Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Using Wikis in the Classroom (and Library!)

Check out this 30 minute video by Vicki Davis on using wikis in the classroom. There are some great ideas here about how we can use wikis with our students, and suggestions for what worked (and didn't) for Davis through her experiences. Also, check out her show notes, rubrics, and other resources on her K12 Online Conference page. I think wikis are a great collaborative learning tool to use in our schools!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Literacy Closet Automation

Recently, I was thinking about the literacy closets and our involvement in their automation. Several months ago, we met as a group and got the process started at Cranston-Calvert. How's it going? Jane, I know you had planned work sessions on Saturdays, and have probably been working on it since we visited. Stacey, I know you're also at C.C. Since we planned to use C.C. as the model for future automation, I was wondering:
1. What has been accomplished so far?
2. How many hours/days has it taken to accomplish that?
3. How many library media specialists, reading specialists, teachers, volunteers are involved?
4. How many hours/days/weeks would you estimate remain?
5. What does it take to automate ONE literacy closet? Is it feasible during workdays or only after school and on weekends?
6. What does this mean for the future in automating the other 4 elem. schools? What will happen if/when consolidation of schools begins?
7. What will it take to transfer collections to other schools?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New Children's Books

There must be something fundamentally wrong with me - I can't think of a greater pleasure than listening to someone talk about children's books all day. Went to Peggy Sharp's seminar yesterday - worth every penny. Here's her top ten picks for 2008, along with the list I made for my library purchases next year. I have her handbook, which of course, spans the curriculum, in case anyone wants to take a look.

Peggy Sharp's Top Ten Rough Grade level:

The Mysterious Benedict Society 5 +
Dog and Bear K-2
The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Caldecott winner) 5+
The Wednesday Wars 5+
A Good Day K-2
17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore K-5
Elijah of Buxton 5+
The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County K-5
Chester 3+
The Wall 3 +

I was glad to hear her opinion that this year's Newberry is NOT appropriate for K-5 (Grades 9 and up) as I read it and wasn't planning on getting it because of its content. Great book for the high school set, though, when they do their renaissance /middle ages unit.

Here's my K-5 list for this year culled from Peggy's displays:
The End
Dear Deer
First the Egg
The OK Book
Dog & Bear
A Good Day
My Life as a Chicken
Ivan the Terrible
Cowboy and Octupus
Knock Knock
The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School
No Talking
Henry's Freedom Box
Big Bug Surprise
Dog (Jenkins)
The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunit
Badger's Fancy Meal
I Really Want to Eat a Child
Nothing (Agee)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March Into Reading: May the Learning March On

A bit of background for those outside Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth: Yesterday and today, our island participated in "March Into Reading", a celebration of literacy. Friday, many authors and illustrators traversed the island, speaking to students in schools all over Aquidneck Island. The students' enthusiasm for the visitors was palpable (one author told me she felt like a rock star), and the talented professionals shared their love of literacy, through the writing and illustrating processes. Today (Saturday), local families were encouraged to attend the free "March Into Reading" event at Salve Regina University, featuring six of the authors/illustrators who visited schools on Friday. All six writers/artists also had books to sell, and signed books and other items. Three of them gave presentations in a lecture hall as well.

My question: How can we keep this momentum going?

At Sullivan, the reading specialists approached me and asked if we could use Jerry Pallotta's presentation as a launching pad for a school-wide nonfiction unit. Hooray! Using his numerous alphabet books as examples, we'll read to classes and motivate students in each class to create alphabet books on a curriculum-related topic. Of course, we will be collaborating with classroom teachers in this regard. We have yet to determine the format (PowerPoint, paper books, illustrations done during art class?) and might differentiate the format per grade level, or even within classrooms. The books will be shared in some sort of community assembly or forum, also yet to be determined. While we have some work to do before we start the unit next week, we are inspired!