Time to Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres! Read more celebration post here.
This week students read and read and read, and did not want to stop. Monday, they did Book/Talk Swaps. Each student prepared a quick book talk on a book they read over the break. They shared, and after about 10 minutes students were settled with new books.
Friday afternoon walking in from recess, students kept asking me, “Are we gonna get to read more?” I wondered, why so many requests. Apparently, when we had gone to recess many were almost at the end of those books they got on Monday. I hadn’t realized. We read for 10 more minutes, and then, they pleaded for more, “Please just five more minutes.” Can it get any better than that? Today I celebrate book love!
This week we worked on our One Little Words I blogged about our dictionary.com discoveries here.
Tuesday, we studied quotations at Brainy Quotes. By clicking on the person who is quoted, students could find other words that person said. Not surprisingly, Walt Disney had a lot to say about dreaming and creating. Quotes from Abraham Lincoln, several Roosevelts (“are they related?”), Orson Wells, William Shakespeare, Rumi, Queen Latifa, Helen Keller, Virgil, Angelina Jolie, Margaret Mead and others were written down. To see Angelina Jolie on the same page is Virgil was a kick.
Wednesday, we used Thesaurus.com that provided an initial look at synonyms for their OLWs. Then we moved to the visual thesaurus, which quite honestly blew them away. Synonyms literally exploded like flowers, spanning out from their chosen OLW in the center. Powerful. We used the online version on our devices which is available on a trail basis, later for a charge. There are other free visual thesauruses available online and an iPad app for 99 cents. This visualization of words makes a difference, particularly with multiple meaning words. In a visual rendition the synonyms branch out on different paths differentiating the meanings. Just check out the many meanings of “dream.” Each branch shows how this works. So much more understandable!
Thursday, students learned how to use the Word Clouds app. This free iPad app is a great tool for our computing environment. It is simple, free, and their final results can be captured easily on the iPad camera. Students loved the colors, fonts and arranging possibilities. We tested it with their writing on Westward Expansion. The big ideas in any text just pop, and the learning goes well beyond the oohs an ahas of colors and words.
This week I celebrate electronic media tools. I am thankful for our books and love of books, but websites, apps and computing tools bring words and ideas to life easily and quickly. Check out BrainyQuotes.com, visual thesauruses (graphwords.com, visualthesaurus.com and thesaurus visual dictionary app), and the Word Clouds app with your students.
This week just flew by. Everyday, someone would be surprised by the bell ringing saying things like, “We’re done? That was fast!” Two students thought Friday was Thursday. After school, I overheard a few students talking about how fast the school year is going. “Yeah,” one replied, “I’m gonna miss this place.” That same child started the school year saying she couldn’t wait for middle school. Today, I celebrate the fact that it feels like time is flying, yet students long for just a bit more.