Disclaimer: If you read this post earlier and couldn’t find the sock puppet app in the iTunes store, it is now back, so go to the iTunes store and get it while you can
Today as part of our storybook celebration, students who came to the media center had a chance to try out an app on our 10 iPads called Sock Puppets. The sock puppet app allows students to choose up to 4 sock puppet characters, multiple props (some moveable, some not), and multiple interchangeable backgrounds. Students use the selections to create a 30-second puppet show. They simply press record and then begin moving the various objects and puppets around on the screen. Each time a puppet is touched, the iPad places an arrow above that puppet’s head so that the students know which voice to record. After 30 seconds or when the students press stop, the app scrubs up students’ voices to make them more sock puppet-like.
Today, students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades tried out this app. Instead of taking them step by step through the process of making a puppet show, I simply said: “Go to the sock puppet app and use it to create a 30 second story.” In a matter of minutes, students were figuring out how the app worked. Of course there was lots of silliness, but in this time of exploration, students had permission to play and have fun without worries of being right or wrong. Even though students were doing impromptu puppet shows, they created some very creative and humorous pieces. I only wish that I had student access to Youtube so I could share some of them with you. At the close of each session, we talked about how we might use this app in the future, and students were excited about the possibility of writing 30-second scripts that would make their puppet shows more cohesive. I wonder if that same excitement would have existed if I had made the students start with writing scripts or watching me make a complete sock puppet show on the smart board before they had time to explore?
I think this free app has a lot of creative potential, and I’m glad that I was able to offer a space for students have time to play.
There are many examples of sock puppet videos on Youtube. Here’s an example.
David C. Barrow Elementary
Not so long ago, data were hard to come by. As our society has become more and more infused with technology, data aren’t nearly as scarce as they used to be. In school libraries, we have circulation statistics, site hits, classes taught, and the list goes on and on. There is no doubt that these data help us when we need to justify our programs to administrators and others. We can also use data to see trends, identify problems, and herald successes.
In between the infographics, statistics, and charts, lately I’ve noticed the call for stories. Stories are one of the main ways that we learn from and share with one another. Numbers can be informative, but they are all the more compelling when accompanied by a well-told story of a successful learning experience made possible by the school library.
April is School Library Month. AASL has adopted “Create Your Own Story” as the 2011 School Library Month theme. Students can use the library to find and tell stories, and we can tell our library’s stories as well.
If you’re not sure how to tell your library’s story, there are a number of resources that might help you think about how to start developing a collection of stories about your library. Starting March 15, AASL is offering a free series about creating strategic stories to gain support for libraries. I also learn a lot about the power of effective stories from resources like StoryCorps, not to mention friendships with professional storytellers including Linda Martin and Stephanie Jones.
There are many ways to begin collecting stories, or add to the collection you’ve already started. You might grab a flip video camera for an interview. Record photographic evidence of student learning and audio record accompanying reflections. Encourage digital storytelling.
Of course, librarians can’t be the only ones telling positive stories about school library programs. When programs are in trouble, parents and other community members need to speak out on our behalf. Keep an email file with comments from parents and community members who have been enriched by your program. Include a “press” page on your website with links to local news stories about projects that include your school library. If a crisis comes, you have ready resources to share efficiently.
Unfortunately, outside of the library community, there are too few people telling positive stories about what school libraries do.
I’ve seen calls for positive examples that aim to stretch beyond our usual conversations. This is one way projects like the Learning4Life video contest and PC Sweeney’s Great Librarian Write Out! can inspire us to share stories in different ways and places.
As School Library Month approaches, take time to cultivate your library’s own story as you enhance student learning and storytelling. Find interesting ways and unexpected places to tell that story.
Department of Language and Literacy Education
The University of Georgia
Georgia’s very own Linda Martin, school librarian at Sugar Hill Elementary in Hall County and 2007 Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year, is featured in this month’s issue of NoveList School News. Be sure to read this interview with her in which she shares the power and value of storytelling for children!
Buffy Hamilton, Ed.S.
GLMA Communications Chair
Today I received an interesting email when I arrived at school. Chaela Herridge-Meyer, Senior Coordinator of Communications with the StoryCorps project, sent me a message requesting an interview about our Barrow Oral History Project. Many of you know that last year our 5th grade students interviewed 27 former Barrow buddies from as far back as 1925. During the project, students used online oral history examples such as StoryCorps and also used the StoryCorps National Day of Listening question generator to get ideas for the most effective interview questions. After the project was complete, I posted the link to our oral history page on the National Day of Listening wall in the hopes that other people who were passionate about gathering community stories would find their way to our project.
Chaela and I had a wonderful conversation about the power of oral history projects bringing history alive for students. We also talked about how our hope was that the students who participated in this project will go on to capture and preserve family stories to pass on to future generations. Also, by sharing this project at professional conferences like COMO, GaETC, and the Georgia Conference on Children’s Literature we hope that other classrooms, schools, and libraries will sponsor similar projects.
November is national family stories month. I invite everyone reading this blog to stop for just a moment, sit down with a family member, and interview him or her to gather some family stories you’ve never heard. I invite you record your interviews to pass along through YouTube, video, photography, writing, scrapbooking, or any other means you discover.
The day after Thanksgiving is the official National Day of Listening. Their website has resources for creating effective questions and recording quality audio. I hope you will consider participating in this important day, but even if you can’t sit down for a family interview on November 26th, sit down sometime and listen.
“By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this nation reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how great it is to be alive.” -Dave Isay, Founder & President, StoryCorps
Here is a link to the presentation I did at COMO. I will hopefully offer this presentation again at the Georgia Conference on Children’s Literature.
Start planning now to attend the Roswell Magnolia Storytelling Festival on June 19 and June 20 at historic Bulloch Hall! Not only can you enjoy hearing world class storytellers, but you can also earn PLU credits as these workshops have been approved by the state for PLU credit. To earn PLU credit, you will need to attend four workshops and two hours of storytelling observation.
Creekview High School