Saturday, July 17, 2010

Great Summer Reads!

I have been enjoying a lot of kids books this summer and wanted to share some great titles.

Just finished Peak by Roland Smith and Steel Trappe: The Academy. My boys are going to eat these up in the fall. Lots of suspense and action!

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor is one of the best books I've read in awhile. Sell it to fans of So B. It or Ann Martin fans. Also for So B. It fans (we have a lot at the Creek), Jumping the Scratch was short and sweet---save it for your pre-teens though.

Heading to the Keystone Technology Summit in a few weeks---can't wait to blog about all of my new discoveries. Happy Summer!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Off to the Races!

My second graders have been learning about search engines. We have been learning about choosing smarter keywords and using Google's cached (color-coded) search. Today, we had a horse race. I cut out 14 clipart horses and numbered them 1-14. Then, I lines them up on a long set of tables. I wrote 4 Kentucky Derby questions for each team:

1. When was the first Kentucky Derby?
2. What is the date of the 2010 Kentucky Derby?
3. Which horse won the 2009 Kentucky Derby?
4. What do women wear at the Kentucky Derby?

Each team took their question sheet to the computers. They used the skills we had been learning to try to find the answer to their question. For each correct answer, they were allowed to move their paper horse to the next position of the table (I had 4 marked spots). The first three teams to get their horses to the finish line received a sticker that said "I Placed at the Mill Creek Google Derby." It was a blast, and the students were really using the cached search to help them locate their answers faster.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Keystone Technology Integrator

I was just nominated to be a Keystone Technology Integrator. Now, I have to put together some work samples to see if I am eligible to attend the Keystone TI Summit this summer. I am really hopeful about being accepted to the Summit---then I could share everything I've learned on the blog. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Animals of the Rainforest

Animals of the Rainforest

Here is my first Animoto. LOVE this program! Free for short films (30 seconds or less). $30 for 1 year subscription. I am using this as my "topic list" for my first grade rain forest animals research project. They have a matching sheet where they circle which animals they are most interested in studying. The kiddos seemed more pumped about about research than ever before!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sweet Search

Losing funding for Netrekker was tough, because it was a great tool when teaching about reliability. is a student search engine that searches a small collection of websites, but only finds librarian/teacher approved websites. I am going to test it out with my younger friends. I'll let you all know how it goes :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Citing Across the Curriculum

There are always new initiatives...Writing Across the Content Areas, Reading Across the Curriculum...I propose a new one called Citing Across the Curriculum. For years, my ears would burn as students told me, "My teacher said I did not need to do a bibliography for this project." It is like librarian blasphemy!
I decided to take the bull by the horns two years ago. During staff development sessions, I implored that this could not go on. It is like saying to your students that it is okay to steal sometimes, but not other times. Students need not do a formal bibliography every time they complete a project, but they need to cite their sources, even if it is just a hand-written attachment to their paper.
Well, like Oprah says, "When you know better, you do better." By just bringing this issue to our staff's attention, things have improved. I've even deputized my students to "gently" point out to their teachers that it is not right to take something without crediting the source. If the teacher replies that we don't need to do it "this time," I've told my students it is okay to say, "With all due respect, that is not correct." My teachers must love me :)