Helping elementary students learn to be organized is an important goal for all schools. One of the previous librarians at Washington International School (WIS) came up with the idea of giving each student a carry bag with an attached card that lists the student’s name, his/her photo and a barcode of his/her library account for easy checkout. With all one’s library books in the bag, even the youngest students can carry their books back to the classroom while the teachers have no worries about students possibly mixing up their books with those of other students.
Sue Anderson, our librarian, came up with an excellent series of lessons to orient our students to the library. In the first library orientation lesson, she had the students write down what their behaviors should be to make the library a wonderful place to learn together. Sue then inputted all the student behavior descriptors into Wordle to create a word cloud.
In the follow up lesson, the students discussed what the words meant and how they agreed to follow them while in the library. They then signed their personal copy while also signing a class copy thus signifying their agreement in how to learn together in the library.
The next part of the library orientation lesson engaged the students to explore, collaborate, use their spatial intelligence and see how we categorize books. Sue designed a map of the library and tasked the students working in teams to label the sections listed at the top of the map. Sue and her assistants have signage throughout the library pointing to the French, Spanish, Dutch and English collections. They also list levels, picture books, media, etc. collections as well.
I was fortunate to work with the First and Second Grades on their library mapping expedition. My table teams came up with a plan to work together to find each section. We ventured out into the stacks keeping our eyes open for signs and labels on the books. It was pretty cool hearing students calling out “I found the French Level 2 section. Here are the DVDs!”.
Sue definitely put the students in the driver’s seat as they actively connected where they were in the library with their maps. We debriefed at the end of class reviewing the maps while also asking Sue for more information to help with understanding.
The Upper School is doing a 1:1 iPad pilot with the 9th graders. Richard Anderson, the Learning and Technology Coordinator, developed a simple Google form for teachers to share their instructional strategies in using the iPads (see image above). The entries populate a Google Document that Richard can then use to share ideas and celebrate teacher efforts.
As instruction technologists, we often play the roll of busy bees working to cross pollinate effective pedagogy. Richard definitely designed an easy way to help this process.
Our Third Graders start the year learning about the importance of creating smart passwords that they can remember as well as the importance of keeping their new passwords private. We use various naming protocols for password creation like choosing a date other than one’s birthday, a city and a symbol. The Third Graders are then introduced to our school Google Apps account with Drive being the first tool they start using once they learn how to log in with their new passwords. Remembering one’s user name and password is not an easy task for elementary students so Laura Evangelista, one of our art and digital art teachers, came up with an excellent scaffolded exercise to prepare them to become comfortable and fluent with the act of logging in.
The image above is a photo of the password practice sheet that Laura created. At the top are examples of passwords that follow the protocol Laura set up. Once the students create their password and get it OK’d from Laura, they are then tasked to write their password 10 times in the spaces provided. Laura then sends a copy of the user name and password to the parents of the students so that they also have access to the account.