Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bookfair ... Good for their Brains, Not as Much Ours

(One day last week ... Magnatiles and a Marbelous set come in in time for ONE #makermorning before bookfair. Big hit! Fifth graders who think they are too cool having fun.)

1) Only one volunteer signed up to help all week. Others have shown up unannounced (and we're super grateful! Just didn't know you were coming beforehand!), Super dead fair so ... what to have them do while they are here? When the shelves are covered by bookfair carts and stacked chairs?
2) Meetings on other campuses and dismissal (daycare from the library) and bookfair = trying to be in three places at once.
 3) Quote from Kinder actually skipping down the hall with book in hand "This is absolutely good for my life."
 4) Meetings on two other days that TOTALLY could have been emails.
 5) Way more district paperwork than Scholastic paperwork. Why?
 6) How do you handle when one student wins a random drawing (from those who answered math challenge questions correctly) and--with good intentions--a teacher asks if we can give it to a different student since said student had already purchased something from the fair? :/
 7) Ivan in paperback! I love Ivan. Still wish I had pics of going to visit him. Or, maybe not. #badlateeightiesearlyninetieshair
 8) Lockwood & Co. The Screaming Staircase only $3! And Cosmic only $1!
 9) Losing my own credit card after purchases for nieces and nephews.
 10) Losing major front office financial paperwork. I used to be so organized. I cannot find a system that I can keep up with. Too many distractions! Less than before--thank you partial walls--but still a lot. I finally found it in "J" of the filing cabinet. ??? Distractions. Both outside of my brain and in. What works for you?
11) CrashCourse Kids and (soon) SciShow Kids debut! They've got a little ways to go to equal their more grown up counterparts but I'm hopeful!
12) BANGING MY HEAD on a sharp edge of a fair cart. All for combing the dumb pop star books. Many witnesses to said event. No untoward language got out (I don't go beyond "darn it" and "what the heck" anyway), luckily, but GOODNESS IT HURT. Still have a goose egg.
13) Genius district teased us all with a 5 AM "The roads have been deemed passable. Campuses will open as usual." 5 AM. Both staff and student homes. Guess what probably won't be happening again. ;) (Cause it was more than us complaining, that's for sure.)
14) Voters on the Seuss door ... it looks like they were kind of unsportsmanlike. I didn't lock it down and require a Google login because I wanted lots of families and friends to participate. But when MULTIPLE votes come in within seconds of each other for the same door ... multiple times ... it takes some fun out of it. Guess I will have to lock it down next time and not let classroom communities participate. Or just not have it. :(
15) Mega hits compared to usual on my first library S'more newsletter. I should have used that instead of other routes a long time ago. I've had a S'more account since before they were a paid service. But then it became a "thing" and I had to be contrary and refuse. For a couple months.
16) Students begged me to try spinning the BeanBoozled wheel. That was GROSS, my friends. Seriously. Can't get the taste out. They thought it was hilarious. That said if you go by Target they had a full sized Seussisms for only $5.
17) Didn't do anything besides the doors for Seuss. The doors and wear my Seuss converse.
18) Then there was this. I should have got the full size Seussisms. I should have. Cause the bitty gift book version is just so bitty. And it's too awesome!
A photo posted by Angie Oliverson (@msoreadsbooks) on

Spring break begins in somewhere around 21 hours.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Finally Friday Feb. 27

This morning too cool for school fifth graders had FUN building with Magnatiles and a marble run. FUN, I tell you. Is that still allowed in school? We finished setting up bookfair this afternoon. #partfunpartUGH

Then went to Alamo with a Living Social deal for McFarland. That was a good flick. Just downloaded the Juanes song. And after a couple weeks where all but one or two staff on campus were just ... not happy ... it was a needed "feel good" flick.

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Not sure if we have these pieces. Taking suggestions as how to encourage students to keep pieces ... sorted. Is that too OCD of me? They WERE all sorted. They are a complete jumbled mess now. They still build things but they waste a lot of time looking for pieces. How can I get them to "connect the dots"?

