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!
to see 6th grade coders on Channel 30 news.
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.
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