The 1st nine weeks had come to an end and I had just started in on my 2nd nine weeks of Library Center rotation activities when it dawned on me that the quickly approaching holiday season was going to throw all of my plans into utter chaos. Thanksgiving Break, the Scholastic Book Fair, special school wide Holiday Events, Winter Break, and me being out sick (UGH) all took big chunks out of the normal library routine.
I am extremely lucky that the PTA is in charge of the Book Fair. All I do for the Book Fair is provide our Library as a space in which it can be set up; PTA does the rest. Since the conditions in the library with all the coming and going of Book Fair patrons wasn’t conducive to teaching and learning, I moved the library to an empty classroom upstairs. My wonderful library aide, Sandy Perez, and I worked together to turn the room into a pretty awesome little library space. We pulled a few carts of popular books so students could still check out books, we carried the reading carpet up, and redesigned our library activities to better suit the space and limitations we faced.
Fortunately, these hiccups actually worked out for the best as Hour of Code week fell within this time period and could be accommodated in our smaller space using MacBook and Chromebook laptops.
Kindergarten and 1st Graders learned how to code using Tynker’s Hour of Code Puppy Adventure game. This is the one I found was most compatible with the ability level of my students with regards to understanding coding as well as with use of a trackpad on a laptop. 2nd through 5th graders learned how to create a Holiday Card using Scratch. Scratch is awesome because it passes the “If Ms. Robertson can do it” test! Scratch has great step by step directions that, with a little modeling, can easily be followed by students. I absolutely love seeing the lights go off in students eyes as what they are doing “clicks” and then they take off on a creating rampage! Getting them to come to a stop so the next library class can come in is the hardest thing I have to do.
5th Graders got an extra little treat this week. I wrapped up our Scratch coding lesson about 10-15 minutes early each class and then we “made” a silent movie. Ask your kids what a silent movie is. The responses are so cute! Then actually explain the concept and the confusion on their faces is so precious. “Why didn’t they just record what the actors were saying?” What made it even funnier was that I’ve had laryngitis while teaching this and the kids thought it had something to do with not being able to talk!
Once explaining what a silent movie was we then made our own silent movie using the Chrome Experiment, Peanut Gallery. We watch a movie clip and then worked together to write a “script” on the dry erase board. Then students were chosen to speak the parts in Peanut Gallery. Then we watched our silent movie! Watch two of the ones we made using the links below:
Ms. Reed’s Class: https://youtu.be/g2D0Ftk5-Jo
Ms. Evrard’s Class: https://youtu.be/l8dhiUEP3Q0
3rd through 5th graders also had the opportunity to participate in a “mock” Mystery Skype. What Sandy Perez, Dorothy Marinski (Instructional Coach), and I did to facilitate this activity is as follows.
We explained the concept of Mystery Skype to students but told them just like in Sports or other competitions we wanted to practice first before competing against a “real” team. Thus, we split the class into two teams. Each team drew a state and city from a box where I had cut out 50 states and cities. In advance, I had also printed and laminated two sets of Mystery Skype “playing cards” that I got from Teachers Pay Teachers. I also printed on cardstock and laminated the US/World Maps provided inthe Teachers Pay Teachers package. Then, with dry erase markers in hand, Sandy and Dorothy took half of the class to a different room and we “Skyped” with each other. I say “Skyped” because we actually used Google Meet instead of Skype because it just worked better in our school setting. Students then proceeded to play Mystery Skype until one team was able to guess the other teams state or until we ran out of library time.
Now that we have played Mystery Skype the kids are super eager to play it for real! I promised the kids I would search over Winter Break for classes who wanted to challenge us to a game!
This activity was a great way to teach so many different skills! Research skills, map skills, deductive reasoning, critical thinking, effective questioning, and so much more!