Promoting Information Literacy One Click At a Time

letter D letter I Educational Brick letter x word magic game letter i letter E

m word magic game letter a Line Word red letter G letter N Foam Play Mat Letter E Crossword dice letter T

letter E letter L letter e letter M Crossword dice letter E Brick letter N Foam Play Mat Letter T letter A Brick letter r Y

To celebrate my new job as Dixie Magnet Elementary’s Librarian/Media Speciaist I created this image using using Spell with flickr.  This tool can be used to dress up a teacher’s classroom blog or allow students to practice spelling words online.

geoGreeting is similar to Spell with Flickr in concept. The difference is that geoGreeting shows images of various buildings photographed from a satellite from Google Earth. The effect is instant, because the website preloads a bunch of images for each letter of the English alphabet.  If you mouse over any of the letters, you’ll see the location of the building on a global map.

Students could input various words and investigate one of the locations from the image.

Students could also use the images to mash up in other applications.

geogreeting

Click on the image to use the interactive geoGreeting site http://www.geogreeting.com/view.html?ynsHsoUwkqxoDUovowoxDkBI

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Recitethis.com offers teachers and students an easy format to create eye catching posters and signage.

For this poster I shared my thoughts about how teachers approach technology in the classroom.  More often than not they find a neat tech app then try to fit it into their curriculum. Most of the time the application is forced and student products are not what they had envisioned.

I plan to use this site to create signage for the library and create student posters.  Students can also use the site to create images to mash with other applications such as Powtoon, Flipsnack, and Biteslide.

floraFlora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo and Illustrated by K.G. Campbell has already been awarded the 2014 Newbery Award, 2013 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature, and 2014 Camellia Award: Alabama Children’s Choice Book Award Nominee for grades 4-5. Now for Kentucky students it is a 2015 nominee for the Kentucky Bluegrass Award (grades 3-5) and I must say this contest will add up to a win!

If you would like QR codes for the 2015 Kentucky Bluegrass Nominees page down my site or click here.

The book opens with the rescuing of a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner. Comic-reading cynic Flora Belle Buckman is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates astonishing powers of strength and flight after being revived.  However, the reader soon discovers that it is hard to be a cynic when you are loved by a squirrel that is “born anew”!

Classroom Resources

Teachers can find several classroom discussion questions and prompts online.  Here a few resources I found extra helpful.  Below you will see how I adapted them for a lesson I shared with our Christian Home School Group.

download (3)2015 Texas BlueBonnet Award Master List Resources – I found this list the most helpful and used several of the links to create my lesson. Also includes a Reader’s Theater from the introduction of the book.

downloadResources Provided by Candlewick Press – Here you will find a Teacher’s Guide and a Discussion Guide which includes before reading and after reading questions, classroom projects and activities, vocabulary building,writing prompts, and character analysis activities.

download (1)TeachingBooks.net – This site has author website links, Meet the Author interview videos, Book talks with Kate DiCamillo, Book Trailers, Lesson Plans, Kate DiCamillo’s Name Pronunciation and so much more.  Watch yourself while visiting the site. The site is fun to browse and you may find yourself researching other favorite books!

imagesKids Wings – Has a literature guide for $12.95 plus they provide some other additional links for support materials.                                              Be sure to page down to see them all.

download (2)Pinterest Pins – Here you can find a bit of everything related to the book. I like Pinterest, but I find that it take a lot of click before I see what I am looking for, however if you are a visual person you will enjoy browsing.

download (4)The document below is an excellent resource from Samantha Green’s Mysteries Serious Reading Book Club – If you have not visited her site yet this is must stop.  Great resources that contain engaging graphics.

“The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto!

Book Club (Classroom) Pre-Reading Activities

For this activity I was working with a local Home School group.  The students ranged in age from 3rd to 5th grade.  To introduce Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures to the club I first found a few graphic novels that highlighted superheroes.  I wanted to use graphic novels since each time Ulysses is seen in action the illustrator K.G. Campbell drew him as if he was in a comic book/graphic novel.

The students brainstormed answered to the questions below as I wrote their responses upon the whiteboard.

What are Superheroes?

How do we identify them?

Where do we find them?

I soon found out they know A LOT about super heroes and are very eager to share.

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“She changed into her pajamas, lay down, and Imagined the Words Emblazoned on the Ceiling Above Her.”

