Minecraft for Education

Minecraft for Education

Coming June 9: free educator access to the new Minecraft for Education software!

As the mother of two boys and as a facilitator for the Code.org free coding curriculum in my library, I have seen firsthand the power of Minecraft to engage kids in problem solving, creative thinking, math and logic activities, and teamwork.  Now Minecraft is launching a new platform specifically for use in the classroom, complete with user tutorials and mentors to get you started, and lesson plans for K-12 students.  What a great way to integrate technology that is both familiar (from the home version so many kids use) and challenging (moving from just building “cool” worlds to exploring issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, state history, area and perimeter, Rube Goldberg machines, and much more).

Watch this video for more info, then sign up for your own Minecraft educator account!

Are you aready using Minecraft in your classroom?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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SCASL 2015!

SCASL 2015

Hooray!  Tomorrow is the first day of the annual S.C. Association of School Librarians (SCASL) Conference!

I’m looking forward to:

If you’ll be at the conference, leave a comment here or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune and let me know!

 

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Holiday Book Countdown – 12 Bugs of Christmas

Counting down to Christmas with a new holiday book each day!

12 bugs of christmas The 12 Bugs of Christmas by David A. Carter

Everyone knows the ubiquitous Christmas carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, but realistically speaking those gifts have very little relevance to a kid’s life.  Bugs are much more fun to read – and sing – about, and David Carter imagines 12 new species of insect and then engineers them into a 3-D counting extravaganza in this Christmas pop-up book.

12 bugs of christmas page

Nine Dainty Bugs a-Dancing from THE 12 BUGS OF CHRISTMAS

 

My favorite page?  “Five glowing bugs” has a nice candlelight effect, and “Twelve angel bugs a-rising” is an impressive finale, but my heart belongs to the “Eight popcorn bugs a-popping” as they burst right out of their pot!

Other seasonal bug books by David Carter include Jingle Bugs and Snow Bugs.

If you’d like to try your hand at creating your own pop-ups, Carter offers a page of links to get you started.

Feeling really ambitious?  Try crafting one of Carter’s Christmas tree designs along with Martha Stewart!  Click the images to view the videos.

Pop-up Tree Video Part 1

Pop-up Tree Video Part 1

Pop-up Tree Video Part 2

Pop-up Tree Video Part 2

 

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WWW – Jumpstart’s Read for the Record

By request I am bringing back the WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) this year!  This means that each Wednesday I will send out a school-wide email with a recommended website that you might find useful in your classroom.

readfortherecordThis week’s WWW is Jumpstart’s Read for the Record

This site has all the details for the annual Read for the Record event, which “mobilizes millions of children and adults to celebrate literacy by participating in the world’s largest shared reading experience.”  Last year 2,462,860 adults and children participated!

bunny-cakesThis year’s book is BUNNY CAKES (a Max and Ruby book) by Rosemary Wells

Date to Share It with Your Class:  Tues, Oct 21

And here are some additional links to make it easy for you to participate!

we give books Share the book on your Interactive Whiteboard!  We Give Books offers free online books, including all the previous Read for the Record books.  (Remember Otis last year, and Ladybug Girl the year before that?)  Create an account (if you don’t already have one), log in, and search for Bunny Cakes.

bunny cakes reading guideBunny Cakes Reading Guide – provided by Jumpstart to help you get the most out of your reading experience

Rosemary WellsBiographical Information (including a brief video) for Rosemary Wells (the author/illustrator)

Win a copy of BUNNY CAKES for your classroom library!  I will be giving away a paperback copy of Bunny Cakes to one lucky blog reader!  When you register your class online for Read for the Record, you will receive a welcome email from Jumpstart.  Leave a comment before 2:00 EST on Wed, Oct 15, letting me know you’ve registered your class and I’ll enter your name in the drawing.  (I’ll announce the winner here at 2:30 on Oct 15 and ask for your contact information then.)  Good Luck!

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WWW- The Global Read Aloud

By request I am bringing back the WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) this year!  This means that each Wednesday I will send out a school-wide email with a recommended website that you might find useful in your classroom.

 gra_logoThis week’s WWW is The Global Read Aloud

Why a Global Read Aloud?

From the GRA site: “Global collaboration is necessary to show students that they are part of something bigger than them. That the world needs to be protected and that we need to care for all people. You can show them pictures of kids in other countries but why not have them speak to each other? Then the caring can begin.”

Our ADE Vision Statement reads as follows: “At Alice Drive Elementary, all students will receive the respect, encouragement and opportunities they need to build the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to be successful, contributing members of a global society.”  (emphasis mine)  This is a truly meaningful way to give our students a global voice!

