Well, it turns out I'm terrible at keeping this blog up to date. This year was one of discovery and adventure - apparently being a second year teacher working with the same (generally) group of kids gives you a lot more potential and confidence to begin experimenting. It's also been interesting to start to get a sense of units and projects I want to teach again and those I want to change. I'm glad I have the freedom to do that, and it's definitely not something I take for granted. Not having a team is challenging in some ways, but it also brings with it an incredible amount of freedom.
Dot Day: So much fun, and such a great way to kick off the year! We used Skype to connect with students in Iowa, Texas, Maine and New Jersey, and it left an impact on those classes throughout the year. I also love what Dot Day stands for, in terms of embracing creativity and connections, and I can't wait to do it bigger and better next year.
Acceptable Use Policy Project: I wanted to teach my 4th graders about our AUP but to do so in a way that didn't involve me talking at them. I discovered PowToon and told the kids they were going to read the policy, pick the ones they thought were the most important, storyboard them, and then move on to using PowToon. They LOVED it. I got funny, creative, informative presentations from every single group.
Animoto Book Trailers: I did this with my entire third grade during library, and later in the year did it with one fourth grade section and half the fifth grade as an end of the year project. The kids have so much fun creating their videos and they love sharing and seeing their classmates' work as well. Definitely doing this again and maybe even making it an ongoing activity if I can figure out logistics.
Alexandria Tutorials: Again, I wanted a creative way to teach my 4th graders how to use Alexandria (our catalog), and especially how to begin using the advanced features. We started with a worksheet that had them explore the advanced search features (boring), and while it made some headway in getting them comfortable with the system, it really wasn't sinking in. So I decided to give them some guidelines about features they had to explain and then gave them total freedom on how to present the information. Some students wrote scripts and filmed game shows. Others used Scratch, Animoto and PowToon. And most are now (from an observational standpoint) much, much more comfortable with using advanced search skills. Win win!
Skype with Denali Park Rangers: We used Skype to talk with park rangers in Denali, which was an awesome way to cap off the 2nd graders study of Alaska.
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also (very occasionally) review children's and young adult literature on my book reviews page.
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