In preparation for our annual Rooster Games, I read fifth grade students, Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka, a 2018 RI Children's Book Awards nominee. We discussed how concrete poems are sometimes called "shape poetry" because their visual appearance matches the topic of the poem. Students created their own concrete poems on a topic of their choice. We only had fifteen minutes for the writing piece. I was amazed at the creativity of their poems especially given the short amount of time. Check out some of their poems below:
Fifth graders have been researching countries around the world using Culturegrams. In art class, they have painted landscape backgrounds and objects that reflect their countries. In library class, we will begin storyboarding and writing scripts for stop motion movies about the countries.
Fourth graders will begin a Fact or Fiction Podcast Project. Students will research a topic using AskRI.org resources. After gathering information, they will use their information to create and record a game show style podcast where the audience tries to guess which information is real or fake.
Third graders are beginning a new unit on biographies. Students will learn how to find biographies in our library and research a famous person using PebbleGo. They will use drawings they did in art class and their research to create a digital narrated talking head using the Chatterpix app.
Second graders just finished a literature unit on Hansel and Gretel where we compared and contrasted different versions. For the next few weeks, students will participate in a building challenge to design and construct a Hansel & Gretel style house using only 8 pieces of card stock, tape, crayons, markers, pipe cleaners, pom poms and glue.
First graders will be listening to stories with a focus on character traits. After, they will choose their favorite book character and create a trading card that we will exchange with classmates at the end of the unit.
Kindergarteners are beginning a fiction/nonfiction unit where we will read examples of each and discuss. Since our art show theme this year is music, our fiction/nonfiction books will relate to music. Some examples are:
Tito Puente, Mambo King
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
Update (1/3/18): Our fundraiser has ended but we raised $444! Thanks to all who donated and to our third graders for all of their hard work. Read more about our project below:
In library class, third graders have been learning about hurricanes for the past few months. We read several books about hurricanes, viewed informative videos and websites, and designed a storm surge model to prevent flooding in coastal areas. Over the course of our unit, we have learned that many people need help after this 2017 hurricane season. As a culminating activity, students designed and created posters as part of a fundraiser to raise money for the United Fund for Puerto Rico which is helping people rebuild after the hurricane. Students each received a color print copy of their poster. You can view the digital posters made using Canva below.
Students in grades 3-5 are participating in the Reading Without Walls Challenge. Created by author, illustrator, cartoonist and National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Gene Luen Yang, this challenge encourages students to expand their reading horizons by reading books outside of their comfort zone. To meet the Reading Without Walls Challenge, students must do one of the following:
Many Myron J. Francis students have already begun reading books to fulfill the challenge. We will showcase students who meet the challenge on a Reading Without Walls display outside of the library. Parents are encouraged to complete the challenge too and discuss it with their children.
View Gene Luen Yang's Reading Without Walls video below:
Third graders have been working on a stop motion biography project. In library, students researched famous people using the Pebble Go Biography database and wrote about their person. In art class, students painted backgrounds and drew their person and props. Back in library, they narrated their writing and created a stop motion video using the materials they made in art. We used the Stop Motion Studio app to create the videos on iPods or iPads mounted on tripods. Overall, students did a great job learning the app, recording the narration, and animating their pieces to create their stop motion biography. In addition to learning two new digital tools - one for researching and one for creating, students had to learn how to work together to create their movies. It was great to see students problem solving both technical and writing issues and figuring out roles that worked best for them i.e. operating equipment, directing, set and prop placement. Students also learned perseverance in the face of common video making obstacles like lighting changes, noisy rooms while recording, and technical glitches with the app. Overall, I think the project went very well and hope to do it again next year for a fifth grade research project. Special shout out to the Rhode Island Foundation Spark Grant that helped fund the Pebble Go database and equipment. Also, thanks to Media Smart Libraries for inspiring the stop motion idea and funding the iPods. And a huge thanks to our awesome art teacher, Mrs. Singleton, for collaborating with me on this project!
