During a recent book talk to a 4th grade classroom, I shared one of my favorite books. I also used my new Merge Cube. I had been looking for ways teachers can incorporate Merge Cubes and augmented reality into their classrooms, and the book talk was a great way to start! I created a template on Google Slides and then imported the png files into CoSpaces. The process was easy and students loved seeing the Merge Cube.
If you would like a copy of my Book Talk Summary template, or need support in using Merge Cubes in your classroom or school, please let me know!
What would do you do when a group of students score proficient on an ELA pretest covering the following Iowa Core standards?
(W.4.3) Students understand that an author reflects on his/her life by writing a narrative to convey a real or imagined experience or event.
(RL.4.2) Students understand that details that develop the theme of a story, drama, or poem lead to a better understanding of other perspectives and cultures.
(RL.4.3) Students understand details in a story or drama develop characters, settings, or events and lead to a better understanding of other perspectives and cultures.
(RF.4.4) Students understand fluent readers learn to recognize words quickly and accurately as a way of obtaining meaning from what is read.
As an Instructional Coach, this scenario is very familiar to me, and was the challenge our fourth grade teacher asked for my assistance in solving. After looking at the standards, we decided to give students the task of creating a stop motion video of a readers theater script that they wrote based on a fairy tale or folk tale. Below, you will see the finished product. I'd say the students did a wonderful job, and I could see using this activity again.
During my presentation at the International Literacy Association's annual conference, I shared a playlist of songs I have used for close reading lessons. Attendees asked if I had a list of the songs I have used, and I promised I would post them on my website once i returned from the conference.
Below are the song titles I have used in close reading lessons with grades 3-5:
Songs used for Close Reading Lessons
"The Circle of Life" by Elton John
"Let it Go" by Idina Menzel
"Firework" by Katy Perry
"Roar" by Katy Perry
"Brave" by Sara Bareilles
"Be" by Usher
"Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield
"Bare Necessities" from Jungle Book
What do video game creation and function writing have in common? Well, five amazing fourth graders would tell you there's quite a bit! A few weeks ago I was looking through the upcoming English Language Arts unit, and noticed fourth grade would be learning about functional writing. Recently I learned about PixelPress Floors, a free video game drawing/creation app, and decided to talk to our amazing Special Education teacher to see if he'd be interested in using PixelPress Floors with his students. I figured if students created their own video game, they could write step-by-step directions on how to play or create the game (functional writing), create advertisements to pique interest and gain players, and problem solve throughout the experience. The teacher expanded on this idea and will be having the students present their games to classes in our building (speaking and presenting skills).
Today I went in and introduced students the five students to PixelPress, demonstrated how to draw the different components, shared the overall purpose, and set the students loose to create! As they realized what they'd be getting to do, one student exclaimed "You're a Christmas miracle!" To begin, I showed students a level I created ahead of time, and then created another floor as they watched. Next, they were given a copy of the Floors Sketch Guide, and told to explore the app. During the exploration time, the teacher and I encouraged students to problem solve and work together, and explained that they will be writing about their video games, creating advertisements, and presenting their games to their class.
I've co-taught, modeled lessons, and observed learning in their classroom before, and was blown away at the level of engagement the students showed. They were on task the entire time, helping each other problem solve technical issues, shared ideas, and didn't want the class time to end and head back to their classroom. I look forward to spending more time in their classroom over the next few weeks, watching the video games come together, and the writings developed.
If you're looking for a motivating way to get students creating, writing, problem solving, and working together, I encourage you to give PixelPress try. While I am using it with fourth graders in English Language Arts, I believe it can be used at other grade levels and subject areas. If you've used PixelPress, I'd love to hear your experience!
Lesson Quick Facts:
Grade Level: 4th grade Special Education
Content Area: English Language Arts
Technology Tool(s) Used: PixelPress Floors app