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.

Click through for embedded content and the original sources.



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.

Kinder Community Research printable

Kinder Community Research printable 2

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. 

Monkey with a Tool Belt cover image

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.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday ... Cowboy, Ninja, Bear

Click through if the embeds don't show up in a reader. Have a great day!

A photo posted by Angie Oliverson (@msoreadsbooks) on

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Smitten ChatterPix

OK, seriously ... how cute are these? And that was after only hearing the story once and getting like three minutes to record? #notquiteenoughtime #stillfiguringouthavingawholecartofiPads #awesomeproblems


Thursday, February 5, 2015

(almost) Finally Friday Feb. 6

Just one more reminder to go enter the book giveaway. Stan Lee! Go do it now cause I can't tell if the Rafflecopter will close tonight at 12 or tomorrow.

And now ... We made it another week! I hope awesome things happened for all of you!

Just know now I will be on a Lego kick for a while ...

I was the idealist.

Wild Hog Questions. With INTENTION.

One reason I like going to conferences. It gives me that ... push when things get bogged down and I start questioning whether I am making any difference or doing anything right.

As the daughter of a public health doctor and a Star Wars fan ...

Did anyone see that email from the LOC about a summer institute? For some reason ... I'm thinking about it. How cool would that be? The problem is I have no sense of direction. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. So the idea of just going by myself ... bleh. But looking at the syllabus. Visual Thinking? YES! Primary Sources? YES! National history? YES!

And I keep thinking about how they said "Submit an idea to iPadpalooza! We'd love more librarians!" Can I come up with something "weird" enough? And cool enough? And good enough? The one year I went was awesome. Though it was nice to just GO. Of course the price has upped significantly since then. But it was an absolute steal that first year.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

TCEA Day 2 Makerspaces and Augmented Reality

This morning I went by the vendors at TCEA. TLA is more fun because it's more stuff I could actually influence purchasing ... but I went. The LEGO table ... TOO COOL. I want. Pigeon? And Natural Disasters? We just covered those. We've been using regular Legos but these look too cool. The WeDo stuff also looked interesting. Our district educational foundation grant applications just opened. You know what I'll be writing about.
TCEA Lego display
And so ... it's done! Finished the presentation. I hope it went well? I about died when I saw the line that was waiting to get in. By far the biggest room I've ever presented in.
TCEA Presentation line
Anyway ... check out the link at the top of the page. Or just click here. ;) Our makerspaces are still a work in progress. Neither of us are at the point we wanted to be when we first submitted the proposal. Things happen. I guess the main takeaway we wanted people to have is DON'T WAIT. Start now with what you can. Deal with pushback ... convince them with small steps. Realize you expected too much when your library space was being completely overhauled? It's all good. The amazing stuff will come later. (Speaking of amazing ... at the Women in Ed Tech meetup last night heard about the coolest makerspace at the Ann Richards School for Young Women ... I mean the COOLEST. I need to find the link. It's 6-12 so obviously very different to anything I'm currently doing. And they were not librarians so it was definitely more technical. But still. Visions.)

Now. Went to two classes on Augmented Reality. The first one shared a bunch of books that have embedded content. Need to look up our vendors and see if they have them. They also actively demonstrated Daqri which was pretty cool. I applied during the class and already got my educator account. It looks like it might do what I wanted Aurasma Studio to do but could never get to work, we shall see. I still love the basic Aurasma app for quick uploads. The second class showed more about ColAR and Crayola Alive than I knew before.

And I got an email. The Toontastic app was just purchased by Google and it's now FREE!


Did you enter the Zodiac Legacy book giveaway?

I might be hiding in my strange quirky AirBnB room. Been surrounded by so many people ... needed a little quiet time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

TCEA Day 1

Pretty good. Nothing super terrible or exceptional ... until the Women in Ed Tech meetup. Of course they were only sharing highlights ... the best stuff that actually worked! That I walked away feeling super inadequate. Will write something more informative later. For now I remind you to enter the book giveaway on Monday morning's post. And look at this pic. The Hilton this is not. Quirky. Keep Austin Weird, I guess.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 2, 2015

#IMWAYR Feb. 2

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now… who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!

Our Kid Lit to YA version is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

GREAT IDEA! Check out all of the What Are You Reading? participants for title ideas.

This is the only new one I've finished since last week.

It was good ... but not as good as The Port Chicago 50. I felt like the backstory before the attempted grave robbing ... dragged quite a lot. I mean, I guess it was important to understand how much counterfeit money affected the attempt on Lincoln's body? It just ... took a long time! Then to hear how they moved the poor man's casket over and over and still didn't improve security. Wow.

Leaving for TCEA in the morning so may not get much more finished. I guess my first priority would be Nightmares (Jason Segel) cause my Overdrive checkout is going to expire. Then Woven. The next three nights, let's be honest ... will be devoted to flipping out with nerves over my presentation. THEN I will be able to read. ;)

Though I could get 90 minutes of an audiobook done on the drive there. What should it be? ;) ;) ;)

Also ... how is it I have never even heard of the book that won the Newbery?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway on this morning's post! You've got til Friday!

Zodiac Legacy: Convergence

Recently I was contacted by a Disney Hyperion publicist to try out a new book. "Sure," I thought. "Sounds like fun. Super heroes? I'm all about Marvel movies ... though I have to admit I haven't read many of the comics." YET. 

Twelve magical superpowers.
One sinister conspiracy.
One unlikely hero.

Stan Lee presents a brand new, magical, super-powered adventure! When twelve magical superpowers are unleashed on the world, a Chinese-American teenager named Steven will be thrown into the middle of an epic global chase. He'll have to master strange powers, outrun super-powered mercenaries, and unlock the mysterious powers of the Zodiac.
The team behind the story ... Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, and Andie Tong

Now. Things I loved and things I'd like to see them improve upon ...
  • Great artwork. I love the choice to use three colors. Culturally significant and gives it a streamlined, bold look.
  • The variety of characters could be a plus. Not everyone got as much page development time but that leaves things nice and open for new stories. Each character is so different!
  • Who doesn't think a few super powers would be fun?
  • Not to give anything away but great twist at the end. Didn't see it coming and it definitely has me curious for the next installment.
  • A couple typos that really ... editing should catch that. I know, it sounds nit-picky. We're all human and we make mistakes. I just have high expectations.
  • It's longer than it needed to be. Like ... by about a hundred pages. Tighten up sentence structure and cut some unnecessary stuff and more kids would actually finish it. 

The story is a blast, despite the writing still needing a bit of work. Not everything needs to be a literary masterpiece. So definitely still a contender for middle school (the main character is in 8th grade) ... and for advanced fifth graders whose families don't mind superhero fighting. Just don't see most of my elementary kiddos actually pushing through the whole thing. They'd pick it up because it was big but never finish it.

Here's a fun little generator to share with readers.

Interested in a little giveaway? They are letting me give away a copy of the book with some temporary tattoos! Enter below. If I set up the Rafflecopter properly it will pick the winner on Friday. If I messed it up (first try!) then I'll just the comments. US only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Learn More at
Watch the Book Trailer
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