What are virtual field trips? Well, according to one source: A virtual field trip is a guided exploration through the world wide web that organizes a collection of pre-screened, thematically based web pages into a structured online learning experience. (Foley, 2003).
But fast forward a decade or so, and tools such as Skype, Google Hangout and Facetime open up a whole new world of opportunities for VFTs. Classrooms can not only video conference with other classrooms, but they can also visit museums, national parks and other interesting places.
Why a virtual field trip? They are a cost effective and time sensitive way to explore places that you would not be able to visit otherwise. VFTs can be live, archived or a virtual reality tour. Not to mention the student engagement.
Are you interested in learning more about VFTs? Visit #DCSVirtualFieldTrips to see some exclusive DCS-only VFTs coming up.
Want to join in on the very first #DCSVirtualFieldTrip with some real-life Hurricane Hunters? This VFT will be live on Feb. 4th at 1:00 but will be archived for future use. Register for the Hurricane Hunters here: http://dcsvirtualfieldtrips.weebly.com/live-virtual-field-trips.html
Discovery Education also has VFTs pretty regularly. To see some of the most recent archived trips, see here: DE Virtual Field Trips.
Join us later this spring for a VFT to the National Archives in London where we will learn about the Titanic.
K-2? Join us for a special VFT storytime with the author of the Howard B. Wigglebottom series.
Want to learn more about how to bring VFTs to your school? Consult your ITF for more information.
Candy Pierce, media coordinator at Northwest Elementary, brings us this week's blog post.
I wanted to be a little more creative presenting the NCCBA Junior Category titles to my 3rd-5th grade students. I used to book talk the nominees over a period of time. Students did not seem as engaged as I talked about the books. I started thinking about how I could make this more appealing to my students. I knew that all the titles were extremely good books. After all, students who loved the books had submitted the titles.
Several years ago I ran across a lesson called What Genre Is This Book? The lesson included how the Media Coordinator engaged the students using QR Codes and iPads when they reviewed their state nominees. This year I started out my lesson my giving the background of the award as part of my introduction. Then I explained to the class what our outcome would be once we are done with the lesson. I made sure that each class understood, if they wanted to vote, they would have to read a minimum of five books in order to vote for their favorite.
I started my lesson out by taking the time to review different genres: biography, autobiography, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, etc. I spent some time reviewing the elements for each genre. Before we actually started the lesson, I clarified my expectations as they rotated through each center. I had groups of three or four students. I reminded them each student would have a different job at each center. The jobs were: a recorder to write the answer(s) down on the recorder sheet, a QR code scanner, and a person to read the summary.
Students had the opportunity to look at the book, read the summary for 90 seconds. There were three genre choices on the opposite side of the summary for each book. Students read the summary, discussed the genre within the group based on the summary, and recorded their answer on the recording sheet. They then checked their answer by scanning the QR code.
Once students started rotating through the centers, they started asking about checking out the books. Next year I am going to do the same thing with my 1st-2nd graders. The only difference will be a shorter summary and fiction and nonfiction as my choices. One other change I plan on making next year is to include book trailers as well.
I used Follett and Goodreads for my book covers and summaries.
This lesson will take several weeks to complete, but I promise you, your students will be engaged.
Northwest Media Coordinator
This blog post is courtesy of April Willard, principal at Midway Elementary. April is leading a year-long book study using Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller. Miller is a world-renowned educator, author, speaker and current Reading Ambassador for Scholastic. Her success in getting students excited about reading has not only yielded high growth in test scores, but has earned attention from reading experts and children's authors from around the world.
