Monday, December 18, 2017

Take 2: No Green Screen? No Problem!

So, after many, many, many Green Screen photos over the last three weeks, I have been able to fine-tune the steps to create a layered image in Pixlr.

The revised slides show several steps that have been removed, which made it so much easier to create  images for students. With the previous directions I provided, I kept thinking there was NO way I could show students how to edit images like this. There was too many steps. Now, I think students will be able to easily follow these directions. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hour of Code 2017

Hour of Code is held each year during Computer Science Education Week. Fun fact I learned today: Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906). This year it fell during the week of December 4th. Over the last couple of years, my PIC (partner in crime) Denise and I have made tweaks to our schedules between Thanksgiving Break and Winter Break. Those weeks are just plain hard to schedule. 

This year, we used the week after Thanksgiving for Maker Stations, followed by Hour of Code week, and ended December with another round of Maker Stations. Just let me say, those of you that have a permanent Maker area or use stations daily/weekly...BLESS YOU! Holy cow, that's tiring! **Mind you, at the time of this posting, we are on the second round of Maker Stations.**

Maker Stations

Students moved through two stations per week in groups of 4 or 5. Remember how tired I was? Yeah...I forgot to record the group members. So...that was fun. The groups were able to get through four stations, and we will do another round of Maker Stations after Winter Break. 
Of course, I created Station Posters and directions on Canva to have at each table. I put a copy of the posters on the board and created the posters with our Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks the second round of Maker Stations. It didn't dawn on me until then. 

We had six Maker Stations:
1. EPIC Listening Station
2. Unplugged Coding
3. OSMO Station
4. Craft Station
5. LEGO Challenge
6. Green Screen/Writing Station

Copy of Maker Space Stations by acooksey

Hour of Code

We love Hour of Code. Last year was so much fun. The students truly enjoyed it.
When we announced Hour of Code this year, the students who had participated last year cheered. Our new students were so confused.
Kindergarten and first grade use CodeSpark Academy to code with The Foos. Oh. My. Gosh. It's so fun. And we added to our t-shirt collection with an awesome CodeSpark shirt of The Glitch! (We made shirts for every day of Hour of Code Week last year. You can see our binary iTeach t-shirt in the video.)
To build prior knowledge and foundation for coding, the students coded me. As an introduction, I would demonstrate how a computer component only does what YOU tell it. For example, "go forward" would cause me to walk until I ran into something; "turn left" would cause me to spin in a circle. After students grasped giving me one command at a time (i.e. "go forward two steps", "turn once to the left"), we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Students programmed me to navigate through the story and develop from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

Second through sixth graders worked with Minecraft coding through and other more advanced blocky coding sites. The Minecraft coding site has some great videos that explain the importance of Computer Science and how Minecraft was developed. You can find many of them on our shared Pinterest Board. It was a great learning experience, not only for computer science but critical thinking. Students also learned the trick of using your forefinger and thumb to make an L shape for your left hand. Several students even acted out their problem to develop a path to complete their code. 

If you haven't ventured into Computer Science or coding, consider hosting an Hour of Code. It doesn't have to be during Computer Science Education Week. You can code any time!  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

File Cabinet: 10 Things We've Done This Year (2017 Edition)

1. Practiced Yoga
During our annual reading of the Arkansas Diamond Nominee books, we incorporated more Yoga into our library. We always transition from carpet time to table work or reading spaces by stretching with basic yoga poses. Sequoia by Tony Johnston was the perfect avenue for us to add a new pose!

2. Broke a Geode
A student found an image of a geode in his library book. He asked if they were real and was curious about the crystals growing inside of a "rock ball". I happened to have a geode left from Christmas (my kids wanted some). We took a hammer and the geode outside to bash it open. They had fun watching it smash into pieces and choosing a piece to take home. I love that their learning wasn't even planned. Spontaneity makes the BEST lessons. 

3. Was Allowed at the Radio Station (again)
This was the fourth or fifth time I had been asked to do the radio spot. Our local station has a feature weekly highlighting activities at each campus. So much fun to see how the technology works and take clips back to our students. 

4. Invited Parents to Play
During our Spring Family Night, we set up stations of our tech fun for students and parents. I think the parents had more fun playing with OSMO, Cubelets, and watching our 3-D printer than the students. It was great to see families working together to figure out how to combine Cubelets to meet the challenges. 

