Monday, February 24, 2014

Update on 5th Grade Library Class

Over half a school year has gone by, and though winter is still crushing our spirits, we have things to celebrate and achievements have been made. For my students in 5th grade library class, those achievements have been great.

For most of the fall we spent time in our class learning about the school provided Google accounts. Students who had never sent an email can now regularly use it correctly. (Though they are a little obsessed with the animated emoticons!) Students learned how to create documents in Google Drive instead of using Microsoft Word. And these documents were shared between people to turn in assignments and to collaborate. Overall the students have a good basic understanding of the parts of their Google accounts, which will support them throughout their middle and high school careers.

Simultaneously while learning about Google we also spent time discussing various internet safety topics. Bullying, security, and the fact that everything is out there forever were heavily featured. 

As first turned to second semester we started on research. Students in fifth grade have completed one research project already, based around a country of their choosing. We utilized the Big 6 research process to keep us organized, used a graphic organizer to take notes, and practiced our writing (and hand writing) skills by putting facts into a paragraph. 

Next up, will be sports research. Students will be using a digital packet in Google Drive to complete research on a sport. We will be introducing a great online resource, the Encyclopedia Britannica, which is available to all Wisconsin residents for free through Badgerlink.

So that's a quick update on our 5th grade library classes. To see more complete descriptions of activities and weekly lessons you can visit the 5th Grade Library page

Friday, February 14, 2014

Info Tech Literacy Focus #3

There is no textbook for library class. There are no guidelines about what should be taught at each grade level. There are information and technology standards, but the Wisconsin ones are from 1998 and the national ones are very generic. So what does that mean for us.

We have scheduled library classes for grades K-5 which meet approximately once per week for one hour. These students are coming to the library to check out books for sure, but after that 15-20 minutes, what is our goal for library class?

For many years, I fell back on my training as an educator and as a library media specialist and focused on what I thought were important skills that may not be covered in other class. There was nothing wrong with this, except that there was no documentation backing up what I was doing. Thus, three years ago when the all the teaching staff in the district started entering curriculum into on online database, I was given the opportunity to put my training and professional knowledge down on paper.

I started by looking at the state standards (though old) and the national standards. Pulling out the important points in each and thinking about the needs of our students, I came up with five main focuses for the district pertaining to information and technology literacy (library classes). I'm going to jump into focus #3 because it's something I haven't touched on much in previous posts.

Focus #3 - Students at SCC will be able to collaborate, communicate, and share knowledge using appropriate tools.
  • Essential Question: What tools are available to work with and communicate with other students and staff? How do I use them effectively?
  • Essential Question: What tools are available to share my knowledge? How do I use them effectively?

We live in a global economy and civilization. People and places from around the world effect our daily lives, and our workforce interacts with those people and places daily as well. Thus one of the main focuses of info tech literacy is supporting student's growth with using collaboration and communication tools.

I could go on and on, but instead I'll leave you with links to some of the ways students can collaborate, communicate, and share their work with others. Enjoy!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Elementary Olympic Reading Challenge

This year the elementary library is hosting the first ever Olympic Reading Challenge. In honor of the Olympics, each class will be competing in several reading events in order to help their class medal.

Reading events vary from simple things like reading a book from the library to team events like having four students reading the same book. But the class is competing together (like a home country) in order to complete events and medal together. Several students can work on an event or events can be divided up evenly between them.

For official rules and event listings can be found HERE. And good luck to all classes!