CCR: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

As our discussion continued I asked them, How are graphic novels or comic books different from novels or short stories?” They quickly grabbed the sample graphic novels and began pointing out how the  words are written in short sentences and how the pictures told the story as well.  While they were reading the graphic novels  I asked them, Why are some words in boxes and others are in bubbles? Why are the bubbles shaped differently?  Some had noticed the differences in the speech bubbles, but had not thought about how the speech bubble is  a component of visual literacy which helps the reader know what is happening in the story.  I then shared a few of the different types of speech bubbles.

“Holy Bagumba!”

The students then created their own speech bubbles to share.  This was interesting because even the shyest of students held up a speech bubble to share.

I then read to the students the first seven chapters of the book.

Once we reached the last page the students were beginning to predict of some of Ulysses’ super powers!

flora-and-ulysses-illustration

“Holy Unanticipated Occurrences!” 

At that time we paused for some snacks. Cheese Bites and Sunflower seeds!  I figured these kids were like most squirrels!

“The average squirrel cogitation goes something like this: I wonder what there is to eat.”
“This “thought” is then repeated with small variation (e.g., Where’s the food? Man, I sure am hungry. Is that a piece of food? and Are there more pieces of food?) some six or seven thousand times a day. (DiCamillo, p. 10)
 

“I am Ulysses. Born Anew.”

While they were snacking we watched the video below. I selected the video because it not only related to the idea that a squirrel could become a superhero, but it also highlighted Photoshop, an image editing software.  This is technology some of the students may even have at home. Some of these types of applications are also available on phones.  Art comes in many forms and I wanted the students to see the process take shape right before their eyes. The fast motion screenshot allowed that to happen.

“An Unassuming Squirrel”

Once the students were inspired I gave them an image of a squirrel and some colored pencils. I asked them create their own super hero squirrel.

“Do Not Hope; instead, Observe.”

Now that we have a super hero just how do stories begin?  Most students do not realize that writers get their ideas from real life adventures.  We then watch the first 3 minutes of an interview with Kate DiCamillo where she explains how she got the idea for this illuminated adventure.

By now, the students were ready for some pre-writing so I gave them a blank Comic Grid and asked them to begin a story.  It was no surprise when they quickly began writing and revising, and of course sharing…lots of sharing!

 “He Will Become Known To The World As Ulysses!”

img014“Squirtel!” said Flora out loud; she felt a surge of delight at the zippy idiocy of the word. It was almost as good a word as Tootie. 

CCR: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Before the students were dismissed I reminded them that the vocabulary in the book is written on a very high reading level and they may not be able to determine the meaning of the word by just using context clues.  I encouraged them to write down and define any words they found difficult or just find interesting.  To help them organize their new words I gave them this Foldable.

There are lots of fun words in the book. Some of them are just funny to say out loud. Here are several of my favorite words and phrases: foreboding, treacle, redolent, posit, irrevocable, appellation, hyperbole, nefarious activities, preternaturally calm,  concussion, euphemism, unremitting darkness, inconsequential, capacious, sepulchral gloom, treachery, malfeasance, vanquish, arch-nemesis, and vehemently.

Looking for some more book related handouts? Teachers Pay Teachers has a complete novel study made by Catch the Buzz for $14.99 The guide contains a list of vocabulary words and student worksheets.

Actually, she thought it was terrible. It was sickly sweet nonsense. There was a word for that. What was it? Treacle. that was it.

Book Club/Classroom – Post Reading Activities

****At the time of this post I had not met back with the students.  The following is what I plan to do with them, but as any teacher knows you must read the room to decided what will actually work.  I will revise and post more pics after I have met with the group. Thank you for your patience.

CCR: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

images (1)As the students arrive I will ask them to write any or all interesting vocabulary words onto the whiteboard.  They should either write them as a quote from the book or they can create their own original sentence.  The students will then be asked complete the “Are you Wordier Than a Fourth Grader? handout located in the Serious Reader Discussion Guide (pg. 6) by Samantha Green Mysteries – Full document located at the top of the page.  Students will work in pairs and will be encouraged to read their sentences aloud to the group.  We will define the words and discuss how usage develops imagery, defines characters, and how rich vocabulary may help the reader become a better writer.

“Flare Up Like a Flame, Remember Those Words”

CCR: Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Slide1To help the students prepare for discussion and refresh their memories concerning The Illuminating Adventures they will be given a Graphic Organizer for Summarizing the events of the story (taken from One Happy Teacher).  The summary just focuses on one character so I will ask each pair of students to concentrate on the major characters: Flora, Tootie, Ulysses, Flora’s Mom, Flora’s Dad, William Spiver, and Dr. Meescham.