Not doing much for Dr. Seuss with bookfair. I offered the door decorating but only a couple classes have done it. I guess a couple is good. Like 10 or 12 did last year, though. See the "only one or two happy" comment.

Just those tonight. Have a great weekend. We're freezing here. Not like anyone anywhere really cold. But we're not used to it! Two more degrees and we'd actually get snow! Hello ... "spring" break is in ONE WEEK!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

TeleStory Weather

Was going to post this tomorrow but hey. Today is Techy Tuesday, right. Apologies for the double posts when I could have just done one!

With a different class we did a different activity. Both had pros and cons. THIS class used the Weather Channel app to look up weather conditions in different cities (assigned to them so we had a variety and everyone didn't pick the same places).

Here's the script (along with app directions ... although the kids never looked at them). I don't necessarily LOVE it ... like the last part dividing up the temperatures for them to fill in clothing choices? That confused them. If you're reading this right away it's still that script, you'll have to fix it. If you come back to read this later maybe I'll have an updated script with the changes I would have made. They practiced and then recorded this! For the amount of time they had? The did most awesomely!

Now this little guy didn't use the weather template like maybe he was supposed to but ... this FIT HIM SO WELL. :)



Yak It Weather

Last week we did a simple little activity with a second grade class. They've been studying the water cycle and weather. First we read Cloudette.

Then we got into groups of three and wrote three sentences. One that defined "evaporation" using the sun, one that defined "condensation" using a cloud, and one that defined "precipitation" using a raindrop. (I used Chirp to get the three pics on each device beforehand. If we'd had more time I would have had THEM draw the pics but we didn't so we just used clip art.)

They practiced and then recorded using YakIt Kids. We lost a couple due to improper saving but still. For the first time they'd used the app ... and only getting like 10 minutes of prep time after the story? These are fun. With a little more time they could do even better!


In this second one I'm not sure what happened with the second (or third scene for that matter) but the first one was a good definition so I had to include it anyway.

This was my example I showed them. Obviously didn't look up the proper definitions beforehand. 


So I got all excited about a LEGO StoryStarter grant application and then my campus chose other topics. It was disappointing. I mean, there was no guarantee I would have gotten the grant (although my track record is quite good with our foundation) but they went with more "curriculum related" things. :( Kind of annoyed I had to do all the work to write it and THEN they decided that. Anyway. Between that let down and worrying about bookfair coming up (my assistant--yes, I know right there I'm spoiled cause for now I HAVE one--will be out for set up and only one volunteer has signed up to help all week) this was a long day. Later.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

(almost) Finally Friday Feb. 20

Hello! Hope you had a great week! I gave you a break after my text-heavy Saturday post.

This week we had meetings on Monday. The kids had it off. I didn't actually have to attend any of the meetings but they were all held in the library. Can you say HEADPHONES? Though I still managed to mess up a couple orders. I hope I got them fixed. Literally an hour after a campus book budget finally became available I got an email saying "spend it by next Friday or it's going back into the general fund." Hmm. Well. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED IN THREE HOURS. NOTE TO SELF: ALWAYS HAVE A CONSIDERATION LIST. YOU JUST USED UP ALL OF THEM SO BETTER START AGAIN!

Today I met my my fifth nephew, eleventh overall. He's adorable. #love

As before ... click through if embeds don't show up. And click through again for the talented people who posted the ideas to begin with.

I want this. Dare I say I NEED this? Just ... wouldn't fit in my bedroom or living room. Don't have room for it in my office. #wheretoputit

Easy March Lego challenge.

I need to look in to this book. I can't quite tell ... it's it written for a HS media specialist or K-8?

TechChef4U brought this to our attention. I like it.

Sometimes silly and ridiculous is just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

#nErDCampSA on Valentine's Day

Missed Finally Friday! Was watching Captain America: Winter Soldier with my little brother. He hadn't seen it yet and FYI ... it's way better than the first one.

I totally stole this from the snoopygrams Instagram account. Love it.

