Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wonderful Wonderers!

Students added some of their Wonders to our bulletin board.

What a year this has been. So many new and fun learning opportunities in our library for students and staff.  One of the greatest joys for me has been collaborating with one of our grade one teachers, Julie Colantoni. Julie is a lifetime learner who loves to try new things for herself and her students. Our latest collaboration is an Inquiry Project we introduced to her class last week. We met ahead of time to plan this unit and to think about what Inquiry looks like for our young learners. These are some the words we discussed: questioning, wondering, predicting and background knowledge and how they would relate to the project. We looked at the Stripling Model of Inquiry.

We also talked about the concept of Genius Hour, how letting students have a say in what they are learning creates excitement and passion.  We decided that our students would be able to choose any topic from our brand new PebbleGo Earth and Space Data Base, which is designed for primary age students.  We tweaked the Share What You Know page from PebbleGo to fit our needs:

To kick-off the project, the class came to the library.  We discussed the concept of Inquiry and Wonder. Then we introduced them to PebbleGo using the projector so everyone could see the screen.

We modeled how to find topics using the visual search option, how they could choose different tabs to locate specific information, what they would find within each tab, how they could listen to and/or read the text, watch videos and more. These are true 21st century skills! To model, I choose to learn about caves because a dear friend is currently staying at a cave hotel in Turkey (talk about connecting to and wondering about a topic). We also talked about how important it is to cite your sources. Our students were excited to get started!

The class came back to the library in the afternoon.  Because we have ten computers, we divided the class in half.  Ten students would work on a different project that had begun in class and the other ten would use PebbleGo. Then we would switch groups.  We handed out the worksheets. Each student went to a computer and amazingly got busy right away, like they were research pros!  They searched through the data base looking for a topic they wanted to learn about.  Here's what it looked like:

Next up, I will pull books from our library on the topics the students selected.  They will learn to gather additional facts from these resources and then add it to the Share What You Know page. When all the information is collected, our students will be given a few choices for how they can share their new learning.  We will also think about how the reflection piece of this project will look. More on these in a future post.

We are so proud of our WONDERful WONDERers!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mystery Reader!!

Last week we had a mystery reader visit one of our 1st grade classes in the library.  This was a first for me, as I've never done this during one of my scheduled classes.  The kids were all excited. When I asked who they thought this might be, one of the students said, "It's your son." He was correct (not to mention that he was able to read the visitor tag my son was wearing with the name Alex Groden on it!). This information launched a series of comments such as, "I know someone named Alex," "My cousin has a friend named Alex," "My brother's birthday is on St. Patrick's Day," and more. Alex did his best to respond to each comment without giggling.  This was so fun for me to watch.

Alex, who will be graduating from law school this spring, had never read to a class before, but he was game.  I selected Interupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein.

What a fun story.  Alex did a great job reading it and the kids loved listening to him.

Alex also had some fun with the kids at the computers. They impressed him with their skills.

Alex couldn't get over how happy and earnest our students are.  How happy and friendly the staff he met at Memorial School are. As his proud mom, I couldn't agree more.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Seuss-tasitc and WRAD-ical Week at Memorial!

Memorial School Interim Principal Dr. Quigley and Police Chief Meaney
Chief Meaney, Wheelock Principal Donna Olson, Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Marsden and Selectman Pete Peterson

Dr. Quigley, Dr. Marsden and Pete Peterson

Fire Chief William Kingsbury

Chief Meaney

Mrs. Donna Olson

Dr. Jeffrey Marsden

Many familiar faces who live or work in Medfield stopped by Memorial School on March 5th to read a story to  the Pre-School, Kindergarten and First Grade students as part of the Read Across America program sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA).  This national program celebrates reading and is always celebrated near March 2, the birthday of children's author, Dr. Seuss. 

The children at the Memorial School welcomed:
  • Medfield Fire Chief, William Kingsbury
  • Medfield Police Chief, Robert Meaney
  • Medfield Superintendent, Jeffrey Marsden
  • Medfield High School Principal, Robert Parga
  • Blake Middle School Principal, Nat Vaughn
  • Dales St School Principal, Louise Snyder
  • Wheelock School Principal, Donna Olson
  • Memorial Interim Principal, Dr. Ed Quigley
  • Retired Memorial Kindergarten Teacher, Sue Green
  • Medfield Veterinary owner, Dr. Richard Crowell
  • MAP teacher, Kurt Jackson
  • Medfield Children's Librarian, Kim Tolson
  • Park Street Books & Toys store owner, Jim James
  • Beginning Years owner, Cathleen Farrell
  • Board of Selectman, Richard DeSorgher
  • Selectman, Osler "Pete" Peterson
  • Medfield Children's Center teacher Sharon Maillet
Memorial School events during the week of March 5th through 8th included Kick-off assemblies led by interim principal,Dr. Quigley, the visiting Community Readers and A Cat in the Hat Day/wear Red & White including a visit from the Cat in the Hat! 

                                             The Cat in the Hat greeting students as they entered school on March 7!

Cat in the Hat made at the library Maker Table

Cat in the Hat greeting our preschoolers

How many Cat in the Hats do you see in this Preschool class?

Memorial School also participated in World Read Aloud Day this week. WRAD calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories. Several first grade classes connected via Skype with classes in five different states to meet and share favorite books.

Our wonderful CSA Literacy Committee at work greeting Community Readers

A HUGE shout-out goes to CSA Literacy Committee Chair, Michelle Callahan for meeting with me to plan our celebration, for arranging for all the Community Readers and for her team of volunteers. The literacy committee did a fantastic job of decorating our school for Read Across America and for doing such a perfect job of surprising and entertaining the students with the Cat in the Hat. Everyone at Memorial school so appreciates all the time and effort involved in making this one of the best RAA's ever. Thank you all sooooo much!

Monday, March 3, 2014

World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge #3

I'm participating in the WRAD14 Blogging Challenge.  Here is my 3rd entry:

Week 3:  A Snapshot of My Reading Life

These are my dogs Rylie and Rookie

This is one of my favorite places to read.  It is the library my husband and I had built when we moved three years ago. Many people I know were getting rid of their books but not us! It is filled with my collection of children's books (many of them signed!), favorite books I always have to have with me, really, really old books that were my grandfather's, family photos and mementos, books about places we have visited and books about art.  I love this room.