Students will share their summaries with the group.

images (2)It would be impossible to discuss Flora and Ulysses:The Illuminated Adventures without doing a bit of writing.  Flora’s mother is a struggling romance novelist, her neighbor Tootie is an avid poet who both reads and recites poetry, and of course Ulysses, who is not only a super hero, but is also a poet!

I have a few writing activities I will suggest to the students and depending on age and ability I will guide them to create either a poem, a digital story, or a book analysis.

“I Was Moved By Your Poetry”

Diamante Poem

CCR: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Students can use Read, Write Think’s Diamante Poem generator to write a Diamante poem.  The application walks the student through the entire process.  The process is very simple and students can have a finished product within minutes.  Final creations can be saved and revised later, emailed, or saved as a .pdf file for publishing in other formats.  I would suggest that the students either print their final copies for display or upload them to their student blogs or digital portfolios.

Below is an example I created.

“He will Defend the Defenseless! He will Protect the Weak! He will Write a Poem”

Found Poetry

CCR: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

Now this next application is a bit more advanced and might take a bit of patience for the user.  Google Story Builder  allows the student to create mini-movies that feel like a document is being shared via Google Docs. If students have used Google Docs before they will really appreciate the idea of characters working on the same document.  Students will be asked to revisit the book and look for quotes that define the characters feelings, motives, conflicts, etc. and also quotes that move the story along.  Then they will use those quotes to tell a story.  Sort of like Found Poetry but now they have to think about why the character would say the quote and if a character would change the structure of the message. Music can also be added to finish out the product. The final product can be share within the student google account, Facebook, twitter, etc.

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Click image for hyperlink to site

“And if you truly are a Super Hero How will you Fight Evil?”

Narrative

CCR: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

As you recall, during the pre-reading activity I asked the students to begin a comic book story with a super hero plot.  Now some of the students may appreciate the graphic novel/comic book effects of Flora and Ulysses more than writing a poem.  With that in mind, I will give them the prompt that I created using Buncee.  Buncee reminds me of Biteslide and Powerpoint.  If you have $10 in your budget students could use the paid version to create unlimited slides similar to a comic strip for 1 month.  They could either use the provided images, upload images from internet, scan hand drawn images, or use the drawing tool to create digital images.  Student can us existing sound bites or record their own. It really is a multimedia, easy to use canvas, just wish it was free! One drawback to the free verison besides only getting to create two slides was the embed code.  The code I was given I did not work with WordPress.  However, I was able to share via Twitter and Facebook.

Click the image to open link

When you click on the image it will take you to the 2 slides I was able to create using my free account. The image is large be sure to click on the 2nd page for the writing prompt.

 the 2 slides I was able to create using my free account. The image is large be sure to click on the 2nd page for the writing prompt.

Within each slide I was able to embed moving objects, sound/music, hyperlinks,and images. http://www.edu.buncee.com/embed/65225

“The Typewiter Keys came to Clacking Life.”

Book Analysis

Powtoon is a free animated video that has a great template that can be adapted for any assignment.  In fact, it already has a template entitled Book Report.  Plus any of the templates can be book trailers or even comic strips.. So don’t let the template fool you, students can share any written, visual or oral work. A student could even animate a poem.  Powtoon has the feel of a video editing software and PowerPoint all in one. What makes it really nice is that it is FREE!  Younger students can keep it nice and simple or older students can pull out all the stops!  Below is an example of a template students can modify.

“Do you think that’s good?” Flora whispered to Ulysses, “Do you think that’s Good Writing?”

Creating a Rubric

As educators, teachers have the responsibility to create assessments that encourage students to work towards a higher level of achievement. Rubrics are motivational tools for students, especially when students are involved in process. Students who are involved in the process of creating a rubric have a better understanding of the standards, gradations, and expectations of the assignment. Students also feel as if they have a “voice” within the classroom.

For guidelines how to create a student generated rubric visit the following websites:

Behind the Scenes, Part 2 — Creating a Rubric By Megan Power  

Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators – Teachers Helpers – Assessment & Rubric Information, Grades K to 12    

3 Rubric Makers That Will Save You Time And Stress     

“Her mother had bought the Lamp with her first royalty check from her First Book, On Feathered Wings of Joy, which was the stupidest title for a book that Flora ever heard in her life.”

Publish

Students can publish their work either as a pdf printout, via social media, embed into student blog, or email to parents.  Please allow the students to decide how they would like to publish.  Depending on your audience and school policy be sure to take note of private or public sharing settings.

Enjoy!

