Category Archives: Uncategorized
With the help of classroom teachers, Ms. Nelson and Mrs. Huestis, CCS 3rd & 4th graders are learning about global citizenship. Our core idea is “our words and actions in both our offline and online communities impact our world.” This collaborative effort provides an opportunity to blend curricula, cross-share resources and teaching styles, and support self-directed learning. Students have the opportunity to learn and to contribute to both their offline and online communities. We recently celebrated our new learning with student-led activities. Students chose between art inspired activities like creating a mural, digital activities like creating hashtags and a video, or working in a group to create board games inspired by our core idea. In addition to these workshop-style classes, students have explored our core idea during library classes through literature and other hands-on activities. Ask your 3rd or 4th grader what our core idea means to them!
Our students deserve access to opportunities for hands-on learning and making connections just as much as they deserve access to a diverse collection of books to read and share. Libraries are all about helping our students develop multiple literacies and follow their personal interests. Here are a few examples of what this looks like in our library.
This week is Computer Science Education Week, and we are celebrating the Hour of Code. Combined with “offline” activities, apps like The Foos help our youngest students practice skills like cause and effect, problem-solving, counting, squencing and teamwork. 3rd graders were able to connect these same skills with what they already know about the new Red Clover Book Award nominees to program our robot friend, Dash, through a literary maze!
2nd graders have been exploring our makerspace materials as an extension of a recent classroom readaloud of Brambleheart by Henry Cole. Their hands-on learning has included recycled CD weaving and exploring Squishy Circuits. Both of these activities have given students an opportunity to get creative while practicing trial-and-error, design, teamwork and perseverance. But how on earth do they relate to the story? Ask a 2nd grader!
4th graders are practicing collaboration, research & design, and writing to inform skills as they participate in a cardboard challenge. Ask them what they’re making!
Finally, middle school iLab students are finishing up their second round of personal interest choices. These rotations are designed to allow for student voice and choice as they learn something new or explore a personal interest. Along the way, they are practicing planning and research skills, time management, teamwork, and sharing their new learning with others. Some of the personal interests explored so far include blogging for the school website, Lego robotics & coding, U.S. History research, reading & book reviews, learning a new musical instrument, big buddies for a 2nd grade classroom, health & fitness, baking, and Pease Mt. Stewardship. Our thanks goes out to all of our volunteers that help make these groups happen for our students!
Here are a few of my favorite recent pictures that capture moments possible because of our positive, helpful school community!
We celebrate International Dot Day every year at CCS. This year, we used the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds to discuss hopes & dreams, trying new things, and having the freedom to make our marks on the world around us. Traditionally celebrated around September 15-ish, Dot Day activities continued into this week and spread down the primary hallway. Library lessons for grades K-4 incorporated skills ranging from collaboration and personal expression to safe use of ipads. This just proves what I’ve known all along. The picture book format is the perfect package!
Older students have been busy learning about the new Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award nominees, and visiting the library whenever they need to. This averages out to about 50 or so students throughout the day, getting what they need from our library space.
And here is my pic of the week. These students are enjoying The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak. This is one of my favorites for practicing fluency skills, plus it just a joy to read aloud and share!
Did you know that librarians are librarians wherever they are? Did you know that library resources include things that live on shelves AND things that are accessible 24/7 from wherever you are? I always love it when I get to teach things like digital literacy skills, and I love it even more when I get to visit classrooms to do the teaching!
Here are my feet…and here is the hall…
Here are the classrooms I visited last week to teach 2nd graders how to use a database!
They learned all about the text features of the CultureGrams database to help them learn more about countries from around the world. Students were able to practice transferring what they already know about print-based nonfiction text features to the digital realm, and learned about some features that are unique to online databases. Ask a second grader what “breadcrumbs” are. Not the fairy-tale ones, but the virtual ones! I was so impressed with how helpful our students were to one another as they explored something new, and at how they problem-solved and worked through their learning – even when the chromebooks decided to be uncooperative!
Mrs. Gerson has a nice post about why students are learning to use CultureGrams on her blog here.
If you are interested in exploring CultureGrams yourself, please let me know and I’ll help!
Our little state is home to very talented people who thankfully enjoy sharing what they know with our students! We have had the pleasure of hosting two authors over the past few weeks. Both spoke so wonderfully that students and staff are still talking about their visits.
Folklorist Jane Beck visited 5th-8th grade students to share stories about Vermonter Daisy Turner. Her new book, Daisy Turner’s Kin, traces the history of the Turner family from the west coast of Africa to Grafton, Vermont. In sharing about the Turner family, Jane also spoke about the power of story and memory, highlighted her research process, and really gave us a glimpse into a life very different from our own. Although Jane has devoted much time to collecting the stories of others, it is clear to us that she is a master storyteller in her own right!
Last week, author and illustrator Jason Chin visited our K-4 students. We had introduced his books to students during library classes and they were so excited for his visit! Jason read portions of some of his books, shared his writer’s notebooks, and talked about the process of writing and illustrating. He spoke about how he finds inspiration in the world around him. He spoke about how it takes many, many drafts to get a piece of writing or art just right. He spoke about how reading is so important because it fuels the imagination. And – hew drew – with help from the students. What an inspiring, interactive visit this was. Students are checking out lots of books about coral reefs, trees, the Galapagos Islands, and gravity. I just love it when an author’s words create this kind of excitement for exploration and learning!
A great big Thank You to our PTO for making both of these amazing visits possible for our students!