See below stop motion biography videos:
March is a busy time of year in our library. In many classes, we are working on material to display at our annual Art Show. Most of the Art Show projects involve work done with Mrs. Singleton, our art teacher, research done in library, and presenting the combined art and research using digital tools.
K's are wrapping up our collaborative unit on birds and ocean animals. Students read fiction and nonfiction texts, created the animals in art, and performed a song about the birds and ocean animals that will be shown at our annual Art Show in April.
Students in first grade are ending a unit on Favorite Book Characters. After several classes of reading and discussing book characters, students created a character trading card to trade with classmates. The conversations about the characters and persuasive arguments on why cards should be traded were amazing. Each student went home with their original trading card and five new character cards.
Students in second grade are watching their bug slideshows this week. Another collaboration with Mrs. Singleton to be shown at our Art Show, students did bug research in library class and painted bugs in art class. Using the Shadow Puppet EDU app, students created digital slideshows combining artwork and research. See slideshows below.
Students in third grade are working on stop motion biography movies - another art show feature. In art, students drew pictures of a famous person along with props associated with that person. They did research in library and are putting it all together in a stop motion movie using the Stop Motion Studio app.
Students in fourth grade are creating infographics about countries around the world. First, they researched a country in groups using Culturegrams. Now they are using that information to create a digitial infographic about their country using the digital design tool, Canva.
Students in fifth grade are in the process of writing Fact or Fiction Podcasts about a research topic. After researching an assigned topic, students write a game-show style podcast where the audience needs to guess which statements are facts and which statements are fiction. We will record the podcasts using the iRig Recorder app/microphone.
Gordon School/Francis Rooster Games
The Rooster Games is an event sponsored by Gordon School in collaboration with Myron J. Francis School that promotes children’s literature using the twenty books on the RI Children’s Book Award nominee list. Fifth grade students must independently read at least seven books from the lists and hand in book reports to their classroom teacher in order to attend.
Teams, consisting of Francis and Gordon students working together, move through a series of activities including word puzzles, character motivation, setting, and object association questions. The day culminates in a game-show style quiz involving all of the students. See below for highlights of the games.
On Monday, the American Library Association's (ALA) Youth Media Awards will be announced. I have done book award units with students in the past that have included the Caldecott Award, Coretta Scott King Book Awards, Schneider Family Book Award, Pura Belpré Award, and the Robert F. Sibert Informational Award all of which are ALA Youth Media Awards. Fifth graders recently finished a unit on the Coretta Scott King Book Awards which are presented annually by the American Library Association to honor African-American authors and illustrators who create outstanding books for children and young adults. We read five books that were past Coretta Scott King winners. Students used key details from the text to support criteria listed on the Coretta Scott King Book Award site. They also wrote about their favorite part of the books. And finally, they voted on which book they though should be the winner and explained why they chose that book. Each fifth grade class had a different winner and every book got at least one vote from students. Overall, students enjoyed the books - asking many questions and giving thoughtful responses. Our overall winner (book that got the most total votes) was Firebird by Misty Copeland; ill. by Christopher Myers. Here is one student's response as to why she chose this book:
"I chose this book because it tells people if you try hard, you can accomplish your dream. This book encourages the readers to follow their dreams. This book should be kept so kids can read it and be inspired."
See full results below:
Books we read:
Litlle Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russel-Brown; ill. by Frank Morrison
Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson
The Faithful Friend by Robert San Souci; ill. by Brian Pinkney
Firebird by Misty Copeland; ill. by Chistopher Myers
Brothers in Hope: the Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams; ill. by R. Gregory Christie
Overall Winner (book that got the most total votes)
Crocker 5th grade class winner
The Faithful Friend
Rogers 5th grade class winner
Tie between Brothers in Hope: the Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan & The Faithful Friend
Thacker 5th grade class winner
Before the holiday break, third graders tried their hand at creating haiku poems about what they would do over vacation. First, we read Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole by Bob Raczka which is a diary-style poetry book composed by Santa with a haiku for each day in the month of December. The premise is clever and a perfect segue into haiku writing for third graders. See below for examples of their work.
