Sunday, December 19, 2010
Thinking Towards 2011
First, I am going to have the students choose their favorite app and write about how they use the app in their learning. Also they will include one fun fact. I am going to start a monthly feature on the blog in which the top two apps will be reviewed by the students. I am excited to learn about the apps from their perspectives. Also a few students have gone to the App Store and have made suggestions for different apps as well as songs they would like added to their iPods. Right now they are asking me to add some new songs that sing in their Spanish class which I plan on doing during the holidays.
Second I am going to have the students create another digital story but this time using an app called Storyrobe which is free. This app allows the students to create a mobile digital story that includes images (both internet and photos that the students can take). This will be a new challenge because our iPods don't have a camera, so I am going to have them bring in photos and import them into their iPhoto Library on their iPod. The students will be able to voice record their story which will be new because we have not recorded on their iPods yet. Finally they will email their story to me and we will share them with the class as well as post them on our class web page so the parents can view them.
Next along with a lot of support from Mark, our TST, I am going to learn about google docs so that I can begin to explore digital learning beyond the classroom. I plan on implementing this through my Life Science unit that I will be starting in February. The focus is on comparing ecosystems, identify how organisms change and are affected by the change, finally the transfer of energy in food chains and food webs. If you have any additional links, picture books (thanks Karen @ Literate Lives) or ideas on this topic please leave me a comment.
Lastly Mark and I will be preparing to present at the Dublin Lit Conference on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at Dublin Coffman High School. This year professional speakers include Kelly Gallagher, Patrick Allen, Troy Hicks,and Christian Long. Children's authors include Brian Pinkney, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Wendy Mass and Loren Long. Here is the link for the brochure.
My school goes through Dec. 22 then I will be on holiday break through the New Year. I am going to enjoy having my family home for the holidays and take a blogging break until after the New Year. One of the things I am thankful for is the opportunity to be on this journey in the blogging world. Thanks for reading and coming along with me on this adventure. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and an amazing New Year. See you in 2011.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Author Party Celebration!
|Sitting on the floor at our round table.|
|Sitting on the floor sharing her book.|
|This is one my favorite stories-my student wrote a story about when his little brother was born. His mom brought his little brother so I could meet him-what a treasured book.|
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Wonderful Word Wed. Games and Thoughtful New Book
Consensus (Junior Edition). This game has won numerous awards including Major Fun Award, Dr. Toy Winner Top 10, and 2009 Game of the Year Award. I am excited to wrap up this game because it reinforces parts of speech (nouns and verbs) as well as logical thinking. It's also great for a classroom because up to 8 students can play the game. The point of the game is lay out 10 noun cards on the game board and one adjective card. Each player chooses which noun is best described by the adjective secretly and places their vote-#1-10. Which ever noun gets the most votes is the consensus and those students get to move their pawn ahead and the game ends with ten dots.
Tammy also suggested Pairs in Pears with a title like that how could I go wrong? I was excited
to learn that it has four separate alphabets
that can be combined or used separately. I
love the idea of using this game in word
study to reinforce spelling patterns and allowing the students to have fun with words including practicing figurative language. Should be a huge hit for indoor recess this year.
Tammy also suggested a new book, because of mr. terupt, that was just released in October by first time author Rob Buyea. Tammy was so excited to tell me that the story's setting is a fifth grade classroom and each chapter is written from the point of view of six students in Mr. Terupt's class. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next;Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school. Mr. Terupt is in his first year of teaching and is a marvelous teacher because he learns about each of his students' home life and then handles many difficult situations with a sense of humor as well as many endearing conversations with the students both privately and within the class setting. I actually am going to start the (dollar word) math game which Mr. Terupt used to hook his class into loving math after the holidays.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Published Authors on Story Kit
Story one is an amazing story because she is wonderful writer to start with but the iPod allowed her such creativity with the illustrations both hand drawn and copied off the internet. When she talked about her story, she loved the connection with Sherlock Holmes and creativity of the pig. Her story had amazing connections with our class read aloud Donavan's Word Jar and connections with our Life Science unit.
Story two is a creative fantasy story, and the setting was perfect since it was Halloween. Story two's author does not really enjoy writing, and I would have to say he is hesitant at best to write a story. However, the iPod has unlocked writing for him. I allowed him to compose the entire story on his iPod that was a HUGE release for me, but I was anxious to see if it would make a difference and it certainly did. The coolest part for me is the wide variety of figurative language. He used similes, idioms, alliteration, and onomatopoeia all of which had been the focus in our word study and poetry Friday. His choice of vocabulary was also impressive because he used the online thesaurus to help him with his choice of words. When we had his final writing conference, he was happiest about how he took a regular fish and changed him into a frightening, freaky, fat scuba diver. Sometimes as a teacher you just have to throw in your bait and see what you catch. This time I got a whopper of a good story.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Wonderful Word Wednesday: December Mentor Text
I found this book while shopping on black Friday with my daughter (what would shopping be without a trip to the bookstore). This book was brand new to me and as I read it I fell in love with the story. I plan on using it today for our word study. In December, one of the areas of focus is going to be on parts of speech. After a quick review of nouns, verbs, and adjectives I am going to read this story aloud. As I read it I am going to have students collect those different parts of speech. It will be a great text because not only are there simple parts of speech (bell, red, walk) there are higher levels (pack: which is a noun and a verb) The conversations will be interesting to see if the students pick up on how one word could be different parts of speech depending on usage which is the focus for my mini lesson.
