Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tuesday Teacher Tips October 23

Teacher Productivity Tips
There are two apps I have been using to sync across all my devices—SmartPhone, iPad, Desktop Computers—that really help to save time.

When you download the desktop Application,
SkyDrive will appear in your favorites,
so you can easily drag & drop files to it.

SkyDrive—I wrote about SkyDrive a few weeks ago.  You can download an app to all your devices that will allow you to manage files in a “drag and drop” system—making it  even easier to save & retrieve files from your 7 GB Cloud storage.   Look for the app in the App Store for your devices or see the link below to download to your desktop.  You use your school email & password to log in and begin using the storage. Think about how this could be used to share photos/videos made on your iPad. (Let me know if you would like a how-to video for this!)


Evernote—is another great productivity tool that you can put on your  smart phone, iPad, and Desktop.  It is already installed on iPads. You can use this app to create lists & take notes.  It’s a great tool for lesson planning—or just making a to-do list that syncs across to all your devices.  I use it daily to keep track of things to read, links on Pinterest and ideas for lessons.  You can share your work with others by sending an email.  You do need to set up an account for Evernote—but they have a free version.  Let me know if you want me to write more about how I use this. See the link below for more information.

New Document Cameras—How To Insert an image into Smart Notebook for Annotation
If you have one of the new document cameras, I put together a little 2 min video (linked below) that explains how to take a picture of the handout/photo under the document camera and insert it into a Smart Notebook file so you can use it for annotation.  If you need written step-by-step directions, let me know and I’ll put some together. 

Tuesday Teacher Tips from October 16

I forgot to post these last week!  My 2nd and 3rd grade teachers are part of a district pilot program to try iPads out in the classroom.  They each got 4 iPads to use, so we're looking for great apps of course.  One of the tips deal with an app that I think is pretty good - I especially love the directions and descriptions shared by Tammy Worcester.

iPad app to check out—Sock Puppets

Sock Puppets is an app I just learned about for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It’s an app that will allow you to create your own “sock” puppet show.—Who doesn’t love a good sock puppet show?  You can use it to retell a story or for a book review or for an original play.
The app is free,  and with that free app you can record shows that are 30 seconds. There is also  a store where you can purchase more content  and extend your recording time up to 90 seconds.  Here is a link to a blog that  provides a really good explanation. 

Tammy Worcester - Sock Puppets App

Literature Circles/ Handouts for Book Groups

Check out the awesome Literature Circles handouts from Laura Candler Teaching Resources page.  Even if you don’t use the Literature Circles model, the resources for character and the Literature Response Questions are excellent and could be used in a center.  For character she has an Intermediate & Primary list of character traits and a  handy graphic organizer.

A few more Halloween read aloud suggestions

Boo Katie Woo by Fran Manushkin— new Junior Everybody series
HalloweinerDav Pilkey—picture book
One Halloween Night— Mark Teague—picture book
Dangerous Pumpkins—Emily Jenkins—new chapter book in our LMC

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Common Core and the Kentucky School Library

Lexiles, folktales and informational texts – oh my!  With the introduction of the Common Core ELA in Kentucky, school librarians across the state are in the perfect position to really show collaborative skills and show their resource power!
When I found out that we were going to the Common Core, I was just starting my LMS job search, so it was the ideal time for me to learn the standards and learn them well. I’ve spent a lot of time reading through them and internalizing them.  For me the ELA standards came easily because they are set up so much like the ACT standards- which were standards that I had already been consulting and using for three years in my high school English content.  With the addition of the Speaking and Listening standards, and the research and multimedia aspects that are now present, I think it’s an exciting time to come up with some new ideas.
Here are a few of the things that I’ve learned about over the last two years that make my job a million times easier:
1.       Thinkfinity rocks!  Thanks to some excellent emails last year from KET Education Consultant, Cynthia Warner, I really discovered the benefits of searching through lessons on Thinfinity using the standard search. I do usually preview the lessons for a certain standard before sending the list off to my teachers because sometimes the connection to the standard isn’t apparent.  If you’re looking for good lessons on myths and folktales – it’s good to start here.  There are some really great ArtsEdge resources for myth listed under those standards that could make for some awesome collaboration opportunities between classroom teachers, librarians, and art & humanities teachersJ
2.       Tennessee is doing it right!  With Read Tennessee and the Teacher’s Reading Toolkit there is a lot to explore  for our K-3 teachers. On their Common Core Standards for English Language Arts Page you can choose a grade on the left (K-3) and then explore lessons by selecting the standard.
3.       KATE – TICK is working hard to give KY teachers awesome technology resources! TICK (Technology in Classrooms of Kentucky) is hosted by the Kentucky Academy of Technology Education (KATE) and they are encouraging Kentucky teachers to share good, technology based lessons that relate to standards.  You can do a standard search and find some great resources.  It might also be worth your while to add a lesson or link or two that you know is going to be helpful because they do prize drawings every now and then.
4.       Pinterest is a constant source of good stuff!  Simply doing a search for “common core” will yield tons of results for pins and boards you can follow.  Browse around and find a few boards that really have things you like; then follow them.  It’s much easier to sort through ideas as they come up on your “Following” page than it is to try to back track and go through everything out there.  A lot of the good pins will come up over and over anyway  - so don’t feel like you’re missing out!  I have a Library - Common Core and More board, a Library - Informational Texts and Library - Literary Texts board that may be helpful to start.
5.       The Common Core App can be a great resource!  At the beginning of the year when I mapped out my curriculum, I used the Common Core Standards to determine what we would be doing and when.  It helped having those standards in one place at my fingertips.  I use it for a quick reference weekly when I’m listing the standards on my lesson plans.  Search for the app in the App Store of your Smart Phone or iPad.
6.   LiveBinders is an organizational dream! I’ve been using this to begin tracking some of my favorite links and pins so that I can access them at school easily if I need them.  My Common Core ELA binder is a total work in progress – the key is: books – if you want to check it out.  You can also search for other shared binders are in this site – a good one appears to be ELA Common Core States Standards Resources
What are your favorite Common Core resources and how are you using them?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My take on the Big 6

