Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What do I put in my Makerspace?*

In December MNPS librarians went on two Makerspace Tours. A small group of us travelled to 8 different Makerspaces (on day for elementary and one day for secondary). Based on what we saw in those libraries (and other's) we created a Makerspace items list. This is by no means an exhaustive list of items...but it should get you started! 

Craft/Art supplies
Building tools
           Paper (all varieties!)
      Writing utensils (all varieties!)
      Pipe cleaners
     Popsicle sticks
     Rubber bands
     Sewing machine

     Snap cubes
      Keva planks

Tech tools
Electronic devices
     Little Bits
     Snap Circuits
     3-D printer
      Green screen
     Bee Bots

         - Ipads
         - Wacom
     Camera(s) (photo & video)
     Video editing
     Photo editing
     Computer animated design (CAD)

     Storage cabinets
       Flip & nest tables
     Plastic tubs

*Anything students can use to create, explore, discover, play, design & build!

Team Library

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

2nd grade digital citizens

I asked only one thing from the teachers, “What is one ELA standard that you are teaching that you don’t think the students are understanding?” One teacher replied “Collective Nouns” and the other teacher replied “Prefixes and Suffixes.”

I started off the way I traditionally do, looking for books to read to the students. I found two great books for collective nouns that I could quickly access. Prefixes and suffixes though didn’t yield a book that would attract my students. But I knew the books I did find would not engage the students.  I had two questions, “How can I promote the library and reading?” and “How can I get the students actively involved in their learning?” running around in my head. My eyes fell to the two Ipads our school had been given by Limitless Libraries. E-book! I hadn’t used the Ipads in a class yet. It was about time. Out came google and my search for a story creator began. I found three that had great reviews. I looked at them all.

StoryJumper (www.storyjumper.com) – I loved the review and did a test book to try the tools, but it was computer based. My computers are not situated in an area that lends itself to classes. Also, I wanted the students to be able to move around. Free and physically publishable.

Book Creator (http://www.redjumper.net/bookcreator/) – available on Ipad, Android, or Windows devices – I opened it up and found that the creator was photo based. With elementary students I wanted them to be able to draw and use pre-made stickers or props. Free and paid versions available.

My Story (http://mystoryapp.org/) – available on Ipad – I opened it up (free version) and did a test book. The options I wanted (stickers, photo, text, audio recording, and drawing) were available on the free version. It was easy to use and edit. I wanted all of the stickers that were available for my students, so I chose to purchase this app for the lesson. 

How did we use My Story?

I have to say it was a chaotic and wonderful experience. The students were all over the place taking pictures for the prefixes, suffixes, and certain collective nouns. The students needed very little instruction on using the app.  I limited my instruction to “here are the tools” and “hand it back to me when you are done.” Each student was limited to 5 minutes to create their page.  Even the most meticulous of students was able to complete the project in this time.

Collective Nouns:
The students were assigned a letter then they created a page for the alphabet book using either a collective noun or a collective item with that letter.

Prefixes and Suffixes:
The students were partnered and asked to visually represent a prefix and a suffix.

How the classrooms are looking at the video:

These teachers are using these videos during class as a break or refresher on the topics. The students enjoy watching their creations and hearing their voices.

How the library is looking at the video:

In a school that is not yet 1:1 in technology it is often difficult to ensure that all students have proper instruction on becoming digital citizens.  These two second grade classes are sharing what they are learning outside of the four walls of the building. 

MNPS Librarian

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Embedding Inquiry into instruction: Tech Tools and Tips

Recently our Library Department held its second Professional Development of the year focused on STEM education. During this day teacher-librarians had the opportunity to attend many sessions ranging from using maker spaces for instruction to hands-on learning with the Adventure Science Center. During this time, I was able to facilitate a session entitled Inquiring Minds want to know. During this session we looked at one model of inquiry and discussed ways to be more intentional in finding ways to embed inquiry into our lessons. 

Inquiry is defined by Merriam Webster as an official effort to collect and examine information about something. There are many strategies and tools that can be used to help foster a culture of inquiry. Below are what I hope your will consider as starting points.

Ask; find the question that matters most
  •  Thinking Maps: these are ideal for having students list what they already know about a topic, which then leads them to articulate and write questions they have.
  •   Visual Poster Maker (Recite.com): use this tool to make your essential question(s) visually appealing. Posting student questions is a way to keep focus of the learning present.

Investigate; gather information of the question through research 
  •  Inquiry Charts: these charts are used for students to record information learned through research. The power comes in they encourage students to use various sources to find information and then to generate new questions based on their research.
  • District Library Databases: provides students and teachers access to scholarly research about the topics they are investigating. In the state of Tennessee TEL(Tennessee Electronic Library)  is a great source.

Create; shape the new information learned and make a new project 

Discuss, share the discovery with others
  •           21st Century Learning Tools: are numerous but should be centered on meeting the learning objective/standards addressed in the essential question. Check out Common Sense Graphite,  a tool that provides tech tools based on standards and teacher reviews. 

Reflect; students look over their insights and ask what they have learned, what they should have done, and if new questions have developed 
  •           Give me a . and a ? : this strategy causes students to not only reflect on their own learning but to also formulate questions based on what they’ve learned from their classmates. A tech extension of this strategy is the IOS app Post-it which allows students to collect their thinking digitally.

 I would love to hear what your doing to embed inquiry into your instruction Please comment and/or add your thoughts to our Padlet.  

MNPS Librarian