Along with parts of speech, I could also use this book for
*predictable text for choral reading
*connection with the other There Was an Old Lady books
*predictions (not until the end of the book do you know why she is swallowing everything
you will have to read the book to find out: HO! HO! HO!)
*simple but wonderful word choice
*excellent and funny graphics that support the text
I plan on using this book many times in the month of December-check it out!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
New Math Apps
Math Bingo costs .99 and is a bingo game that the students can practice all four basic facts at three different levels. The highest level was impossible to do without paper and pencil which I like because it is a timed game. The fun part is that before they play they get to choose an Avatar to represent them. As they get the correct answer, a bug is placed on the board and there is some strategy because at the lower levels, the answer is repeated, so choosing the correct answer is important because of the time element. After each game, the players earn bugs to play Bingo Bug Bungee which is a fun eye hand coordinated game. It kind of drove me crazy the but kids will love it.
Nine Gaps is addicting, fun and free! It is an electronic Sodoku but much more fun. You are given a set game board with missing digits. Using the operations in the game, you place the numbers to make the columns and rows mathematically correct. It is fun because of the thinking involved to use the number already given and when you think you know the correct answer you just click and drag the number. There are 5 difficult levels, and it has unlimited puzzles. The games are timed, and I love how each time you play a level it encourages the player to try the next level. I just finished Order of Operations and my class class is going to crazy with this app.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Today I start my Thanksgiving vacation, and I am very thankful this year.
*I am excited that my family will be together now that our daughter is home from BGSU.
*I am lucky to work in a school that supports the integration of technology.
*I have found a new voice in my blog and enjoy reading the comments that keep me thinking.
*I will have time to explore the four new apps that I just purchased this week. Check back next week for an update.
I am going to take a blog break (I guess I am allowed to do that) even though I have only been up and blogging since August. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you enjoy all of your blessings.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Newbery Club has Started!
In our school district, we have the availability to set up group blogs, so Bill sent a list of students who committed to the club to our tech coordinator, and he set the blog up for us. The students have a password and it is linked through Bill's web page for the library. This is the second best part of the club, I will tell you the best part later. I love the fact that all 18 students call talk to each other, leave comments, ask questions as well as follow their friend's reading. Bill, Joyce (of Grand Discussion) and I also can talk to the kids. Just last night I talked to 7 different students, and this morning a boy in my class told me thanks for reading his comment.
The best part is that 18 students want to read and are in a group that will support their reading. I just sat back and listened at our first 8:00 meeting like Bill said all students had read one or two books. Today during study hall, two of the club members were discussing which book they would read next: Countdown or Out of my Mind and how they could trade books if they finished in the same time line. They are talking about books. I am excited to try and keep up with their reading-they are even pushing me!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wonderful Word Wednesday: Greek and Latin Prefix & Suffixes
|Organized chaos while working on posters.|
|Working hard on their poster|
The following Wednesday, we did the great reveal which was really fun because the students did not know that I had duplicated the slips of paper, so each student said their prefix/suffix I would hear "I have that one too." After each student found their partner, we created a class rubric for designing their posters. This was interesting because they had such a wide variety of research that they wanted to include much higher level
information than I thought of originally.
|I love the pop up little book.|
The following Wednesday the students finished their posters, and they presented them to the class. This was exciting because this is when all the connections and light bulb moments happened during their presentations.
*Many of the prefixes and suffixes could be combined to make new words and until the students saw all the posters they did not realize this.
*Some of the students were able to create new words that they didn't think about prior to the presentations.
*As a class, the students decided they wanted to search for these prefix/suffixes in their JR books or even text books. I agreed to xerox the page and we would add the new words.
This is where I think the connections will occur with the student's writing as well as expanding their vocabulary. Time to be teleported back to Ohio-it was a successful journey!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Going Beyond Story Kit
|Using her iPod to add figurative language to her story.|
|They have learned how to bookmark pages to use as research.|
Friday, November 12, 2010
Questions and Answers
I am learning so much from your experiences with iPods in the classroom. My class set just arrived today and I have spent the entire evening rereading your posts and exploring possible apps. My next question is...How do you introduce a new app? Do you have a way to show the entire class how the app works? What did you do to introduce the basics of how the iPod is operated at the very beginning? Also, do your students have email accounts so they can email each other or you? Boy do I agree that the learning curve is HUGE! Thanks for teaching us through your experiences.