July 1, 2015, I started a new chapter in my career, Principal at Midway Elementary. I knew the first item on my long “to do” list was to meet with each individual staff member, build positive relationships and find out from staff the strengths and needs of the school. When I meet with the Media Coordinator, Joanie Williams, she began to talk about what she thought were the needs of the school. We discussed the fact that reading scores were not quite where they needed to be. She talked about a book by Donalyn Miller entitled “Reading in the Wild.” It was obvious she was passionate about the book. I too am passionate about reading and we instantly connected with our strong beliefs about students and their reading habits. We want to GROW WILD READERS here at Midway. Joanie mentioned she wanted to do a staff book study. I started getting very excited because I am very familiar with Donalyn Miller (maybe even boarder line stalker – following her every move on Twitter and Facebook). I had read “The Book Whisperer” by Donalyn but had not read “Reading in the Wild.” Once I got my hands on the book I knew that the staff book study was exactly the direction we needed to go.
Joanie along with Assistant Principal Dr. Kelsey Musselman spent time this summer developing a plan for our book study. We knew it needed to be structured and practical. We wanted to make sure that the ideas learned as we were reading this book together we implemented school-wide. We needed all staff to get just as excited about this book as the three of us. So let the planning begin!!! We planned a staff book study kick-off in October, with the Wild Readers theme we were going for – to include WILD cupcakes and other themed food, WILD theme music from the Lion King, and of course FREE BOOKS for all staff!! Laying the foundation of the why and the how, all staff members left the meeting feeling energized and ready to begin this journey together of GROWING WILD READERS.
Our next challenge was to get the students excited about being WILD READERS. We held a school-wide assembly. We explained to the students that we were going to focus this year on building their love for reading. We discussed why it was important and how the amount of vocabulary learned just by reading an extra 30 minutes a day or 60 minutes a day increases drastically. We kicked off our year-long focus with WILD AND CRAZY HAIR DAY!! We explained how students can “steal time” to read each day – even 5-10 minutes. We wanted to “catch” our students stealing time to read. After the assembly, we were able to catch students reading at all times of the school day.
Each month we read a chapter in Donalyn’s book, meet as a staff to discuss key points or quotes and implement strategies school-wide from what we have learned. By making the WILD READER focus fun and exciting for all students and staff, I’m confident that by the end of the year we will have cultivated WILD READERS AT MIDWAY ELEMENTARY!!
This week's post is by Dianne Wright, media coordinator at Friendship Elementary:
Have you considered attending your monthly PTO Board Meetings? Included in the blog are 3 interviews from stakeholders on the benefits of my attending Friendship PTO Board Meetings. The final comment is from me. I hope this helps motivate you to attend your PTO Board meetings as an advocate for media, technology, and so many more things that you are involved with as Media Coordinator.
Principal, Beth Goins:
“During my service as the principal of Friendship Elementary School I attend monthly PTO meetings along with two teacher representatives, my assistant principal, and our media coordinator. As we partner with our PTO and meet monthly to review how to best support our staff and students it is very important to have multiple staff perspectives represented for meeting discussions. As a member of our staff PTO representation, our media coordinator, Mrs. Wright, is able to listen in to teacher needs and review her media and technology resources on a monthly basis. Listening to community thoughts and teacher needs is a great way to engage in and add to critical discussions related to overall school improvement. As we all know, technology has great potential to enhance and support instruction for students and teachers alike.
At Friendship as a result of a consistent presence, Mrs. Wright has established and strengthened her relationships with community and staff. In turn, our technology resource needs have been met at a level that has exceeded our expectations and goals. Is it worth the time invested each month? From my experience it is absolutely time well invested! The dividends are countless and they multiply into positive outcomes for all over the months and years of investments.”
PTO President, Annette:
“Media Coordinators attending monthly PTO meetings can be very helpful. They can provide valuable insight on students because they interact with all the children of the school as well as all of the teaching staff weekly. Friendships media coordinator is able to answer many questions regarding available technology and costs to help us make important technology purchasing decisions. Since our media coordinator is in charge of the morning news show she is informed about different PTO events first hand and she can share that information with the student body. I think Mrs. Wright provides another valuable perspective to aid our board of parents and teachers in working together towards the common goal of providing the best possible learning experience at Friendship Elementary.”
Classroom Teacher Representative, Kim:
She is another school employee to offer her opinion about needs from a different point of view; there are 2 classroom teachers on the Board. Our Media Specialist can see the ‘other side of the school.’
