Book Spine Poetry with Tellagami (Day 4)

IMG_2914Today was my final day working with 2nd graders on Tellagami.  Mrs. Yawn’s class went through the same process as the other classes.  I’m really glad that I decided to do this in groups.  My original plan was to do individual book spine poems, but I think it would have been very hard to manage on the technology side of things.  Getting 7 poems created and recorded in one class period was an ideal number.

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Here’s a look at Mrs. Yawn’s poems.

 

Don’t forget to view the poems from:

Mrs. Brink’s Class

Mrs. Wright’s Class

Mrs. Ramseyer’s Class

Using Layar Augmented Reality App for a Digital Wax Museum

IMG_2902Our 4th grade team does a huge wax museum project each year for their study of the Colonial Period.  Kids get assigned a person from colonial times and spend several days researching their person and taking notes.  The notes get condensed into a short script that they memorize.  Then, they dress up as the character, stand in the halls of Barrow, and families and classes walk through and listen to the “wax figures” come to life and talk.

It’s a great project, but I’ve always wondered about bringing in some digital components for many reasons.  One reason is the fact that many families don’t get to come and listen to their child perform something that he or she has spent a lot of time working on.  Another reason is that many students are overwhelmed by the volumes of people walking up and waiting to hear a monologue.  Traditionally, boys have chosen males from the colonial period and girls have chosen females, but I’m sure that there are 4th graders who would love to research the other gender and not necessarily dress up as that character.

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We have a big project in the works to the end the year in 4th grade.  We’ve extended the wax museum to include the entire year’s social studies curriculum and revisit many of the famous people from history in the 4th grade standards.  We’ve also decided to give the students many choices about what they will create as their final product.  The art teacher is also working with us on this project and having kids research images of their chosen person and create new images or collages with the found images.  Whatever students decide to create, it will become digital through a video uploaded to youtube or a link to the project that they create online.

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Before I had even tried it, I suggested that the wax museum be a display of all of the pictures that students created or compiled and that we could use the augmented reality app Layar to link those images to the digital wax museum projects.  The teachers were thrilled and excited, but I was a little nervous trying something I have never done before.  A fantastic opportunity came up for me to try this same project on a much smaller scale with 12 third grade students in Ms. Spurgeon’s ELT class before doing the project with 70 4th graders.

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The third graders chose an African American to research, wrote a script, and filmed themselves or created a video using Tellagami or Chatterpix.  We uploaded those videos to Youtube.  Students searched online for images of their person.  We uploaded those to Layar and then linked the videos to each picture.  I published our “campaign” in Layar Creator.

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Layar is loaded onto all of our iPads.  Mrs. Spurgeon took the images we used in Layar and displayed them in the rotunda, library, and third grade hall.  Students and families can check out an iPad in the library to go and scan the images.  When they scan, the student videos pop up right on top of the picture on the wall and students and families can listen to the video about the person.  Here are a few of the videos that pop up through augmented reality:

I think it’s going to be a messy process to do this with the whole fourth grade with only 5 weeks of school left, but it will be fun and we will learn so much about continuing to upgrade this fantastic project into something that reaches a wider audience.

 

 

Book Spine Poetry with Tellagami (Day 3)

IMG_2896Today Mrs. Ramseyer’s class came to work on book spine poetry.  The past 2 days, I’ve had a graduate assistant and sometimes a special education teacher or other support teacher along with the teacher and I.  However, today it was just me and Mrs. Ramseyer.  It still worked great, but it was definitely a little more on our plates to manage with 6 groups roaming the library and working in about 5 different locations in the library.  We still had fun, and in the end, the kids still wrote some fantastic poetry.

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Book Spine Poetry with Tellagami (Day 2)

IMG_2889After yesterday’s fun time with Tellagami and book spine poetry, I was really hoping that today would be just as great!  We’ve had some troubles with updating our iPads, so I almost thought that today might be a day where we had to change plans.  However, it worked out for us to have 6 iPads to use during Mrs. Wright’s 2nd grade class.

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Once again, students worked in small groups of 3 to put together their poems.  Once again, I was amazed.  There was absolutely no rush to get these poems done.  Students were critically thinking about each book that went into their stack.

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I’m so glad that I added the piece at the end of the lesson for students to tell their story of how they made their poem.  I initially did this just to fill the time while I switched iPads for displaying on the screen.  However, each story revealed the thought process that students went through to craft their poem and revealed new strategies that students might try next time.

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Here’s a look at Mrs. Wright’s class book spine poem gallery:

Book Spine Poetry with Tellagami (Day 1)

IMG_2872Poetry month is one of my favorite times of year because I’m always inspired by what kids come up in their writing.  I love that with poetry you can try so many different kinds of writing in a short amount of time.

Each year, we usually have several classes explore book spine poetry.  If you’ve never heard of it, book spine poetry is a type of found poetry where you use the spines of books as the lines in your poem.  In the past, we’ve used digital cameras to take pictures of our stacks of books and Photo Story to put those pictures together and record our voices.

This year, I really wanted to try something new.  I decided to try Tellagami since you can take a picture as your background image, record your voice for up to 30 seconds, and create an avatar to be the narrator of your poem.  I may try some other tools, too, but this one seemed like the best to start with.

Today, Mrs. Brink’s 2nd grade class was my first book spine poetry class of the year.  Right before they came, I walked through the process of making a book spine poem myself and recording a Tellagami.  Here’s how mine turned out.

We started our quick mini-lesson on the carpet by talking about what a found poem is.  Then, we used several Google and twitter images of book spine poem examples.  Some of my favorites are from my friend, Jennifer Reed, librarian in MA.  I love this one.

We spent a little time noticing things about all of the poems.  For example, we noticed how some of them stuck to a particular theme or some started with a main line at the top and then other lines seemed to support the first line.

