Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Skype with Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Today our 8th grade DPMS students had the opportunity to meet an author for the very first time. As an extra bonus, we were so lucky that this author happened to be Lynda Mullaly Hunt.  After sharing her inspirations for both of her books One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree, our students had the opportunity to ask her questions.  Excited about speaking with a professional author for the very first time, our students were especially interested in learning more about Lynda's writing process.  Our students wanted to know everything about how to overcome writer's block, avoiding writing a "bad ending," and where she finds her writing ideas.

After saying goodbye, the library was abuzz with "That was so cool!" and "She was so good!"  Thank you Lynda Mullaly Hunt for inspiring our young writers and giving your time to speak with our students.  Writers who take time for their young readers show kids that their voices matter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Thanks for a great Teen Read Week!

We have officially wrapped up Teen Read Week 2015.  We had so much fun watching students participate in all of our activities.  A special congratulations goes out to our three winners who correctly uncovered all of the staff mystery readers.  (Stop in the library to see them all "uncovered"). We are still accepting book blind date reviews. Keep your blind date going, return your review, and exchange it for a prize once you have finished reading!

These students are making their book blind date choices- carefully!
Two great blind dates!
Stop in the library to see our mystery readers "uncovered.
We hope that you enjoyed all of our library's fun Teen Read Week events!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Activity Day Lego Building Challenge

Today was not a usual Fun Friday at DPMS.  Not only was it an early release day for students but it was also activity day.  During the 75 minute activity block, students could choose to attend one or two advertised activities.  Choices ranged from cupcake decorating to gaming in the computer lab to silent reading.

I thought that this time offered a great opportunity for students to utilize some of the materials in our new Makerspace.   Inspired by the amazing Lego Quest Challenge blog and considering our abundance of Legos, I offered a "Lego Building Challenge" in the LMC.  The rules were minimal and simple: choose from an assortment of Lego challenge cards, gather materials, and build a creation in the allotted time.

Since this activity was something that I have never personally done with students before, I had no idea what to expect.  Of course, I should have known that I would be blown away!  This was a group of 7th and 8th grade boys who had free reign to create with Legos!  What more creative group exists?

After choosing a challenge card, students gathered their materials and got to work.  Students used no resources other than their own imaginations to create their chosen challenges.

Once time was up, each group explained what they created.  I was especially amazed by the intricacy of their designs and even some of the stories that some students created to go with what they built. I can only imagine the ways in which this group would use Legos in their classrooms to share their learning.  Legos are a perfect accompaniment to lessons on vocabulary, recreating events in history, or sharing a story.

Here are some images of the finished products so that you can see for yourself some of the amazing work that was created in about an hour.

An intricate aircraft
A Halloween inspired house
A labyrinth with trap doors and secret passages

A boat that can only be considered a marvel of engineering
A futuristic car that can also transport aircraft

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Teen Read Week- October 19-23

We are excited to participate in YALSA's Teen Read Week festivities beginning next Monday, October 19. The DPMS library has many fun activities planned for you.  We hope that you will stop in the library all week long and participate.  Your participation could also earn you some fabulous prizes.  Check out our flyer below for a complete list of next week's events.  We will see you in the library for Teen Read Week!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

DPMS Students are Getting Connected Through The Global Read Aloud

DPMS students are getting connected.  For six weeks beginning October 5, a group of 7th grade students will meet with me and Literacy Coach, Mrs. Rohan to discuss the book Fish by L.S. Matthews.  Using a variety of digital tools such as Facetime, Twitter, Voxer, Google Apps for Education, and Write About, this group will regularly connect with students from our partner school, Tosorontio Central Public School, in Everett, Ontario, Canada as well as with students from other parts of the United States and the world during the course of this project.  Our connections are part of our participation in The Global Read Aloud Project, an initiative created by Oregon, WI teacher Pernille Ripp. For six weeks beginning October 5, participating teachers from around the world will choose one of the GRA selected books, read it aloud with their students, and then form worldwide connections through various virtual outlets.  Currently, there are over 500,000 students from over 60 countries participating in this project.

Today, our Fish group met for the first time to discuss the book.  After reading chapters one and two, students made some interesting observations:
  • They identified that the author does not reveal the gender of the main character, but the entire group thought that he was a boy.
  • The main character appears to be between 9 and 11 years of age, but again the author does not reveal the exact age.
  • The family is fleeing a country and moving to another.
  • This situation is similar to what is happening now in Syria as large numbers of refugees continue to flee the war-torn country.

Each Thursday our group will meet to continue our Fish discussion with our partner school and other virtual connections I will find posted on Twitter, Voxer, or Edmodo.  Next week we will have our first Facetime chat with our friends in Ontario. We will have the opportunity to do a question and answer session about chapters 1-4 and determine if our Canadian friends are making similar discoveries and connections during the course of their reading.

We are thrilled to participate in this year's Global Read Aloud, and I look forward to sharing more about our connections as we progress through the next five weeks.