The Global Read Aloud connects students to other kids all over the world through a shared reading experience.  Last year more than 144,000 students in 30 countries on 6 different continents participated, including two of our ADE teachers!

The book choices for this year are:

peter reynoldsFor younger students, an author study of Peter H. Reynolds, author of the books The Dot and Ish – both available on Tumblebooks – as well as many other books.

For older students, a choice of 3 novels for the teacher to read aloud to the class(Follow the links to learn more about each one.)


One For the Murphys by Lyndy Mullaly Hunt


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo


The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

The Global Read Aloud site provides resources to get you started when you sign up, and there are discussion guides available for the books.  I have read all three novels and will be happy to help you choose the best fit for your class.  I will also purchase a copy of the book for you, and after the read-aloud you can add it to your classroom library.  (For the author study, I will purchase one Peter Reynolds book for each classroom, and you can trade them with one another during the author study.)  I will also assist you with making connections to other classrooms.  I’ll be happy to meet with grade levels or individual teachers to discuss it further.

p.s. A link to this week’s WWW is posted at http://www.netvibes.com/weeklyweb, along with all of the previous WWW websites.

To my online readers: Are you participating in the Global Reading Challenge this year?  Are you looking for elementary classes to connect with?  Please leave a comment and let me know which book you are reading!

 

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Professional Resources for Using Comics and Graphic Novels

On Monday I led a workshop for teachers on teaching with comics that included tips and project ideas, lesson plans, printables, free online comics, and free comic creation tools.  In Wednesday’s blog post I shared the online resources I’ve compiled for using comics in the classroom, but I didn’t share any print books.  Here are some professional resources to consider if you want to learn more about using comics in the classroom:

teaching early reader comicsTeaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels
by Katie Monnin
For teachers who want to use comics with elementary learners, this resource provides standards, lesson ideas, and reproducibles for students in Kindergarten up through 6th grade.  Each section includes sample lessons and a bibliography of comics and graphic novels to use with students.  Here’s an interview with the author from the Cynsations blog in which she talks about media literacy, teaching with graphic novels, and the companion book to this one for older students titled Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom.

using graphic novels in the classroomUsing Graphic Novels in the Classroom Grd 4-8
by Melissa Hart
This book can be used with upper elementary and middle school students to help them analyze the graphic novel format and use that understanding to write and draw their own comics.  Standards-based lessons are supplemented with graphic organizers and reproducibles.

using graphic textsUsing Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning: A Guide for Middle-Level Educators
by Meryl Jaffe
This is a resource to use with upper elementary and middle-grade students with a focus on using graphic novels as texts to convey content information.  The book includes separate chapters for Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies that include standards-based lesson ideas and bibliographies of recommended titles.  Here are some online articles written by the author.

comic strip mathComic-Strip Math: Problem Solving: 80 Reproducible Cartoons With Dozens and Dozens of Story Problems That Motivate Students and Build Essential Math Skills
by Dan Greenberg
Teachers of grades 3-6 who want to add a spark to their math lessons will want to consider this book, which introduces word problems with a silly comic strip that puts the math into context for the students.  Don’t limit yourself to the reproducible pages here; use this as a springboard for your students to create their own comics and story problems!

using comic artUsing Comic Art to Improve Speaking, Reading and Writing
by Steve Bowkett
This book can be used in all classrooms to help students understand the writing and speaking process through what they know about comics and graphic novels, and to help them understand the concept of making pictures in their minds as they read text.  It explains how comics offer the perfect condensed version of a story to illustrate writing conventions such as a strong opening and closing, a problem and a solution, creating suspense with pacing, etc.  It also includes a section on non-fiction writing and a bibliography.

teaching visual literacyTeaching Visual Literacy: Using Comic Books, Graphic Novels, Anime, Cartoons, and More to Develop Comprehension and Thinking Skills
by Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher
The focus of this book is on visual and media literacy, and explains how graphic novels and cartoons can spark thought-provoking discussions and lessons.  It includes a chapter on political cartoons – which can be used in social studies classes- as well as chapters on picture books and films.  These are not lesson plans, but rather essays and articles presenting background information, research findings, and advice for including visual literacy in the curriculum.  The authors share additional resources at their website, Literacy for Life.

Do you have a resource to recommend?  Please share it in the comments!

 

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WWW – Comics in the Classroom with Symbaloo

By request I am bringing back the WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) this year! This means that each Wednesday I will send out a school-wide email with a recommended website that you might find useful in your classroom.

symbaloo comics webmix

This week’s WWW is Comics in the Classroom
Hosted by Symbaloo

This week you are getting a two-fer!