5. Invited the Public Library to Visit
Our local public library Director and Cataloger love to visit schools. They talked with 6th graders about how to apply for a library card, how to use their e-book collection, and plans for the new library space. Babbs (cataloger) loves to share new books and her favorite reads! 

6. Created Standing Computer Stations
We removed the "chairs of death" in our lab and raised the tables. Students enjoy the option to sit on a stool or stand to work. Many choose to stand and have said that they love being able to move around while working. 

7. Went Old School
I found a box of transparency paper in the back of the library. Students designed a "stained glass" autobiography. Using Google Drawing, students wrote their name and added at least five images that describe themselves. 

8. Gave Away Books
Each year, we have Free Book Day. It had another name, but students just call it Free Book that's what it is. We use money raised through Scholastic Book Fairs to purchase "bruised book" boxes and sets of books. Each student receives at least three brand-new books and have the opportunity to choose a couple of weeded library books. All students that our library serves take home at least four books for their home library. It's crazy, made, and stressful, but it's also fun! 

9. Explored PD with Digital Breakouts
Thanks to my friend Jennifer Lyon, I didn't have to create the breakout myself! During a summer PD session, we explored digital breakouts. Teachers are really competitive! 
BreakoutEDU has some free digital breakout games; however, you do have the option to purchase pre-made games. You can also use Google Sites to create a customized Digital Breakout. 

 10. Explored Race through Literature and Art
Our fantastic art teacher wanted to talk about our differences. We searched the catalog for a book that would support her lesson and teach racism. The Skin I'm In by Pat Thomas was perfect for our learners. Students created a self-portrait that was displayed on a rainbow background (I believe each grade level was assigned a color). 
I loved the display and conversation students had about how important we all are. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sharing Your Work-Local Media Outlets

I love having the opportunity to share the work that is happening in school libraries. Advocating for and sharing what you're doing in your school library is SO important. It's important to share how your students are learning with local, state, and national stakeholders.

AASL has included great one-page graphics for stakeholders to relay information about the AASL National Standards and how school libraries support learners.

To help spread the word, share the love, and spread the wealth of information school libraries hold, contact your local newspaper or media outlet. Check websites for the correct procedure to submit an op-ed piece or call their office directly. Fortunately, I have a great relationship with our local newspaper, and they enjoy printing pieces that feature happenings in our local schools.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

No Green Screen? No problem!

A few weeks ago, I ordered a Green Screen. During December, we participate in Hour of Code. We planned to have various Makerspace stations for students to rotate through for a week, one week of coding, and then another week of Makerspace rotations. One station was, obviously, the Green Screen Station. We wanted students to see how we convert images and change the backgrounds. The plan was for students to create holiday cards.

Well....the Green Screen didn't get shipped in enough time to make it here for us to use it the first week of Makerspace rotations. I remembered using Pixlr to edit out backgrounds for other blog posts and Snapchat filters. I spent some time exploring and making many, many mistakes, but I came up with a way to change out the background of an image and super-pose it similar to that of a Green Screen.

This may not be new to everyone, but sometimes it's the small victories during a stressful time of year that make the world go 'round.

Our images started like this:

Then ended like this:

For step-by-step directions, the Google Slides presentation is linked in either picture above. I know that I could have gotten a green cloth or paint to create a faux Green Screen, but I really like having the option to work around a problem. It's always good to have a Plan B...or C...or D...

Friday, September 1, 2017

Resources: Arkansas State Capitol

You know how you go places and pick up stuff you think is fantastic with every intention of sharing said stuff? Happens to me all the time. As I was cleaning off some shelves, I found some pamphlets I picked up at the ARA Conference about the Arkansas State Capitol Building.

Related image

The Secretary of State offices offer a ton of teaching materials and resources. I didn’t know that they would send someone to your school to do a presentation for your classroom! Programs that they offer include: State Symbols, a hands-on activity program; Virtual Tour program; and a Young Voter’s Program that discusses the Civil Rights Movement, the process and importance of voting, and voter’s registration.

The Secretary of State’s website also has some great information. I spent some time “playing” on the kids’ website.  There you can find virtual tours, information on the history of the capitol building, games, and links to videos. The videos are linked through YouTube. I always give a mini-talk about clicking around in YouTube or on websites. Students should stay focused on the current video. 

On the teacher’s page, there are lesson plans, virtual tours, PowerPoint presentations, and information on ordering materials for your classroom. All materials are FREE! If it’s for free, it’s for me! 

