Today was Digital Learning Day, a day dedicated to celebrate learning in a digital environment. There are so many ways to integrate digital learning into the school day, I had trouble choosing what to do!
For our youngest students, we checked out the BookFlix available through the DC Public Library. These are animated versions of favorite stories, and they’re great for kids who are just learning to read because they include highlighted text so the kids can “read” along with the book. In Pre-K this week we’ve been exploring books about favorite characters, so after reading books about Elephant and Piggie and Froggy, we headed over to the Promethean board to watch the BookFlix version of Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt. (A small confession: I pride myself on a dramatic reading voice that helps the kids really get into the books we read aloud, but try as I might, I have never managed the comic timing necessary to read Scaredy Squirrel as well as the BookFlix narrator.) Later that afternoon, our Kindergarten students enjoyed a read-aloud of Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin, then watched the BookFlix version of the companion book Diary of a Fly.
First graders have been immersed in a Jan Brett author study, which fits in perfectly with Digital Learning Day because Brett has truly made her website a treasure trove of activities, information and resources for kids and teachers alike. For each book that we’ve read by Jan Brett, we’ve visited her website to look for more information. In previous weeks, we’ve learned who the models were for the characters in The Mitten, why she considered Peer Gynt the soundtrack to Trouble with Trolls, and today, what her inspiration was for the gorgeous clothing the characters in her newest book, Cinders, wear. After reading Cinders, which is a version of Cinderella told with chickens as the main characters, we looked for more information on the Internet–a true celebration of digital learning!
The fourth graders in Ms. George’s class got a chance to work with students from Leckie Elementary in Southeast on a quick research project and game. When students entered the library, they were given the name of a famous African-American person (in celebration of Black History Month) and given 20 minutes to find three facts about the person to use as clues, using books and Biography.com. Then, we did a Google Hangout (similar to Skype) with the Leckie 4th graders so that they could share their work. Students from Maury read their clues, and students from Leckie tried to guess the famous person being described, then the roles reversed and Maury students tried to guess based on clues given by Leckie students. Students from both schools showed impressive research skills and had a great track record with their guesses. (Oprah Winfrey proved to be a stumper.)