“What is Under the Bed?” Can You Predict?

I love incorporating literacy skills into lab activities and bringing in technology is a fun and effective way to make predictions.

This year, I discovered the book, What’s Under the Bedby Joe Fenton. It’s a quick, rhyming book about a boy named Fred who is trying to go to sleep but hears noises under his bed. He finally decides to check it out:  “One, Two, Three, Four . .  . It’s time to look on the floor!” And, that’s where I stopped!

Before class, I created a template and air dropped it to our shared iPads. When the students arrived, we worked together to add a name to their page and set up the drawing feature. After doing some predicting by discussing the title, I told the children they could illustrate as I read. We read till we reached the page where Fred was about to look under his bed. At that point, the directions were to:

  1. finish illustrating your prediction,
  2. write your prediction, and
  3. record your prediction.

Instead of giving all the instructions at once, the students drew for about ten minutes. As they began to wrap up the drawings, I showed how to record. Soon all were off to various corners of the room, using our “telephone’ mics or the recording cubes.

When everyone had completed their one-page book and air-dropped it to me, we finished reading. What is great about this book is that there are visual clues to what is under the bed. It’s several pages back and you have to watch to catch it. This was a great way to discuss how important it is to look at ALL clues – in the text as well as in the illustrations!

Making Predictions with Second Graders from Trinity Valley School on Vimeo.

The class ebooks can be read on an iOS device (iPad or iPhone) by following the directions below. This eBook will NOT work properly on any other device (i.e. Kindle, Android tablet or phone).  However, the books have also been saved as a video that can be seen on any computer or mobile device.

Instructions for Viewing Books and Videos:

If you are downloading the ePub books, remember that you need to click on the book link while on an iPad or iPhone that has the iBooks app. Choose download and open in iBooks.

Click on the word “book” or “video” to view the projects.

Wanted: Tiny Rooms for Stuart Little

The second grade classes are reading Stuart Little this year. After attending the LLI Southwest conference in February, our teachers are eager to incorporate design thinking and makerspace activities into their curriculum. One of our teachers, Mrs. Shapard, came to me with the idea of having her students create a small room to better fit Stuart Little. We brainstormed materials that might be helpful for students to use and she asked parents to send in anything that might be useful for the project. Soon, her room was filled with boxes, empty paper towel/toilet paper rolls, fabric scraps, buttons, small plastic bottles, and much more.

I really like Launch Cycle by John Spencer and AJ Juliani to move the students through the design thinking process. “Launch” is an acronym that describes each step in the process. I also like the cycle image so that students have a great visual showing planning and creating as a continuous process.

Empathy is a critical part of the process and this is a challenge for any age, especially for younger children who like to create something based on their likes. The challenge was to think like Stuart Little. What would he like in his room? We started with a thinking time about a minute long. That seems like an eternity for students who are ready to build!

We talked about architects and builders; how they would never start to build something without having plans first. One of the parents in this class is a builder so the child knew exactly what I was talking about and eagerly explained it to her peers.

As we began, I first asked the students to get some ideas in their head. No drawing yet! After a long minute, we moved to the next step which was to sketch out their ideas for the room. Again, I just gave them a short time (a couple of minutes). There were lots of groans and comments that it was TOO short!

Before we moved on to the next part, we discussed how to disagree without hurting anyone’s feelings. This step involved telling about the ideas and then deciding which to use. We stressed that parts of each sketch could easily be incorporated into the chosen design. Then the chatter between each pair of students began. We loved hearing the respectful way that each child listened. They truly wanted to hear about their partner’s ideas.

The next step – building! The children were SO excited! As we walked around observing and asking questions, we learned more about the thinking processes of the children. And, that was fascinating! One boy told us that he couldn’t find the supplies that they wanted to use for their room so they “had to start from scratch.” No complaining about lack of supplies, he and his partner solved that roadblock and moved on!

Here’s a video to show the students in action.

After about 30 minutes, Mrs. Shapard had to send the students to Spanish. The students had additional time later that day and into the next. At that point, the students were told building would end that day. Later, I saw Mrs. Shapard who told me that the students were mad at her. When asked why, she reported that they weren’t at all ready to stop!

