The fifth graders are learning how to blog! To introduce this unit we discussed the purpose of blogging, reviewed blogging etiquette, and digital citizenship expectations. Students viewed a variety of blogs with different purposes and found that most blogs carry a conversational tone and have an identifiable audience. Student then practiced writing a blog post on paper and commenting on others’ posts. After that, we were ready to create our own blog.
We will be using Kidblog; it allows the teacher to manage and view students’ blog posts and maintain student privacy. Students have chosen a background theme and a title for their blog, thought this was challenging for many students. The purpose of our blog is to reflect on our upcoming research project on careers. Students will be exploring one career of choice, researching the career itself, the skills needed for the career, and important contributions (achievements, accomplishments) in the field/career. The blog will be the students’ journal: collecting resources, reflecting on the research process (difficulties and successes), and reflecting on steps the student would need to take to work in their chosen field.
Some students have been hesitant about blogging, feeling unsure of what to say in the blog. Others are extremely excited about writing their thoughts. As we continue to work on blogging, I an confident that those hesitant students will become more comfortable with blogging. Reading their blog posts has been interesting, not only for the career aspirations they have, but also for how they choose to present their ideas. Some used numbered lists; others wrote one long paragraph. A few students engaged the readers by asking for their thoughts and comments on the post.
Perhaps I have become enamored with social media. Or, perhaps, more likely, I just love to talk about books. I have started a new blog called Unabridged Reader so I can share the great books that I read with everyone who wants to hear. Part of the reason for the new blog is writing reviews for NetGalley. NetGalley offers advance reading copies of books to librarians. In the past, I just shared my review on NetGalley, but a wider audience is preferred, I believe. NetGalley and the publishers like to hear and read what people think about their books. Another reason for the blog is that I joined the Kid Lit Frenzy Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. I pledged to read 80 nonfiction books this year and share them. I think a blog is a great way to do that. I have been a GoodReads member since 2008, and love GoodReads, but I needed a blog to inspire (or maybe just prod) me to think and write more about the books I read. So, please take a peek at my new blog, follow it, even, and maybe you will find a great next read for yourself. Happy Reading!
In the library, in addition to library skills and encouraging reading, I also teach some of the basic computer technology skills, such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. These foundational skills teach our students how to communicate their thoughts and ideas to others in a format that they can then transfer other classes and future careers. These skills will also help them if they choose to blog or use another presentation skill.
The fourth graders just finished creating Me Poems using Microsoft Word. Initially the poem was a creative way to review Microsoft Word skills such as formatting text, changing fonts and color. The lesson grew into learning how to add and format pictures as well. Students learned how to select pictures using copyright friendly websites, insert the picture, format the layout, and add some artistic features. The students loved creating something of their own design; adding pictures was their favorite part! Students learned that it can take time to find just the right picture and that a thumbnail image does not enlarge well! Below is one of the poems created by a student in library. Look for more technology posts soon as fourth grade begins PowerPoint and fifth grade starts blogging!
Our Mock Newbery club is getting closer to voting on which book should win. We have read our five books: The Night Gardener, Rain Reign, Beyond the Laughing Sky, El Deafo, and The Fourteenth Goldfish. We have begun discussing the merits of each book in Edmodo, talking about one book at a time for the next two weeks. We will be skyping with the other library group, Hill Elementary, on Thursday. The students are very excited about this opportunity to talk with the other students in real time instead of on Edmodo. They are working on a welcome banner for the other school, too. Our voting will take place during the last week of January, and the final piece is a celebration with the other school in February. We are excited to be hosting the festivities, seeing which book we chose, and which book ALA awarded the medal.
Working hard on our banner for Mock Newbery
As I added fifteen books that I read over December break to my “Mrs Arendt Has Read” display outside the library, I thought back to the first week of school and my decision to inspire students and teachers to read by sharing the books I have read. Check out the first blog post about inspiring readers here. I took a new picture to compare then and now.
Mrs Arendt has read… now
Mrs. Arendt Has Read… at the beginning of the school year