Long text post ahead. My thoughts through the day ...

1) Oops. Thought it started at 8, not 9. Blech on being early when I live so far away from where it was being held to begin with. I just sat in my car and listened to the new Ricky Martin CD.

2) A little bit sad. Hardly anyone here. We had ...  I would guess over 150 people at EdCamp back in the fall. Much better attendance. Is it the timing? Teachers still have to be at school on Monday. Kids get it off. Don't get me wrong, it was still good. But with this sort of thing a few more people would have made it even better.

3) Mentor Texts. How can I get more read aloud time with older grades? Scheduling ... getting them in for something besides a checkout time. Can't combine them because hello, they only get 15 minutes of checkout time and then the next class comes. There is not space in our library for two classes to sit and listen without moving 6 big, bulky, I can't do it myself tables. And still keep my voice? Sometimes (being honest here) I think I'm going to scream if I do one more "storytime." Who has time to plan something different for every class, but who isn't sick to death of even a favorite book after the 15th time? Then also doing writing in conjunction with it. Writing takes time. PUBLISHING RESEARCH takes time. In addition to the DOING of the research. We never get time. How can I do better? Great question ... how do explain the difference between using mentor texts in writing and NOT plagiarizing?

4) Book clubs ... online and in person. Confession here: it's been a while since I've done those successfully. Had some great online discussion of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID back when it was only on Funbrain and maybe one or two hard copy volumes? We had a closed "forum" they posted to so we didn't have to worry about if they had permission to have their work posted publicly. I love the idea of having all their stuff out for the world to see (hello, what am I doing here ;)) but it seems really hard for some parents to release that. And as frustrated as it makes me ... they are the parents, I have to respect that. Then Edmodo came along. That would definitely work now. Or try again ... maybe more parents would allow it? Oh! There is so much to do! We also used to have in person book clubs. Just finding time (and copies of the book) for that, too. Can we get kids before school? Can we get kids after school? Can we pull them out of the class? How do we get enough copies of the book? And should I be doing more bookclub promotion instead of makerspace stuff?

5) 40 Book Challenge and "accountability" for reading. Projects vs. no projects. Read for real, read more,  fake reading. I know ... I do know, kiddos, at least ... we'll say half the time? That you just checked it out and didn't actually read it? You can't answer any questions or the answers you give are so generic. Then I also see all these crazy projects ... dioramas and mobiles. And it's copied straight off the book jacket. Or the parent actually tells me about all the work THEY did on the project. Or the parent come in on Monday looking for "a short science fiction book because her project is due on Thursday."

6) Best Tech Tools: didn't end up being super helpful as I didn't hear anything new and didn't really find make an opportunity to share much myself. Should see if my teachers know about GradeCam.

7) Using Tech to Promote Reading: MODEL how to use e-readers with kids. They don't just know how to use them. It's hard ... time. Always time. Do they know how to turn it on/off? Do they know how to bookmark or highlight?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

TBT Kinder Research

We've only just started ... but we're starting out pretty similarly to a couple years ago.

In some classes we read this book (in others we just used Pebble Go) and

even though it's totally 80s we also watched this video.

We talked about all the different tools we'd seen in the book and video. 
Then we filled out these note pages.

The font is Kimberly Geswein. The firefighters are from Digital Bake Shop. The book is from Scrappin Doodles and the computer is from Ashley Hughes.

Not sure if I will still use this next time or not. Reading the first few pages seemed to work well last time. 

Now one "problem" we have is that I weeded a bunch of the old, outdated job books last spring in our renovation ... thinking I would order new ones this fall. Then this fall we had ... budget issues to work out and didn't get any book money for a while ... so that order hasn't come in yet. May be totally Pebble Go this time round. Limits their jobs a bit but what else can be done?

Thinking ... still have to cross check. But with a mini-grant last year we got some Duplo figures of people with jobs. If any of those happen to be the same jobs on Pebble Go we could do something fun. 

If you are interested this post also has a few more kinder job research organizers.