Will play piano
For my family at night
Under the lit sky
In the dark night sky
We celebrate the nice guy
Then open presents
We go to our church
We sing beautiful carols
Then we go sledding
We will sing awhile
I will play with my new toys
Love this year’s Christmas
Will decorate tree
Only snow on Christmas day
Parties all the time
We make snow angels
Sled down big hills through the night
Watch the white snow fall
Our third graders are learning about MyQuest, the online book club that is part of our Destiny Quest library catalog. With MyQuest, students can friend other students at our school so that they can share book recommendations, write book reviews, and see their friends' "want to read", "currently reading", and "have read" bookshelves. Students get very excited at the idea of friending classmates and sharing books. I love teaching MyQuest because it is the perfect vehicle for incorporating Common Sense Media digital citizenship lessons. Also, since I friend all of the students, I too receive useful book recommendations. Take a look at some recommendations below:
Acadia recommended: Bunnicula: a rabbit-tale of mystery
I think you people will like this book. We (blue group) read it in reading group and we all loved everything EXCEPT for the ending. Besides the ending, this book is totally awesome(especially if you like vampire bunnies, crazed cats, and dogs that write 9-chapter stories like Bunnicula and Bunnicula Strikes Again). Just thinking of you guys.
Marcus recommended: A Perfect Time for Pandas
This is a great book to read more than once! I've read this book and you can ask Addison I loved it. Every chapter they were closer to saving Penny!
Lily recommended: The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh
I read this to my sister and I thought and you could do the same.
Molly recommended: There’s Something in My Attic
I had a best friend in kindergarten named Marinn and she owns this book and once brought it in class for the teacher to read and I thought it was HILARIOUS but so SCARY! But hey, that was in kindergarten when I was 5!
Molly also recommended: Superfudge by Judy Blume
Judy Blume did it again. I love her and her books and her writing. Its facinating Whenever you get to relate to the lives of other kids.
Francis School Library is now in session! During the past five weeks we have talked about how we can be kind in library, reviewed where all of the books live, and learned how to find them. We have also been testing a new book look/activity system that will lend itself to hands-on maker-spacey activities later on. Here is what we will be doing this week:
Kindergarten students will have their second week of book look and checkout. We will read Mo Willems' book Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late and students will create their own Pigeon-style book cover.
First graders will listen to their third Jon Klassen book, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole (we read Klassen's "Hat" books last week) and will write and draw about something spectacular that they find.
Second graders will continue learning about fables. This week's fables include The Hen and the Apple and The Baboon's Umbrella. Students will draw their favorite part of the fable and be able to name the three main characteristics of a fable - animals, short, and teaches a lesson.
Third graders will learn about digital citizenship using Common Sense Media inspired lessons. This will prepare them for responsibly using MyQuest, our online book club, as well as other social media sites they use at home.
Our special needs third graders will take part in a nonfiction book tasting to encourage them to explore the awesome books in our nonfiction section.
Fourth graders will be reviewing how to log in to MyQuest, our online book club, and write book reviews for friends and the public to see.
Fifth graders are beginning a Coretta Scott King Award unit where we discuss the criteria of the award and read examples of past winners. This week's read alouds are Little Melba and Her Big Trombone and Trombone Shorty. We will vote for our own favorites too.
Our special needs 5th graders will watch and discuss their creation of the Three Billy Goats gruff. We read and retold the stories using the iPad app, Shadow Puppet EDU.
This week begins our Cut Paper Stop Motion after school program. Students will use cut paper and iPads to create stop motion designs and stories. We will watch My Little Magic Book for inspiration:
-Suzanne Jordan, K-5 library teacher