We had so much fun reading great picture books and sharing them with all kinds of friends this month. Especially fun was the Picture Book Smackdown on Google Hangout. What a fantastic way to share. Special thanks to Andy Plemmons, Cathy Potter, Shawna Ford, Kathy Kaldenberg and authors Laurel Snyder and Ame Dyckman.
Following some great discussions about our reading habits, I showed my third and fourth graders how I keep track of my books: Goodreads. I love almost everything about this site and have a great time reading recommendations and seeing what my friends are up to in their reading lives. I am continually inspired. My students thought it was pretty neat too! They were so thrilled when a friend on Goodreads had read and reviewed a book that we had just read too!
So I decided that I really needed to get Biblionasium going with my kids. Biblionasium is an online bookshelf for kids. I love how kids can keep track of what they are reading, recommend books to one another, find ideas, and so much more. I have been thinking about using it for over a year, but wanted to be sure it was safe. Another reason I decided to go for it was being able to hang out with its founder at AASL in Hartford. She was amazingly passionate and wanted to know what kinds of things we would want to use Biblionasium for and what would make it better.
So when I returned from AASL, I got busy putting the classes in - and boy was that easy to do. Just have the information in an Excel spreadsheet and it just goes right in. I also love that multiple teachers can be added to each class. That way myself, classroom teachers, reading teachers, special education teachers, the principal - can all be involved with creating that culture of reading and sharing books.
The kids LOVE it! They had so much fun choosing an avatar, adding books, and then recommending them to each other and their teachers. It has been one of those weeks that is so much fun because they were so into it. Many of them went home and spent time doing more.
I can't wait to log in and check out some of the great book ideas they have sent me.
UPDATE! On Thursday evening, Nov. 21, this project was funded! Amazing! Several families from our school community had supported the project and were matched by another donor. Then, Makerbot and a final family finished the funding. It is so exciting to imagine what we will be able to do and how many kids we will be able to inspire. Thank you, thank you.
Many of you know how passionate I am about Makerspaces, making, tinkering, and inventing. My children and I had an amazing summer "making" all kinds of things from soda bottle boats to balloon propelled lego cars and "throwies" made of LED bulbs and batteries to cardboard creations. We have been inspired by Caine of Caine's Arcade (please watch - it is so amazing!) I have read blogs and articles and am inspired daily by the book Invent to Learn by Martinez and Stager. I believe so much in the ideas of having students think, create, share, and grow. Creating a Makerspace in my school libraries is a huge goal that I am working toward this year. But I think it is worth it. Students deserve this opportunity.
Last week when I was at the American Association of School Libraries conference in Hartford, one of my good Twitter friends Andy Plemmons told me about an amazing opportunity from Makerbot and Donors Choose. They have teamed up with the goal of putting a 3D printer in every classroom! This is not a technology that is simply for colleges, universities, industry and other agencies to explore. This technology can be for everyone and what better way to move our students forward? Creating a Makerspace with this type of technology brings together what we do in the library every day - research, thinking, questioning, connecting with experts. All 21 century skills which will take our students places we can only imagine.
I submitted my proposal last night and it was accepted this afternoon. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that this project will be filled so that we can start thinking about how to use 3D printing and other Makerspace ideas.
Please take a look at our project Follow Your Passion and Make It!, consider donating, and hopefully share about this project with others. I believe that our students will benefit in so many ways from this opportunity! I can't wait!
If you are able to donate by 11/26, use the word INSPIRE at checkout and Donors Choose will match donations up to $100.
Inspired after reading Donalyn Miller's new book Reading in the Wild last week (and the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book birthday), I began talking to my 3rd and 4th grade classes about Reading Habits. Things that perhaps they never really thought about before - I certainly didn't. I shared with them how I "read around the edges" - with 2 kids and a job, I don't often have huge chunks of time for reading. They went off to think about their "edge" times and here are the results!
It's only October 30 and I am thrilled to have connected my students with 3 fabulous authors! What a way to say to students and families that yes, reading is so important to all of us.
September 13 brought illustrator Bill Thomson to Brewster School. Bill is a local author who I discovered last year. Even better, one of our staff members knows him well and when she saw his book Chalk being shared in the library, she came right to me and connected us. Bill came as part of our celebration of International Dot Day. He even included dots as part of his presentation. Bill's books are stunning. When I first shared Chalk with my students, as soon as we finished they said, "Read it again!" I knew it was a special book. Bill shared his process for creating books with the students - showing them the thumbnail sketches, the photographs he takes to use as models and how he finishes the illustrations. We even got a sneak preview of his newest book that would be coming out in just a few weeks. Throughout the presentations, Bill connected with the students. At the end, they did some collaborative drawing together, imagining what could be created from a shape that was drawn. Dots were always added. The students were thrilled when Bill hung out with us during library times when he wasn't presenting and even joined first graders for lunch. Probably most amazing of all was the fact that Bill signed each and every book that students and staff ordered and he did in just one night. Each child that ordered a book has something very special to cherish. The icing on the cake was the special gift for our library of a copy of Fossil, his newest book. The students have had a blast reading it and remembering how he shared his process of creating that book with them. To find out more about Bill Thomson, click here.
