Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Reading Schedule for The Mouse and the Motorcycle

One Book One School

Dear Parents,
Bannockburn School K-5 kicked off “One Book, One School” with a school wide assembly today. We are very excited to be participating in this program for the third year. “O ne Book, One School” is designed to create a shared reading experience within a single school community. We know that reading is key to successful learning, and one of our literacy goals is to build a community of readers among our students, parents, and staff. T he program is designed to create a school-wide "buzz" about books. As we promote a culture of literacy, w e invite you to join us in our adventure. Our K-5 students voted in library, and the winning book is, “ The Mouse And The Motorcycle,” by Beverly Cleary. We will be celebrating our book choice by creating artwork, reading, writing, learning new vocabulary, holding contests, and more! Reading is even more exciting when you can share it with others. Thank you to Bannockburn’s Administration for purchasing individual copies of the book for each student and staff member to keep! 

Mouse and the Motorcycle Recordings

Listen to the teachers read The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary:

Mouse and the Motorcycle recordings

Chapter 1- Mrs. Garneau

Chapter 2- Mrs. Hughes

Chapter 3- Miss Fetzer

Chapter 4- Mrs. McDonald

Chapter 5- Mrs. Ciko

Chapter 6- Mrs. Codell

Chapter 7- Miss Williams

Chapter 8- Ms. O'Rourke

Chapter 9- Ms. Barnes

Chapter 10- Mrs. DeVos

Chapter 11- Mrs. Feldheim

Chapter 12- Mr. Vincent

Chapter 13- Mrs. Barnett

Friday, June 5, 2015

Follett eBooks

All Bannockburn students have access free of charge to the eBook library. We have almost 500 eBooks available! The eBooks can be accessed from any computer using eBook Library site. The username is the first three letters of the first name followed by the first three letters of the last name- no spaces. The password is the student's graduation year from Bannockburn School.

To access the eBooks from a device, go to the Google App Store or the Apple App Store and download the FREE Follett BryteWave K-12 Edition app.

Enter the following URL to access the eBook Library:  https://wbb38452.follettshelf.com/

Enter the username and password as described above.

Books are available for 21 days and when a book expires it automatically returns to the eBook Library.

Books checked out and downloaded onto a device are fully mobile and be read in a car or on an airplane. Books checked out and read on a computer must be connected to a network to work.

You should be able to move back and forth between a mobile device and a computer.


Monday, March 2, 2015

ICE Conference

I recently attended an presented at the ICE Conference and, as always, I had a lot of fun. I went to a half-day workshop on using Lego Mindstorms to teach robotics. We have the kits at school, but I needed a little direction and management help so I feel confident using it with students. I had the chance to build a full robotic car and programmed it to move. I was so proud of my partner in the workshop because our car was done first and it worked! Building robots with programmable sets is challenging- it taps your mathematical and spatial reasoning side, as well as your creative side. Then when you program it you are testing your logical sequencing! It has something for everyone- the builder, the direction follower, the creator, the engineer. I look forward to using the Mindstorms kits with students very soon.

Genius Hour with Third Grade

The third-grade class recently came in for their Genius Hour time. The teacher used this time as a reward for the students, instead of a pajama day, or extra free time. The kids were so excited! We did a Genius Hour project together in second grade so they knew what to expect. The students had an open ended field of ideas, with just two conditions: 1. They had to finish during the 90 minute Genius Hour; 2. Supplies had to available at home or school without shopping for anything new. For example, if they had Lego, they could bring Lego, but they couldn't ask Mom or Dad to go out and buy Lego.  

I gave the teacher a link to some of Joy Kirr's students' videos to share with her students.  This gave them a few ideas and got them excited.

Next, the students met with me as a whole group and their teacher and I gave them the parameters for their projects. We also gave them a planning sheet and they had to meet with us to get it approved. This just helped us make sure they weren't planning anything unsafe, that would take too long, or that would need materials we didn't have. For the most part, the students did a great job. I think the third graders come up with better, more manageable ideas than the 6-8th graders in Activity Class! What does that say? 

Here is a copy of our planning sheet. You are welcome to print it or use it to make your own planning sheet. Sharing is caring!

Here is a peek at the Genius Hour in action:

J.K. is creating another masterful Lego stop-motion animation using the Lego Movie app on the iPad.

I.S. is creating his own board game. He is looking for pictures of checkerboards to print, cut and glue down in a new configuration on his board.