At our reflection meeting, I asked the students to tell me how they felt about the designing and building. Here are some responses:

  • It was hard getting an idea and then choosing which one to build.
  • We had trouble getting things to stick together so maybe the supplies weren’t the best.
  • It was easier to draw the design on the paper than it was to build it when you found out you didn’t have the right materials.
  • It’s going to be hard to decide who keeps what we built.
  • We couldn’t find one of the supplies that we’d used earlier so we had to find something else and make it work.
  • My partner did a lot of compromising with me.
  • It was hard agreeing where to place things.

As for the teacher reflection, we decided that perhaps the challenge was too open-ended and really couldn’t be completed in a reasonable amount of time. Next time we’ll narrow the focus. Regardless, the planning, designing, communicating, and compromising that occurred was well worth it!

 

Dr. Seuss Book Spin-Offs

Aren’t Dr. Seuss books fun? His whimsical illustrations and storytelling create wonderful opportunities for students to enter a world of silly make-believe, while still having a life lesson for children (and adults).

Our second graders listened to The Foot Book as they designed their own foot or shoe in the Book Creator app. I loved seeing all kinds of interesting feet or shoes such as the ones that spouted crayons or confetti.

As the students completed their drawings, they recorded what these new feet or shoes could do. Each child air dropped their book to me so that I could combine them into a class book.

Here’s a video of one of the second grade books:

Zabriskie The Foot Book from Trinity Valley

Our third graders read I Wish that I Had Duck Feet. This book is about a boy who wishes he had different animal parts – duck feet, whale spout, elephant’s trunk, and so on. He thinks of all the fantastic things he could do with these parts. However, there’s always a downside to each one.

The students were asked to think of an animal part that they would like to have. They were to draw a picture in Book Creator, record the pros and cons of the part, and air drop the book to me so that I could create the class books.

It was so much fun listening to what they chose. A few even tried to write in rhyme like Dr. Seuss.

Here’s one of the third grade stories saved as a video.Gramentine Dr. Seuss and Duck Feet Stories from Trinity Valley School on Vimeo.

Enjoy all of our books and videos!

If you are downloading the ePub books, remember that you need to click on the book link while on an iOS device having the iBooks app. Choose download and open in iBooks. (We had several children absent on the day that we made the books. If you don’t see your child’s work, that is the reason.)
 
Mrs. Garcia’s Foot and Shoe book
Mrs. Garcia’s video
 
Mrs. Shapard’s Foot and Shoe book
Mrs. Shapard’s video
 
Mrs. Zabriskie’s Foot and Shoe book
Mrs. Zabriskie’s video
Mrs. Gramentine’s “I Wish I Had . . .” book
Mrs. Gramentine’s video
 
Mrs. Prescott’s “I Wish I Had . . .” book
Mrs. Prescott’s video
 
Mrs. Weth’s “I Wish I Had . . .” book
Mrs. Weth’s video

 

Kindness Makes a Difference!

The entire Lower School focused on kindness during the month of February. Our first graders brainstormed about ways to be kind to others. We then asked the children to draw a picture showing a kind act using the Book Creator app.

The children then completed the sentence starter, Kindness Is, as they wrote and recorded their thoughts.

As the books were completed, the children air dropped theirs to me so that I could combine them into a class book. These were saved as an ePub book to be read on iOS devices as well as a video that can be seen on any platform.

We hope you enjoy their thoughts on kindness!

Below are links to the videos and the ePub books. To download the books, click on the link while on an iOS device that has the iBooks app. Choose download and open in iBooks.

Mrs. Crumley’s Kindness Book
Mrs. Crumley’s Kindness Video

Mrs. Hutchinson’s Kindness Book
Mrs. Hutchinson’s Kindness Video

Mrs. Kee’s Kindness Book
Mrs. Kee’s Kindness Video

 

Making Predictions!

drawing-pad-appDrawing apps, literature, and predicting are a fantastic combination! The first graders were introduced to the Drawing Pad app ($1.99 but any drawing app would work) in an earlier meeting so that they had time to experiment with all the tools.

fullsizerenderThis week we added a new component: predicting what will happen in a story using the clues the author/illustrator provides. The book we read is an old one but the children really enjoy it – The Dark at the Top of the Stairs by Sam McBratney. The story is about three young mice, living in a cellar, who want to explore what is at the top of the stairs.

