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.
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!
Mrs. Arendt’s 3rd Grade Friday Library Class Book
The third graders have finished creating a book about the rainforest. They began researching in April (see Rainforest Animal Research post), but because we only have one class per week, it does take some time to finish! The students used an online tool called Bookemon. Working with their partner each pair created a two-page spread on the animal they researched. They also included some pictures of their animal To finish the book, we worked as a class to choose a title and cover art. I have two third grade classes, so we created one book for each class. The books can be seen here and here.
Cover of book for Tuesday’s class
Working together to create presentation
The second grade classes finished up their animal research and last week shared what they learned using Haiku Deck. Working with a partner (or two!), students chose an animal to research, then searched for information using PebbleGo and National Geographic Kids. Students were asked to share information about the animal’s body, habitat, lifespan, adaptations, life cycle, food, and endangered status. After they gathered all the information, they got started creating their presentation. Haiku Deck is an easy-to-use presentation tool that worked very well for this age group.
Adding color backgrounds and pictures to Haiku Deck.
They created a slide for each category of information. After the text was added, students then chose pictures to add. Pictures are already incorporated into the app and website making it quick and easy for students. Students needed to think about which picture would best relate to a slide, encouraging them to show some critical thinking. Students will show their classmates what they learned about their animals and the presentations they made during an upcoming library class. You can check out one of the second graders’ presentations here.
First graders create artwork for their book on sloths.
The first graders have finished researching all about sloths. They learned a lot of interesting facts: where they live, how many babies they have, what they eat, why they may look green, even their bathroom habits! They spent time listening to A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke, read about sloths in PebbleGo’s database, and watched some videos on sloths from National Geographic Kids. Research happens in many different formats! The final piece of the project was creating a book using Bookemon. Each student chose one fact to share about sloths and drew a picture about that fact. I scanned all the artwork from the students and uploaded them into the book. Together we created the title and chose a picture for the cover. This was a great project for everyone. Check out the books the students created here and here.
First graders create artwork for their book on sloths.
Our fourth grade students just finished learning how to create PowerPoints in the library. They were very excited to start this unit. Each student chose four favorite things to share in their presentation. Students started the PowerPoint by typing their text, then they were able to select a theme. I explained to the students that inserting the text first is just like having “dinner before dessert” meaning that they have to do the work before they get distracted by the fun things in PowerPoint. Students then learned how to add pictures and animations. Teaching students how to have text and pictures appear at different times in the slideshow was such fun; I heard many “awesomes” whispered while teaching animations. Many students enjoyed creating the PowerPoints so much that they told me they are using PowerPoint to write book reports in their classrooms!
Here is the PowerPoint created by one fourth grade student:
PowerPoint by a Fourth Grade Student