A.A. and T.D. are researching topics they're interested in so they can make posters.
 H.G. is researching the Chicago Blackhawks and making a Google Slideshow.

C.J. is writing music to play on her violin. She is recording her performance in Garage Band.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Reflection on Genius Hour in Activity Class

This year I am teaching an Activity Class every day for 45 minutes to 6-8 grade students. It is the equivalent of an elective class in other schools. I struggled in the fall with ideas to engage the students in something education and fun. They would just prefer to play games on their phones, because they're teenagers and that's what they like to do. I finally decided to create a Maker Space/Genius Hour hybrid where I provide a whole bunch of ideas and they can pick one of mine or propose one of their own.

As part of this process, the students have to write a SMART Goal. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. It was, and still is, a learning curve for the students to really understand what that means. Some students just cannot be specific enough or they struggle to write a measurable outcome. How will I know when it's done? How many will you make? I need a quantifiable number or a target for completion. Other students struggle with figuring out something that's attainable. They have ideas- but they are too big or grandiose for the time we have. Reining in ideas that are too grand is hard. Kids are disappointed. Relevant is hard for some students, too. I want their projects to be relevant to them, but I also want them to CREATE something. Learning by creating is so powerful. I know they can learn a lot by playing Monopoly, but it isn't really the purpose of our class. Finally, timely can be an issue. A project finished in one day is not a good choice, and a project that would take longer than 4 weeks is not a good choice, either. We have 4 weeks together, with 45-minute classes. I ask them to come up with at least one project idea, but no more than three. Each one must have an approved SMART Goal before the student can begin.
Reflection a big part of our class well. Each day the students should reflect on what they accomplished that day. The reflections range in quality from very thoughtful and insightful thinking to one, incomplete, poorly spelled, no punctuation or capitalization afterthought. I wish I could help them see how much reflection will make a difference in their learning. It gives them a moment to think about problems, solutions, progress and great learning.

I have personally been reflecting with the other activity teachers in casual conversations and purposeful meetings. We see the struggle kids have with their reflections, but we feel it is important enough to continue to include it every day. The reflections also provide a way to assess participation in class. We didn't want to assess a final product, but we need a class grade. Engagement and reflection have become our product for assessment.

How do we manage the SMART Goals and Reflections? We use Google Classroom and a Google Slideshow. Each student has a slideshow with a slide for each day of the activity class. Each day they complete the slide with a photo or screenshot (if possible) and a reflection of the day. I can access all of the slideshows through the Google Classroom portal. I leave comments and the students score themselves each week, and I score right alongside.

I am thinking that in my next round of activity class students can earn 2 points each day, one for on task engagement and one for their reflection. I will have a Google Form link they will fill out each day as part of their reflection where they self-assess.  The totals will give them a percent of their final grade.

Activity class has definitely been a growing process for me. I want it to be purposeful and meaningful to the students. I want them fully engaged and excited about their learning. I want them to create goals and work toward them. I want them to have a choice in what they learn. Most of all, I want them to learn.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Listen to Teachers Reading Humphrey

Please visit the SoundCloud site to listen to teachers reading each chapter. More chapters will be added as they are recorded.

Humphrey Recordings

Chapter 1 Read by Mrs. Garneau

Chapter 2 Ready by Ms. Fetzer

Chapter 3 Read by Mrs. McDonald

Chapter 4 Read by Ms. Price (1st grade student teacher)

Chapter 5 Read by Ms. Williams

Chapter 6 Read by Mrs. Ciko

Chapter 7 Read by Mrs. DeVos

Chapter 8 Read by Mr. Vincent

Chapter 9 Read by Mrs. McMillin

Chapter 10 Read by Mrs. Jacobson

Chapter 11 Read by Mrs. Codell

Chapter 12 Read by Mrs. Kramer- coming soon!

Chapter 13 Read by Mrs. Hulfish

Chapter 14 Read by Mrs. Hughes

Chapter 15 Read by Mrs. Feldheim

One Book, One School Reading Schedule

One Book, One School 2015

Today we celebrated the announcement of our 2015 One Book, One School title. All students in grades K-5 voted and The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney was the top choice.

We have many fun activities planned so we can enjoy the book as a school community. Please check back often for new links and materials. You will find audio recordings by the teachers for each chapter, reading schedules, vocabulary words, contests, pictures- all sorts of fun!