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Mrs. Armstrong helps her student use her cell phone QR reader to access the shared document.

In March I approached Mary Beth Armstrong an eighth grade science teacher about collaborating with her during one of her inquiry investigations.  I have known Mary Beth for several years and have worked alongside her during my tenure as a ninth grade science teacher.  She is an outstanding teacher and is always looking for ways to keep her instruction fresh, aligned, and timely.  She shared with me a lesson Generating Arguments about Climate Change that appeared in the March 1012 issue of Science Scope Magazine, a middle school science teacher journal sponsored by the National Science Teacher’s Association NSTA.  She and Melissa Bowlds, eighth grade science teacher, were going to execute the same lesson.  The lesson centers around students researching in teams of 3 and creating a paper poster project, then presenting their project to the class.  We decided that Mrs. Armstrong’s class would complete an online poster project using Padlet and have the students present in small rotating groups and Mrs. Bowlds would teach the lesson as written in Science Scope.

Once the students were introduced to Padlet and had created their accounts Mrs. Armstrong needed a way to access all of the finished products.  It would be too cumbersome to have each group email their final products to Mrs. Armstrong.  Also, this would be very time consuming to open each email, click on the link, and then view the project.  We needed to create one document that all students could access.  We decided that OneDrive a component of Office 365 (Outlook) would work nicely.  Every student and district employee has access to their own Outlook/Office 365 account and OneDrive allows documents to be shared and edited by others.

I created the document Climate Change Argument Link Share  and shared it with the students.  The students quickly access the document and began sharing their links. Once you open the document if you would like to view student projects hold the CtrL key and left click on the link.  The link should open in a new tab in your web browser.

Click on the images below to access student Padlet poster.

towell

 

s johnson

 

biteslide

I stumbled upon Biteslide a few months ago and have been sharing the application with my Tilden Hogge Teacher friends.  The application is sort of a cross between Powerpoint, Glogster,and Padlet (formerly Wallwisher).  However the application is so simple and sleek even a kindergartner can create with it.

 

Even though I only have examples from Mrs. Withrow’s second grade class study of domesticated animals, other classes enjoyed using Biteslide as well. Mrs. Keadle’s kindergarten created slides related to Chinese New Year and Mrs. Fannin’s class created slides using primary sources related to the Civil Rights movement.

Student’s researched their topics using nonfiction books found in the school library collection and also used Sweet Search and Encyclopedia.com.

sweet search

encyclopedia.com

These projects were created by Mrs. Withrow’s 2nd Grade Class.

 

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Click on the image to view student work.

geese

 

horse

sheep

 

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Looking for some ideas for National Reading Week?

Check out my Pinterest Page containing lesson plans, games, activities, and decoration ideas for National Reading Week.

image poem in pocket

Keep a poem in your pocket

and a picture in your head

and you’ll never feel lonely at night when you’re in bed.

The little poem will sing to you

the little picture bring to you

a dozen dreams to dance to you

at night when you’re in bed.

So–

Keep a picture in your pocket

and a poem in your head

and you’ll never be lonely at night when you’re in bed.

-Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

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Poem In Your Pocket Day is an easy day to celebrate–simply place your favorite poem in your pocket and share it throughout the day. 

You can share your poem in the classroom, in the hallway, in the lunchroom, on the playground….anywhere!  Encourage students to write their own poems and give them time to browse poetry collections in the library.  I have pulled some books for a display or students may pull books from the shelves. A great time to learn poetry books are located in the 811’s!

Once a student finds a poem I will be happy to photocopy the poem for them so they will have a poem for their pocket.   They should  practice reading  their poems aloud and be ready to share on the special day, next Thursday, April 24th.

 Here are some resources to help you understand Poem in Pocket Day and a few lesson plans as well:

I have attached some pocket templates I found online.

Poem Generator  – Instant poem!

Looking for some Technology/Program Review – Try this VoiceThread example – I can help you with this as well


Here is an announcement for morning  and afternoon news show:

Students be sure to wear your pockets Thursday, April 24th for Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Next, Thursday you will carry a poem in your pocket to share or trade with your family, friends, classmates, and teachers.

Asking yourself where can I find a poem to share?   – Well, you can write your own poem, copy your favorite from the many poem books in the library, search the internet for great kids poems, or pick one from bulletin board in the hallway next to the library.

Here is an announcement for school or teacher newsletters:

Next Thursday, April 24th is Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Please be sure to wear pockets so you have a place to put your favorite poem to share!

Student may bring their favorite poem to school that day, they may write their own poem to share, or get a copy from the school library.

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