She has a wealth of knowledge regarding school events (Author visits and great connections for literacy experiences for children).”
Media Coordinator, Dianne Wright:
“For the first 14 years of my media coordinator experience, I did not attend PTO Board meetings. I suggested I would like to attend in years 11-14 but never carved the time out of my nightly schedule to attend. Once I took that first step, I saw how beneficial it was to our school community, media program, technology purchases, and so much more. Since then I have voluntarily attended each month. Many times the principal, Ms. Goins, in the past 4 years has asked me to specifically be a spokesperson for a specific issue and to come with information. PTO Board members have asked my advice and treated me like a Board member, although I do not have voting privileges since I truly attend voluntarily. I have not asked them to change their bylaws to include the media coordinator, because I would not want the media coordinator to be forced to attend. However, I can say that the two hours each month is a small price to pay for the benefits to our school community and to the active spokesperson that I can be at those important foundational meetings for Friendship Elementary. I encourage those who have not considered this to do so as you contemplate ways to impact your school.”
This blog post is courtesy of Joanie Williams, media coordinator at Midway Elementary. Joanie is sharing her success with "Genius Hour".
What does it mean to be a genius? Does it mean you are perfect? Does it mean you make good grades, perform well on tests or that you search for answers to those burning questions? I believe most geniuses are persistent and focused on what interests them most. Last year at NCTIES Allyson Medlin and I were very inspired by a session we attended on Genius Hour. I was so excited about the idea of Genius Hour because I often feel that we are killing the curiosity of our students with the overwhelming weight of testing and assessment. Genius Hour is a chance to teach skills through personal inquiry and can feed the need we all have to do something we want to do! The idea was born in the corporate offices of GOOGLE- where employees have 20% of their work week to pursue their own ideas and interests. I believe students need the same opportunity! Geniuses usually pursue their greatest passion. It fuels their desire to learn. We came back to school determined to make this concept work for us. We believe can inspire our students to be genius in some aspect of their life.
We began the process by doing some collaborative planning. We went over the presentation notes from NCTIES (http://www.slideshare.net/EmilySchmidt317/genius-hour-in-the-elementary-education-classroom-45448713 ) for inspiration and ideas. We knew we would need to give the students a limited focus- so we brainstormed a list of 20 topics that we thought would be great to research and that would not leave us strapped for money or resources. We then looked at our schedules and carved out a weekly time to meet. With a plan in hand we approached our new principal with information and data (geniushour.com) and were thrilled to be given the green light to set out on a journey into unknown lands.
When we first introduced the idea to our students we used a video to explain the concept.
We then gave each student our list of topics and they ranked them by preference from 1-3. I took their surveys and organized the results, but I let Allyson do the final groupings because she knows them better and could gauge who would work well together. We had 5 groups- Jewelry, Computer Coding, Movie Making, Chess and Animals. Once they were grouped we spent a day talking to the students about the process of research, using the Super 3 for their framework. The next week they were able to start to research. We met with the groups each week, guided their inquiry when needed and encouraged them to explore their topics. Each group researched the history of their topic and then chose a project to extend their learning. Our jewelry group made bracelets out of string and beads. The computer coding group completed several Hour of Code activities and were determined that they would create the next great video game. Our movie making team wrote a script and filmed the class working on Genius Hour, interviewed each group, edited the film and showed it to the parents on presentation day. The chess group learned to play the game and worked on strategies. It was so fun to see their skill grow each week. Our last group was a little unique because they did not work as a group – they each chose a different animal to research and prepared a presentation about what they learned.
On Wednesday, Dec 16 the students had a 1 hour presentation fair for their parents. We had fantastic attendance and the students were so proud of what they had learned. They were ready to answer questions, share information and show their results. After the first hour we invited the rest of the school to come by. The day was a huge success. The students have already brainstormed the next list of topics and are ready to get going on their next Genius Hour experience. Allyson and I learned a great deal during the process. Our first experience has given us both insight and encouragement and I am going to work with the students on my own while she is out this Spring, having her own little genius! To me this process of student inquiry, that fuels their interests while teaching necessary skills, is invaluable. We know we made a few mistakes, but that is how we learn. And we plan to keep on this path, pursuing our passion for student learning, right along with our little Geniuses.
