NEA's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. To read more about the history, partners and other resources from NEA RAA, click here: http://www.nea.org/grants/read-across-background.html
If you are wanting some fresh ideas for RAA, check out this list of ideas here: www.nea.org/grants/11-seussgestions-for-a-great-reading-event.html
Kate Lewis from Denton Elementary will be inviting guest readers from the community to read with classrooms again. Last year Kate had county office staff, the mayor of Denton and other local notables to read to children. Joanie Williams from Midway Elementary is also inviting guest readers to share Dr. Suess with their students, including Deana Coley, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum.
Danielle Treadway put together this awesome smore for their activities next week.
Kate Lewis from Denton Elementary will be inviting guest readers from the community to read with classrooms again. Last year Kate had county office staff, the mayor of Denton and other local notables to read to children. Joanie Williams from Midway Elementary is also inviting guest readers to share Dr. Suess with their students, including Deana Coley, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum. Danielle Treadway put together this awesome smore for their activities next week.
Shanna Leonard from Tyro Elementary will be hosting dress up days to match characters created by Dr. Seuss! Each day a student participates in a dress up day, his/her name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a poster, bookmark, book, or pencil.
They will include facts about Dr. Seuss and reading during our morning announcements.
Other resources include games, activities and resources for teachers and parents at Suessville.com: www.seussville.com/
If you have other ideas to share, comment below. If you do celebrate, be sure to share photos of your acitivites on social media tagging @dcsnc and #readacrossamerica.
On Tuesday, February 14th, SLMC Jackie Hunt held the 4th annual Battle of the Books competition for students and staff after school. Competitors enjoyed donuts and a hot chocolate bar with toppings as a sweet treat.
Students squared off with the staff in 4 - 12 question rounds. To make the competition more evenly matched, all 10 staff members were allowed to compete at one time. Each staff member was required to read 2 books from the list.
The students easily won three of the four rounds and tied one round with the teachers. This fun competition helped give students a chance to practice their battle skills as well as to build enthusiasm for the upcoming competition.
Thanks to Jackie Hunt for making reading fun for her students!
Thanks to Tina Heitman for sharing this good news! This is a great example of using a collection development plan to advocate for funding for your media center. Tina worked with Michele Hamer from World Book Online to choose the titles for this donation.
At the beginning of the school year, I nervously asked PTO for $5,000 to replenish our nonfiction section. I presented them with data showing the state of our library. The average age of our nonfiction section was 2007, which is actually the year I should have been purging. Without hesitation, the PTO generously said yes. All of the books are now here, and a picture says a thousand words, so I would like to take you on a picture walk of our new nonfiction books. These books were selected based on student interests, grade level teacher requests, and library circulation needs. PTO, I cannot thank you enough for your donation. Enjoy the tour of our updated nonfiction sections! Be sure to CHECK OUT these new books!
Nonfiction Grades 2-5: Grapic novel formatted science topics, scary and out of the ordinary, building character, mythology, citizenship, space, landforms, weather, animals, robots, military, transportation, dogs, sports, war, and American symbols!
Thanks to Tracy Varner for this awesome blog post! In this lesson, she has skillfully integrated North Carolina Children's Book Awards, NC Kids Digital Library, the eWISE research model and DE's Board Builder in this one lesson. What an excellent example of seamlessly integrating technology into instruction. Great job, Tracy!
Our county has been provided with some awesome technology tools and resources that will make learning fun! Recently, in our media center, we integrated three of these to learn about a mysterious deep-sea creature—the Giant Squid!!
At our last PLC meeting, we were provided with a new research model that is concise and student-friendly. The model is called “eWise”, and consists of four steps (see photo).
During the first phase, students “Wonder”, by thinking of any unanswered questions or new information they may want to discover about a particular topic. To find answers to these questions, the next step is to “Investigate” by doing research, using appropriate Internet resources or other sources. Once new facts and information have been gathered, they must compile it and develop a means of presenting it, which is the “Synthesis” phase. Finally, students share this information with others, using the “Express” phase.
During our media classes, we’ve been reading books that are being nominated for the NC Children’s Book Award. This week, our feature book is a nonfiction book, Giant Squid by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann. One of the most current resources our county has been given, NCKids Digital Library, has this ebook available that we read as a group (see photo).
