Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dot Day-Ish 2014

All summer I kept reading tweets and posts about Dot Day. When I finally read in detail about it, I was HOOKED! It represents everything I'm hoping to provide in my classroom: inspiration, perseverance, bravery, connecting with others and making a positive impact in our world. Visit for more information. While you are there, be sure to sign up to connect with other classrooms around the world. My hope was to connect with other classrooms ON Dot Day, but we had to celebrate Dot Day-Ish last Friday, 9/12 (I am attending a conference this week) However, it did not stop us from have a wonderful time creating, connecting and making our mark. 

Here are the events of our 1st Dot Day:
I felt so much anticipation, it was almost like Christmas! I laid everything out the night before (someone needs to write 'The Night Before Dot Day'!!)
Dot stickers, The Dot, Ish and Press Here, colAR Dot Day print out, paints...and DOTS!
I found an incredible blog post where I collected most of my ideas for our Dot Day celebrations here. LOVE these ideas! Most of the events we did on our Dot Day, however we read a few of the books leading up to Dot Day.

*Upon entering the room, students took a Dot sticker to wear for Dot Day. Students signed our Dot Day poster and it is displayed in our classroom to remind us how we are leaving our mark in this world:
*We were studying Author's Purpose and discussed our predictions of Peter H. Reynold's purpose for writing The Dot. (Several days later I heard a recording by Mr. Reynolds, describing how he developed the idea for the book and I shared it with my students) We enjoyed how the character persevered in this story, was brave and courageous. She was inspired by her teacher...then inspired another child! One of my students shouted 'It's a CYCLE!! It keeps going!!' LOVE! What a wonderful message! 
we are currently studying the Water Cycle, so they are searching all over for patterns in events : )

Students created their own Dots:


*Continuing on our Author's Purpose discoveries, we read Press Here. We enjoyed reading this book. It was VERY entertaining!! We had lots of laughs!
Students are blowing on the dots in this scene.
Blowing on the dots made them expand in the book!
*Students designed their own dot on a print out from colAR mix. When you download this app, it uses Augmented Reality to make pictures come to life! I downloaded the free Dot Day print out. Students colored a design and scanned the picture with colAR mix. Students' dots came to life! They were delighted!! It wasn't long before they were adding other objects to the picture to see if they would appear on their AR Dots!

One student App Smashed - he took a few screen shots from colAR mix,
created a PicCollage and posted it to Kidblog to share!

*We read Ish. This book was wonderful!! I teared up when I read about the little sister! Another wonderful message in this story. We decided the Author's Purpose in this book was not to listen to people who don't believe in you, but to know you matter! And we loved how the character mattered to the little sister. We all had a bit of a connection to this story, it seemed. After we read Ish, students used a glow drawing app to create their own Ish picture. They took a screen shot and posted these pictures on Kidblog, then commented on each other's Ish designs. I displayed their Ish pictures on the projector. We were all impressed and amazed by each person's unique creation.

*You may have noticed by now, but we also enjoyed a little treat... DOTS! I found perfectly small boxes of Dots in the Halloween candy selection. It was a nice snack to have while surrounded by our dot day creations. All that fun and creativity made us hungry!

*To wrap up our Dot Day celebration, our school held our annual Rachel's Challenge assembly. Please follow the link to read about Rachel and the amazing program created to continue Rachel's chain reaction she began. Dot Day was perfect to connect 'making our mark' and participating in Rachel's 'chain reaction of kindness'. 

Once we concluded our Dot Day celebration, I added our ideas to a TodaysMeet created by another teacher just for Dot Day and I will post a few pictures on our classroom Twitter account. I plan to connect with a few classrooms later this week, since post-Dot Day connections are better than none! ; ) We will mail our painted dots to another class to begin our connections and hope to partner up with this class. I've enjoyed watching other classrooms posts on Twitter from all over the world. What an amazing idea with an incredible story!

My students and I had SO much fun making our mark and celebrating Dot Day. We are excited to inspire others as we continue to leave our mark on our world! We are looking forward to participating again next year and hope to encourage other students surrounding us join in the celebration!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Defining Expectations

I was searching for a book at the library and stumbled upon these books by Julia Cook:
My Mouth is a Volcano!
A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue

Great stories for teaching expectations in the classroom! I read ideas from other educators on Pinterest then molded them to make our own expectations for our Digital Classroom. 

We started with My Mouth is a Volcano. The teacher in me enjoyed this books since it addresses the issue of shouting out without respecting the speaker. It also gives a life skill to help use self-control and wait for your turn to speak. We read the book and enjoyed lots of laughs. We then had a wonderful conversation about how to control our own 'Volcano Mouths'. We decided to create a product on our iPads to show what we learned from reading this book. Students took pictures of themselves with open mouths in Educreations (one of my FAVORITE apps!) then drew the lava flowing from their mouths (much like the cover of the book). 
Working Together to Take a Great Photo
Students recorded their voices on the first page telling how they sometimes have 'Volcano Mouth' when they have something they want to say and struggle to remember to wait. On the second page in Educreations, they took another picture of themselves sitting quietly using the skill/s they learned to have self-control while waiting to share (some had their mouths closed, hand raised, showed 'peace and quiet', etc). It was fun to see and hear how they connected with the text. They shared their products with each other then shared on Kidblog. 

Showing 'Volcano Mouth' using Educreations
The next day we reviewed what we learned from My Mouth is a Volcano and I showed them the cover of A Case of Tattle Tongue. We were so excited to read another funny book we could relate to! This book defines how to know when to tell information about a person or not. We all could think of a time when we needed to share the information to keep someone safe, needed to work it out ourselves or just "Mind Your Own Beeswax". I was sure to be clear about telling an adult if you aren't sure in order to learn the difference. There is not much worse to me than hearing a child didn't think they could tell the teacher. Absolutely tell us - that is our job to keep everyone safe and learn how to exist together peacefully. To show our connection with 'Tattle Tongue' students took a picture of themselves and drew a 'Tattle Tongue' in Doodle Buddy.
Using Doodle Buddy to Design a Tattle Tongue
Next, students imported the photo to ChatterPix Kids. Students LOVE letting their pictures do the talking - they told their most important take-away from 'A Case of Tattle Tongue'.
ChatterPix Kids allows students to add voice to their creations.
We enjoyed both books so much! They are completely entertaining and my students were entirely engaged, waiting to hear what happened next. We could make connections to both books and were able to remember skills we had learned before, and some of us learned something new! : ) Now students tell me they forgot to 'control their volcano mouth' and remind themselves to listen until it is their turn to speak. They are more clear on when to 'MYOB' and to share information when necessary. Life-long lessons that are building and strengthening our classroom community.