Saturday, May 9, 2015

Summer Reading 2015

I love to read!  I still remember the thrill of finding my first chapter book in my Easter basket when I was about 6 and being mesmerized by how many pages there were.  I carried a book (or books!) everywhere I went.  An uncle once remarked that he wasn't sure what I looked like since I always had my nose in a book!
This is a replica of my first chapter book!

Nothing makes me happier than having a stack of new books waiting to be read.  Of course, more often than not these days, the stack is a digital one on my Kindle, but I always have at least one book "in the wings" waiting to be read.  I don't read as much during the school year as I would like.  When I read, the rest of the world sort of disappears, so I have to be careful or nothing else gets done!

So I really look forward to vacations and summer when I have plenty of time to read. I've started working on my summer reading collection and already have some great professional books lined up!

One of my goals for next year is to have a more student-centered, project based classroom so I've chosen some titles to get me started.
I've already read a bit of this one; so inspiring!

Look for a book study on Twitter this summer! #1stchat

My wonderful principal just ordered this one to help me get started with PBL!

First grade teachers can never have enough strategies to help students become better readers so I have pre-ordered this book by Jennifer Servallo.

And because summer is all about fun, I have some fiction waiting, too!

I'm always looking for great books to add to my list, so if you have a recommendation, please comment and let me know!
post signature

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Friday Fun and Learning

Hi, my name is Carol, and I used to be a blogger!  Despite my good intentions, my blogging has been pretty much nonexistent this school year. But I just had to share my kids' latest work!

To accommodate field day schedules we were left without specials yesterday afternoon.  Usually this is a nightmare with students (and teachers!) who are used to having a break in the afternoon.  But my little firsties made the most of the extra time.

Their assignment was to watch a BrainpopJr. video about landforms and then create a PicCollage with pictures and descriptions of 4 landforms.  I use our district's  Canvas Learning Management System to assign these projects.  Students can access the video and instructions for completing the project from our class page.  Canvas is a wonderful tool for blended learning!  Here's a screenshot showing our landforms assignment.

Working in pairs, students viewed the video on an iPad to learn about the various landforms. 

They also had access to a Sciencesaurus, one of our science curriculum resources, for more information.  (I don't use this wonderful resource nearly enough- great information and the kids love them!)

After viewing the video, each pair chose 4 landforms and created a PicCollage to share their learning.  We used a district provided resource Britannica Image Quest to find pictures, but a Google image search would work as well.  My students have been creating PicCollages all year so they are old pros by now!
The most surprising part of this activity was how engaged they were considering it was Friday afternoon.  My class is, well, just a bit challenging this year and can get off task quite easily.  Not this time!  They worked for over an hour and a half, and except for dealing with an occasional technical glitch and one case of "the sillies," my presence was hardly necessary!  I was truly just a "guide on the side!"

After creating their PicCollages, students uploaded them into their SeeSaw Learning Journal.  I cannot recommend this app  highly enough!  It has made it so much easier for me to document all of the wonderful work my students have created using the iPads this year.  They can also create products from within the app.  New updates have added the ability to create folders so, for example, all of our landforms creations can be viewed at one time.  The developers have also been adding features to allow products from apps like PicCollage to be directly added to SeeSaw.  Before SeeSaw, students would have to email their products to me and then I would have to add them to a folder.  Now I just login to my SeeSaw account and I can see all of their wonderful creations in their digital portfolios! Parents also have access so they can see their child's work as well. If you use iPads at all you need to have this free app! 
Check out SeeSaw here!
Here are a few of our creations:

I can't wait to see their next projects!  
post signature