Then, I told the students the story of how I made my own poem.  I started with Joyce Sidman’s What the Heart Knows.  Then, I walked around and looked at books that were sitting on the tops of the shelves to see if any of them had a title that showed what my heart knows.  I was amazed at how many of them did!  It only took me about 5 minutes to find my stack of books and another 2 minutes or so to make my Tellagami.

The students were ready and eager to get started.  I really try not to give them too many rules, but we did go over a few things to think about:

1.  Spend some time walking and looking without taking books off of the shelves.

2.  Find a book title that speaks to you that might make a good starting place and then start thinking aloud about your poem with your group.

3.  Try your best to use each book you pull from the shelves.  We spent just a few seconds thinking about what would happen if 22 students starting pulling every book that they saw from the shelves.

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I designated different work areas of the library.  Single tables were setup in the middle of the library for students to bring books to and sort them into their poem.

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Another section of tables had iPads ready for creating Tellagami projects and taking pictures.  I did not spend time teaching students every step of how to use Tellagami because I knew they could figure this out.  However, I did have Carol Buller-McGee, a graduate assistant, with me today, and she stayed at the iPad tables to assist students.

My office, equipment room, makerspace room, and storage room were available for students to go to and record their projects.

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Originally I was going to have students make individual poems, but I made a last minute change to small groups.  The teacher had the whole class stand in a circle and find their own groups of 3.  She assisted students who needed help forming a group.  They went right to work.  It looked something like this.

The teacher and I walked around and talked with students about what they were choosing.  Many of them found one book to start with and started adding books from there.  For example, one group found Please Bury Me in the Library.  Then, they started looking for books that might designate where in the library they might be buried.  I loved how their poem turned out.

Other groups went with a theme.  For example, one group found a book called Dreaming Up, so they started looking for books that had something to do with the sky.  They even went to Destiny and searched for sky books to see if there were any interesting titles.

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I must say that this was the first time that I’ve done book spine poetry where I really felt like kids were thinking about the books going into their stacks.  In the past, it has felt like students just throw a bunch of books in a stack and say they’re done.  While this is still a poem, in my opinion, what I saw today was much more thoughtful and purposeful.

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After students went through the whole process, some of them started again and made a second poem.

We finished by putting our poems up on the projector screen.  I played a poem and we celebrated with snaps.  While I prepped the next iPad, the students talked through the steps that they went through to form their poem.  I really loved this step because it showed me that students really were thinking carefully about each line that went into their poems.

 

I have 3 more classes coming this week, so we’ll see how this lesson evolves across the week.  I think I’m going to stick to small groups rather than individuals, but we’ll see.

Take a moment to enjoy their book spine gallery.

 

2014 Battle of the Books 3rd & 4th Grade

IMG_2860Today was our 3rd and 4th grade Battle of the Books.  Students in these grades read the same 10 books.  We build our battle of the books program in stages from 3rd through 5th grade.  Each year, we add a few layers to the competition.

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Natalie Hicks, spectrum teacher, leads our 3rd grade program.  In 3rd grade, students focus on reading the books for enjoyment and working together on a team.  We still hold a competition for them, but it is very low key.  All teams are in the final battle.  Each team gets 10 questions during the competition, but if they miss a question, the question does not get passed on to a new team.  The team with the most points at the end of this small competition is named the grade level winner.

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Heather Carlson, spectrum teacher, leads our 4th grade program.  In 4th grade, all teams compete with one another in the final battle.  However, if a team misses a question, the next team has a chance to answer the same question for a lower point value.  Teams can also challenge a question if they feel that their answer was actually correct.

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In 5th grade, we do the full battle of the books.  We have 2 rounds of competition with all of the teams.  The points from those 2 rounds are added together to decide who battles in the final battle.  The final battle has 20 questions and teams can steal questions from the other team as well as challenge questions.  The winning team from 5th grade moves on to the district competition.  There is no district competition for 3rd and 4th grade.

Many thanks to all of the classroom teachers, families, and students who make this annual program a success.  You can listen to today’s competition at the following 2 links:

 

Watch the 3rd grade battle

 

Watch the 4th grade battle

Unpacking Our Student Book Budget Order from Gumdrop

IMG_2827Today, the student book budget group came to the library to unpack our first order.  Most of our books that we ordered will come from Capstone, but there were a few books that they found from Gumdrop.  Gret Hechenbleikner is our Gumdrop rep who brought in several book samples for students to look at.  One of our goals for purchasing books was World Records.  We have several Guinness World Record books, but Gumdrop had some Ripley’s books that were much smaller in size that the students loved.  They also found some haunted history books that I’m sure will be extremely popular.  We are trying to increase the number of books we have about making things, so they found a series of books about making graphic novels as well as making crafts out of various materials.

To save a bit of money, we did not purchase shelf ready books.  We did order the barcodes and protectors, though.  Students came in during their recess and worked through several steps.

Step 1 was to unpack the box, check off the packing slip, and check the books for damage.

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Step 2 was to put the labels and label protectors on each book.

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Step 3 was stamping each book with our library stamp.

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Step 4 was to download the MARC records into Destiny.

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Step 5 was to think of how to advertise the books to the school.  Students decided on 2 things.  They wanted an Animoto of all of the books and the unpacking process on our morning news show for Monday.  They also wanted to create a display at the front of the library.  One group of students worked on taking pictures.  Another group worked on making the Animoto.  A final group worked on creating the display.

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It was fun to watch them celebrate when their Animoto was made.

The books haven’t even been officially advertised to the school yet, and already several of the books have been checked out.  I won’t be surprised on Monday when there is a stampede to the library to check out what is left.

These students will meet again next Friday, when they will unpack a large order from Capstone and repeat the same process.