Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Story Elements Lesson for Halloween

One of my favorite books to read this time of year is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.  This year, I decided to read this story with my kindergarten and first grade classes and tie in the story elements of characters, setting, and plot.

I found this fun pack on TpT from Tangled Up in Teaching that went perfectly with my lesson.

Then I made this fun worksheet as a wrap up to the lesson.  You can grab a copy of it for free HERE or click on the picture above.

What are some of your favorite Halloween stories and lessons?

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10 Cyber Safety Videos for Kids and Families

While preparing my lessons for this week, I ran across some great cyber safety videos that you might like to bookmark for later use.  I was really amazed at how many cyber safety videos are out there.  Some are better than others, but here are my top 10 picks.  If the videos don't work in this post, you can click on the direct link posted underneath each video to go directly to YouTube to watch them.

This short 7 minute video is about some rabbits at an elementary school who are using computers. They learn how to use the computer safely.  Younger elementary students might enjoy this video.

This short excerpt from a Disney Education video teaches young children about appropriate behavior online.

This is a two minute music video about Internet Safety performed by a group from New Zealand called the Polkadots.  Younger elementary students would enjoy it, but might not understand all the terminology.

Upper and lower elementary students might like this video about five safety rules to use when online. The video is about 2 minutes long and show how to make a Cyber Five sign to put on or near a computer to remind you how to be safe online.

A fun rap about staying safe online, this video was created by EMC Corporation and RSA. It's around 2 and half minutes long.

This is a short 7 minute video about using manners online...a.k.a. netiquette.  It's from the NetSmartz website.

This fun song, also from NetSmartz, reminds students to Use Your NetSmartz before posting something online.  Even though younger students should not be chatting online without supervision, they often do.  Showing them this video might help them remember what is safe to post online.

Although the title suggests this video is for kids AND teens, I think it's really geared more towards teens.  They will like the fun way the narrator talks about being online.  Video is about 5 minutes long.

This video is less than three minutes long but shows how you can't know for sure if people are who they say they are.  I wouldn't show this to younger kids even though the characters seem geared toward that audience, because children under  13 are not supposed to be on facebook and to me that would send a wrong message.  I think middle schoolers would still enjoy the video.

And here's a great one for families. It's less than 2 minutes long, but has some good information.

Do you have any cyber safety videos to share?  Leave a comment and let us know. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October is Cyber Safety Month

I posted over the summer about some Cyber Safety games that are pretty popular with the students at my school, but in case you missed it here they are again, along for a few more and some great sites to find cyber safety lessons as well.  These are great to use during October to reinforce that this month is Cyber Safety Month.

This is a fun, video-game type adventure that teaches kids to recognize the ads all around them, both off and online.

Games, videos and activities inspired by the PBS Kids show Cyberchase.

A fun-interactive game for 3rd-8th that teaches how to surf the Internet safely. Thanks to Sonya of the Library Patch for suggesting this one.

This is a fun tic-tac-toe type game that asks players to answer Internet safety questions.

This is a fantastic website full of games and videos all about being safe on the Internet.  We actually use some of the videos in all of the elementary schools in the county to show to our K-2 classes during Cyber Safety week.

Help save Safety Land from the nasty character who is trying to make the town sick.

This is an interactive adventure that challenges players to answer Internet safety questions about the storyline.  It's a fun spin off of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.

The adventure continues!  This adventure talks about netiquette and determining the difference between fact and opinion.

Another fun arcade like game about Internet safety.  Kids learn to be safe while playing.

Watch Internet Safety videos, play games, and take interactive quizzes about cyberbullying. There are more videos and activities, but you must sign up to be able to access those.

iKeep Safe offers some free downloadable movies that include topics such as cyberbullying, copyright, and cybersaftey.

Hector's World is a fun way for younger kids to learn about Internet safety.  From this website you can access videos and games that would be good to use on an Interactive Whiteboard.

If you're looking for Internet safety lessons complete with lesson plans and guide, and even letters to send home, Internet Smarts is a good place to start.  This site is sponsored by Cablevision and has eight different lessons with lesson guides that deal with everything from cyberbullying to copyright to thinking about what to share online.  These lessons seem to be appropriate for upper elementary and older.

This is a free website sponsored by the government where you can order free books and toolkits about Internet safety.  I have ordered these materials in the past to be given out to our fifth graders upon their SAFE graduation day.  Unfortunately, due to the current government shutdown, the website is not accessible at this time.  However, there is a free video that you can watch through YouTube which would be great to show parents.  You can access that video here.

My absolute favorite place for Internet safety lessons is Common Sense Media's program. This FREE curriculum includes lesson plans, printables, letters to send home, videos, classroom posters, and links to great sites to help practice what the lessons teach. This is by far the most comprehensive program I have found and it is totally free.  More items are added all the time.