Symbaloo is an ancient Greek verb meaning ‘gathering’ or ‘assembling’ and perfectly reflects the mission of the company: to allow users to gather various websites into one central location. It’s simple to create a “webmix” (their term for a grid of links) by simply copying and pasting the desired URL into Symbaloo.

You can create as many separate webmixes as you want, and you can set each one to either be Public or Private. Some teachers use it to organize their own resources; others use it to share sites with students.

Basic accounts are free, but a paid premium version is available. Symbaloo also offers an Education version. From the site: “SymbalooEDU accounts come with preset educational webmixes pre-installed that are continuously updated with the latest and greatest educational sites recommended by our Symbaloo Certified educators.”

As you can see from the screenshot at the top of this email, I used Symbaloo to gather all my comic resources onto one page. Even if you missed the Comics in the Classroom workshop on Monday, I hope you will take time to explore these links. There are ideas here for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade.  You’ll find:

  • articles, tips, and lesson plans for teaching with comics (green squares)
  • free printables (purple squares)
  • blogs devoted to selecting comics and graphic novels for kids (white square)
  • free online general comic creation tools (blue squares)
  • free online topic-specific comic creation tools (orange squares)
  • free online comics (pink squares)
  • anti-bullying unit for students (yellow squares)

The two Promethean flipcharts I used in the workshop are Teaching With Comics and Understanding How Comics Tell a Story.  If you have ActivInspire installed on your computer, you can download these flipcharts for your own use.

 

p.s. A link to this week’s WWW is posted at Netvibes, along with all of the previous WWW websites.
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WWW – Learn 360

By request I am bringing back the WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) this year!  This means that each Wednesday I will send out a school-wide email with a recommended website that you might find useful in your classroom.

learn-360 logo

This week’s WWW is Learn 360

Everyone is feeling the loss of United Streaming this year, so I’m happy to announce that our replacement streaming video service, Learn 360, is up and running!

http://www.learn360.com/index.aspx

The screenshots below will walk you through setting up your account:

Click on the tab for NEW USERS and enter your passcode (if you don’t know it, see your school librarian or technology coach)

 Learn 360 New Users

 

Complete your profile to REGISTER

Learn 360 Register

 

There’s a Help Center (circled in green below) to get you started with tutorials and how-to tips, and it even features a live chat option if you need additional assistance.

There’s also a Lesson Plan area (circled in pink below) that takes you to a page of topic links.  (There’s not much on the Lesson Plan page right now; I hope that will change soon.)

And you can sign up for the Learn 360 newsletter (circled in red below) to get monthly updates on new content and features.

Learn 360 Help

 

Have fun exploring the resources available here!

You can also follow @Learn360 on Twitter.

p.s. A link to this week’s WWW is posted at Netvibes, along with all of the previous WWW websites.

 

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First Day with First Grade

I saw the first 1st grade class of the year on Friday, and we had a great time together! I like to mix it up with them because if we spend too long sitting still in one spot they either get the fidgety-wigglies or they fall asleep!

mr. wiggles bookWe begin by sitting on the story rug while I read Mr. Wiggle’s Book by Paula Craig, and we discuss all the things that make Mr. Wiggle sad when people don’t take care of books. Unfortunately the book is out of print now, and the prices on Amazon (at the time of this posting) are ridiculous! If you have a copy of the book, it’s a great introduction to book care for younger students, and it leads right into a fun song.

Wwhaddaya think of thate talk about what we see on the cover of the book — Mr. Wiggle wearing his reading glasses and “holding” a book — and then I introduce them to These Are My Glasses from the CD Whaddaya Think of That by Laurie Berkner. We then sing the chorus together a few times, using simple motions to act it out, and the kids love it! (By the way, when you order the CD from Amazon, you get the mp3 version free with your purchase.)

2-Mr. Wiggle0003

Mr. Wiggle is sad when you throw your library book.

Then we move to the library tables and review book care with a Mr. Wiggle powerpoint on the Promethean board. Finally, I hand out drawing paper and crayons and ask students to draw a picture of Mr. Wiggle, and a picture of something you should or should not do when borrowing a library book.  We talk about the “No” symbol (at the end of the book, and on slide 8 of the powerpoint) and they feel extremely sophisticated when they use it on their Do Not drawings! 1-Mr. Wiggle0002

If we have time, I allow volunteers to share their pictures with the class. We then practice the song one more time so they can sing it for their teacher when she picks them up.

I love to hear how indignant the kids sound when they tell me about things that are bad for books. Most of them take book care very seriously, which is just the way I like it!

 

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