Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reading Across the Continents

Earlier in the year, my 5th hour, Day 1 Integrated Technology students began a collaboration with Constantia Waldorf School in in Cape Town, South Africa.  Due to timezone differences, we were unable to Skype with one another.  Still we felt that a connection between our students would be so powerful and meaningful.  We decided instead to exchange videos of our students reading aloud a favorite title and then sharing a little bit about our respective schools.  

In small groups, our New London students had to make a few important decisions: What books would they read and what aspects of our school and community did they want to share with other students across an entire ocean?  Once these decisions were made, each group went to work reading a favorite children's book and deciding how they wanted to share more about New London.  To give you an idea of our exchange, here is one group's video.


Unfortunately, time moved too quickly, and our friends in South Africa were not able to get their videos to us in time. Today, though, they did send us a fun surprise- a few pictures of the class with hand-made thank yous for sharing our videos.  We were so excited to see the faces of the students for whom we created our videos.

Regardless of geographic and timezone differences, collaboration with students from different parts of the world is possible through creative uses of technology.  We can't wait to come back to school this fall to finally see the videos that our Cape Town partners have created. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jump Start your Battle of the Books Reading

The official 2014-15 Battle of the Books list has been published.  Battle of the Books is a statewide reading competition sponsored by WEMTA.  Students form teams of 2-4 students and read all of the books on the list.  In February, teams compete in the statewide competition where they will answer questions about the books.  Get a jump start on this competition by beginning to read this summer.  Below are the lists for both the elementary division and the middle division.  The elementary division is open to all students in grade 5.  Happy summer reading!

Elementary Division List

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming
Big Nate Flips Out by Lincoln Peirce
The Dark by Lemony Snicket
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Killer Species: Out for Blood by Michael P. Spradlin
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Loser by Jerry Spinelli
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
The Nazi Invasion, 1944 (I Survived series #9) by Lauren Tarshis
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Oh, No! by Candace Fleming
Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean
Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

 Middle Division List

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Doll Bones by Holly Black
The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen
Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
Jinx by Sage Blackwood
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
March. Book One by John Lewis
Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan
The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman
One for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly Hunt
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
Rush for the Gold: Mystery at the Olympics by John Feinstein
Serafina’s Promise by Anne Burg
Truce by Jim Murphy
Tunnels by Roderick Gordon
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt


100 Nights of Reading End-of-the-Year Celebration

This year we decided to try a new challenge with our students.  We challenged them to read 100 nights this school year.  Students kept reading logs to document that they read at least 20 minutes per night.  After completing 25 nights of reading, students were able to choose a prize from the prize box.  Upon completion of 100 nights, they received an invitation to our end-of-the-year celebration that included a build-your-own ice cream sundae station.

Congratulations to all students who participated this year and successfully met the challenge!