Wednesday, February 18, 2015

App Happy...coming tomorrow!

To say that I was app happy when finding a tweet about this upcoming app on Twitter is an understatement.

David Wiesner is one of my favorite author/illustrators.
When I saw this tweet, I immediately had to look into it!

One more day! Find David Wiesner's Spot #app in the @AppStore tomorrow!
Story image
Here is the official trailer for Wiesner's app:
Here is a behind the scenes look at the creation of the app:
Both an educator guide as well as a parent guide are available to use with the app.
School Library Journal contributor, Daryl Grabarek, has also written a review of the upcoming app.  
I like the idea that the students enter several different worlds inside the app as they pinch and zoom to look more closely.  Every time the student zooms in, the story changes.   It would be fun to let the kids explore the app and then decide which part of the story they'd like to tell.  I think I would teach story elements along with the app and have the students map out the story elements for the part of the story they choose to tell before writing their stories.  The educator's guide covers many skills including point of view, comparing and contrasting, story elements, and making inferences. Below is a list of titles that I feel lend themselves to pairing well with this app.  Please leave a comment and suggest any more titles as well as ideas for implementing this app in the classroom or in your library.

Of course, several of Wiesner's books require the reader to look closely and use images to tell the story.

Zoom and Re-Zoom by Istvan Banyai also draw the reader into the story with the illustrations-both are wordless picture books.

Looking Down by Steve Jenkins zooms closer and closer in each frame.  Very similar to the concept of this app.

Journey and Quest by Aaron Becker are wordless picture books that require the reader to look and look again to tell the details in the story.  Also, be on the lookout for Return coming soon!

Journey book trailer.

Quest book trailer.

I can't wait to try the app out on my own kids tomorrow and with the kids at school when we return!
Please comment and leave any inspiring ideas that you have for using the app or book titles that pair well.

Unlikely Friendships

We've been enjoying a week of snow days this week!  My great friend, school counselor and Paws-itive School Counselor blogger sent this video to me early in the week and told me the kids would love it!

Immediately, I thought of the possibilities of pairing this video with books about unlikely friendships.  Here are a few that came to mind...

Here is the book trailer for Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer S. Holland:

A few other titles that would work well with this topic are:

Visit Owen and Mzee's very own website here.
You can also view Owen and Mzee's documentary:

Here are the last few titles that made me think of this topic:

Here is the trailer for Kate and Pippin:  An Unlikely Love Story:

Here is the book trailer for the Two Bobbies:

And the link to the Two Bobbies homepage.

I asked Laura, Paws-itive School Counselor blogger, how she incorporated the video in a lesson.  She shared this TPT unit written by Laura Candler that she found for free which included an activity for the month of February which is International Friendship month.

Included in this unit is an interview which you give to a classmate you'd like to get to know better.  After interviewing classmates, students write poems about what they've learned about each other.  I honestly thought that this activity would work well with teachers in a faculty meeting as well.  We always have an opportunity to know each other better and become closer to our colleagues.  

How would you incorporate this amazing video into your lesson planning?
Please leave a comment and share!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Timeline of a Reader

Do you ever think back to a favorite book you read as a child?  The following teacher collaboration took me back to my favorite memories of reading as a child...

One of our first grade teachers e-mailed and asked for books including timelines for her students and wanted to collaborate on a timeline creation project for her class.  I started looking for ideas on Pinterest and ran across this Inspired Classroom blog post.  Creating a reading timeline seemed to be the most logical decision because we have a library full of books for the kids to use to create their timelines.  Here's how I got started with the collaboration:

1.  I asked a fourth grade classroom to team with the first graders to act as mentors.  The fourth graders would be able to efficiently help the first graders find the books they needed in the library as well as provide direction in the creation of the students' timelines.

2.  I polled a few teachers/staff around the building about the books they grew up reading.

3.  I used the conversations from Step #2 to create some mystery reading timelines as visual examples for the students (see mine above).  We shared the mystery timelines by looking at each book title and guessing which staff member in the building the timeline belonged to.  It was a fun way to get the kids excited about this project and creating their own timelines.

This mystery timeline belonged to our assistant principal.  We organized the books she chose in chronological order by the ages in which she read the books.
In addition to the visual timeline, our first grade teacher also created her own reading timeline on chart paper which was the format she wanted her students to create.

Our student teams began by brainstorming a list of books they've read since they were young.
They then pulled the books off of the bookshelves (this was a good practice using the library catalog and finding specific call numbers).  We asked that they find a minimum of five titles.

After the partners brainstormed and pulled their titles, they were ready to start designing their reading timelines.  We asked each child to write the age range in which they read each title, the title and author of the book, and a short description about the book.  Ex:  "I loved to read this book over and over with my mom when I was young," or, "This is the first book I could read all by myself."

Here is a closeup picture of a first grade timeline.

Another example of a timeline in progress.

When the teams were finished with their timelines, we photographed the first and fourth graders together posing with their final product.

I think this project could work successfully with students in 1st through adulthood.  Students with more experience as readers will find it easier to choose from a larger selection of books they've read.  It is fun to take a walk down memory lane and see how we've each grown as readers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What Are Your Kids Reading? Here's What Ours Are...

I've been inspired by a media specialist friend, Amanda, to run reports about the most popular books that have circulated through our library this year.  She recently read the amazing Scope Notes blog written by Travis Jonker who posted the most popular reads in his library. I've run circulation reports from the beginning of the year through the end of January and the following books are the books that have been read the most by our students! There are some books that are checked out immediately as soon as they come back in...every day!  It's fun to take a look at the stats and see what our children CHOOSE to read and enjoy!  


 Our kids LOVE all of the Who Would Win books written by Jerry Pallotta.  Luckily, he keeps cranking them out!  Keep up the good work, Jerry!  Our kids can't get enough of this great nonfiction!


I definitely choose favorites and Bad Kitty and Nick Bruel are two of my favorites!  Our kids love to read everything Bad Kitty.  Our newest title, Puppy's Big Day, has also been a great hit!


Another Who Would Win?  Yep.  The kids don't even realize they are learning all about nonfiction features as they read these high-interest titles, but they are! Ha!


Scaredy Squirrel is also another title that came up several times in our circulation reports.  Melanie Watt has perfectly crafted each Scaredy Squirrel book to shine a light on phobias in a fun way! The kids love to learn that Melanie has many of the same phobias that Scaredy has.


He's back!  Chester, also written by Melanie Watt, is a huge hit in our library!  Make sure to read all of the Chester books including Chester and Chester's Masterpiece.


Two words:  Wimpy Kid.  This series has kept kids entertained and enjoying reading for years!  Way to go, Jeff Kinney!


Star Wars, graphic novel and funny storyline=success!  Our kids were hooked after the first Jedi Academy was published and can't get enough of it!  We didn't even have to advertise soon as the kids found it on the shelves, it was gone!

We're ready for the top three of this 2014-2015 school year...
Are you ready?


One of my personal favorites this year.  If you check out Wonder, you've got to read Julian's Story and Pluto:  A Wonder Story which is available for the Kindle this February 10th.  You can also check out 365 Days of Wonder:  Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts.  I love the way R.J. Palacio continues sharing more sides of Auggie's story with each title.


The kids cannot get enough of Jedi Academy!  I love that these graphic novels have a very well-written story line that the kids can relate to.


Well, let's just say I had to put a picture of the whole set because our Minecraft books are all circulated more than any title in our library!  I love that boys and girls alike can't get enough of the Minecraft guides and they are learning new skills they can apply to the game as they read!  More Minecraft, please!