This week I’m going to introduce my third graders to the Big 6 Research Model. In graduate school, for my LMS classes, they really promoted this as the perfect way to help kids learn how to research a topic, so last year, I made a full out attempt to teach my 5th graders to use it for their Social Studies Fair.  I did a PowerPoint presentation and developed some graphic organizers based on examples I had seen.  And, they had no idea what I was talking about.
I tried the model again with my STLP students a few weeks later as a way to help guide them in developing a technology project to do for our regional completion, and it worked!  Of course, it took one of my 5th grade members to explain to me that it worked that time because I walked them through each step instead of just zipping through the directions for a social studies project they were mostly working on by themselves.  It made sense – they needed me to model for them how to use the materials and the research model.  Modeling is just good teaching practice, and I failed because I tried to rush a concept that even college students struggle with.
This year, my plan is to model for the kids – over a number of weeks – how to conduct research with one topic so that we can work through it together.  I browsed through our most recent magazines and settled on studying sloth bears thanks to a recent Ranger Rick article.
This is what the organizer looks like
For my three 3rd grade classes, I plan to introduce the Big 6 by introducing all 6 steps – then walking the students through each step using a Big 6 Planning Guide.  Originally, I found an example similiar on the Big 6 research site, and I my original link to that handout no longer work. I broke the planning guide down this year so that we would focus on steps 1-4 first.  I made it through steps 1 and 2 today with my first third grade class.
For Step 1: Task Definition, I explained to students that we’re going to study sloth bears and then let them brainstorm some questions that they have about sloth bears.  My plan for each of the classes is to help them out if they seem stuck and suggest maybe we need to know where they live, what they look like etc.  For my first class I didn’t have to guide them at all. 
They were quick to identify those questions and many more.  They are curious to know how fast a sloth bear can run – because sloths are slow, but bears are fast.  I thought that was a particularly good observation.  They also want to know what “family” the sloth bear is in – is it closer to a sloth or a bear? We ended up writing down about 6 quality questions.
In Step 2: Information Seeking Strategies My plan is to help the kids to use the graphic organizer to identify resources they could use to find their information – I’ll help guide them to write down things like magazine articles, websites, and encyclopedias.  This will also give me an opportunity to briefly talk about choosing websites.  Students should avoid Wikipedia and use sites that are sponsored by zoos, like San Diego and the National Zoo or National Geographic.
The kids in my first class did a great job of identifying every search engine there is, which helped me to see that we would need to do a future lesson on search engines vs. sources of information.  In the meantime, I briefly explained that a search engine was something we can use to find sources.  One of the kids quickly made the connection that Scholastic’s site might have some information, which I thought was a good connection. Someone also mentioned Wikipedia, which gave me the quick opportunity to tell students that they shouldn’t use Wikipedia for school work – although it is something fun to explore.  I’ll have to do a lesson later about wikis so that students can understand the nature of wiki and why we should use them to share information, but maybe not as a source in a formal essay.
Step 3: Access Information   students will use the graphic organizer to help give them ideas for where to access information.  Then they will collect sources they need – info from websites, magazines, books etc.  This is going to be a bit challenging because we only have five computers that could be used for accessing websites, and we’ll have to dive into encyclopedias to find books – but I want to them to get practice in accessing different sources.  I’m a little nervous about how this will work out – but I think it’s essential for them to run into some roadblocks, so that they can gain that experience in overcoming frustration.
Step 4: Use of Information is when students work through their reading, looking for information that helps to answer those research questions they came up with in Step 1.  I have students use a research organizer for this step to record their notes.  During this step I will briefly talk about how to use text features like -subheadings, index, table of contents, bold words- to help locate information efficiently.  We will also talk about the importance of recording where we are getting information from.  Basics like author, titles, page numbers, web site names all are important things to look for so that we can give credit to the source when we actually create our project
Step 5: Synthesis  is where students take their notes from all the different sources they have used and decide how to present the information.  I’m going to let students decide if they want to create a Cube or a poster – or another appropriate project type of choice.
Step 6: Evaluation In this step, students will evaluate their own work and decide if they’ve done a good job.  On the complete Big 6 organizer, I have a few questions students can answer to determine if they’ve done a good job. This will also be a good time for us to have a discussion about what good work looks like.
I’m pretty excited to finish up the first week of lessons with the rest of the third graders, and I’m hoping as the weeks progress, I can give the kids enough support to understand the process.
How do you teach research skills?  Do you have any suggestions for getting through steps 3-6?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tuesday Teacher Tips - Oct 8