Do you do anything special during Cyber Safety Month?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

ABC Order for Firsties

This week's lesson for my first grade classes is all about ABC order which leads nicely into shelf order.

 I will be reading the book Alpha Betti by Carlene Morton.

After discussing why putting things in alphabetical order makes them easier to find, we will be completing this shelf order sheet. You can get a copy of it by clicking here or on the picture above.

If it looks familiar, that's because it is a similar version to an activity I did with second and third grade earlier this year. This one is one simplified since my firsties are still learning ABC order. It's a good first step to letting them explore the shelves on their own.

Right now, my first graders are still choosing books from a practice shelf until they get the hang of using a shelf marker. This usually takes until November.  They are very eager to let loose.  In fact, I was out last Wednesday with a nasty stomach virus and my Wednesday class my sub, which I was not supposed to even have, allowed that class to go to the shelves for the first time.  Yeah, it was not pretty.  Many of them went home with middle grade fiction books.  I tried my best to collect as many of those books when I got back and have those students choose more age appropriate books, but many of them did not have those books with them.  So far I haven't gotten any emails or phone calls from parents, which does make me wonder if parents are even looking at what books come home. It also tells me that that class especially needs that just right book lesson, and ironcally, that was the class that missed it because I was out.  *sigh*

How do you teach shelf order to your younger grades?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Book Tasting...Take Two

You might remember from a post last school year that I did some non-fiction book tastings based on some posts from other Media Specialists.  I decided that even my firsties could use a little book tasting fun, so after our lesson a few weeks ago about finding "Just Right Books" I did a book tasting with them last week to help put into practice finding a "Just Right" book.

This is the form we used.

I divided the class into four groups and provided each group with a stack of about 12 books for them to browse.  I let them choose one book for us to "taste" together and we went through the form one question at a time.

I did go around to each table to listen to each student read one page.  This took some time, but as students were waiting, they could color on the back of the sheet or continue looking through the book they were tasting.

When we were finished, we talked about how we could tell based on our answers if the book would be "just right" or not. I invited students who found a "just right" book to check that book out.  If they didn't find a "just right" book during the tasting, they were free to look for one during our check out time.


You can get a copy of the PowerPoints I used to introduce this lesson by clicking on the pictures above.

Overall, I think it was a good lesson and the feedback I got from the first grade teachers was positive.  I will be doing a similar lesson with second grade this week, with just a few minor tweaks.

I teach second grade how to look for books on their reading level using the AR book levels inside the book as one of the ways to find a "good fit" book.  I've added this step to the form.  You can find both the first grade and second grade versions of this form in the same document by clicking here.

For those of you who have asked, I have put together the "book tasting" packet I mentioned on the earlier post.  Because this idea was not my original idea, I am putting a link to it here from my Google Drive.  It is a zip file that contains the PowerPoints mentioned in this post, as well as the PowerPoint for the first Book Tasting lesson, and the forms needed to complete the book tastings mentioned in this post as well as the first book tasting post.

Hope you enjoy!

UPDATE:  I was a guest on Jocelyn Sams' Elementary Librarian's podcast and I shared all about my book tasting experiences. You can listen to the podcast here.  I had so much fun and hope to be a guest on her podcast again soon.  =)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Read for the Record 2013

You can join in the fun by reading the book Otis by Loren Long.  

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thesaurus Skills

This week I am covering thesaurus skills with fourth and fifth grade.

I didn't have enough thesauri to use for each class, so I went online and found some at the Dollar Tree. They are very simple, but good enough for an introductory thesaurus lesson.  I bought 16 copies, enough for students to partner up.

For practice, I am having students work in groups of 4-5 to look up a word and find a specific synonym for that word.

They will be given 10 words to look up and 10 synonyms to match to the correct words.  You can get a copy of these searches here or by clicking on the picture above.

It's pretty simple and I designed it to be a quick activity because I wanted to have time to pass out the free books from First Book that I received.  You can read all about those books here.

The kids were so excited to receive their books.  I think I am their favorite Media Specialist, at least for now.  =)

Do you do anything special to teach thesaurus skills?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Just Right Books

It seems like I am always teaching about finding "Just Right" books to every grade and this week it's first grade's turn.

I begin by reading Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians by Jackie Mims Hopkins.

I then go over the Five Finger Test and we also watch a short video on Brain Pop Jr. about choosing a book.  If you have a subscription, you can watch the video by clicking here.  I start the video at 2:22.

Finally, I let the kiddos color on a worksheet I made to help them remember what we talked about.  You can get a copy of the worksheet here or by clicking on the picture above.  If you are having trouble downloading the file, please refer to the picture below.

These "Good Fit Book" bookmarks would be fun to pass out, too.  You can get them here or by clicking on the picture above.

How do you teach "Just Right" books?