While reading the book, it was clear that there are still many unanswered questions about this mysterious sea creature---questions our students were eager to find answers to. Following the second phase of “eWise”, students investigated, using Chromebooks and appropriate Internet sources. National Geographic Kids was just one of the sources that provided some answers.
After investigating, students “Synthesized” their new facts and information, using Google Discovery Education Board Builder tool (see photo). This was also the perfect way to “Express” this information by sharing Discovery Boards with the class (see photo).
Recently, some of our SLMCs and ITFs went to a PD day featuring resources on NC Wise Owl. Thanks to Rhonda Florence for this blog post recapping what they learned.
If you haven’t spent any time on the new version of NCWISEOWL, take a moment to do some exploring. Username and password are both wiseowl17 There are some new and extremely exciting updates in the latest offerings by DPI. And the best part is…..it’s free!!!!
Several Davidson County media and technology folks, including myself, Marley, Sue, Libby, Suzanne, Jill, Danielle and lead teacher Michelle Slate, attended PD provided by DPI in late January. There were lots of fabulous takeaways.
Divided into 4 sections, the homepage of NCWISEOWL offers elementary, middle, high school and professional sections. Each is geared toward the knowledge level of users.
In the Britannica section, there are colorful icons and letters to help with beginning researchers. The elementary level also includes a PreK-2nd grade learning zone. All researchers can create a MY CONTENT area where students can permanently file interesting findings (students must create a login in) Middle and high school levels include primary resources and detailed country comparisons. As the educator, you can create Resource Packs and get a permanent url to share assignments with your students.
For each Britannica article, there are usually 3 reading levels. Just switch from level 1 to level 2 or 3 by clicking on an icon (no other searching required). This makes finding appropriate resources for struggling or advanced readers quite productive. READALOUD is available!
Pop into the World Atlas section, and you can move your little yellow man straight to a spot on the map. I ended up in an building in Khartoum in the Sudan, able to see signs in Arabic, embellished carpets and men in traditional white outfits. Moving my man to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, I viewed a gorgeous blue-tiled fountain area. GEOGRAPHY BEE wannabes, take note. This can be lots of fun for your young geographers.
Clicking in the NCWISEOWL logo will quickly return you to the main menu. Products from GALE include Kids InfoBits, Research in Context and Student Resources in Context. These are particularly exciting because you can assign articles through Google Classroom, login in through Google to add the information to your drive. When you’ve save it, you can edit it AS YOU WANT. There are great unlabeled diagrams you can get to verify student learning.
This resource also has leveled articles. Green is the easiest, yellow is intermediate, and red are the more advanced. There is a readaloud option!
You can search by state standards. Just pick out NC and you can find articles that readily work with specific essential standards.
Citations are simple with both Gale and Britannica. Basically, they are already done for your students.
During the DPI training, we could only go to 2 of the 3 information sessions, but several of our county’s attendees went to the EBSCO training. I am sure you will be learning more about that resource soon. These products offer the chance to create relevant and useful staff development for my staff!
Which school hosted it’s first-ever Geography Bee, and the first Geography Bee in Davidson County Schools, in January 2018? Pickett Elementary or Hasty Elementary?
If you answered HASTY ELEMENTARY you are right! Six fourth and fifth grade students from Hasty competed in a 7-round competition in mid January. The winner will take an on-line test to see if she qualifies as one of the top 100 geographers in North Carolina in grades 4-8. If she qualifies, she will go to the state Geography Bee competition in Charlotte on April 6. Based on how well our winner performed in the school bee, there is a very good chance she will be in the state competition. The 60-minute test will be administered at school.
National Geographic coordinates the Geography Bee each year. Interested schools can register and pay the $120 fee in the fall. This year, the Davidson County Association of Educators was willing to pay for 5 elementary school registrations.
Materials are downloaded from the National Geographic website, including the questions for the preliminary and final school rounds. There are 35 questions available in each preliminary round. In these early rounds, students get the choice between 2 or 3 answers. For example, you might get a question that asks “The North Platte and South Platte Rivers meet in which state - New Mexico or Nebraska?” The correct answer, if you weren’t sure, was Nebraska.
Questions move from questions about the United States, to questions about physical geography (landforms, weather), to questions about the world. These include cultural as well as physical location questions.
How do students prepare for the test? That’s a tough question, and one we are still working to figure out. Basically, students should be able to physically locate all the US states, have a good command of the vocabulary needed for the fifth grade science test, and learn about major cities and all countries of the world. That’s a lot to do. But it’s fun! Our six students all hope to participate again next year. Logic and reasoning skills are just as useful in this competition as the names of the rivers in South Korea.
