Thursday, April 24, 2014

Poem in Your Pocket Day!

Today was Poem in Your Pocket Day! To celebrate I had my students write down a favorite poem and I made several copies. We cut, hole punched, and "sewed"pockets to distribute to teachers and classrooms around the school. In each pocket we put one of the favorite poems and students also put their favorite poem in their pocket!

After we sent out the pockets we started receiving poems! Teachers and classes sent us their favorite poems and some even treated us to a read aloud of their poem!

 By the end of the day we had an entire wall of poems by authors in our school and favorites like Shel Silverstein!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Common Core and Technology

When I examine the Common Core standards I appreciate that speaking and listening are included, as well as an emphasis on publishing using technology. Speaking, listening, and technology are core tenets of my classroom. I am hoping that this post shares ways to incorporate these standards into your classroom!

Let's look at this third grade Speaking and Listening standard:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.5 Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.

There are two tools I recommend for creating audio recordings: VoiceThread and AudioBoo. They can both be accessed through a web browser, as well as iPhone and iPad apps.

Here is a VoiceThread my third graders created to share their musical instruments:

Here's another VoiceThread created after an Earth Day field trip to the beach. Students wrote poems and then added a photo or a photo of a drawing:

And here's a third VoiceThread that was created using a fable that students wrote collaboratively. The pictures are photos of student drawings:

On VoiceThread, by upgrading to an educator account, you can record many more VoiceThreads than are allowed on a regular account.

Now, AudioBoo! If using AudioBoo on the iPad, download the iPhone app so that you can record podcasts (video explaining how to do this).

Here is an AudioBoo a student created based on an animal they researched:

And an AudioBoo board of students' creature alliteration poems:
I wrote a more detailed post about Audio Boo last year, which you can read here!

Here are the corresponding standards for other grades:
Second Grade:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.5 Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Fourth Grade:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.5 Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
Fifth Grade:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.5 Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Anchor Charts

I remember when "Charting the Learning" was introduced at my previous school. Ugh, I thought… this will just clutter up the walls. But, since we were mandated to make at least one chart a week for each subject I started to do just that.

Lo and behold, I loved charting! When charts are made with student input and referenced to during instruction, guided, and independence practice they are an incredibly effective instructional tool.

As a child I remember being so distraught when I knew I had learned something, but I couldn't remember a key detail for an essay or completing a math problem. Charts support visual learners as they can reference the chart for support during guided and independent practice.

I find that chart work best when I already have an outline and plan of what is going to go on the chart. Sometimes I provide students a copy of the chart so that they can fill in the information I place on the chart. When I get organized I want to have students keep these in a notebook of some type.

In order to prevent the charts from getting overwhelming I take pictures of them and print them (several to a page) for students to keep in a folder.

I hope some of these chart spur ideas for your own classroom!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hands Off!

It is the time for our Animal Research project (described in full detail: here) and this year we are using Google Drive to create the books! In the past few days I've been reminded again and again why I try to keep my hands off the computer when students are working. I've actively used a computer since I was a kid, which makes it easy for me to start a new document, insert a picture, and change the font. But, this project (and any time a project is happening in the classroom) is not about me.

When teaching my students to use technology John Dewey's quote echoes for me: "If we teach today's students like we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow." What will today's students need for tomorrow? I think they will need to be able to create, collaborate, and demonstrate persistency to challenging tasks. It will not be acceptable to not finish a work assignment because they couldn't figure something out!

This takes me back to my Hands Off! policy when my students are using technology. As I teach students the steps to change font size, change the layout on a page, or insert a picture I don't touch the computer (or at least try my hardest not to!). This starts to build students' retention of the process, as well as their muscle memory. And, builds and shows my students independence! After I have taught one student in the class something I ask them to then teach the next person who needs to learn that same skill. It spreads like wildfire and soon I have 31 students who can insert a new page, underline a word, share a document, use spell check, etc...

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