Thursday, 20 December 2007

FBA Read-Aloud

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Kate DiCamillo

This is my new favorite read-aloud for 2nd or 3rd grade classes. Edward Tulane is a stuffed rabbit who falls overboard while on a cruise with his child owner. His subsequent journey is long and difficult, both physically and mentally, and he must learn a valuable lesson along the way. I admit that I found myself heartbroken for Edward while reading this book, but the message is so powerful and the end does finally wrap up nicely enough to make it a fantastic read-aloud. The discussions a class could have while reading this book have the potential to be incredibly deep.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

The Library as an Experience

I recently read an article on the libraries of today, and I was struck by the comment that chain bookstores of today have morphed into a full "experience" with comfy chairs and coffee options and loads of perusing in quiet corners that independent bookstores used to have the market on years ago. Cheers to school libraries that are creating the same experience for their kid customers. Small touches like comfy chairs, student artwork, hanging Chinese kites, and a shoes-off option have allowed our school library in Shanghai to have much of that same feeling (except for the coffee bar part that we are sadly lacking!). Kids, teachers and parents alike love the welcoming and warm vibe that the library gives off, and I love nothing better than turning the corner to find a kid with their legs draped over the side of a big easy chair reading a book.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Vokis Rock!

Get a Voki now!

The WOW factor is through the roof on this one for me! I've been looking for a creative way for my third graders to show what they learned from a simple research project in the library, and I found it. My husband came home today and told me about, and we both spent tons of time creating our voki characters. It's a widget that allows you to customize an avatar and then record 60 seconds of voice. You can then embed it on a blog. What a fabulous way to take a traditional research project and turn it on its head by having the kids present their information this way. And I'm positive it will be incredibly motivating for the students!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Free Rice

Yet again, I am amazed by the connections that technology is creating. Now you can actually can actually provide free rice and be part of a solution with world hunger simply by playing a vocabulary game. I picked this up from The Fischbowl, and it's a vocabulary game where you earn 20 grains of rice per vocabulary word you get correct (all paid for by the advertising on the site). The more you play, the harder they get. I found it a bit addicting myself... Kudos to the United Nations World Food Program for finding a cool way to use education to lend a helping hand.

The banner for Free Rice can be found under the FAQ section of the website and added to your blog.