Holey Cow!

Here’s a fun book for the kiddos  The Book with a Hole by Tullet, Herve.

croppedCan you tell school is almost out?!

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Mapping library with iPad apps

index.phpSpice up your library locating skill lessons by using the iPad. I read the book, Henry’s Map by David Elliot, and then grade 1 students used the iPads to map where the book was in the library.

I let them choose either “Show Me,” “Doodle Buddy,” or “Educreations.”

They liked the glitter pen on Doodle Buddy but some struggled with erasing. They’d accidentally clear the page. Most of the classroom teachers use “Educreations” so the bulk of students used that app. The few that saw their friends glitter-marked Doodle Buddy, “oohed and ahhed,” quickly switching apps. If glitter motivates them then I’m all for it! Good times.2014-05-08_9-48-38

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How to videos using eBooks

9425998789_ea9b4d6c02_mI taught grade 5 students how to use Follettshelf and Overdrive, but know that many students didn’t have enough practice to comprehend all the steps. I had students get in groups of 3 and they could choose any iPad App they wanted and make a “how to video” choosing either Follettshelf or Overdrive. I’ll use the best videos as tutorials for others in the library. The objective is for students to practice and hone skills. Most used a laptop while the other person videotaped using the iPad Camera feature and the third pointed on the screen. One group used two iPads and showed how to get eBooks on the iPad using the Overdrive App. The results showed that many students didn’t understand how to return books on both programs. This scaffolded lesson allowed me to give one-on-one with them, while the students that understood getting eBooks tried to be creative with their videos. One group tried using the iMovie App but it took too long taking the pictures. Another group tried Videoliscious but didn’t like it and just switched to the video feature that comes standard on the iPad. I did this lesson with grade 5 students and it worked well for reviewing. Plus students had fun. Not everyone finished their videos and that was okay. My goal was to review the process and if they came up with a product great. If not, at least they should know how to get ebooks at home.

On the side… is it eBooks? ebooks? Ebooks? or e-Books?


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Wordless Book Lesson

Grade 4 students worked in pairs and made-up a story for a wordless book. I pulled about 40 wordless books and tried to find 20 of my favorites. I did up an example using “Chalk” by Bill Thompson to show students. Students chose from the stack of 20 and took pictures of each page using the Camera on the iPad. Next they used the Shadow Puppet App and created the picture. The first time I did this, the room was too noisy so I borrowed 12 iRig microphones for better audio. I compiled the stories using a video editing program and played them on an LCD screen. I finished the lesson in a 45 minute time period.

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Follettshelf eBooks

eBook image for catalogGadzooks! How do you spell ebooks? …Ebook? …eBook? ….ebook? or …e-book? No matter how you spell it there are many different ways to get them. We have Overdrive at our school and now just added Follettshelf that works with Destiny Quest. I like that I can use Follettshelf on the Kindle Fire browser and it works okay. Overdrive still does not work with the Kindle reader internationally. Sigh…

I showed grade 5 students how to use Follettshelf on the iPads. Now matter what program I use it is confusing for them. Follettshelf is easy to use when reading on the browser but when I use the Enlight App we had problems with students logging on. The URL they have to type in confused them and we had to reset passwords. That had more to do with Batch file updates than the program and I am not going to go into that.

A few problems students had was figuring out how to return a book. You have to click on the books at the top left to get back to the Follettshelf page after downloading a book. The Enlight App allows the book to be read without a Wi-Fi whereas reading in the browser on Follettshelf requires a connection. Many of the books have U.S. restrictions like Overdrive so don’t expect to have the same selection as you can if you live or lived in the U.S.

