Sunday, November 23, 2014

EPIC - Thousands of eBooks at your Fingertips

EPIC! is a great app for kids to use at home or school.  We have just started using it in all curricular areas.  What is even better is that EPIC! is free for educators.

Students have access to thousands of free eBooks.  Many of the books are bestsellers, classics, and from some of the best publishers. Some of the publishers include Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, and National Geographic Kids.  Also, there is an amazing collection of nonfiction books. The books stream immediately, and they do not need to be downloaded. There is also the option of reading the book offline. Students also have the opportunity to rate the book after reading.

Books Stream Immediately

You can browse for books and there is also a search option. Another feature that I really like is the ability to add books to favorites. 

Learning about Electricity in Science
All Formats and Ages

EPIC has a bookshelf that sorts books according to genres, recent reads, recommended for you, read to me,  recently added, and popular on EPIC! The genres include Fiction, Nonfiction, Living Things, Humorous, Daily Life, Science and Nature, World, Mysteries, History, Fantasy, Sports, and Assorted Topics.  Selections can also be filtered by age-related recommendations too. 

Books are added Daily
Most Popular Books 

Teachers are encouraged to share the App with parents so it continues to be free for educators. Parents have a free trial period of a month, and then it is just $9.99 a month.  The books available are at reading and interest levels of up to 12 years old.  

Recently we were learning about verbs during language. All students had the book To Root, to Toot, Parachute opened on their iPad while I airplayed the book and we read it together.  Definitely an App we are using during Daily 5 and language arts. I have found a lot of books that tie in with our science and social studies curriculum.  There are so many possibilities for using EPIC!  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

4th Graders Share the Importance of Blogging

As I reflect upon my teaching, often it is other teachers' blogs that I turn to for ideas and inspiration. My one year anniversary for my blog is this December, and I am still not 100% comfortable posting, and yes, I still get nervous when I push the button to publish.  I am so proud of my students because they are definitely the complete opposite and LOVE to publish their posts.

In this post, I decided to turn it over to my fourth graders.  We have all read a lot of posts about the importance of student blogging from an educator's point of view, so I decided to put a twist on it.  I shared a Google Doc with my students and had them write their top five reasons they like to blog.  It did not take them long to share their ideas and comments.  As a team, they had so many reasons that we decided it would be best to work together and narrow it down to ten that they all agreed upon.

Jerry Blumengarten

I have also included many of the quotes they created on Glogster and Canva about blogging. Their quotes are a true inspiration.  

I went back and reread what each student wrote prior to posting this and LOVED something one of my student's shared. So to start their post here a quote from Eme.
Eme S. - "I like to blog because it's the next best thing to writing a best-selling book."

Here are the fourth graders thoughts and 
rationales about the importance of blogging. 
Lessons Learned about Blogging

Teaching Others
When we blog, we teach others about what we are learning, and we may even teach them new information. What we write might inspire someone else.  Our writing can give other student's ideas. We also learn a lot from reading other kids' blog posts. 

Global Connections
Blogging is fun because we get to blog with kids from all around the world.  We are creating global connections, and we learn from each other.  Last year, our class had the opportunity to blog with author Ms. Jena Ball.  This year, we have made friends with classrooms throughout the United States, from Shekou, China, and Canada. We develop friendships with others from around the world when we blog.

Here is a comment one of my students received from China. 
Personal connections are made when student's blog.

Worthy of the Web
Blogging is important because it makes us a better writer.  Our class always talk about keeping it  "Worthy of the Web".  We are able to show our writing skills with others.  Also, we become better writers when we read other kid's blogs. Since we know lots of people will read our post, we have to proofread and check over our writing carefully before we publish.  Sometimes my friend's in my classroom check over my post before I share it.  We love how other people read our work besides just our teacher or parents.

Student Voice
When blogging we get to express our ideas, thoughts, and feelings. We have our own voice when we write. It is great that we get to share our voice with the world! Everyone can share their own voice.  Also, we love sharing our creativity! 