Our first Media PLC met on December 2nd from 2:00 - 4:00 at Reeds Elementary, hosted by Tracy Varner. At this very busy time of year, we were thrilled to have Amy Daugherty from Wallburg, Tina Heitman from Davis Townsend, Shanna Leonard from Tyro Elementary, and Kate Lewis from Denton Elementary. We enjoyed being together and sharing some great ideas!
With limited budget funding from the state and county levels, we have all discovered that we have to be quite creative when it comes to buying books and other resources for our libraries. Some fundraising ideas we discussed were, of course, Scholastic Book Fair, along with magazine sales, and a “Read-a-thon” during “Read Across America Week”.
Some ideas that work well for the book fair include having one or two preview days for students to build excitement. Including a parent night or special event always attracts parents, grandparents or other family members, as well. If a time can be worked out for teachers to come and preview books one afternoon, this is also a great way to get teachers excited, which will carry over to the classroom.
A couple of folks at the PLC meeting said that one or more magazine sales were also an easy way to raise money. Tina Heitman provided contact information for the company she uses at her school: Great American Opportunities (Contact Person: Brian Kerns cell number: 336-2076440 www.gafundraising.com
Amy Daughtery does a “Read-a-thon” during “Read Across America Week” and is able to collect some quick and easy cash for the library. She provided a link for the letter she sends home to parents that explains the program in detail: https://drive.google.com/a/davidson.k12.nc.us/file/d/0BzbvQtRGuhf-Z3liMVo3UXhpYzg/view?usp=sharing
We also discussed Maker Spaces ideas, which include LEGO stations (WeDo and storystarter kits). Some schools already have these kits, but they’re quite pricey. Suggestions for purchasing include PTO or writing a grant. Another idea is to have craft stations. Amy provided a website for a great science idea (how to engineer a book holder using paper/pom pom launcher): http://childhood101.com/2014/08/create-an-engineering-mystery-bag-challenge-for-kids/
To introduce circuits to 4th graders, “Little Bit” stations could be used, and for 3rd and 5th grader forces and motion units, engineering stations could be used.
Amy shared a great article on “Maker Spaces”: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/schoollibrariesmakerspacescoexistjoshweisgrau
This is the budget she also shared for “Maker Spaces” materials: https://drive.google.com/a/davidson.k12.nc.us/folderview?id=0BzbvQtRGuhf-RnI1OG0tNWNzSHc&usp=sharing_eid&ts=56672b8d
Another document Amy shared with us on “Maker Spaces” at Wallburg: https://drive.google.com/a/davidson.k12.nc.us/folderview?id=0BzbvQtRGuhf-RnI1OG0tNWNzSHc&usp=sharing_eid&ts=56672b8d
Wallburg Maker Spaces:
To incorporate more technology in our classrooms, Tina Heitman shared an idea they use at D.T. They call it the “Titans Rock Technology Challenge”. Teachers are encouraged to use two technology tools per quarter. For example, Kahoot and QR codes are being introduced this quarter. Libby Ferrell came and did a short staff development on these two technology tools.
There are some opportunities for great author visits at really good prices. Kathy McGougan, (author of the “Buddy” books) visited Reeds Elementary last year and only charged $75.00. She lives in Pinehurst, NC and only asks enough to cover her gas. She brings her dog, Buddy with her and the kids absolutely loved her presentation! She would be geared more toward K-2 students. Her email is:
firstname.lastname@example.org via eigbox.net
K - 2 Marty Hartman, author of Wally the Wheelchair lives in Salisbury and visits schools for free. Find out more about him and his book at this site: http://www.wallythewheelchair.com/
3-5 Libby Bagby (state dog: Plott Hound author) $375 fee
K-5 (She is great with all ages); Stacy McAnulty, NC author of Dear Santasaurus. She has 5 new books coming out in 2016! The fee on her website is $400, but she had a half price special going on last Christmas when Tina Heitman invited her for 3-5. This year, Tina invited her for K-3 and she still gave her the half price rate! www.stacymcanulty.com
Our next PLC is Wednesday, February 17 from 2-4pm at Wallburg Elementary. Thank you Amy for hosting us! Hope to see everyone there!
