Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Top Ten Books of 2015-2016

Here are the top ten circulated titles during the 2015-2016 school year at my K-6 elementary school.

10. The Saturday Boy by David Fleming

9. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

8. Nickel Bay Nick by Dean Pitchford

7. Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood

6. How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied by Jess Keating

5. Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

4. This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

3. A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

2. Loot: How to Steal a Fortune by Jude Watson

1. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

Research Using OneNote

One of my third grade teachers and I collaborate at the end of each school year on a Native Americans research project.  We usually direct students toward relevant print and digital resources.  Then they take notes on a graphic organizer and create a Power Point presentation to share the information with their classmates.  But this year, we decided to have students complete the project in OneNote!  Although we use OneNote regularly, this was the first time we used it with students.

We first prepared the OneNote notebook.  Each of the tabs in the notebook was the name of a different Native American tribe.  Within each tab, we created three pages.  The first page was for taking notes.  We learned that we could insert the same graphic organizer that we have always used and that students could type their information straight into the boxes in OneNote.  The second page contained a document with resources about the Native American tribe.  The third page was set up so that students could add a link to the Sway they created after researching.  We decided to have students use Sway instead of Power Point this year.

When students came to the media center to research, they accessed the notebook through an email sent from their teacher.  Once everyone was busy, a few students asked, "Where is the paper?"  We explained that there was no paper graphic organizer and again showed them how to type what they learned on the note taking page.  We also explained that everyone in the group could type at the same time.  Some students figured out how to have two windows open next to each other so that they could read a website and take notes at the same time without switching back and forth between two windows.

Some students took longer than others to log in.  Some students accidentally deleted their graphic organizer.  And some students moved the resources file so far off the page they couldn't find it.  But my colleague and I were very excited about what our students accomplished in our 45 minutes together.  We think that training students on OneNote as soon as school starts next year will allow them to navigate their notebooks proficiently in no time.  We look forward to learning more about OneNote's features to help us create better notebooks and to use OneNote more effectively with students.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Littlebits Tic Tac Toe

Our third graders have been exploring Littlebits this week!  When students arrived, I explained to them what Littlebits are and how they can be used.  I showed students how Littlebits are color-coded and the functions of each of the types of bits (power, input, output, and wire).  As I introduced each type of bit, I added it to the circuit and displayed it under the document camera.

Then I introduced Littlebits Tic Tac Toe, adapted from another media specialist in my district.  Students worked in groups to select three activities from the tic tac toe grid to complete.  After they completed each of the three circuits, they used iPads to take pictures of themselves with the circuits to document their work.  After each picture was taken, students sent one group member back to the Littlebits storage cabinet to return bits they no longer needed and retrieve bits needed for the next circuit.

I recently reorganized our Littlebits into a new storage cabinet and labeled each drawer.  This made it so much easier for students to find what they were looking for and clean up.

Eventually, I'd like for our third graders to be able to use our Littlebits independently and start thinking about how to use them beyond basic circuits.  But for now, the tic tac toe was a perfect introduction to Littlebits!