These are the teacher tips I sent out for this week.  I put a quick blurb in about SkyDrive - the cloud storage attached to our state email accounts.  I found at a recent faculty meeting that not many people knew about them, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out some info about it.

To access SkyDrive, log in to webmail,
 then Click “More” at the top of the screen—then SkyDrive

Productivity Tip: Are you using the SKYDRIVE?

SkyDrive is your “cloud” storage connected to your webmail.  You have 7 GB of storage available online, and this could be a great way for you to back up and share your most important files.  Or, it may just be a good option if you don’t like carrying a flashdrive back and forth between home and school. Once you have uploaded the document to SkyDrive, you can right click on it and select Share.  Then type in the email of the person with whom you would like to share. You can give the people you share with the ability to edit the document if you would like.  This is a great way to collaborate in editing and updating grade level assignments. 

 Tech Tools for Struggling Readers

Check out this link for How to Use Web 2.0 to Teach Literacy Strategies to Struggling Readers” - you may also want to check out “18 Strategies for Struggling Readers - both by Peter Pappas.  Five Card Flikr might be good for a writing assignment or a learning center and Wordle is always a fun way to generate a summary using only key words.

Halloween Books to Share with Your Class

We have more than this, but these were a few we just got in, so I decided to spotlight them - and I wanted to keep it short.

Celebrate Halloween with Pumpkins, Costumes and Candy by Deborah Heiligman—nonfiction—history of Halloween
Hallowilloween Nefarious Silliness by Calef Brown—poetry—share some super, silly poems
The Bones of Fred McFee by Eve Bunting—picture
Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve by Mary Pope Osborne—chapter

Digital Citizenship - my approach

A few weeks ago I began a 4-6 week exploration of Digital Citizenship in the library.  In the 21st Century, I believe that discussing topics like safety, privacy and responsibility online are some of the most discussions that can be had in the library media center.  Plus, the kids are genuinely interested and engaged in the discussion.  Navigating the list of topics to discuss with different grade levels in age appropriate ways can be a challenge.  That’s why I look to Common Sense Media, Professor G, and NetSmartz for inspiration.
The lessons at Common Sense Media really do a good job of getting right to the heart of the major issues that should be explored at each grade level. With units on safety, security, digital life, digital footprints, intellectual property rights, and research and evaluation, Common Sense Media covers a broad spectrum of useful topics. I like to use the lessons as a jumping off for discussions, and I tailor them to fit our needs and time limits.
To access the lessons and content at Common Sense Media, you do have to create an account, but it’s free, and it will allow you to organize the lessons and content that you find most important.
What I've been doing
Here’s the breakdown of what I am doing during our exploration of Digital Citizenship -  including links to Common Sense Media lessons and a few extras that I have found to supplement some of the lessons over the last few years. 
Going Places SafelyFor this lesson, I like to take students to the New England Aquarium website.  If you click on “Animals and Exhibits” you can show students videos of different animals that can be seen at the aquarium. They really love watching the videos! There are many things to explore on this site, but I typically stick to viewing the videos and reading some facts about each of the species we watch. One of the bonus elements on this site is you can also send a digital postcard and review with students that you should have a trusted adult with you to send mail to other people. It’s also a fun way to review what kinds of things you can write in a friendly letter, or a nice way to see if students have been able to remember any of the facts about the animals in the videos.  We usually send the postcard to the classroom teachers, and that is always a crowd pleaser.  
Faux Paw the Techno Cat – being safe online  This isn’t a Common Sense Media lesson, but I feel like the video does a good job of showing students that they should not give out private information on line.  The video for this may be a bit scary for Kindergarten students, so you may want to give the digital book for “Faux Paw Adventures in the Internet” a try.   After viewing the lesson, I ask students to draw a picture that shows how to be safe online. We also enjoy watching the NetSmartz video about staying safe online.
ABC Searching With this lesson we looked at the two online picture dictionaries provided with the lesson and explored different letters using ABC searching.  This is a great lesson to introduce the concept of organizing things alphabetically and as an intro to library organization.
Do you have a subscription to BrainPop? – check out BrainPopJr – search Internet Safety
First Grade
My first grade lessons were pretty much the same as the Kindergarten classes for this time of year. 
Going Places Safely