To begin the lesson, I reviewed the tools in the app; including how to save. Then I read the first couple of pages to grab their interest. As I continued to read, the children were asked to open their iPad and start drawing what they predicted the mice would find at the top of the stairs. Just as the we reached the point where the door to the cellar opened, revealing what was at the top, I closed the book and let the students complete their drawings. You could have heard a pin drop!

The children were asked to write their name along with their prediction (most remembered!) and then they saved their work to the camera roll. The first ones finished were shown how to air drop the images to my iPad and then they were to help others. We had quite a workflow going with lots of fabulous helpers!

Here’s a peek at their predictions!

Sharing Our Book

Recently the fourth grade classes worked in small groups to create a Lego ABC book to share with kindergarteners. (Click here for post about making the book.)

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Our sharing took place on a beautiful afternoon so we gathered the iPads, the kinder students chose a “big” kid for a partner, and off we went. The little ones were enthralled with the 4th graders but what surprised me is how well the older students did with their young charges!

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While the big kids weren’t too eager to hold hands with the little ones (that was my suggestion that fell flat!), they were great at keeping them entertained with the book, talking to them, asking about their interests.

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The only problem we encountered was getting too far away from buildings and then we’d lose Wi-Fi. But, that was an easy fix.

We returned to the lab with a few minutes to spare. That allowed time to finish viewing the Lego Book and share other apps.

FullSizeRender

It was a really good experience for our oldest Lower School students to interact with our youngest ones! Looking at the smiles on faces makes these kinds of activities worth every minute.

 

Nouns, Nouns Everywhere!

Thanks to ideas from a fabulous post by Meghan Zigmond called Noun Cards, our first graders went on a search for nouns to review what they had learned about that part of speech.

I started the discussion by asking what a noun is (person, place, or thing). We then brainstormed ideas for each category. The students were told they were to take an iPad photo of a noun, check it to make sure it wasn’t blurry, then return to their seat for the next part of the activity.

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Using Meghan’s idea for a script, the students circled what type of noun they found and wrote what it was called.

Noun Video Script for 1st grade

Next step – add the photo to ChatterPix Kids (free iOS app). I love this app because it is so intuitive for even the youngest students. The children were asked to type the name of their noun and “by ___” (add their name). They were sent off to record in “quiet” places in the room. When you are trying to record an entire class in a short amount of time, there’s never a completely quiet spot and there’s always a bit of background noise. But, isn’t that the sign of an engaged class??

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Recording with Mrs. Kee

 

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Adding text to the video.

All this took about 40 minutes which I thought was not bad considering the students hadn’t used the app before!

Sample video:

The following week, we uploaded the video to our blogs. The first graders have been blogging but we hadn’t done so on the iPad. What’s nice is that KidBlog’s interface is now the same on a computer or on an iPad so it was an easy transition.

noun hunt

Uploading video to blog

Sample post

Sample post

The students wrote a sentence or two about the process and/or about their noun and uploaded their video. I’m having the 4th graders leave comments for the little ones. (They won’t admit it but it’s obvious they’ve enjoyed seeing what the little ones are doing and then giving them feedback!)

sample comment

If you would like to leave comments, visit the following blogs. Thanks!

Mrs. Crumley’s blog

Mrs. Hutchinson’s blog

Mrs. Kee’s blog

Making Predictions!

book cover It Could Have Been Worse, by A.H. Benjamin, is the perfect book for making predictions. Through text and illustrations, the reader is able to examine many clues to determine what might happen next to the little mouse. Every time I read the book I find picture clues I’d missed previously!

I asked our first graders to look and listen closely to the story as I read a portion of it. I stopped at a different spot for each class, with instructions NOT to tell friends in other classes what was coming next in the story! We talked about what a prediction is (a good guess) and then I asked the children to predict what would happen next in the story.

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iPads were distributed and we opened the Book Creator app. The students found their book (I’d created each child’s book ahead of time) and I went over the drawing tools. We discussed the items needed for a finished page:

  • Illustration
  • Text saying what they predicted
  • Their name
  • Recorded narration of their prediction

Once the 4 steps were completed, the children were ready to air drop to my iPad so that all pages could be compiled into a class book.

finished

We encouraged the students to sound out the words and spell the best they could. We assured the children that they would be recording their narration so even if their invented spelling didn’t match conventional spelling, everyone would know what they meant.