Question 1) How do I introduce new apps?
Answer: I have introduced them in groups according to subjects. For example I share a group of word study apps then I introduced math apps etc. I have found if I group the apps the students typically find one they like and continue to use that one. On a side note, I also have found that time to play with the apps is imperative because the students need time to talk and share what they like/dislike about the apps as well as time for me to move around the room to help students.
Question 2) Do I have a way to show the entire class how the app works?
Answer: This has been a challenge, but I am very lucky that I have a portable Elmo that hooks into my computer so I can show them on my dry erase board using my iPod. This works pretty well not always clear but the students have the same app in front of them, so they just refer to the board as a reference
Question 3) What did I do to introduce the basics of how the iPod is operated in the beginning?
|Opening screen on iPod.|
we played with Google Earth. I only had 5 apps loaded on them the first time they got their iPods. The students found their homes by typing in their address, and then they found somewhere they went on summer vacation. This was really fun for the students!! We then explored the app homonyms because that was our focus in writing at that time. After that I allowed, the students to take their iPod home that night and explore everything. The next morning's conversation were amazing!!!
Question 4) Do the students have email and can they email to me?
Answer: This was a huge step for me because I chose to use the app Story Kit with my class because I love how the students can create their own story; however, I had to have them be able to email me their final story. See Hooray Email Finally Works for Story Kit! I am very excited now that I have email I believe that will open other apps for me to explore. The best part is that the students can only email me so it is locked and safe for them. The down side is that I can not email them back, but for right now I am happy with one way email.
I am sure there are many more questions, and I still have a million myself but that is why I love being apart of the blogging world. Thanks for asking great questions!!
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Million Dollar Questions
Friday, November 5, 2010
Poetry Friday is Delicious!
Last Friday was the first week the students spent the week looking through the poetry books in our classroom. This is a new idea this year that I am implementing. In past years, I have allowed 15-20 minutes every Friday for students to read and search for poems to share that specific Friday. But with this class, I believe they need the time to search but more important time to practice their poems when sharing them aloud with the class. For today's Poetry Friday, I know I have four different groups ready to share because they asked me to make copies of their poems so they could practice at home-there is the cherry!
Another group checked a poetry book out of the library on Tuesday found their poem on Wednesday asked me to copy the poem, and they have been practicing it the rest of the week. I think that is the hot fudge and finally the ice cream is the group of boys who will be singing from the Sipping Spiders Through a Straw. Poetry Friday is going to be delicious!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Hooray! Email finally works for Story Kit
-Hooray now I can write more stories because I can send them to Mrs. Caplin.
-How did you do that graphic?
-Look how Bobby used figurative language.
-How did you mix the art tool with imported graphic?
-I can visualize that in my mind from the BIG words.
-Can we add background color to all the slides?
-Look at the lead that Cindy wrote-I am hooked.
-I went to the same place on vacation I think I will write my own story.
I now have all their digital stories on my own laptop. I will be able to assess them digitally and my goal is not to have to print them off. Also the coolest part in my opinion is next week, Mark is going to teach me how to download the stories to my district web page. We are going to put them on a password protected link so all the students will be able to see each other stories. What an amazing tool for them to see their friends stories as well as the parents will be able to read other students stories. I am so excited that the entire writing process from start to finish was completed on their iPod--can you tell?? On a side note, I would love to share some of the stories with the blogging world so I will be working on learning that process-keep checking back.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Dear Mrs. Caplin Letters
I start the conversation with reading Dear Mrs. La Rue aloud to my class, and the students just listened. The huge connection this year came when I asked the students to write a letter as homework to Mrs.LaRue on suggestions on how to help Ike come back home after obedience school. We then discussed how the book is organized which starts with a newspaper article, then many letters from disgruntled Ike, and finally ends with another newspaper article. I have made overheads of many of the letters, so the students come up and underline what they like about the letter and these examples build our TREMENDOUS LETTER chart. Using this anchor chart, the light bulbs went off when the students used the same criteria to judge their own letter. This was a huge learning curve because most of the students did not have the criteria, so they worked hard on making their letter TREMENDOUS! What a great way for them to understand and practice the criteria that I will use to create a rubric to assess their DEAR letter.
