Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Genres, iPads, QR Codes, a Guest Author, and MORE!

August may have started off slow, but it sure did pick up pace by the end of the month.  Between orientations, iPads,  first check outs, and an author visit, I was wore out and ready for Labor Day.  Here's what we've been up to.

Check out began three weeks ago.  Students were super eager to get their hands on the Wildcat Favorites books.  You can see how well the first week of checkout went by looking at the before and after pictures of the Wildcat Favorite section, especially on the second shelf. This is where all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, and Dear Dumb Diary books are kept.

Two weeks ago I introduced second-fifth grades to our first Genre of the Month for the year:  biogrpahies and autobigraphies.  I went over the information more as a review for third-fifth graders since I covered biographies and autobiographies last year, but I still wanted everyone to practice identifying each kind.

I used this PowerPoint to discuss what biographies and autobiographies are and where they can be located in the Media Center.   I also reviewed how to search Destiny, our online catalog, to find not only biographies and autobiographies, but whatever books they happen to need or want.  You are welcome to download and use it. I have taken out the information about where to find these books in the Media Center as it was specific to my school.

At the end of the lesson, students completed this activity identifying biographies and autobiographies based on their title, author, and call number.  This is similar to an activity I did last year.   I changed most of the titles, but the way in which the worksheet is completed is the same.  Students worked in groups of 5 or 6 to come up with their answers and then we checked answers using a free QR code reader app called i-nigma.  We had no problems with this app.  I am not being paid to evaluate i-nigma; just stating my opinion about it.  It was very user-friendly.  You can read more about i-nigma here.

To make the activity a bit more interesting, I loaded the seven questions that are on the worksheet on the 5 iPads we have in the Media Center with an app called SlideShark.  This is also a free app.  Again, I have not been paid to evaluate this app; I am only stating my opinion of it.  It worked beautifully for me.  It was very easy to use.  What I like best about SlideShark is that the animations I had programed in my PowerPoint still worked in SlideShark.  You can read more about SlideShark here.

I had my concerns about the students using the iPads, especially when they had to pick them up to scan a QR Code, but they did great.  Everyone seem to enjoy the lesson even though most of them were already familiar with biographies and autobigraphies.  They stayed engaged because they all wanted a chance to use the iPad.  I was also happy to see that most students handled the iPads with great care.

During this same week, we had a special guest author come visit our school.  His name is Michael Finklea.  He writes children's books and is with Ozark Publishing.  He will come to your school for free.  He just asks that you give him time after his presentation to sell his books.

This kids LOVED him. They thought he was funny and couldn't wait to purchase a book from him.  He autographed anything they bought.   You can found more information about Michael Finklea at http://www.michaelfinklea.net/

The Book Tweet board has been a big hit with fourth and fifth graders.  Most of the time, all the "Tweet Strips" are full by Wednesday.  I erase them every Friday and let students fill them up again.  It's funny what kids will get excited about.  Sometimes it's the simplest things that have the most impact.

Check out some of their "tweets."

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

And the first iReaders of the year were turned in.  There have now been about 30 iReaders turned in with four weeks left to go.  The fourth and fifth graders have been reading like crazy!  I guess that means I picked some good prizes to bribe them into reading.  LOL  Whatever it takes, right?

So that's how I began my year.  What about you?   Are you in the swing of things or just getting started?  I'd love to hear from you!

1 comment:

  1. I just began working at a PreK-8 elementary school last week (four weeks into the school year). My classes are back-to-back all day with a 50 minute planning each day. Needless to say, coming up with engaging lessons for all the grades is exhausting. I absolutely LOVE your ideas! Thank you for providing free resources!