A poem we wrote together using MOMA's website
In first grade we use MOMA from the suggested list of websites.  I love the MOMA website- the interactive elements and content really provide for a good cyber-field trip.  We had a great time checking out the art, and working with the activities.  The point of the lesson – just like you shouldn’t go to a museum by yourself, you shouldn’t go online by yourself, is an easy one to make.

Faux Paw The Techno CatIn first grade we do watch the Faux Paw video.  For the first time this year, I did have a student get really nervous because of the darkness and music.  In the future I will be sure to preface it by letting the kids know that everything turns out ok in the end.  To show what they know, I have the students draw/write four ways that a student can stay safe online.  They have the option of choosing to show two ways not to behave online and two ways to correct the behavior, so I get a variety of responses to this exercise.

ABC Searching For this lesson I also cover that there are websites you can use for subject searching.  I really like Quintura Kids The sites that are included in the search results are safe for kids to use.  Instead of completing the ABC handout that comes with this, the kids complete a Subject Search handout that I made up. On the handout they write down one of the subjects we searched and a fact about that subject.  For one class we learned a lot of fun facts about wombats- and the kids were really interested in finding out more about mammals and marsupials.

Second Grade
Staying Safe Online  The concept of ranking websites as green (safe to browse), yellow (need to ask a parent), and red (not for children) really resonated with students.  They found they had a lot to discuss about the categories of websites, and even found that some websites could have “green” aspects and “red”.  For example they may have a kid safe website that includes areas where things can be purchased using a credit card.  We have been following the adventures of Liz over at This Kentucky Girl.  As part of our exploration of different websites, we looked at Liz’s blog.  The kids immediately recognized that the videos on Liz’s website are posted on YouTube.  The 2nd graders all felt that YouTube can be a lot of fun for kids, but that sometimes things are not for kids to see.  They believe they should ask a parent before watching a YouTube video – therefore it’s a yellow site.  Because we have a friendship with Liz, but don’t know her face-to-face, the kids recognize that they should still ask a trusted adult before watching her videos – and the only time they should email her, is if a trusted adult is with them.
Professor G – online safety -  This is not a Common Sense Media lesson, but it’s a good review of private information – or as Professor G calls it – YAPPY!  The kids love Garfield and Nermal’s crazy mistakes.  As a follow up activity, students create their own cartoons that show how to be safe online. I also use this video as a reason to introduce the concept of respecting other people’s property and how important it is to ask permission or give credit for things – instead of just stealing something.
My Online Community The discussion about real communities and online communities was a good one to have with the 2nd graders.  Something that really helped the second graders connect to the concept of connecting with people in the community online – even though we don’t know them face to face – was made even more real by our online friendship with Liz over at This Kentucky Girl (check out this post to see one of our questions/responses). Liz has been sending us post cards during her travels and we have been asking her questions online.  The love interacting with someone far away, and it has been a great example of how they can be “friends” with someone who they haven’t personally met.
Everyone Wants Friends This lesson is only going to be available until October 31, 2012, which is a shame, because I think this is a good way to introduce students to a discussion about bullying online.  In future, for now, I plan to continue using the lesson – but I will make sure to check back each year to see what additions are made in the area of cyberbullying.
Extra -Privacy Playground Cyber pigs - I haven’t had a chance to actually use this with the class, but I put a link on my website, and I think it would be fun for a center activity in the future.
Third Grade
Staying Safe OnlineI used this lesson with third grade as well as second.  I modified the lesson to require third graders to write down examples for each type of website – green, yellow or red websites.

