Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Change to Flat Stanley

After looking further at the two Flat Stanley books, we realized that it would be difficult to finish both of them within the four weeks. Here is what we plan on doing now then:

We're going to just work with Flat Stanley. The reading requirements for each week are,

Week 1 - Predictions, Chapters 1 and 2

Week 2 - Chapters 3 and 4

Week 3 - Creating A New Chapter and Chapter 5

Week 4 - Wrap-Up; Final Reflections

Just before reading Chapter 5, we'd like each of the classes to create their own additional chapter for the book where they discuss a different Flat Stanley adventure. The class can write this together as a shared writing activity, students can work individually or in partners to write their own, and/or the students can use a variety of recording options (e.g., AudioBook, VoiceThread, Vocaroo, or Audacity) to record a chapter in the "oral tradition." These chapters can be shared via blogs, Edmodo, or even the Wikispace. Other classes can then comment on the different chapters too. This is a way for students to read their own writing and the writing of others as well!

Through Weeks 3 and 4, students can also work on creating Flat Stanleys to mail to other classes involved in this project. They can write letters or stories to accompany their Flat Stanleys. Classes can either send one or two Stanleys per class or each student can send out individual Stanleys as almost a pen pal activity. It's up to you! There's a link on the Wikispace where you can sign-up to be involved in these exchanges too.

Please remember that throughout this read aloud project, students can discuss the themes and events in the book through Edmodo, blog posts, VoiceThread, Skpye, the Wikispace, and any other tools that you wish to use. The possibilities are endless!

Since there are many classes interested in continuing this connection for Stanley in Space, we thought that we would do this book after Flat Stanley is complete. For those people that want to participate, they can continue to use Edmodo, blog posts, VoiceThread, and Skype to reflect after reading the different chapters in this book. Here is our chapter breakdown for this book too:

Week 1- Ch. 1, 2, and 3 - this includes the call from the president, meeting the president to discuss going into space, and then actually boarding the spaceship and heading off (Ch. 1 and 3 are quite short).

Week 2 - Ch. 4, 5, and 6 - this includes the Stanley's adventures in the spaceship, landing and meeting the Tyrrans, and touring the village (including the run in with Captain Ik).

Week 3 - Ch. 7, 8, and 9 - this includes President Ot discussing the problem with Super-Gro, Stanley coming up with an idea of how to save the Tyrtans, and the Tyrrans getting weighed to see if they can all fit in the spaceship on their way back to earth.

Week 4 - Ch. 10 and 11 - this includes having the Tyrrans board the spaceship to head back home with Stanley and his family, and the President welcoming the Tyrrans to TyrraVille 2 (on the tennis court) until the Tyrrans can head back to TyrraVille.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Reading Globally, the Global Read Aloud Project!

In May, I wrote a post on my blog about the joy and excitement that was created when I read aloud to my students.    My students were held captive for 5-10 minutes a day by a Lemony Snickett book, and they loved it! I realized then, how important reading aloud was to creating readers.
So when I came across the Global Read Aloud project, it was a no-brainer!  A global project  where everyone reads one book, and discusses it with other students, all over the world. Amazing concept! And if there had been any hesitation on my part, the methods of discussion would have hooked me, Skype, Edmodo, Twiducate , and any other web 2.0 tech tools,  I was salivating!
 I have to admit, I had never read "Tuck Everlasting", (gasp!), so being the responsible teacher that I am, I bought the book and I read it in two days. Kudos to those teachers who chose a book that will offer my students so many chances to THINK! And, thanks to DonorsChoose, each of my darlings will have their very own copy, and believe me, that is exciting!
The best part of GRA is that my students are going to realize that a lot of people, all over the world, enjoy reading.  I believe reading this book will destroy the misconception that reading is boring.  Reading will become cool again.:) Visions of my students actively involved in discussions with students all over the world makes me delirious with joy. Giving them a chance to have their opinions heard, as they respond to the opinions of others, makes me, happy. :)
I have already connected with a teacher. She and I skped a few days ago and excitedly, (I know I am overusing that word) shared ideas. Another plus to GRA.  I am growing my PLN, and who knows who else I will meet on this journey? Pernille has set up an Edmodo group for the teachers and one for the students.  I can't wait to check out what our kids talk about among themselves!
Anyway, this newbie is excited thrilled! My class will read aloud, globally, and realize there is a world outside of New Castle, DE that they can explore!
Lisa Mims
5th grade teacher
New Castle, Delaware