Having this first year under our belts, I feel much more ready to prepare students for next year’s bee. Our students want to have a geography club next year, after school, even while most move on to middle school! And several parents have expressed interest so we are doing a Geography Trivia as part of our next family night, and gauging interest in an adult Geo Bee.
Thanks to Rhonda Florence for this great blog post and her continued enthusiasm and leadership for geography education. If you would like to learn more about having a GeoBee at your school next year, please let her know!
A special thanks to SLMC Kristi Allred for this awesome blog post! Kristi has done similar programs before with other titles and it's totally replicable and affordable. Kudos to her supportive administration and staff to help her pull this event off!
In January we kicked off our first (and hopefully annual) Reading Knightly Family Reading Program. Families were encouraged to sign up to read Fish in a Tree together and participate in various activities throughout the year. In the spring of last year I asked for staff volunteers to help me plan this event. I got very lucky and had representation from all three grade levels and the EC department. Our goal is for families to devote time to read together, while building those connections between home and school that often weaken during the middle school years.
We selected Fish in a Tree for several reasons. It is a truly excellent book and we thought it opened the door for lots of meaningful discussions for families. We have a large EC population here, and we thought this book could help some students read about a character with struggles like their own, and it would help other students gain empathy towards their peers. Wonder is our #1 most popular book, and Fish in a Tree shares some similar themes. So it seemed like a good match for this year!
We promoted the program through ELA teachers using flyers and this video. I wrote a Donors Choose Grant and received 40 free copies of Fish in a Tree. 28 families enrolled; primarily 6th and 7th grade. They paid $5.00 per person for dinner (East Coast Wings).
We had 51 students/family members attend the kick-off event. Families ate dinner in the cafeteria and then visited the media center to receive their books/materials and visit stations. Included in their family materials was a timeline of future events, conversation starters, an invitation to participate in a family volunteer project, and a list of possible books to read next. I was fortunate that five Reading Knightly committee staff members, Elaine Brittain (media assistant), Mrs. Hyatt & Mrs. Donithan (administrators), Wendy Beck from the public library, and Sedley attended and helped out throughout the evening.
The stations included: Learning About Dyslexia, Life in a Military Family (both important to the plot of Fish in a Tree), North Davidson Public Library Resources, Literacy Tips, About the Author, and Connecting with Flipgrid. I hope to use Flipgrid as a way to foster digital conversation both about Fish in a Tree and reading in general.
Our upcoming events include a Lunch Bunch book discussion, Make-and-Take activity (during the day), and an April evening Dessert Celebration where we will recognize student participants and showcase the Family Volunteer Projects.
Davidson County Schools began subscribing to World Book Online district-wide in January of 2016. At our Oct. 30th meeting, Michele Hamer from World Book Online met with us to get us reacquainted with this awesome digital resource. She brought along this beautiful gift basket to be awarded to the SLMC that ran the most successful PR campaign in their school. Well submissions were due last Friday, and we've had some pretty impressive results! I'm sad we don't have more than one basket to give away because we've had some great ideas circulating out there! So before I announce the winner, I would like to share some of the honorable mentions.
Since Nov. 1st - 19,736 searches have been conducted in DCS!
Most Improved - Brown Middle
Thanks to Jackie Hunt, students and teachers at Brown Middle School have rediscovered World Book Online. Since November 1st, students have conducted 5,864 searches! Way to go, Jackie!
Most Creative - South Davidson
Not only did Mary Howell teach classes in both the middle and high school about how to access World Book Online, she also challenged her media assistants to create a brochure advertising this resource for a grade. The brochures showed creativity, and provide a very useful resource to be used in the media center.
Most Innovative - Tyro Elementary
Shanna Leonard, SLMC, promoted WBO to ramilies by issuing a challenge: parents and students were encouraged to do some independent research on a topic of their choice. Students that participated returned the completed activity sheet to enter into a drawing for one of 25 posters. Classes that achieved 100% were entered into a contest to win a doughnut party.
But this brings us to the final campaign: This media coordinator collaborated with teachers across the curriculum to show students how to effectively conduct research using World Book Online with current units of study. Students researched topics such as careers, mythology, geography, foreign language, the arts and American icons. This media coordinator also documented authentic learning through photos and shared extensively on social media....
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