I’ve ordered some just to have on--hand in the library in our Arkansas Resources section. And don’t forget that their staff will travel to our school to speak to your classroom upon request! Guest speakers are always fun.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sit. Stay. Good, Student.

I am all for giving students rewards. Correction...I am all for giving students awards. I was corrected by the ADE staff once upon a time. An award is earned or given as merit; a reward is offered for doing something that is noble or good.

Over the weekend, a very heated discussion was being had among some friends and myself. Is it good to give students rewards? 

In the article My Biggest Regret as a Teacher: Extrinsic Rewards by David Ginsburg (from edweek’s blog) stated that he regrets ever having started a reward system in his classroom. Why? 
“It sets them (students) up for future failure. That’s because success is about delayed gratification, not instant gratification.” 
Think of Pavlov’s conditioning training. If I do what I’m supposed to do, I get a treat. 

Image result for pavlov dog

Following the rules and working hard are rewarded with prizes, stickers, a smiley face. Some students respond well to that, but are we hurting the masses or helping them to become successful?

People who are successful in life have learned to self-discipline and self-motivate. They do what they do because they enjoy it! 

How can students become successful if we constantly give rewards for just doing what they are supposed to do? They can’t. And they won’t. 

Many struggling students think they’re incapable of succeeding; slacking off or sabotaging classroom activities become a means of self-preservation. David states, “These kids need confidence, not candy.”

Image result for success

The way to elicit students’ cooperation is to empower them, not control them. We should be making students feel successful by giving them knowledge and power! Think of this: are you helping “students feel[ing] fulfilled because of that they were learning, not because of what they were earning”?

Read the entire article here or subscribe to edweek’s blog for free.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Furry Friends

In an article I read recently, Ron Claiborne and Wendy Brundige stated, “For young kids, one of the big challenges in learning to read is the embarrassment of making mistakes.” I totally agree with them! When listening to students converse over text in the library, I’ve noticed that the closer someone gets to a child reading aloud, the softer their voice becomes until they are no longer reading aloud.

I have received several responses when asking students to read aloud to me that are along the lines of “I don’t know how” or “I can’t do it”.

The article, Study: Reading to Dogs Helps Children Learn to Read, highlights a study from East Norwalk Library in East Norwalk, Conneticut. Children participated in a “D2R2” program where students read to dogs. During the course of the 10 week program, student participants read aloud to dogs. Those students participating in the program who read to dogs improved their reading skills by 12 percent. Students participating but not reading aloud to dogs showed no improvement.
One student participant stated, “I have somebody that listens when I read. If I make a mistake, there’s no one around me to laugh.”

After reading the article and pondering how I could have a litter of dogs in the library? I realize I already had the solution. Stuffed animals! I’ve collected several of Brandt’s and Rhianna’s that we no longer use at home, along with stuffed characters from our favorite books. Kohl's often has stuffed characters for only $5. In the library now, we have a Book Buddy Bucket full of reading buddies for anyone who needs someone to listen without judging.

My Book Buddy Basket is not nearly as cute as these I found on Pinterest, but the kiddos love it just the same!

For the full article, click here.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Charlie May Simon Nominees 2017-2018

I usually put this off until the start of the school year, but I wanted to allow time for students (or teacher-librarian friends) to create book trailers.

Each year, I create a presentation for the Charlie May Simon books. In the presentation, I include some information about who Charlie May Simon was and how to vote. The presentation also includes each book cover, blurb, and a book trailer if it's available. The books without a trailer have a note under the cover image.

I give students the opportunity to create a trailer for those books. This is typically a presentation we do within the first couple of weeks. We post the presentation in Google Classroom and have students work through it independently. I also create a YouTube playlist for the book trailers that students can access any time.

Feel free to use the presentation (with credit to the author, of course) or the playlist!

YouTube CMS Playlist
Charlie May Simon Google Slides

Don't forget about the Lesson Plan Format post to help get you started for the school year!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Arkansas Diamond Books 2016-2017

Earlier this year, I shared my complete presentation of the 2016-2017 Arkansas Diamond Children's Book Award nominees. Each year, not only do we read the nominees aloud in the library, but we also record them! This allows students the opportunity to go back and listen to read alouds they may have missed. Often, teachers in other areas of the school help to read these books in their classes.

To view the presentation, please visit my Google Slides Link.

The YouTube playlist is linked below.

Please, be kind and give credit to the authors, illustrators, and readers when sharing. And, don't forget to COMMENT if you enjoyed the videos (especially those recorded by friends).

