Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Our new Hue HD Camera

Recently, my students and I were fortunate enough to connect with Hue and try out their HD document camera and stop motion animation kit. Before our exploration of this new tool, I knew nothing about stop animation other than what it actually was. I had no idea how the motion films were created, how exciting it was to create films using stop animation, or what all went into creating such a project. Was it hard? Easy? Could this be something that my 5th graders could do without me?

When our kit came in, I opened it up and installed the software super quick. I love how easy it is to plug the camera in the laptop. This means that we can take the camera and laptop anywhere in the room, building, or school with no problem! I played around with it at home just to feel comfortable enough to show my kiddos how to run everything, and then I brainstormed a list of ways that we could use this tool in the classroom. 

*Content specific short films
*How-To videos
*Student modeling of understanding/explanation
*The list could go on and on......

The kit not only came with the document camera ,but it also came with an idea book that showed different types of stop animation film ideas. We spent our first class period just watching the example animation films included in the software and reading through the guide book. The students selected which types of stop animation were their favorite (talking fruit, grass skating, sticky notes, etc.), and we voted on which version we would attempt first. 

After showing the kiddos the basics of the program and the camera, we split into teams. 5 teams were in charge of graphics. One team was the production crew, another was in charge of music, and
the last was the tech crew.  

Even though this was our first time doing anything like this, I put the kiddos completely in control. I didn't help with the ideas, make big suggestions, or even select the music. EVERYTHING was done by my kiddos, and it only took two days(one day for exploring and brainstorming and one day for creating). 

The students worked amazingly with the Hue HD camera, the software, and the whole project in general. They were begging for more, but school ends tomorrow! They asked if they could come back and train next year's class! Of course! I think that would be neat. 

Here is the video that the kiddos made. For their first time, I was really impressed. Yes, there are a few grammatical errors, BUT it is a student project led by students. Bringing this new document camera and stop animation software into our class has really helped me see all of the different directions that we can go with our Hue HD document camera in the future!

Want to check out Hue? Visit them here

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I'm Not Ready...to Say Goodbye

I know that summer is getting close for many teachers and students. 

Many of us are just days away from the end of the year.

But, I am NOT ready to say goodbye. 

This happens every year. There are countdowns, end-of-the-year celebrations. Parties. And, I am just barely holding it together. I don't want to do countdowns. 

I don't want to celebrate saying goodbye. I don't do goodbyes well. 

Each year, these students become my family, and I am not ready to send them on.

I literally could cry if I really let myself think about just how much time I actually have left with my students. 

This year has been magical. 

It has been beautiful. 

The new grade level has been challenging. 

Some days I thought that I was the worst teacher in the world and other days I felt we had it going on!

Did I mention that this year was magical?

I don't want it to end. 

I love these students. I am going to miss them writing on our message board. 

I am going to miss our morning meetings...

the crazy, random things they would say..

the conversations...

the lessons we learned together.

I am going to miss the hugs,

the smiles, 

the successes and the failures, 

the moments where they overcame fears, 

and accomplished amazing things.

Yes, there are lots of things about this year's 5th grade class that I will miss. 

But, above the sadness is something bigger. 

I am PROUD! 

I am so proud of every single one of the 43 kiddos who were a part of our classroom this year. 

I look back and reflect on the year and cannot help but be so stinking excited about everything that they have accomplished. 

These kiddos are rockstars, and they are going to do BIG things in the future. 

They are going places!

And, it has been an honor to be their teacher and a part of their educational journey. 

These kiddos have touched my heart and for that....I am forever grateful. 

The end of the school year is not goodbye. It is just the end of one small part of their adventure. 

Until we meet again kiddos. I love you all. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Our Donors Choose Project for Book Clubs

Recently, my students and I put together a new project on our Donors Choose page. Just like our last project, the idea was completely created by my kiddos. The only thing I did was locate the books on Amazon and help type up their plan. 

Our book club dream actually grew from our AMAZING Global Read Aloud experience that we participated in this year. As a class, we read the book Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. After the book was finished, the students begged for more. They had enjoyed the discussions, the shared reading, collaborating together on tasks and reflections, and wanted to do it again. 

Here is an overview of our project incase you are looking to write your own Donors Choose request!

Book Clubs: Embarking On A New Reading Adventure

My Students

"Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark."- Kate DiCamillo As the school year matures, my students are finding that they enjoy discussing and sharing books with each other. However, only having one copy of some of their favorite books can be a challenge! 
My students are readers! Our class is about 40 students strong.
We are a community. We are family. We work together, learn together, succeed together and support one another. These students are eager to learn and appreciate the opportunity that learning and education brings them. They love reading about adventures, connecting with characters from the stories, learning about important life lessons and discussing what they are reading with their peers. They are bright individuals who desire the opportunity to express what they are feeling during and after they read a book. 

My Project

As our classroom matures as learners, it is evident that this young group of readers is desiring a way to connect with one another when they are reading. We will be using the books purchased with this project to create classroom literature circles. Students will get to choose which books they want to read and will be able to collaborate with their lit circles through conversation. Students can help each other understand and interpret text. Because of the wide variety of books in this project, students will have a choice and a say in their learning experience. Through this project, students will be reading and working together through literature circles with other students who share similar reading interest. The literature circles will provide them with deeper engagement, meaningful experiences, and guided decision-making. These new book resources will provide the students in our class with powerful learning experiences that are tailored to meet their needs and interests. 
There is so much power to be found when students are in control of their learning experiences.
By being able to purchase sets of novels for our classroom, we will be able to create book clubs/literature circles that will allow students to meet in small groups to discuss the stories, adventures, relationships, connections, and life lessons, that can be found in these stories, with one another. It is the key to unlocking more of the magic behind reading and letting students soar to success.

                                          Here are pictures of the books we selected for this project.