Thursday, October 27, 2016

If You Give a Librarian a New Book

        Today was our first Afternoon Reading Session of the year. A parent had donated a  If You Give a Mouse a Brownie Kit to the media center so I did some research and found out that Laura Numeroff's new book If You Give a Mouse a Brownie came out on October 18th. I knew I had to use this book.
         It is important to me to always make sure that the stations I plan are something that the parents can easily copy and do at home. So for this session the stations were about extending the story, creating a new story based on the story, sequencing, retelling, creative responses, and critical thinking. I added a game feel to the stations by giving the attendees a maze game board and a dice to use as they visited stations. They had to roll the dice to find out which station to go to. As they finished the station they colored in a spot on the maze. When they reached the end they were able to get a prize.
         As the parents and students came into the media center they signed in and received a handout from with grade level reading tips for them to use at home. Then they waited at the reading circle for our special visitor to come and read with them.
 The mouse from Laura Numeroff's books made an appearance. She talked and read the newest book that she is the star of.
         The students really enjoyed seeing me dressed up. The excitement in the students eyes was wonderful. One of my first graders looked at me and said I know it is really you Mrs. Mitchell.
After I finished reading with the students I explained the stations to them and told parents how it helps with reading and how they can do the same thing at home. The students found their parents grabbed their dice and game board and found their first station. 
        At the Beyond the Brownie station the students were able to draw a picture of what they think would happen next if the story had continued. This station worked on making predictions and extending the story. 

         Mouse memory found students testing their memory in two different ways. They played a classic game of memory with the scenes from the book then they had to put the pictures in order based on what happened in the story. 

         At the "You are the Author" station the students came up with such cute stories to share with others. We had the Mouse getting apples, oranges, cheese sandwiches, and even an iPod. The creative juices were flowing for sure.
        The puppet station is always a big hit for our students. They create a paper bag puppet so that they can use it to retell the story. We had some really cute mouse puppets this time.

         Knowing how much students love creating and making I decided to add a construction station this time. Students and parents worked together to build boats like the mouse did when it rained. Then they tested them out in the water to see if they floated. 


         The last station was a new station for most parents and students it was a mini-breakout session. They had to work together to solve two puzzles to unlock the brownies!! It was great to see parents and students solving problems together!

           The media center was buzzing with excitement for over an hour and half as the parents and students moved from station to station. I enjoyed watching the level of engagement at each station. One of the main reasons I started these afternoons was to provide a way for the students and their parents to connect over a great book. 
          As the parents were leaving this afternoon they thanked me for the afternoon session and said they were looking forward to the next one. I am already thinking ahead to January when I have my next afternoon. Some of the things I am working on include: reaching all grade levels instead f just PK-2nd grade, reaching more parents, inviting the public library again, and putting together take home reading packets for the students and parents.  I want to make sure that the students and parents always feel like they are getting what they need from these afternoons. 


Friday, October 7, 2016

Global Read Aloud 2016


 Every year in October there is a Global Read Aloud event. This is where people around the world read the same books and share ideas and activities with other classrooms. It is a great way to make global connections. This is the second year that Level Cross Elementary participated. Knowing that students are more engaged when they have an authentic audience to share with I created a Google Doc and shared it with others in the Global Read Aloud Community and on Twitter. I decided to try to make the activities as hands on and interactive as possible for the students.
            This week we have been busy making connection with students around the country. We read Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo and discussed what it means to be brave. Wanting to share our ideas with others we added our thoughts to a padlet.
             We also wrote letters to and tweeted with students around the globe to tell them about our town and school. The students were excited when we received our first post card from Calvin Coolridge Elementary in Massachusetts. We are eagerly waiting for more postcards from our new friends. 
             I also created a Global City Google Presentation for students and teachers to share their "city creations" with us. We had classes from as far away as Canada share with us. Wanting to make our last day of Nana in the City special I decided to do a K-5 project and have the students build a city. We started with our 5th graders researching City Planning on Wonderopolis and becoming City Planners, Engineers, Parks/Recreational Planners, Architects, and Department of Transportation workers. They designed and built the framework for the younger students to add to our city.
             As each class entered the media center I gave them the schematics that the 5th graders came up with and then they became builders and landscapers. They built with Legos,cereal boxes, toilet paper/paper towels holders, and construction paper. During each 45 minute session our town grew bigger and bigger until it was finally 4th grades time to draw the road for our Ozobots to travel down. 

               Today the theme of the media center was design thinking. They had a task to accomplish and they used ingenuity and problem solving to create the perfect city for our Ozobots to travel through. I am so proud of our students hard work and great attitude. It was a great way to conclude our week with Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo. Next week we will be reading The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo.