Sunday, April 9, 2017

Even Steven and Odd Todd {Math Monday}

I just discovered Even Steven and Odd Todd by Kathryn Cristaldi to use during math workshop.  Even Steven and Odd Todd are cousins and complete opposites.  Even Steven is very organized and likes to have equal groups of objects.   Odd Todd enjoys odd things and groups of things that can't be shared equally.  My students really enjoyed figuring out how the character names connected to the actions each character did within the story.  The story begins with Even Steven making 12 pancakes for breakfast so he's have 6 for lunch.  His plan had potential until Odd Todd eats 3 pancakes and Even Steven gets mad.  Their interactions continue to have some frustrations and funny moments while leading the reader to think about odd and even numbers.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tips for Creating a Board in Discovery Education

I've had access for Discovery Education for years through my district and on and off I go through phases where I will find a video and share it with the entire class.  I've loved using it has a visual for our content learning or a way to front load some work we are doing together.  Earlier this year I was talking with my college roommate on the phone and she started rattling off all these things I could do using Discovery Education.  My head started spinning because I knew none of this.  As with new learning, I felt a bit overwhelmed and wanted to spend some - one on one time with her to see and learn more. 

I recently had this opportunity while traveling south for spring break and stopped in NC to visit her.  She is currently in a position helping teachers embed technology into their days and encouraging them to try new things.  She's a natural teacher.  I loved hearing her share how she guided kindergarteners through using a Discovery Education board for research.  You can read about Wanda in a Discovery Education Community Member highlight post.  She showed me the feature Board Builder and her example for front loading a new classroom read aloud titled, Stone Fox.  You can search it in Discovery Education, if you have an account and see her work.

                                         


Think of board builder as virtual bulletin board.  You can gather and post images, videos, files, and documents in one place for students to access, view, and work with.  We are starting my new favorite book - Book Uncle and Me and I thought my students could benefit from some background knowledge about the setting and the concept of a lending library.  As I created this board on Monday, Wanda was able to answer some of my help text messages.  I learned a few things on my own and became very determined to create something for my students to use.  I had to do some trial and error attempts and search within the internet for some help. I thought I would share some initial tips with anyone who wants to explore Discovery Education and the board builder feature.  Creating a board  and personalizing it is so easy and fun.  A bit of artistic expression for creators.  

In general under the Professional Learning tab, you can find how to video clips under the Lead section.  These were super helpful and easy to follow.  These are some things I learned during my first attempt at creating a board for students to use.

1.  You can find lots of images and videos within Discovery Education.  

2.  You can use an image or video or image from an outside sources as long as they are saved on your device. It got a bit tricky for me here, make sure you visit the original site to save the photo and not from a search page of images.

3. You can click the edit button once to get a menu of activities you can use to change and create a box of information you want to insert.  

4.  On my Macbook Air I used an app, ClipGrab to save videos from Youtube and place within my board.

5.  A text box is the perfect spot to place any type of direction, an action you want your students to do after interacting with the board.  I had my students post a comment within a Schoology discussion.  

I thought I would share just five tips so here's a plus one bonus tip -

You can set the settings for sharing your board.  I suggest you save it to the DE Community so others can use it as a mentor for creating their own.  Once you select the DE Community you can select the permission level.  You can let other members view your board and possibly save a copy and edit for their own use.  How fun is it to have help from other users to enhance your own work with students.

Look for Book Uncle and Me in Discovery Education to see my final project.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Must Have for Readers and Teachers of Reading!

I couldn't stop reading Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami!  I started it last night and came home to set a timer twice so I could balance reading and getting some things done.  Then I did a "chore" and my reward was finishing this book.  After you start this book, you'll have to decide if you are going to tune out everything around you or organize your time and have it help you get things done.

Yasmin has been reading a book every day for just over 400 days.  She gets a book every day from Book Uncle.  A retired teacher who has a loaning library on the street in India.  There are no fees or fines for borrowing his books.  He doesn't get upset if books don't get returned every so often.  His motto is - "Books.  Free.  Give one.  Take one.  Read-Read-Read."  

Unfortunately, Book Uncle receives a letter from the city stating he has to stop his lending library because he doesn't have a permit.  Yasmin rallies her school mates and community to help Book Uncle.  It involves empowering a community and becoming involved in a mayor election.  



Here are three lines I love from this story and hope you find, if you pick this book up.

"Right book for the right person for the right day.  As you know well, that is my motto."

"Sometimes you have to let the perfect book sit in your mind for a while before it begins to mean something."

"The book smell in the air turns me dizzy with joy."


This book was just published in 2016 and it appears Uma Krishnaswami has 20 books for readers from picture books to a couple of novels.  You can find out more about her at umakrishnaswami.org

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Tree - An Environmental Fable



I recently received The Tree - An Environmental Fable by Neal Layton as a review copy from Candlewick Press and thought this was a perfect book for young readers.  The illustrations convey this story easily with just enough details.  The text is simple and large to read.  The book begins showing different animals that use the tree as a home.  The reader is then introduced to new characters; humans with plans for the space where the tree is.  Their plan includes cutting the tree down but those plans are halted when they make a discovery that brings tears to the wives eyes.  They adjust their plans so all the characters in this book are able to enjoy and benefit from this tree.  A perfect reminder that humans can and should co-exist with nature.  


Thank you Candlewick Press and for promoting #readkindbekind

Thursday, March 2, 2017

a bus called heaven


I recently received a bus called heaven by Bob Graham as a review copy from Candlewick Press and thought the timing was just perfect.  An abandoned bus just appears one day in a city neighborhood.  The neighborhood gathers to look at this new strange addition to their street and small conversations begin.  Stella, a young girl begins to have a vision for the bus - a community space for all ages.  The bus transformation and how the community transforms gives it's readers hope.  Hope for a better tomorrow for communities near and far.  The bus is violating some ordinance in the city and gets towed away.  You'll have to pick up this little gem to see how Stella rescues the bus to keep the community together.

Thank you Candlewick Press and for promoting #readkindbekind

Monday, February 27, 2017

Snail and Worm - A Student Recommendation


I love when student's discover a book and tell me I have to read it.  Snail and Worm Three Stories About Two Friends by Tina Kugler is a delightful book about two friends.  There are three stories within this book that will give early readers a "chapter book" feel.  The first story is a sweet story about two friends playing tag.  The second story is about encouragement and doing something you think you might not be able to.  The third and final story is filled with simple humor but will delight primary students.   The combination of illustrations, small bits of text on a page, and the frequency of sight words will make this a great book for students.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Nonfiction Books for Independent Reading in Second Grade - #nf10for10

Dear Betsy,

You sent me a message a few weeks ago asking me about reading levels in second grade and thinking about the reading your own special boy is doing.   Learning to read is a journey and you've mentioned it's a struggle over the years.  This night we chatted you said he had brought home a nonfiction book and nonfiction is hard.  You made me stop and think.  Nonfiction can be hard but does it have to be?  I wondered how can we simplify it a bit for those early readers so they can have some independence.  

My wondering turned into collecting books I thought your special boy might be able to read.  You'll notice the nonfiction features are simple and not hectic busy.  The text is larger, sometimes with a pattern and definitely pages with white space.  I love white space!  You will notice many of these are books have a series/collection from the same publisher giving you way more than ten ideas, maybe 100.  Some of these books are old and dear to my book loving heart.  I picked books that might spark some interest in fun animals, animals you might see while camping, and a few that could connect to your gardening.  

These are all books I have on my shelves right now and I can send them over to you via school mail. Just let me know.

Your friend,
Mandy


BAT LOVES THE NIGHT by Nicole Davies

narrative format sharing bats nightly activity
tidbits of facts here and there
soft illustrations

CHAMELEON, CHAMELEON by Joy Cowley

I love Joy Cowley books!
photographs are quite fascinating
carefully chosen words for accessibility
 RED-EYED TREE FROG by Joy Cowley

Joy Cowley again!
more fascinating photographs
text a bit easier

HOW A SEED GROWS by Helen J Jordan

illustrations tell a story, maybe an early narrative
reader follows the journey of a few different seeds
might help readers enjoy nonfiction




RACCOONS by William John Ripple
lots of interesting facts
a sentence of two on a page
pure nonfiction for early readers





Seed to Sunflower by Camilla de al Bedovere
lots of nonfiction text
beautiful photographs
you'll want to grow sunflowers

Fabulous Frogs by Martin Jenkins
beautiful playful language
narrative format
subtle facts


Opossums by Mary R. Dunn
an animal I wouldn't dream to think about
filled with interesting facts
easily accessible for early readers
Busy Squirrels by Melvin and Gilda Berger
probably an easy read - confidence builder
up close photos
one sentence per page









My tenth book for second grade readers might require a treasure hunt - Where Do Birds Live? by Ron Hirschi.  It appears to be out of print.  Lovely photographs, one line of text, with more at the end of the book.  I hope you can find it at the library or you can borrow mine.





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