Bookmark Template for Usernames

Keep it Private This lesson was a great way to teach students how to generate usernames that do not give away private information.  By using only their interests, they can generate usernames that are safe.  They practice creating usernames using their favorite numbers, animals and characters.  As a supplement to the lesson, I created a bookmark with the questions suggested in the lesson on it, and had students practice making usernames for interview partners.

I really like this lesson.  It is an excellent introduction to the concept of a “digital footprint”.  The lesson uses two fictional characters who have begun posting information about themselves on a social networking site.  It clearly shows that there is information you should not give out – and that there is information you can safely share.
Screen Out the Mean  This is a revised lesson on Cyberbullying that I’m glad to see Common Sense Media kept.  I haven’t covered this one yet, but plan to soon because it does a really good job of showing students that they should not share passwords – even with their friends – and it shows the very basics of cyberbullying.

Fourth Grade
Talking Safely Online  For this lesson, students review a situation where a student is asked private information by an online friend.  This is a good lesson because it examines a common situation – students make friends online that they don’t know face-to-face and lines can become blurred when you consider what is appropriate to share and not appropriate.  We also took the opportunity to contact Liz and talked about what kinds of information would be safe to share to protect privacy and what wasn't.  Check out this post on Liz's blog in response to our questions.

You’ve Won a Prize  This is a good lesson to introduce the concept of SPAM and the possibility that SPAM email may contain viruses.  In our discussion I found that they already have a lot of experience with being tricked into clicking on things on ads on websites that are presented in the same fashion. I extended the lesson by encouraging students to go home and have a discussion with their parents about anti-virus programs and how to run a virus scan on their home computers.

Rings of Responsibility  Students examine what it means to be part of a community and the rights and responsibilities that come along with it.  The discussion is extended into the cybercommunity, and students look at how they are responsible for protecting their own private information and the information of others.

Writing Good Emails  For this lesson, students are introduced to appropriate communication online through a connection to a discussion about good verbal communication.  The lesson itself focuses on email communication – but I think it’s important to expand that discussion to include text messaging (since many students are already text messaging using apps on their iPods), social networking and online gaming.  They really get a kick out of the discussion of emoticons in particular and when and when not to use them.  To differentiate this lesson, I use the handout from a 2nd and 3rd grade lesson on Show Respect Online
The Power of Words  We haven’t covered this lesson yet, but in the past it really generated a lot of discussion about cyber bullying.  Even in the fourth grade, kids already have a lot of experience with online gaming and what they refer to as “flame wars”  - or heated verbal exchanges.  Helping them deal with such exchanges is really critical in helping them to develop good online behaviors.

Fifth Grade
Talking Safely Online We do the same lesson as fourth, but I have discovered that fifth graders have more social networking experience than the fourth graders.  We also use a different situation that I made up to help differentiate the discussion some.

Privacy Rules  In this lesson I review with fifth graders what COPPA is and how it is important to them. We review websites that have Common Sense Media approved seals of approval to identify websites that will clearly protect a student’s privacy.  I extend the lesson some by showing them privacy statements and what to “skim” for in the statements- primarily students need to look for how websites share information with third parties.  I also try to really drive home the point that sites like Facebook are intended for people over the age of 13, therefore, they are not required by law to comply with COPPA.

Handling Email and IM This is another lesson that will be unavailable after October 31, 2012.  It covers the same big ideas that are covered in the lesson I did with the 4th graders “You Won a Prize”.  I like having a different scenario to use for 5th grade.  In the future I may come up with my own handout for 5th grade that includes a SPAM situation for a social networking website.  I also extend the discussion to include some popular anti-virus programs with a quick explanation for how to run the virus scan.

Writing Good Emails  We did the same lesson with 4th grade, but for fifth I used the handout that goes with the lesson.  Instead of asking students to correct the entire email, I asked them to review it and suggest three ways that it could be improved for the intended audience and purpose.  They really were spot on in making suggestions.
Group Think I haven’t done this lesson yet with fifth grade, but I think it’s a good one to show how things can easily move from innocent fun to instances of cyberbullying.  I think it does a good job of exploring those grey areas that students sometimes find themselves in and don’t know how to deal with.  Often students understand that something is not right, but they have a hard time figuring out how they got into the situation – where they crossed the line. 

You might want to take a look at these links on your own - it's the Common Sense Media curriculum for each of the grade levels
Common Sense Media K-1 All Lessons - check out the full list of K-1 lessons
Common Sense Media 2-3 Grade lessons - list of all 2-3 lessons:  
Common Sense Media 4th and 5th Lessons list of all 4-5 lessons 
What are your favorite Internet Safety lessons?