From this point, I wrote the students a letter as a model as well as writing a letter to the parents explaining the DEAR letters. One important aspect for me as well as the students is that they get to pick their day on which the letter is due to me. Which means the week the letters are due,I will get letters turned in on every day but that works for me especially with spreading the reading of the letters out over the week. They will write a letter about every three weeks. The key to success for DEAR letters is the conversation that I have with my students by writing back to them-actually I write all over their letters -questions, comments, suggestions, ideas about other books as well as a personalized conversation that I really value as a teacher. For me DEAR letters are one of the key components in connecting my reading and writing in my class!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Bump in the Road
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Amazing Halloween Books
This is a great series of books that my students love on Poetry Friday. The poems are written so two students can read the separate parts. I use these poems even to assess fluency with my readers who need additional practice. One of the favorite poems is "The Witch and the Broomstick" This year the students are even acting out the poem.
How can you go wrong with a title like this? First of all the curiousty of the title gets the students hooked on the book. Second the illustrations are really spooky and also support the text because there are some new words in in the poems. The next part that makes this book special is all of the poems are sing alongs. My class loves to sing so this is perfect. Our class favorite is "Blow, Blow, Blow Your Nose" to the tune of
"Row, Row, Row Your Boat." Can you imagine the acting out of this song-watch out!
I have to admit I bought this book for it's cover. I definatley judged this book for it's cover! But when I opened it up I fell in love with the riddles and the beautiful illustrations that are similar to the cover. I love using this book for context clues, illustrations that support the text as well as having fun with words. The students love the first riddle: What do you call two spiders that just got married? (Newly webs) Enjoy these new books in the month of October.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Wonderful Word Wednesday
Max's Words by Kate Banks This is a very powerful book showing the importance of words. First it is a great book to talk about student's collections Ie: baseball cards, etc. The idea that Max loves to collect words is wonderful. I enjoy it because the way the book builds from words, to sentences, to paragraphs. I also love how Max uses everyday items like a newspaper to collect his favorite words. My class starts their word study spiral with this idea, and the students go home and collect words and glue them on their first page of the spiral. They often refer back to this page in their own writing.
I also share Big Words For Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis with my class. I hesitate to share books written by actors however this book has been a huge jumping off point for my class. As I read aloud the book to my class, I have the students listen and collect the BIG words in their word study spiral.The students enjoy sharing the new words and then we connect these words to our figurative language simile bulletin board. The students begin to use these words in their writing and that is my goal for any word work.
Finally I collect many books about words and keep then in a basket on one of my favorite spots in my classroom. I love how a round tables brings the students together as well as taking the legs off the table seemed to make it a perfect height for conversations. I often observe students pulling out the word books and looking through them for fun as well as searching for new words for their own writing. I have to say my favorite day of the week is WONDERFUL WORD WEDNESDAY!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Writing Workhop with iPods
Monday, October 11, 2010
Simplemind and Time to Explore
But this week, I was really impressed with some of my students. We are getting ready to start Story Kit on Tuesday and they are in the middle of the writing process. I had some students that wanted to use Simplemind app which is a mind mapping tool that is a brainstorming, idea collection and thought structuring device. I was really impressed with their map when they shared it with the class. I was not sure how to show their web, but I took a snapshot of the map and saved it to my desktop. I then showed the webs on the Smartboard. It was amazing to hear them explain how this app really helped them organize their writing. First they liked the color options for putting similar ideas together. Next they liked being able to move the ideas around and also duplicate ideas if it fit into two categories. The best part for me was that one of the students told me he worked on the app on the way to soccer and another worked on it at their brother's football game. Learning is everywhere!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Rethinking Final Assessments
final products. The teacher in me wants to have the piece of paper to assess and
attach to the final rubric, but my learning curve is pushing me towards allowing the tool to house the final product. This has been hard for me to let go of.
I tried this for the first time in word study/Poetry Friday. Our focus has been on figurative language-defining, searching, describing and writing it. We finished our unit, and I had the students take their final assessment in notebook on their iPods. They were so excited, and I was able to see quickly who got the concepts and who I needed to pull for some small group instruction. I just looked at their iPods and used a check list to mark off each student-it was quick and easy in the process we saved a tree! Here are a few samples of the student's work.
Monday, October 4, 2010
A Thinking Day with Christian Long
“innovation and creativity are the goals”
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Four New Math Apps
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Wonderful Word Wednesday New iPod Apps
|Excerpt from part of a story|
|First page of the model story-some simple hand drawn illustration|
|Another page of the story but pictures are downloaded from the internet.|
*I will print them for a final assessment
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Using Audiobooks for the First Time
-Will the students choose to listen instead of read the book? Is that important?
-Will they listen ahead of where where we are in class? Does that matter?
-Will I save class time and have the students read/listen at home so we can spend class time on the focused lesson? This is my goal and why I decided to purchase the $9.95 book. For those of you who have been reading my blog-you know that was a huge decision to spend that much money.
What do you think? Have you ever used books on tape or audiobooks for a whole class book novel?
Let me know your thoughts?