The last few weeks of the school year, my 3rd grade class researched information about a country of their choice. While engaged in the research process, they explored a variety of technology resources to gather information, synthesized what they found, … Continue reading
Creating Animal Riddles
My 1st graders love learning about animals, so making animals the subject of our research skills unit was a no-brainer. Also, thankfully, our library collection includes a decent number of early reader books on different animals. My goal was for … Continue reading
App Smashing Biography Reports
App Smashing Biography Research My 2nd grade students did some biography research this spring. The first challenge was to find biographies they could actually read. While we had enough books for each of the students, I wish we had … Continue reading
Infographics: Reporting Research Visually
In language arts class, my 5th grade students read A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park (2010). The book tells the story of Salva, one of the thousands of Sudanese “Lost Boys” who … Continue reading
Enhancing Literacy With Digital Creativity
My 3rd and 4th grade students embarked on a new endeavor–creating book trailers. I had never created trailers before, so I learned alongside my students. Since I meet each class only once weekly for 40 minutes, the project spanned twelve … Continue reading
Libraries in the Internet Age
Thank you Common Craft for creating a video about the roles of libraries and librarians in the Internet age.
This video licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Creating an ABC Book: Multiple Skills at Work
Exploring the theme of community, my 1st grade students wrote and designed an ABC book wherein each letter in the alphabet relates to a noun about our school. Encouraging students to explore our school in this way reinforces both a … Continue reading
Six-Word Memoirs with Pictures
With my 4th grade students, I recently discussed the literary nonfiction genre memoir. As a genre, memoirs distill authors’ expressions of identity and personal history. One powerful tool for helping students distill personal experiences into short written statements is the … Continue reading
Enhancing Community and Literacy With Quality Commenting
My friend and colleague, Andrea Hernandez, and I regularly host a parental engagement program at our school, called Parent Connect. Each session focuses on a literacy-related topic, most recently on “Quality Commenting.” At our school student blogfolios (blogs + portfolios) not only serve to showcase student learning, but, more importantly, as a platform for connecting reading and writing to a specific purpose–a platform for authentic communication. It’s blogging as a pedagogy. In the continuous process of creating and nurturing a community for reading, writing, and thinking, quality comments are a important piece of literacy instruction. So our goal with this session was to entice parents/grandparents/friends to regularly dedicate some time to respond with quality comments to our students’ blog posts. In nurturing student creativity and literacy with our blogfolios, we’ve also found a means of building community!
To learn all about quality commenting, please watch this video created by our 5th grade students.
Coding: A New Literacy
My students in grades K through 5 once again participated in the Hour of Code week, an effort by the non-profit Code.org to promote computer science in the classroom. We used various apps and websites to explore the basics of computer programming, including Kodable, Hopscotch, Tynker (both web-based and the app version for iPad), and various tutorials from the code.org site (a favorite was the series of puzzles, Code With Anna and Elsa, which are based on Disney’s Frozen movie hit). It’s always great to watch the kids get excited and really into solving problems and creating animations. Read here about last year’s experience. Watch the video documenting this year’s fun and highlighting some of the skills learned.