Friday, December 21, 2012

Elementary Book Trailers

Just as we are finishing the 2012 year, fourth grade students have been busy finishing their book trailers using Animoto.  Students choose a book they had already read that was available in our school libraries.  They then planned out what they were going to say about the book to get students interested in reading but not give away the whole story.  (Many kids wanted to give a summary of the book, which included the ending so lots of re-writing was done after the first try.)  I gave students a planning sheet that looked like this: 

After students were done planning, we used our subscription to Britannica ImageQuest to find images that would illustrate our sentences. 

We used Animoto to create our book trailers.  Here are two but check out our full set of trailers on our school webpage

We also had a few students go further and create a book trailer for a series of graphic novels.  You can see those trailers on this page, also a school webpage. 

Students said they loved making these videos and the second time was a lot easier than the first (for those who had time to work on a second one). 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

4K holiday program with Little Bird Tales

One of the Four-Year-Old Kindergarten teachers came to me wanting to do a short show for each of her class's holiday programs.  Last year we did a VoiceThread about gifts they would give their families.  This year, we decided on using Little Bird Tales to share what students think is inside of Santa's bag. 

Here is one of the programs: 

In the classroom, the teacher and students learned about Santa and his bag.  Students then drew pictures of what they think is inside of his bag.  I took the pictures and scanned them all in, then recorded the students one by one.  As these students are four and five, it was not a script that they read, they just talked to me, telling me what they drew.  Many of them were very intimidated by the microphone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reading Records

Something we started doing last year was recording student's reading several times throughout the year.  This provides a record of student learning, especially their fluency. I use VoiceThread to do this. I use the website to upload the pictures and I use the iPad app to record their voices.  I love the app for recording!  It is so much easier than the website, in my opinion. 

Here are a few examples:

*Note, rarely does a child get through an entire book.  They read until I tell them to stop, which is approximately one minute.

So what are the logistics of this? 
Things I do:
Create the covers (I use PowerPoint and save as a JPEG)
Upload the pictures
Record the students
Help teachers embed these where they would like them (blog, website, etc.)

What teachers do: 
Prepare the readers
Take a photo of each child each time
Notify parents the videos have been posted
Teach the kids!

What students do:
View their recordings to hear themselves

What parents do:
Watch and comment! (hopefully)

I really love this project and so do the classroom teachers.  It is exciting to watch the fluency and reading ability of students growing!  When students view their Reading Records near the end of the year, they are sometimes in disbelief that the first recording is them!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cynthia Rylant author study

Second grade students studied author Cynthia Rylant last month and wanted to do something with technology as the culminating activity.  Students learned about the author and her books in the classroom.  When they came to me, we:

- Watched the beginning of a BrainPOP Jr. video about Rylant:

- Created a Little Bird Tale as if we were the creators of a Henry and Mudge story.  Check it out here:

Students had a choice to use the Paint program to create their pictures or to draw them by hand.  Just over half of the class choose the computers while the others preferred their drawing tools in hand. 

I got inspiration for this project from the Van Meter Voice blog's Mercer Meyer author study.  Check it out!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Coming back

Hello! I have struggled with the question of what I want to do with this blog for awhile now. I enjoy reviewing books and sharing my thoughts about them but that has become a quite small portion of my job. The bulk of my job is technology integration and helping teachers use technology in their curriculum, whether that be in their classroom or in the libraries and computer labs. Thus, I have decided to shift the focus of this blog to where my heart is: technology integration ideas for elementary grades.

Please check back soon for some technology integration ideas for elementary grades!