Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Brimhall Bonanza

Families learning together
November hosted our school's grades three and four Family Learning Night. This year, the "BRIMHALL BONANZA" was complete with our own theme song which we played over the announcements leading up to the event. (Hear our song here.) We worked hard to advertise, and it worked! Over 100 families (300+ people) attended the event. I planned the Bonanza with my coworker Melanie Groth (our reading/math coach).

It was a western wear optional evening--so notice how we are all dressed up!
Ms. McCormick with Blaze.
Our goals for the night were: to have students show their parents some of the things we do at school, for parents and children to have a fun learning based night, and for families to connect with one another. It was also a great way for me the librarian to showcase our library/collection and meet families. I think our goals were met.

We created and asked teachers to help create stations around math and reading. At the event-- families were welcomed with a free deck of cards and dice to keep to use for math games at home. A delicious dinner of tacos (sponsored by the PTA) was served to all. After dinner--siblings were taken to free childcare. We then had choice stations for kids to attend with their families:

  1. Database Scavenger Hunt in the computer lab
  2. Everyday Math Games--3rd grade room/4th grade room
  3. Math Games on the iPad
  4. Bonus library book check-out
  5. Reading around the campfire with your parent (I pulled a lot of great picture books--and had a campfire up on the SMART board).
  6. Make your own trail mix (measuring practice) (reading directions)
  7. Estimation Jars
  8. Symmetry art project
After our station time-- our kids all went to practice singing our school song. The parents all played a getting to know you BINGO game. We gave away gift cards to Target as prizes (this motivated the adults to leave their usual parent groups and meet new people).

Our kiddos then performed a quick song, and we did a raffle for gift certificates for the spring book fair. It was a busy and FUN filled night.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Fair

Come visit our Scholastic Book Fair October 7-11. Students will be able to purchase Wednesday though Friday. The fair will be open the evenings of conferences. There are more book options available at the online fair.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

First Weeks

It has been a busy first couple of weeks of school. A lot of routines to be taught--to a lot of classes. This week, classes started checking out books. It has been fun to see how excited out students are to get books in their hands.

In fourth grade. Teachers asked me to collaborate with them to use our iPads to create a presentation for students to share with their classes.

We used Haiku Deck a free presentation app. It was great to get technology in the hands of kids right away this year.

We were able to learn about using the iPads, how to take photos, and how to insert them into a presentation. We also discussed what we had learned in third grade about using images that were appropriate for the message we were trying to send.

We had fun--It was a great intro to the other tools we are going to experience this year.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer Reading

While I am out on maternity leave--my wonderful substitute Mrs. Bachhuber collected lists of books at each grade level that students thought others would like to read. Check out your current grade level, or the one above/below yours. There are a lot of great books suggested by other students listed!

1st Grade
2nd Grade
3rd Grade
4th Grade
5th Grade/6th Grade

And don't forget to email me a photo of yourself reading this summer!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Encyclopedias With Fourth Grade

In fourth grade this past week we learned about Reference Materials. I found this great slideshare about print and digital encyclopedias on Pinterest that I shared with my students. I love when people share their resources!

I then taught my students how to use our online database encyclopedias using keywords. Students tried to answer some basic questions as a quick scavenger hunt to practice the skills. It was fun and informative.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Kindergarten Research

Kindergarteners Rock at Research! Check out our completed projects. They are awesome!

Tyrer AM
Tyrer PM

In Kindergarten students have been learning about Minnesota in their Social Studies Unit. I collaborated with our Kindergarten teachers to have students research an animal from Minnesota.
Recording Facts
First, I worked with each class to practice using pictures and words in a non-fiction book to find out "What does my animal look like?," "What does my animal eat?," and "Where does my animal live?" We practiced this skill with me modeling using an eBook, and then having the students practice with a hard copy text.
Taking Notes About Minnesota Animals

The next time I met with students, I modeled note taking skills using a book about a Minnesota animal. In two separate class periods students were able to record all that they had learned about their animals on their note taking sheet and draw a sketch of them.

Using the iPads to create images of our animals!
When classes came back to the library, we used the iPads to draw images of our animals to create a multimedia report that can be shared at their kindergarten program. While students were working, their teacher and I took photos of their written work (with the iPad) to create a page in their report with all the facts that they learned. I then used the iPad version of Little Bird Tales--and then teachers uploaded the tales to their class home pages after we recorded their voices reading their reports.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Parent Child Book Clubs

This past month parents and their fifth of sixth grade student met at school to discuss a book that they had both read.

At conferences 45 families chose books that they would like to read together. One month later, we met back at school for treats and conversation. After the book club-- a few families decided that they would continue the Parent/Child Book Club with their child's friends. It was a lot of fun to see families and kids interacting with great books!