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The High School Librarian and I hosted a Webinar on Kindle Management. The HS Librarian is on a Silcasia listserv and people were asking about how Kindles were managed. Our elementary library has 20 Kindles, middles school has 50, and high school has 100. There are quite a few details on management of them. It was a great conversation with others from Singapore, Japan, Cambodia, and Hong Kong. We paid to use a dedicated line using Cisco Webex. While most could hear us, some said the audio cut in and out. We used the chat feature to fill in the blanks or were asked to repeat answers. The feature that allows everyone to talk didn’t work as well as the chat so we shut it off and just had our side be audio. We used the phone and set it on the table. The camera feature allowed us to show the Kindles to people so they could see the barcode, cover, and carrying cases. It was really fun and has me thinking about what it would be like to host a library conference at our school. Hmmm…

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Trip to India Slum School

We were in Mumbia, India and our hotel was across from the American School of Bombay. We know Eric Nelson who is a science teacher there and he asked if we wanted to go on a service learning project with his 8th graders to a slum school. My husband had his iPad with and I snapped a video of him working with some of the 30 plus kids from grades 3-8 learning on the floor of a small room. What an experience!

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Mentor texts

I have teachers who want picture books as mentor texts. While I can usually grab them off the shelf, sometimes I get stumped or my go-to books are checked out. This is a good book list to help trigger my brain when I need a jump-start: http://best-book-lists.wikispaces.com/COMPREHENSION+%26+LITERARY+DEVICES

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Google Ngram Viewer

I’ve been released from the tennis whirlpool of coaching and can get back to blogging. An interesting discussion on a blog talked about how writers can wreck an illusion or out-date a book with too many anachronisms. They were specifically looking at phrases such as gr8, OMG, etc. and their usage in novels.

One comment mentioned the Google Ngram Viewer which is a phrase-usage graphing tool that looks at language patterns in 5.2 million digitized Google books. This blogger put in the words “Internet,the Internet,internet,the internet,Web,the Web” to look at the frequency of word use over time. A limitation is that the tool only goes to 2008. Below shows that the phrase “Internet” is used more often than “internet” and that the usage peaked in 2002. I typed in “OMG” and it peaked in 2002 as well.

If you are trying to figure out language patterns it is an interesting tool. I might use it for book reviews. Once in a while I come across a book loaded with anachronisms. If you are looking for a clever parody of Instant Messaging or Internet slang then read “The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle (The League of Princes #2) by Christopher Healy.” One of the princes likes to holler, “Jimmy John Digglesford Garbenflarben!” Then writes JJDG in his journal.



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Author Visit – Grace Lin

DSC04485Grace Lin is visiting our school! If you are looking for author visit ideas I thought this might be of help in triggering ideas.

  • Each grade level read a book and did a lesson to prepare for her visit.

DSC04486We put up 12 READ posters where actual students from the school were photographed with Grace Lin’s book creating a poster using Photoshop. We will have Grace Lin sign the posters at the end of the week and give them to the students.

  • My favorite poster is “Ling & Ting.” Aren’t they adorable!



Grade 4 translated one of her books into Chinese and made an audiotape reading it.

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Grade 4 read also wrote fortune cookies and read, “Fortune Cookie Fortune.” Cookies were baked locally and handed out to students after each presentation.

DSC044742The fortune says, “An author from the United States is happy to meet you” with a picture of Pacy next to it.

  • Did you know that fortune cookies were invented in the United States? They are not from Asia.
  • I like the fortune, “Your mom will never forget you.”

Grade 5 students made book trailers of her picture books on iMovie. Here’s an example: YouTube Preview Image

Grade 3 read “The Red Thread” and made a story mountain.







Grade 2 examined characters in stories.

DSC04479DSC04480Elements looked at were:

  • Dialogue
  • What characters were thinking
  • Cliff hangers
  • Dialogue that shows feelings
  • Tiny actions that give details
  • Using special words in place of “said.”







Grade 1 is studying celebrations and read, “Thanking the Moon” about the Moon Festival.








The paper on the right by a six-year-old says: “On the day of the moon festival lots of poeple and familys barbcue together. Other poeple also eat mooncakes or have picnics. I like mooncakes, too. They are dilicouse. Some people, like my freind Justin, don’t like mooncakes. But anyway, moon festival is fun! My family Barbecuse or eat mooncakes.”

KA made dragon kites and read “Kite Flying.” Kindergarten read “Bringing in the New Year” and made Chinese lanterns.


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