Friday, February 24, 2017

Lesson Plan: My Teacher is a Monster

I typically begin teaching with our state award nominee books after the Winter Break holiday. I want the books to be fresh in the students' minds when they vote. I also typically have various classes read the books to reinforce the fact that ALL subjects can incorporate literacy and reading. Plus, sometimes it's just nice to sit down and read aloud to students with no expectation of a lesson being learned other than enjoying a good book.

Our state award is the Arkansas Diamond Children's Book Award. The criteria for voting is that the voter must be an Arkansas student in grades K-3 and have read or listened to at least three books on the list. We easily do this each year. There is often one or two books that I am unable to read because of Snowpocalypse or Icemageddon; however, I record books and add them to my YouTube Channel for students to listen to at their leisure! This allows students to make-up books that they missed due to absences, special events, ect.

So, to this lesson...
Mrs. Denise, our computer lab instructor reads at least one book from the list each year and incorporates a technology lesson. This year, she read My Teacher is a Monster (No! I'm Not) by Peter Brown.

After students listened to the story, they when to Paint on their computers. You could also use Google Drawings if it is available. Students used their mouse skills and creativity to create their teacher if he/she was a monster! They were so creative. During the lesson, Mrs. Denise also reviewed the terms of some of the tools within the program. She built on each grade's knowledge of computer skills: flipping objects, resizing images and tool selection, changing colors, etc.

Check out some of their awesome monsters!!!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

File Cabinet: 10 Things We've Done This Year (2016 edition)

Again, what a busy year!? I've tried to update as much as possible, but with moving the lab into the library media area, writing more for various educational companies, I just haven't had the time to update here nearly as much as I should.

For almost daily tidbits of my ramblings and library happenings, follow me on Twitter @AshleyCooksey2.

1. First Day Frog
First day of school. First class. Kindergarten.

The enter from an outside door. I keep hearing a student repeat "frog" over and over and over. I assume it's some form of kindergarten kid thing and ignore it. I then realize that the teacher is blocking the door so that the kiddos can't enter...because there was a frog sitting in the floor. She said she didn't want the mass chaos she knew would ensue if she let them into the room with the frog. Poor guy was fine and release safely out another door.

2. ArASL Summer Conference Fun!

I was fortunate enough to be appointed into the position of ArASL Conference Chair. I planned the summer conference to include a tour of Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library and keynote dinner at the Little Rock Zoo! Not to mention, our fabulous keynote Nikki D. Robertson! Super fun and informative conference, even if I only got to peek into a few sessions.

3. I met a mermaid!

No caption necessary! 

4. I petted a wallaby!

So, I was following some people at the Mountaintop Zoo in Colorado Springs. They went through a gate. I went through the gate. I then assumed I went the wrong way because there were several wallaby hopping around. As I turned to leave, I heard one of the zookeepers say, "you can pet them, just don't touch their face or neck, they will kick you." Fun times. Super cute!

5. I've added to my toy collection.

Last year, I was attacked by a triceratops and a G.I. Joe. This year, I've added more #LibraryFinds to my collection. It's amazing what you find when you clean shelves BEHIND the books!

Last year....

 This year....     Displaying 20170216_153114.jpg

6. We started self check-in!!!

This has been a total life saver! I'm so glad we ventured out of the mail/drop box and are having students check in their own books. Not only is it teaching them responsibility in returning their library books, but books are circulating much better!


7. Hour of Code T-shirts

My administer allowed me to purchase a Silhouette for our library! I was stoked. I've cut so much vinyl and decor for our teachers! This year, we participated in Hour of Code and designed a t-shirt for each day of the week.



8. e-books

Second graders learned to use our e-book collection this year. They loved being able to share books with their family and read on their devices at home and on the go!

9. Newspaper Features

Our program and team were blessed to be featured a few times in our local newspaper. The first story printed was about our BreakoutEDU sessions and speaking to the School Board. The second story I wrote. Each campus in Batesville has the opportunity to write an article for publication highlighting a department, event, or special aspect of their campus. My administrator asked that I write about our technology department and integration here at West! I love being able to share and advocate for all that we do here in the Library and how it impacts students.


10. Collaboration with Local Public Library

Our school librarians were also fortunate enough to collaborate with the local public library, Independence County Library, on a community-wide event. The event was also featured in an article published in American Libraries!!!

This is only a sampling of what has happened this year for A Ginger Librarian! Stay tuned for more!