Friday, 22 October 2010

Creative Commons

Teaching students how to find and use Creative Commons images is the focus of my lessons with 4th and 5th graders this week. From my conversations with both adults and kids, there seems to be widespread lack of understanding about the concept of Creative Commons, and so Chrissy and I are trying to develop strong digital citizenship habits in the younger grades.

My favorite site for finding Creative Commons images easily (this is key because for a long time, I was doing it wrong and it was frustrating and complicated) is Compfight. Easy, cheesy, hit the CC only button on top and search away for the most amazing photos that artists are willing to share as long as they are given credit.
In working with students this week, our conversations are so interesting, and they are so keen to look at the copyright symbols for each photo. We are taking it slowly at this point, introducing them to the concept that they just can't take whatever they want from Google images (this is just shocking to most everyone), and then having them notice the artist's name on the page, and doing some searching for photos on topics that interest them. I'm scaffolding for Chrissy who will then go one step further and teach them how to attribute the photos on their blogs.

I did a bit of searching on Compfight tonight for an image that apprehended me. This is a doorway in Tunisia, a country that has intrigued me for years. One day, I would love to walk past blue doorways like this, on my way to grab a coffee and read a book at a sidewalk cafe. Better yet, what if it were the entrance to my house?

Chrissy shared a new link with me that does the same Creative Commons searching but includes the attribution for you--definitely worth a look! Thanks, John Johnston!

Image attribution: ahisgett

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Future?

While browsing the shelves for engaging nonfiction, I came across a book about the future, published in the year 2000. Most of the book was very interesting and had great ideas about what the future might be like, but this page made me crack up.

Just a short 10 years ago, this is what we envisioned for the year 2010.Ever since I saw this picture, I keep picturing all my friends walking through the halls with these contraptions rather than their sleek iPhones. Makes it so hard to order technology books for a library.

How the Future Began: Everyday Life by Clive Gifford

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Mimosas and Mentor Texts

A recent conversation with the librarian from The American Embassy School in New Delhi inspired me to start some teacher book clubs at ISB. The idea is simple, yet brilliant--gather teachers together to have a kid lit club.

At first, the idea started out as teachers all reading the same book (that Hunger Games book club will take place in a few weeks with HS, MS and ES teachers--cannot wait!), but when our literacy council discussed this idea, it morphed into a mentor text book club for the younger grades. I found about 5-6 quality new books to introduce to the teachers, we rotated the bag of books between us all, and then we met last Saturday to talk about them for our first 'Mimosas and Mentor Texts.' It was just a blast.

Here are my reflections:

*Meeting outside of school made it such an 'event.' It brought us together for some quality time and not just a quick chat in the hallway. The bonus is that it was an excellent way to build community because we wound up chatting for three hours, mostly about books.

*Teachers are so eager for exposure to new books. This is where librarians or literacy coaches can be a big help by keeping current with new releases and organize an event like this.

*Food makes everything better. But we already know that.

*I loved how we were talking about books just the way we want our students to talk about books. With the book, Life-Sized Zoo, we had such authentic conversations about our awe over the pictures and talked through our own curiosities. My friend Erin turned to me at one point in the conversation and said, "This is exactly what we want our students to be doing with books."
*Some of us chose to leave sticky notes in the front endpages. Loved seeing what others were thinking while reading.

Overall, it was one of my best days, and not just because of the chocolate fountain. I can't wait to have more book clubs with more grade levels.
A special thanks to Franki and Mary Lee from A Year of Reading and Katie from Creative Literacy who blogged about many of the mentor texts I chose for our club.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Instant Gratification

On the wonderful Year of Reading blog, I found a book trailer for The Magnificent 12 by Michael Grant. I'm always keen to show our students book trailers to get them excited, and the power of this type of media is nothing short of amazing. When I showed the trailer during recess, a big crowd gathered, and I was bombarded with questions like, "Is this a series? Is there a movie?" The excitement was palpable.

Then, from the back of the room, a voice piped up,

"I've just downloaded the sample on my Kindle."

And here I thought me getting it by December would be fabulous! I love that this is just another peek into the possible future of reading.
Lucky me got to read the first few chapter with a group of 5th grade girls during lunch recess later that day. It's funny and adventure mixed together, and I can't wait to get it for our Hub.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Future Plans

This falls under the "I am so going to do this as soon as possible" category for me. Becky Maher posted this on her blog (I always get such great ideas from her!), and it is using a program called Big Huge Labs. It was super quick and easy and would be so much fun for 2nd and 3rd graders to take a picture of themselves reading a favorite book and writing a bit about why they like it so much. Already picturing these in a slideshow of some sort. Now I just need one of those digital photo frames...
This was using the trading card option on Big Huge Labs.