Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My 4th Grade Heart

There is something about 4th graders that just melts my heart. They are at the perfect age. They don't hate most authority, they still hug their teacher, they are willing to help, and most enjoy learning. Having taught 4th grade for most of my teaching career I grew to know and love the little guys. Knowing this, I was truly looking forward to them visiting the library to do a little research on the Texas Native Americans.

4th grade visited the library last week with a mission. They were studying Texas Native American's in their classrooms for Social Studies. They had an essential question they had to answer. This helped them to know why they were looking up information. It gave them their mission!

Essential question
What Texas Native American Indian Tribe would you join? Explain why you would join that group.

When we framed the lesson I did the "We will" and the teacher wrote and explained the "I will". It looked a little like this:

We will learn how to tell if a website is a good resource for information and learn where to find research links on the library webpage.
I will research and answer questions about Texas Native Americans using the library webpage.

The students came in with questions to guide their research while having their essential question in the back of their mind. Each tribe had a generic set of questions to guide their thinking. It looked a little like this:

  • Where they lived and what they lived in
  • How their lives have changed over the years
  • How they were organized
  • What did they do

Texas Native American Tribes: 

Before they delved in we talked a little about finding a good source on the internet and making sure the website was a GOOD resource. We talked about how ANYONE can put information on the internet (even kids) But, that doesn't make it accurate information.
I had previously gathered links to several of the Online Resources that are free and available to all MISD students through our Library webpage. After showing them how to access them from home and at school we found a few together. Afterwards, they used our brand new Apple MacBook Air computers and set out to conquer their mission
Here's a peek at one of the classes hard at work in the collaboration lab:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dot Day


Dot day was a HUGE success at Black Elementray! How might I know it was successful, you may ask? Well...the kids are STILL talking about it and begging for Peter H. Reynolds' famous book, The Dot. So to me that is a successful Dot Day and a 1st Annual Dot Day. Yep...meaning we will be doing it again...annually!

What did we do on this so called Dot Day? And what in the world is Dot Day?

Dot Day is celebrated near and far...internationally that is. The whole school read The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds...nope not my brother, uncle, cousin, or husband...(I had to clarify this with my students, me being a Reynolds and all). I was able to read the book to nearly all of the Kinder thru 3rd grade and I sent a youtube link to the 4th-6th Grade teachers of the book being read. Finally, the following Monday (Dot Day) every class created their OWN Dot creation. Each teacher chose the best 2 from their class and sent it down to the library to be displayed in our own art gallery, much like Vashti's in the book. We displayed the dot art in the Library's hall windows.

Next year I would probably do things a little differently. I will definitely get the art teacher involved with this being very artsy! She was away on maternity leave during Dot Day this year. I know there are many other activities that can be done so I will hopefully implement them next year.

That was Dot Day at Black Elementary!
Here are a few pic of the Art Gallery...