This week's post is from Dianne Wright, media coordinator at Friendship Elementary. Dianne held a used book sale in December to raise money for the school library.
A Used Book Sale in December gives the media center an opportunity to raise money for books to add to the collection. Students enjoy purchasing books for their family to give as holiday gifts. It is a highlight at Friendship’s media center each December! Here is one volunteer’s comments about the Annual Used Book Sale.
“Kids can come in with a handful of change and walk away with something special. For just a little bit more, they can have wrapped presents for their whole family.
The used book sale is fun for the kids but the volunteers also look forward to it. We get together and wrap and laugh, catch up with each other and share stories.
One of the best parts is watching the kids' faces light up when we deliver their wrapped presents to their class rooms. They get so excited about the pretty packages they get to take home.
Below are a few quotes from interviews I conducted with 4 students and a parent. These capture the essence, impact, and success of our Annual December Used Book Sale.
Ayden, a 3rd grader, ( a teacher’s son) said:
The books are cheap and so many to pick from for different kinds of people. It is not that hard to find books that you want to buy. I got one for my sister that she said she wanted at Barnes and Noble. It was a lot cheaper here. My dad is a fan of the Red Sox and he is a fan for that team. My mom is a teacher and I found a book she can read to her class. My little sister is creative and I found a silly book that she would like.
Elizabeth, a 3rd grader, (a teacher’s daughter): It gives me an opportunity to get books that are not that expensive. There are a lot of options of books that you can find. There are a lot of good adult books too. I got an army book for my brother, a cookbook for my mother, and little books for my baby cousin, and some books that I will enjoy.
Logan, a 3rd grader and the brother of Sandora interviewed next: I like the used book sale because all the books are good. I like them all. I buy books for my grandparents, my parents, my brother, and sister. I buy my grandmaw cookbooks, my grandpaw fishing books, my mom cookbooks, my dad hunting books, my sister cat books and music books, and my brother experiment books that he can make stuff.
Sandora, 2nd grader: I came in 3 different times and bought for my brother and all my family! (she is in the picture) You can buy a lot of books. It has tons of books at the used book sale—like over a hundred almost! (Mrs. Wright inserts here--we actually had over 2,000!) People like the books here. They love to buy them. The presents get wrapped and you take them home to your family. I bought me Henny Penny. I bought my brother a duck book and my older brother I got him a book. I got my dad a snake book and my mom I got a journal for her to write in. My older brother in 10th grade has already opened his present. He said he loved it! Everybody has already opened their presents! And they all loved them.
Kelly, a parent: My husband and sons get the biggest kicks when they open their book gifts on Christmas. My husband is delighted when he opens his because our daughter knows his favorite authors and seems to choose the right book each year! We will see what she chooses this year!
Suzanne (a media volunteer): It is also a great opportunity to sort through our books at home and donate some to a great cause. The children can buy nice books for very little money. The media center uses the proceeds to buy resources to give back to the children. Parents get to make extra room on their own book shelves by cleaning out books they no longer need.”
Our annual used book sale was a huge success. Not only is it the most fun and anticipated fund raising event we do, but to see the expressions of pride and joy the students have when they have purchased an expensive book for a dollar or two is well worth any effort we put forth. All the books are donated by parents, students and staff. We gift wrap each purchase for the students, complete with gift tag and bow.
Welcome to the official blog just for DCS library media programs. Enjoy new posts from one of our many contributors and follow along to see the amazing things happening in Davidson County school libraries.