Monday, November 18, 2013

Online Safety, Online Ads, and Rings of Responsibility

In 3rd grade, we have been learning about online safety (what information is ok to share and what is not), website advertisements, and what are the responsibilities of a good "digital citizen."  Mrs. Eley adapted some wonderful lessons from

Our Promethean ActiVotes have been in constant use!   Students have been using them to decide on such questions as:

Which "ring of responsibility" does the following statement affect most?
I create strong passwords.
A) self
B) friends and family
C) larger community online

Which piece of information would an identity thief probably NOT be interested in?
A) your home address
B) your favorite movie
C) your mother's maiden name
D) your birthdate

The ActiVotes have been wonderful to engage every student.  I find the physical act of pressing a button FORCES them to engage their brain, and I learn how many students are "getting" it because the results are shown in a bar graph immediately after each question.  (Numbers are not assigned to students in my room, so the feedback is totally anonymous.  No one knows who voted for what.)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Kindergarten Digital ABC Books

During library, Kindergarten students have been reading alphabet books such as Alphabet UnderConstruction, The Z Was Zapped, and If Rocks Could Sing: a Discovered Alphabet.  As their culminating project, they were asked to complete a photo “scavenger hunt” last week in library.  Students were given a card with an object that represents each letter of the alphabet.  (For example, “Bb Blue” or “Tt teacher.”)  They had to find that object in the library and take a digital photo of it using our school Canon PowerShot cameras. 

Today each student typed one sentence of text and we assembled our digital ABC books! 
      We hope you enjoy them! 

Digital ABC books by each K class (in a Flipsnack digital book format) can be found below!

This project fulfilled NJ Tech Standard 8.1.P.B.1 Use a digital camera to take a picture.

Thanks in advance for your support.  Feel free to contact me with any questions!
Mrs. Eley, Hillside Library Media Specialist

Thursday, November 7, 2013

13-year-old Shelby Grebenc our latest inspiring story

In grade level morning meetings, we continue to address the whole-school theme of effort, hard work, and perseverance.

We have shown this short video clip  to all students at our meetings and there is always applause at the end.  It details 13-year-old Shelby Grebenc's life, who at the age of 9 decided to start an egg farm (never mind that her parents weren't ever farmers) because her mother came down with multiple sclerosis and couldn't work.  She works over 2 1/2 hours every day, lifting heavy feed bags, feeding the hens, etc., and also attends school.

What an inspiring story!

Dr. Marc Aronson and strategies for teaching Common Core ELA standards

Librarians in the Marlton, Medford, and Mt. Laurel school districts were privileged to attend an inservice on Tuesday, November 5 with Rutgers University professor Dr. Marc Aronson (view his School Library Journal blog "Consider the Source" here).

Dr. Aronson is an author of several highly regarded children's nonfiction texts and discussed the fact that there is a shift in the focus of Language Arts instruction.  The Common Core standards are no longer about what "I feel" about a text (which is an overarching theme in the Readers/Writers' Workshop model).  Now, students must ANALYZE THE PROBLEM and present the options.   Shift from "I feel…." to "It says…."

Common Core ELA Standards: 3 shifts
1. Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction

2. Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational

3. Regular practice with complex text and its academic language

Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise with us!

Fourth Graders get "media smart!"

Our fourth graders have been learning about the five key questions of media literacy, and were put to work analyzing advertisements in kids' magazines.

We have noticed a variety of techniques advertisers use to capture our attention, and students are getting better at realizing what is going on "behind the scenes" - digital photo alteration, false or exaggerated claims about the effectiveness or health of a product, or catchy words designed to get you spend money.

Thank you Tara Lazar for an awesome Skype visit!

Our first and second grade students were treated to an awesome Skype visit with author Tara Lazar!  Tara answered her skype call with a crazy monster hat on her head - the bug eyes caused all the students to say, "WHOAAA!"

She then said that she hadn't had time to eat breakfast and asked one of our finalists to bring her an apple that she saw in the back of the library and hold it up to the webcam.  The apple magically "traveled" over the internet and she took a bite!  :)

After reading aloud her book The Monstore, she answered some wonderful questions from our students, including things like, "What can second grade writers do now to be better?"  (Her answer: PRACTICE.)   "How did you get the idea for the Monstore?" (Her answer: it started as a simple idea of smushing "Monster" and "Store" together, and then as she wrote the story, she "stacked" her ideas on top of each other.)

Thank you Tara, thank you so much for a delightful time!  Our students will remember this for a long time and we are so grateful.