We read:

I provided each group with a list of questions--but encouraged groups to discuss what they thought were important aspects of the book. It was a great night.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

2nd Grade Research

My 2nd Graders are awesome at research. We have been been reading nonfiction, taking notes, and writing reports all year. Their teachers are so great at collaborating with me, and it shows in the skills these kiddos have. Teaching with these lovely ladies is easy and fun--and our students learn so much! As I look at these completed new projects I am astonished at the growth we see in one year.

Recently, all second grade classes researched a different country from around the world. I helped them get started on the research part--then teachers continued in their classrooms. Students then worked with their teachers to learn skills about writing a paragraph to report their information. I taught them how to create illustrations in Little Bird Tales (which is one of my favorite multi-media creation tools for the primary grades--Go create a free account and play if you haven't yet!) I then worked with teachers to combine student work into books that have an illustration, a topic sentence, and a recording of students reading the paragraphs they wrote. They turned out great.

Check out our class pages with links to our books (I will link up to the last classes as they complete their books):





Friday, March 1, 2013

Reading Party

Today we ended I LOVE TO READ MONTH with an All School Reading Party! What a fun way to end the day.

3rd Grade Research and eBooks

Students evaluating images and sketching
before using the computers
Our 3rd Graders have been studying Native American Cultures of the Southwest. This year, I collaborated with 3rd grade teachers to teach research skills and note taking. After students had completed their research, they were ready to start creating their multimedia project. We used drawing programs on the computer or the iPads to create images to go with the paragraphs that students wrote.

After looking at state standards, the teachers and I decided that for this project we would teach the students about evaluating images in the nonfiction texts they were reading to decide what to draw for their eBooks. After a mini-lesson on image evaluation, students used the research texts to find images that were appropriate for their eBooks. Students worked diligently to try to accurately represent the culture they were learning about.

After students had written their paragraphs and drawn their pictures I taught them how to move their documents into Flipsnack.

See our completed eBooks below.

3 Pang

3 Plana

3 Bros

3 Hessler

2nd Grade eBooks

I have been working with our 2nd graders on research skills all year, and they are getting really good at finding the most important information as they read non fiction.

Right now, students are learning about different countries around the world. Students are going to culminate their research by writing an eBook using Little Bird Tales.

To practice each class is using this great free online resource to create a book about their class. Here is Ms. Anderson's class. Look for our Country Research soon!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

6th Grade Glogs 2013

In sixth grade, we have been working on creating glogs using Glogster (an online interactive poster). Students have been learning about Mezzo American Cultures in Social Studies. Their teacher and I collaborated to identify what resources students need to show on their Glog.  Students learned how to create an iMovie using the computer to record their learning on one topic area. They also revisited finding images online that had appropriate copyright. Students   What fun to see students so actively engaged in their learning. You can also see that students found websites with more information, and linked to their Glog.

Here are our completed projects:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Story Telling

I recently purchased Story Boxes made by Steve Light. I had seen them at a conference and thought it would be a great tool for my library.

Right now, I am taking a class on storytelling, and with all of the reading I have been doing on storytelling and the positive effect it has on early literacy skills, I decided to be brave and try telling stories to my students instead of just reading them from picture books.

Kindergarten Students Play/Retell "Little One Inch"
This week, I am teaching my kindergarteners about Folk Tales and telling them the story "Little One Inch." I read many versions of the story, then I diligently practiced telling the story to my own children over the weekend. I was surprised how much they enjoyed it. All weekend, my 4 and 6 year old asked me to tell them the stories of "Little One Inch" and "The Girl Who Loved Danger" (the other box I purchased). They not only wanted me to tell them the stories, but they told and retold the stories over and over again. "Mom, can I play Little One Inch?" was a frequent refrain. They were quite sad when I brought the boxes back to school today. (Maybe this summer we can make our own?!)

The retelling of stories is a beginning step in both reading and writing. This little box, with only the characters from a story really got kids excited to retell and "play" the original folktale. The pieces helped them remember the characters and the setting.

Today, when I brought the box to school, I could hardly wait for my kindergarten class to come in and share my story with them. They were captivated for every moment of the story and they too couldn't wait to tell the story and play with the pieces. I am thinking I will check these boxes out to teachers for Literacy Stations since the kids didn't want to stop interacting with the story box. I just need to figure out a system.

Friday, January 18, 2013

First Grade Friends

These past few weeks I worked with the first grade teachers to create a class eBook using Flipsnack. These past weeks students worked with their teachers on writing biographies. Students interviewed one another and then wrote and illustrated an eBook about their  class.
I taught the students how to use KidPix to draw--and then with the classroom teacher we created these fun eBook for you to read.

1 H/R First Grade Friends

1 Smith First Grade Friends eBook

1 Diffley First Grade Friends eBook

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Book Week

It is new book week in the Brimhall Library. The library has put out about 500 new books this week. All of the new books are out on tables for students to view and get ready to read. New book checkouts start next Monday!

Students look at some of the new library books.