mom. She and my dad were my first influences for reading and we always read books together. Always.
Owen: Jeff Kinney
Tessa: Mrs. Sibiskie, my teacher
Question 3: When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is . . .
Me: Skippyjon Jones. I LOVE to do the voices in those books. I love laughing with the kids. Pure fun.
Owen: Mudge from Henry and Mudge books
Tessa: Pacy, from Grace Lin's Dumpling Days and Jack and Annie from Magic Tree House
Question 4: The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf is . . .
Me: Mystery - my absolute favorite.
Question 5: My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is . . .
Me: I love when kids laugh during the story, try guessing what will happen next and then yell out, "Read it again!" That's when I know it was a great read aloud.
Owen: You can just sit and listen and enjoy the story.
Tessa: You can lay down and listen to the story. I like hearing my teacher's voice make the characters' voices.
What is your earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud to you?
I am so excited to be participating in the World Read Aloud Day "Raising Our Voices" blogging challenge! This means there is only 4 more weeks to go! We actually did a practice Skype today with someone who is new to this celebration! It was so much fun! Each week other bloggers and I will be responding to a prompt or question about reading aloud.
I was lucky. When I was little, my mom read to me all the time. Both my parents were teachers and they understood the importance of reading. My mom stayed home with us when we were little too. As I sat down to think about this prompt, two books jumped into my mind: Dick and Jane book and Little Runner. Both of these books helped me along the path to reading on my own, learning letters and their sounds and putting them together to form words. Dick and Jane books helped me practice sight words over and over again. Little Runner also introduced interesting words, like "wampum" to me and we read them over and over and over. I was endlessly fascinated by these stories and loved to create my own.
What I remember the most though, aside from the actual stories, was the feeling that I had when I was all snuggled up with my mom or my dad. That is the feeling that I get today when I read with my own children. We are sharing this experience together - no interruptions, no anything. Just the story and being together, warm, quiet, laughing and not wanting it to end.
As I got older, that same feeling continued, whether I was reading with someone or by myself. Books continue to have that allure for me. I fall deeply into these stories, other worlds, times or places, and sometimes read them again and again, relishing.
When I read with my students, I hope I create that kind of feeling for them. One of my favorite things to hear is when I finish a story is, "Read it again!" I often feel like we are under a spell - they are so excited to listen to the story.
This year we will be celebrating World Read Aloud Day for the second time. The two schools that I work at connected with so many amazing schools and authors last year, mostly through the use of Skype. We will do so again this year, with many familiar faces along with some new ones. Connections will be made with Washington State, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia, and more. I am thrilled to have authors Ame Dyckman and Patricia Newman visiting with us as well!
Our skypes involve the students introducing the schools to one another, followed by a shared reading of some sort, such as reading a book together with teachers or students taking turns by pages or by character (Elephant and Piggie are wonderful for that!) Many times we use the website wegivebooks.org for our shared reading. If there is time, students love to ask each other questions or share favorite books.
However you celebrate this year, share the joy that reading aloud to others can bring! Raise your voice!
Students and teachers in Regional School District 13 showed a little courage and a LOT of excitement December 9-15 during Computer Science Education Week. Trying something new that most knew little or nothing about was a big challenge. But the Hour of Code was a huge success!
Students and teachers in grades K-12 participated. Some used code.org to get to the Angry Bird/Zombie tutorial and learn some basic computational thinking. Some used iPad apps such as Kodable, Light-bot, Daisy the Dinosaur or Cargo-bot. However they did it, these newest coders loved it and wanted to do more. Watching kindergarteners, who, when asked if they thought they would be good at coding said, "NO!", grow big smiles on their faces and try again and again when they got stuck, was an absolute pleasure. Fourth graders jumped right in and helped each other when they were puzzled about what to do next. They were all building stamina and the ability to persevere, even when things got tougher.
Teachers were taking risks here - big ones! It definitely made them feel better when they were reminded that they really didn't need to know what to do - the kids could do it! When teachers tried it, they LOVED it! Many confided that they became a little addicted themselves.
The Hour of Code provided a way to show just how essential computational thinking and coding are for the future of these students. I think it truly helped teachers, who had little or no experience with coding, to understand students for whom this is a passion, a little better. I can't wait to see where this excitement takes us next!
Click HERE to see 6th grade coders on Channel 30 news.
Click HERE for article in The Town Times (see pages 14 & 19).
It was amazing! Pierce, one of our Korn alumni, came over on Thursday afternoon and together we got the printer going. It was a little nerve-wracking; we actually read the directions. We really didn't want to break it or cause any problems. We followed the directions step by step (the screen on the printer tells you what to do). We got all the parts put in the right places and then we had to align it. That took a little time, but we figured it out. And then it was time to try it! So it heated up and it worked. The SD card that it comes with has projects already programmed, so we picked the shark and watched it work. It was really neat. It is a new way of thinking about printing, because there is that added dimension, but we could immediately see all kinds of possibilities. 18 minutes later (or so), it was finished. The 3D printer was fascinating to everyone! My 6 year old daughter was mesmerized. My principal and some staff members stopped by to ask a question and couldn't stop watching. We created another shark and then a bracelet (see picture below). Our next step is to program our own items. I asked Pierce to do a little research over vacation. He is so passionate about technology! It is a pleasure to work with him! I can't wait to see what he discovers and what we will create next! I also can't wait to share it with the students and see where it takes them! To be continued . . .
On December 4 & 5, Mrs. Martin was a special guest at our library! She came to help us get excited for this year's Science Fair which will be taking place on Thursday, February 27, 2014. Mrs. Martin talked to us about the difference between a demonstration, where we watch something interesting happen, and an experiment, where a question is asked and a hypothesis tested. We are hoping that all students will be presenting an experiment.
For more information and the permission slip, please go to the Science Fair page.