Fifth Graders Blog

Student blog challenge2015The fifth graders have begun a unit in the library on blogging.  This unit incorporates many skills including typing,  adding media, writing (for an authentic audience), editing and revising.  Students are learning digital citizenship and awareness of their own digital footprint while blogging as well.  As part of writing their posts they learn how to elicit responses from readers and how to comment well on others’ blogs.  Also student posts and all comments are moderated before publishing for public viewing to ensure student privacy.

I have the Student Blogging Challenge to thank for this wonderful unit!  i came across this blog while researching blogging for my fifth graders and thought it was the perfect opportunity.  The challenge lasts for 10 weeks and a new post with activities is published each week.  I modify the activities for my classes so we can complete at least one activity in our library class time, though students are encouraged to do more of the activities outside of library if they want to.  The first week students chose an avatar and wrote a post about who they are online versus offline as well as interests they have.  The next week, which we are still working on, is commenting.  Students are learning how to make good comments and the importance of reviewing their work before publishing.

Yesterday, my students had their first comments from Sue Wyatt (or Miss W as she is on the blog), the person who started this blogging challenge over 10 years ago.  She took the time to comment on each post of my students, providing valuable feedback and engaging the students in commenting. Having comments for the students to read will excite and motivate them to do more.  I am eager to let both classes know they have comments.  I was certainly excited to read the comments!  Please check out our student blogs at 5M Library Class and 5R Library Class.  Perhaps you might even want to leave a comment!

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The Mock Newbery Club Begins

newberry club copyOur second Mock Newbery Club began last week.  The Newbery Medal is “awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children by the American Library Association”.  Fifth graders were invited to join this group and agreed to read five books selected by myself and the two other librarians working with me, Cathy Mangan from Fred Hill Elementary in Brockport and Linda Paul at Terry Taylor Elementary in Spencerport.  The books we selected for students to read are:  Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Like a River:  A Civil War Novel by Kathy Canon Weichman, Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, and Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar.  There was a lot of discussion involved in choosing the books to read- there were so many great new titles to choose from.  We vary the genres and like to include a graphic novel to mix up the reading.

We will be talking about these books using Edmodo.  The students are very excited and are such avid readers!  Two of my students have already finished four of the five books!

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Mock Newbery Group 2015

Students take notes on each book so they will be able recall details from the book as they discuss them online.  The Newbery Club will continue until January 8, 2016.  While students are discussing the books as they read them (leaving out any spoilers!) students will discuss the specific criteria of each book according to the same Newbery criteria used by the ALA during the final week (January 4-8) and vote online by January 10.  Students from all three schools will gather mid-Janaury to celebrate our club and to find out which book our students chose to win the Mock Newbery award.  It is always fun to see if the book we chose also wins the ALA Newbery Award.

Stay tuned to find out the winner!

Ebook Lessons

This week students in fourth and fifth grade were invited to bring their own mobile device to school for a lesson in the library.  Bringing their own device was a big deal (this is the first year our school has a guest wi-fi), and students were excited! Whether students had a mobile device or not, the lesson remained the same.  Students learned how to access over two thousand ebooks available through our BOCES.   While some students in each of the classes brought a device, those that did not learned how to access the ebooks on computers.  Our BOCES has a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction titles at all reading levels.  Some books also narrate as the text is highlighted.

Ultimately, the goal of the lesson was learning how to access the ebooks and read them online.  There were a few bumps along the way.  By the time I had taught the lesson for the fourth time, I had worked out all the glitches.  The engagement level of the students was amazing.  They were excited to learn how to access the ebooks, device or not.  Those students that had trouble accessing ebooks on their device in school were eager to go home and try there.  Then, they came back to school the very next day to let me know they had done it!  They were able to open ebooks on their device!

I am looking forward to seeing how often the students access the online ebooks.  Third graders will be learning about ebooks very soon- just as soon as they become familiar with using our online catalog!

The Books Have Arrived!

The first and third graders wrote books for their research projects last spring. First graders researched hedgehogs, and third graders researched Australian animals.  After they wrote their books using Bookemon and viewed them online, I ordered one copy of each book for our library collection.  The books have arrived!  I am excited to share these books with the students who wrote them as well as the entire school.