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Veteran Shares Why They Joined GRA Again

My 4th grade class participated in the first Global Read Aloud during the fall of 2010 to help my 4th graders expand their world.

We read The Little Prince along with the other classes.  We first posted comments to our Kidblog. We connected on Twitter and TodaysMeet with a classroom in Canada.  My students were thrilled to learn about this other country, even though the city  these other students were in was not that far away.

The students were excited for our read aloud each day. They drew pictures of the Prince’s journey and their favorite part.  We created an Animoto of these images.  We also created a Voice Thread  to share our favorite part of the book. We posted this information on my school website for parents and the Global Read Wiki. My students put many higher level thinking skills to use while doing these projects. They had to express themselves to others without face-to-face connections, yet they knew others seeing their work had read the same book.

After The Little Prince, we continued to connect with other classrooms while reading two other books.  We used Edmodo, Wikis, and Skype.  This really solidified the concept of expanding their world outside our small town in northeast Wisconsin.

With this valuable experience my students were exposed to quality literature and held a 21st century book talk with other students. When asked at the end of the year, their participation in the Global Read Aloud was one of their favorite experiences of the year.

Participating again in 2011, I hope to have my new class connect outside the United States again.  I want them to expand their ability to use Web 2.0 skills with Edmodo, Twitter, and Voice Thread.  I also want the chance to have face-to-face connections using Skype. I would highly recommend getting involved in the Global Read Aloud.

Debbie Burmeister
Grade 4 Teacher
Neenah, Wisconsin

Friday, August 5, 2011

So You've Joined GRA - Now What?

First we wait, because this project does not really start until September 19th when you should crack open the book you are reading and start to read.  We have set a schedule which can be seen on our wiki so follow that because you don't want to be behind or ahead.  That seems to diminish the experience.  You choose when you read but get it done within the week.

I read aloud every day to my students but during the read aloud we take some extra time to work with the text.  We predict, we dig deeper and then we start to ponder and analyze.  My students blog about their predictions and their thoughts on quotes from the books.  One student's thoughts from last year here can be viewed here.

Edmodo is used by the kids more informally to connect with other students.  Often teachers ask a question and all of the students in the group can respond.  Kids will then branch out and ask their own questions and get connected that way to.  Give the kids time to play on Edmodo and you will see them reaching out beyond you.

Twitter seems to be a great place to connect with a couple of people and to start to plan.  We have a hashtag #GLREAD11 - use it to connect with others participating and set up times to work with them.

Skype needs to be planned by you.  I hope to have people Skype in and read aloud for us, but I would also love to discuss predictions with another group of kids somewhere.  If you would like to Skype with me, please let me know, I don't have anyone lined up yet. On our wiki we also have a Skype page where you can establish a connection.  

Speaking of our wiki, this is where you can showcase your students' work.  Last year we scanned  pictures, we created Animoto's and VoiceThread and put them all on the wiki for others to view and comment on.  This was just another way for students to connect.  I would often start our morning showing them something on our wiki to get them excited.  We now have a Teacher's Help page on our wiki where people can share their activities and resources to inspire others, please add your ideas.

You decide what you want to do with this.  The expectation is simple; your students should share the read aloud with other students.  However you want to accomplish this is up to you.  Some people have unlimited time, others very little, so make it your own.  It should not be stressful, it should be a unique opportunity for you and your classroom.  Reach out, connect, ask questions - I am here to guide anyone through that needs it.    I am almost always available, particularly before the year starts on Sept 1st for me.


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