We had an amazing opportunity for Exceptional Children's Week this year to meet the author of ClaraBelle Blue, Adiba Nelson. This book is much needed in our collections across the country, but even more than the book being so amazing is the story behind writing it. Adiba Nelson's daughter lives life with Cerebral Palsy but it does not define her as a person. Ms. Nelson noticed the lack of books that include characters that reflect her daughter's looks, personality, etc. and she also noticed many of the books that do include characters facing some type of disease or disability often are defined by that disease and are mostly about their struggles. It is imperative our children are able to use reading as not only a window into other's lives but also as a window to see themselves. Ms. Nelson wrote ClaraBelle Blue to show the world and other girls like her daughter that even though she may have Cerebral Palsy, it does not define her. I hope Ms. Nelson also wants to write chapter books because I think this would be such an important topic for our higher readers to include in their collection as well.
The conversations during our visit were heartfelt and informative. Some of our students asked about Ms. Nelson's daughter's disability while others asked about her favorite books, favorite music, and what she likes to play with at home. It was a very uplifting experience for me to see our students really take the message of the book to heart-that kids are kids first, the disability is just one part of their lives.
I highly suggest asking Ms. Nelson to come visit your students. She was so patient with all of our questions, read the book out loud, and helped our elementary students see beyond a wheelchair. Kindness matters and it starts with adults like Adiba Nelson modeling for our younger generations. Her movement #inclusioncantwait is a train I've jumped on since reading her book and talking with her. Check out her book and her mission here.
On the logistics side, I used Google Hangouts Live to record our session with our 3rd grade group that aired in all of our teacher's classrooms so that all of our students could participate. Teachers had the ability to Tweet questions to me to ask Ms. Nelson on air. I also received a very sweet note from our SPED department head, Ms. Orgeron following the Skype. It definitely brightened my day to hear they enjoyed our experience as much as I did.
Check out our pictures from the Skype below and come by our library to check out ClaraBelle Blue!
We had our first ever EdCamp in Bryan County Friday last week. It was awesome! I had a few ideas planned out based on talking to other teachers beforehand - Bloxels, Flipgrid, and Epic! ebooks. When I got there, however, several teachers asked me to present on Google Classroom basics as well so I did that. The one session I got to attend beyond that was from the STEM teacher at MES who led a session on using Spheros beyond the STEM classroom. I really liked her ideas and how to use it as an assessment tool. Ms. Nobles shared an idea in which students drove the Sphero to the correct answer for a math problem. I started thinking about all the ways this could turn into a Milestones review Olympics type event. How fun!
If you'd like my presentations from EdCamp Bryan, see below.
Who doesn't love a cockroach on the big screen?! We had a blast Skyping with the Genovesi Environmental Study Center in Brooklyn, New York last week to learn all about insects versus bugs and their adaptations. It was so much fun seeing the faces of these students as they looked at different insects, including the hissing cockroach! Students learned about the life cycle of certain insects and how they have adapted over time to meet the needs of their changing environments. Did you know cockroaches could actually survive a nuclear explosion? Besides our cockroach, I think the students enjoyed Penelope the most, their hedgehog who had a feeding during our visit.
If you're interested in trying this out during you adaptation unit, check out the Hyperdoc I made below (teachers completed this in their classrooms this time since we have moved to one-to-one Chromebooks, not in the library) and look for the Environmental Study Center on the Skype in the Classroom website. Enjoy!
When you have the opportunity to Skype with someone from Yellowstone National Park, you take it!
3rd grade teachers and I worked together to build a self-paced Hyperdoc assignment for students to learn about animal adaptations. We then learned all about how animals adapt to the different regions of Yellowstone National Park and compared that to animals in our region of Coastal Georgia. It was so much fun! Once again, Skype has allowed us to deepen the learning experiences of our students and given us an opportunity for our students to learn from experts in the field. I loved this project and how willing our teachers are to try something new! It's a joy to work with students and teachers that get excited about learning!!
Happy National "Learn About Butterflies" Day! Virtual Field Trip to Southern Mexico & Hyperdoc Research Details
Happy National Butterfly Day everyone!
One of our big standards in 2nd grade is life cycles. Many of our teachers teach this with the butterfly life cycle in the spring, which makes this the perfect timing for our Butterfly Research Project and a virtual field trip! Did you know that Monarch Butterflies, every 5th generation or so, migrate to southern Mexico during the winter?! Scientists don't know why they travel to their spot in Mexico and not anywhere else, but it's so fascinating to watch! I am definitely adding this to my husband and I's bucket list.
To prepare us for our virtual field trip, the teachers participating brought their classes into the library to work on researching butterflies. At this point in the year, most of our students know how to access our "go-to" databases and resources so it made for an easy start up using Hyperdocs.
Our students loved being able to use Padlet to connect with the different classes participating in this research project. I turned on the ability to do emojis and "like" other posts this time, which made for more engagement from the students but also added to repeated "let's focus on the content" moments.
After students researched, we participated in our virtual field trip with one of my favorite people, Brandon from the #GEOshow! He really knows his stuff. While he can be a bit long-winded at times, I think that comes from being more of an expert in his areas rather than a teacher. I love that he lets students ask questions throughout our experience and stays around afterwards to answer any other questions students may have.
After students participated in the VFT, then we went back to Padlet, expanded on what we learned and picked one piece of information that they thought their classmates would find interesting or would not know. I taught students how to use ChatterKids to create their videos and then we uploaded our videos to Flipgrid so we could share with each other and our parents.
I am so excited about teaming up with Erin Warren, an amazingly passionate colleague of mine, for Bagels, Books, & Bytes this month. We are talking about something we both have made a priority of this year-diverse books in our classrooms/libraries.
I hope you'll join us on March 23rd at 7:45am in the RHES library! We may even have some goodies for those that attend!