I think a peregrine falcon is going to eat the snake then the peregrine falcon is going to eat the mouse.

I think a peregrine falcon is going to eat the snake then the peregrine falcon is going to eat the mouse.

To airdrop, I taught a couple of people what to do which made the entire process run smoothly!

air drop

Here’s look at the process:

Not everyone finished in our 40 minute session so we couldn’t read the rest of the story that day. However, those that didn’t finish were able to quickly complete their page the following week and we finished reading the book. There were lots of happy exclamations of, “Oh, I guessed it!” or “I was close!”

The class books were saved in two formats – as a video and as an ePub book. To download the ePub book, tap on the words “ePub book” next to the teacher’s name while on an iOS device. Be sure to have the iBooks app installed. Choose download then Open in iBooks.

Tips for a Smoother Lesson:

  • Set up the book in Book Creator ahead of time. I only have the students for 40 minutes so it was much easier to have as much ready to go as possible!
  • Write a word bank on the board. Include some basic words but encourage students to sound out as best they can. Having a few words available seemed to instill confidence in writers reluctant to try to sound out.
  • Use the students to help the others! Workflow is much smoother with help!!

 

Responding to Literature Through Drawing

Dark at the Top of the StairsAs a way to demonstrate to teachers how students could use drawing on the iPad to respond to literature, I decided to read The Dark at the Top of the Stairs by Sam Bratney. It’s a fun book about three little mice who want to see what is really at the top of the cellar stairs. And, it’s the perfect book for making predictions!

I introduced the Drawing Pad app ($1.99) to the first graders and let them explore the tools for awhile, drawing anything they chose. We learned how to save to the camera roll too.

Next, I gathered everyone and discussed the title of the book. “What might it be about? What clues do you get from the title?” I told the students that they would be making a prediction when I reached a stopping point in the book. While we read, they were encouraged to draw one or more of the characters. At the point where the mice just reached the top of the stairs, I stopped and asked the children to predict and draw what might be behind the closed door. They worked furiously to create their predictions! Every once in awhile I’d ask if they were ready to find out what the author chose as the “dark at the top of the stairs.” I’d immediately hear a chorus of “No, not yet!!”

Eventually, everyone finished their wonderfully detailed illustrations. We read the rest of the story and discussed their predictions. The students were eager to show off their drawings so we took lots of group photos!

For this activity, the purpose was for students and teachers to become familiar with the app and share an example of how to use it with literature. Next time, we’ll pull the drawing into other apps such as Book Creator or Draw and Tell. Then students can record their voice telling about their prediction.

 

Google Lit Trips

I wanted to share a website that has been around awhile but it’s one that is an invaluable resource.

GLT image

Google Lit Trips, the brainchild of Jerome Burg, combines literature with the power of Google Earth. Imagine being able to “travel” with the character to various settings in the book! As students “stop” in each location, they are able to more deeply discuss the book as they virtually experience the actual locale. They are making connections: text-to-self and text-to-world. Each stop always includes at least one of the following: possible questions to ask, links to related sites, images, video. This is truly a powerful tool to bring literature to life!

The site offers something for every age – from Make Way for Ducklings to Number the Stars to The Grapes of Wrath. Many of the Lit Trips are teacher-made and some have even been created by students.

A few years ago, I worked with Jerome on a lit trip to London. This was based on the book, A Walk in London, by Salvatore Rubbino. Let me just say that Jerome is fantastic to work with – he offers wonderful suggestions and is truly an expert at mapping the trips!

armadilloIn January, I was pleased to hear from Jerome again. This time he was thinking about a Texas-themed book because he would be presenting at the Texas Library Association annual conference. The book he decided on was The Armadillo from Amarillo, by Lynne Cherry. I was excited to again be asked to help with this lit trip! At his session at TxLA, Jerome introduced the latest Google Lit Trip:

The Armadillo from Amarillo

At TxLA, I was able to attend Jerome’s session and then my husband and I had the pleasure of having dinner with Jerome and his wife, Barbara. What a treat to visit and get to know them better! For me, it’s always great fun to meet someone whom I’ve worked with from a distance.

Jerome Burg at TxLA

Please give Google Lit Trips a visit. I guarantee that this will be a fantastic way to engage students!