Our second author visit was of the virtual kind. Patricia Newman and her books were new to me, but I had connected with her last spring and as a thank you, she wanted to do a Skype visit with a class. I found 2 of her books at a local library and knew immediately that these would be well loved books. On October 23 I shared the 2 books, Nugget on the Flight Deck and Jingle the Brass with one of my 3rd grade classes at Korn School. They had so many questions to ask her! We could have talked to her for an hour. At 11 o'clock we were all set to go, having brainstormed questions. We called and had an amazing 25 minutes. Patricia clearly LOVES children and even though she was in California and we were talking through a screen, the students were engaged and so excited. We did a quick introduction but mainly she wanted to hear from them and they asked question after question. Her books are unique with interesting and varied vocabulary which really grabbed all the kids. Patricia gave us a peek at the cover of her new book that will be coming out April 1 - Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Very intriguing. Patricia emailed us shortly after our visit and commented on how well prepared the students were and what great questions they asked. To me this demonstrates how important connecting is for our students. To find out more about Patricia Newman, click here.
Finally, on Tuesday, October 29, Korn School welcomed Ann Hood. Many thanks to R.J. Julia Booksellers for arranging this visit. Once again, they introduced us to a new author and what a pleasure it was. While I was teaching at my other school that day, I immediately began to receive tweets and emails about what a wonderful presentation she was giving. Ann Hood is well known for her books written for adults, but her children's books were new to me. I found copies of her Treasure Chest series at a local library and read the first one. Lots of fun. Love that it is set in nearby Newport, Rhode Island, a place that is familiar to many students. My 8 year-old son was so interested that he was reading over my shoulder. As I shared these books with the library classes, they were excited. Many of my students are big fans of the Magic Tree House series and the Treasure Chest books are similar. During Tuesday's presentation, Ann shared about her inspiration for her books and took ideas for her next books from the students. Teachers and students alike reported what a great visit they had with her. Visit Ann Hood's website here.
Read for the Record is one of my favorite days to celebrate reading! This year, Otis, by Loren Long will be celebrated! We love Otis at Brewster and Korn Schools.
Here is a trailer for the event: Otis Read for the Record trailer
We have our copy of The Dot by Peter Reynolds. The playdough has been purchased. The iPads are being updated with the Press Here! app and Colar app (for amazing 3D dots!) We have plans for paint too! Tomorrow is the first of my 2 Dot Days: first Brewster and Thursday at Korn. We are so excited! It is amazing to see the excitement, wonder, and fun that goes along with Dot Day. This year close to 1 million participants will be exploring how to "make their mark".
In addition to our Dot Day at school, we will continue to be inspired as we connect the dots with schools from around the world. Check out the map below. Some will be old friends, but many will be new. We will share stories and things we did on Dot Day. Stay tuned for updates, pictures and more in the next week or 2.
How will you make your mark this year?
I can't wait to hear about what 4th graders have been reading this summer. So, since I see them on the first day of school, I decided to make a padlet for them to share their great reads with all of us!
Ok 4th graders - here is the link: http://padlet.com/wall/xxdyvxeziq
We can't wait to see what you've been reading!
: ) Mrs. Lussier
I have a burning desire to know and understand things. All kinds of things - so I read. A lot. That's a subject for another whole post. But I have been curious lately about what books people love - those books that as an educator, you just find yourself turning to over and over again for inspiration, ideas, and a desire to understand. Here are the ones I have been attached to in the last year or so. What others do you have that you cannot live without?
1) The Book Whisperer by D. Miller
2) Igniting a Passion for Reading by S. Layne
3) Readicide by K. Gallagher
4) Energize Research Reading and Writing by C. Lehman
5) Comprehension and Collaboration - Inquiry Circles in Action by S. Harvey and H. Daniels
6) Connecting Comprehension & Technology - S. Harvey, A. Goudvis, K. Muhtaris & K. Ziemke
7) What Readers Really Do by D. Barnhouse & V. Vinton
8) Summer reading - R. Allington
9) Book Love by P. Kittle
10) Notice and Note by K. Beers & R. Probst
11) The Daily Five by G. Boushey & J. Moser
12) The CAFE Book by G. Boushey & J. Moser
13) Real Revision - K. Messner
14) Mindset by C. Dweck
15) Teach Like a Champion by D. Lemov
16) Teach Like a Pirate by D. Burgess
17) Make Just One Change by Rothstein & Santana
18) The Reading Zone by N. Atwell
19) Invent to Learn by S. Libow & G. Stager
20) Children's Book-a-day Almanac by A. Silvey
This post was a little delayed, but here it is . . .
Poems of all kinds were shared this week as classes from all over the United States celebrated Poem in Your Pocket Day. Many schools had spring break on April 18, the official Poem in Your Pocket Day, so we celebrated the following week instead. Some friends were well known to us, but we made some new friends as well. Many thanks to Laura D'Elia from Pine Glen School whose students shared many choral readings of poems.
Check out my animoto video for Poem in Your Pocket Day!