You get to talk with people from all over the world and ask questions about their blogs. We can also ask questions about where they live.  When you ask others questions, you are really learning. A lot of people ask questions about our blogs and what we are learning about.

No Right or Wrong Answer
Blogging is great because there are no right or wrong answers.  I can share my ideas and feelings with the world, and I am proud to write.  

We love to have people comment on our blog posts.  It tells us different people love our writing and care about what we have to say.  We always write back to the person who comments.  Getting comments is one of our favorite things and we are always checking our blog posts.  Sometimes we get suggestions on things we need to improve in our writing.  There are a lot of things we learned about commenting.  You need to write something positive about the person's blog.  We can also share a personal connection.  You always want to try to ask a question. Remember to sign your first name to the comment you are done.

Sharing our Passion
We can share what we love with others. We make people happy by letting them read our blogs.  I get to share my stories and what is important to me.  

Blogging Buddies
We make friends with other classrooms by blogging. This year we participated in the Global Read Aloud. We are blogging buddies with a class from California. We have been sharing our ideas and thoughts about the book our class read together.  We are able to comment on each other's blogs. This year, we not only have blogging buddies from the United States, but also from Shekou, China and Canada.

Classroom Curriculum
Our class loves creating presentations to put in our blog posts. It gives others a better understanding of what we are learning and writing about.  We can app smash when using Kidblog.  We like to add videos and what we wrote in Pages. We write in all subject areas.  Each week we have a different writing genre.  We always post our final draft to Kidblog. 

Powerful quote by Fourth Grader Natalie M. to sum up the Importance of Student Blogging

A thought turns into an idea, an idea turns into a sentence, a sentence turns into a blog, and the blog grows and turns into success, as does the brain of the author. 

Thank You Fourth Graders
We would love comments on our Blogs!

Student Video on Blogging

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fourth Graders Thank Our Veterans

Happy Veteran's Day - November 11th, 2014

On November 11th, Veteran's Day is celebrated throughout our country.  It is a day to honor and recognize the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces.  Living in Bellevue, Nebraska by Offutt Air Force Base many of the families in our community are currently serving or have served in the military.  

In honor of Veterans Day, my fourth graders wanted to thank our Veterans on this special day. Many of my students been affected personally by having family members in the Armed Forces.  

Each student came up with a creative way to share their 
gratitude and appreciation for our Veterans. 

By Angelique
In honor of her Father who is currently in the Air Force with over 18 years of service.

By Natalie
Dedicated to her Great Uncle who Fought in World War 11

By Tia
Dedicated to her Nana, Papa, and Grandpa who Served in the Armed Forces

By Aidan
In honor of his Grandpa who Fought in WWII and was a Bomber Pilot

Dedicated to her Uncle Seth and Papa Jake

In honor of all Veterans

By Kaitlyn
In honor of her Uncle Jason who is Currently serving in the Army

Dedicated to her Grandpa who was a veteran and was also buried on Veterans Day

By Lainey
In honor of her grandpa who was a Pilot in the Military

Kidblog Entry written by Jaxon
In honor of his friend's father-Thank you Mr. George
Jaxon's Kidblog- Thank You Mr. George

By Hayden
Thank You Veteran's

By Sian
Dedicated to her Father who Served

By Ava 
Dedicated to her Brother Drew who currently Serving in the Air Force

By Gavyn
In honor of his mother who recently retired.

By Sean
His video is Dedicated to many Family Member who have Served

Madison's Kidblog explaining the importance of Veteran's Day
In honor of her Mother and Father
Madison's Kidblog - Dedicated to her Mom and Dad

By Beau
Dedicated to all Veterans

By Caitlyn
Thank You Veterans

By Olivia
In Honor of all Veterans

Thanks to Peyton for creating a Stick Around Puzzle in Honor of Veterans Day

Thank you Fourth Graders for your 
amazing tribute to our Veterans