Author Archives: plemmonsa

Upcoming Knowledge Quest Webinar

I am very honored to be a part of the September/October issue of Knowledge Quest, the professional journal of the American Association of School Librarians.  The theme of the issue is Participatory Culture and Learning and my article Opening the Space:  Making the School Library a Site of Participatory Culture can be found on p. 8.  This article was a joy to write, even though it took hours and hours to create.  I hope that the article inspires other school libraries to think about how their programs can embrace participatory culture as well.

If you would like to know more about the article and our Barrow Media Center program, I invite you to attend a webinar that I am presenting this Tuesday, October 9th, at 7PM EST.  I will expand upon what I wrote in the article as well as offer pieces that didn’t make it into the text.

The following October webinar is FREE to anyone wishing to attend. Members and non-members are welcome to register!

kq headphones iconOpening the Space: Libraries as a Site of Participatory Culture
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
7 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. CDT/5 p.m. MDT/4 p.m. PDT

Participatory culture is grounded in low barriers to artistic expression and allows students to be creators of content as well as pass on their experiences and knowledge to others. The Barrow Media Center is a site of participatory culture through elements such as student book budgets, collaborative projects that culminate in student product creation, opportunities for students to showcase their creations to others in a variety of ways, and students taking leadership in teaching one another how to use technology to create. This year, developing the participatory culture of the library is a specific goal that has been made public to all students, teachers, and families in the school and all members of the library have been invited to find their place in the library and make things happen. This webinar will explore participatory culture and how the library can be a space of participation.

Andy Plemmons is a school librarian in Athens, Georgia.  He teaches students in PreK-5th grade at David C. Barrow Elementary.  The participatory culture and collaborative projects of the Barrow Media Center are regularly featured on his blog Barrow Media Center

Register by clicking HEREThis webinar is FREE to anyone wishing to attend.

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Navigating the Information Tsunami: Engaging Research Projects that Meet the Common Core Standards, K-5

Cherry Lake Publishing has a new and exciting book coming out called, Navigating the Information Tsunami:  Engaging Research Projects that Meet the Common Core Standards, K-5.  This text offers 18 projects, three from each grade level K-5, that go well-beyond fact recall.  These lessons are all grounded in the new Common Core Standards and focus on quality student research from our earliest learners to our older elementary students.  Each lesson is written by an educator who is an expert on the many literacies involved in research projects, the school teacher-librarian.  While the  lessons are written for classroom teachers, they all incorporate collaboration with the school librarian at some point during the project.  Also within the pages of the book, there are many graphic organizers and tips on topics such as citing sources in a multimedia world, creative commons images, what to do when Youtube is blocked, and more.  I encourage every elementary library in Georgia to own at least one copy of this book.  There are even featured lessons from Georgia librarians, Andy Plemmons & Linda Martin.  Check out the attached flyer and order your copy today!

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA

http://barrowmediacenter.wordpress.com

http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/webpages/aplemmons

21st Century Learning: A visit to the GA DOE Center for Classroom Innovation

What does learning in a 21st century classroom look like?  We had the opportunity to visit the Georgia Department of Education’s Center for Classroom Innovation.  The room is setup with different spaces depending on the kinds of learning and collaboration taking place.  The room also offers flexibility with some mobile furniture such as rolling chairs, rolling tables, and screens that divide the space into different learning areas.  The spaces include:

  • The bar:  a high top table for collaborative group work
  • The Mediascape Area:  a space with a U-shaped couch, 2 Mondo boards, and the ability to easily connect devices for display on the boards
  • The Campfire Area:  Another collaborative space with a couch and a table that has a pad of paper as its top so that you can write on the table and take your ideas with you.
  • The high top:  A high table that can be used for large collaborative projects and hands-on activities
  • The Post and Beam:  An area that can be divided multiple ways such as 4 smaller meeting spaces that contain tables, chairs, and dry erase boards
  • The Node Classroom:  A space that features  “desks” that swivel and have a tray table that can be for either left or right-handed people
The room is also equipped with these technologies:
  • Wireless internet with multiple access points
  • Document camera
  • Xbox with Kinnect
  • Laptop cart
  • 3D projector w/3d glasses for a class
  • 2 Mondo boards (large touch screen computers) w/videoconferencing capabilities
  • Plug and play connections to easily display content from any device
You can view a slideshow of the room and find out more here.  The room is available for any classes to use as long as you schedule the room with Chara Lee (404) 651-9500.

This visit began taking shape several weeks ago when we were invited to bring a class to the space to engage in a lesson and be filmed.  Our collaborative wheels immediately began turning as me, Mrs. Selleck (fourth grade teacher), Mrs. Foretich (art teacher), Mrs. Yawn (2nd grade teacher), and Mrs. Hunter (gifted teacher) began planning.  We chose a 4th grade unit focusing on the social studies standards about how price incentives affect people’s behavior and choices.  Ultimately, students would design a t-shirt for our temporary home at Barrow 2.0 while our new school is being built.  Their role would be to establish themselves as a business, create a design, consider wants/needs/cost, and create a marketing plan for their new shirt.

Several pieces of our project took place at our school before we made the journey to Atlanta.  Our principal created a video charging Mrs. Selleck’s class with the task of designing a new shirt.

In class, Mrs. Selleck established 4 groups of students.  Each group had a manager, an accountant, a designer, a technology specialist, and an advertiser.  The groups created names and logos for their companies.  Mrs. Selleck also did a lot of work with wants and needs as well as developing products and advertising slogans.  In art, Mrs. Foretich worked with the students on their designs and discussed multiple art elements that they might consider in creating an effective design for a shirt.  In the media center, the technology specialists met with Mr. Plemmons and Mrs. Hunter to go over many technology options that the groups might consider while developing their advertising components of the project.  These included Glogster, Animoto, and Prezi.

At the Center for Classroom Innovation, several things happened:

  • Mr. Plemmons introduced the day with the book Have I Got a Book for You by Melanie Watt.  Persuasive strategies were discussed
  • Mrs. Selleck led the group in a needs and wants activity where students split into separate areas of the space to work and then came back together
  • Mrs. Hunter met with all the advertisers.  Mr. Plemmons met with all the technology specialists.  Mrs. Yawn met with all of the managers.  Mrs. Selleck met with all of the accountants.  Mrs. Foretich met with all of the designers.  Each group focused on their specialty and learned more about the role they would play in designing a shirt and marketing the shirt.
  • Groups met in separate meeting spaces within the room to design.  Using Zazzle, groups considered the images they would use, explored options for t-shirt types and colors, and considered how the price was affected by their decisions.  Groups also used giant dry erase boards to take notes and brainstorm as they worked.
  • As needed, groups went to the Mondo boards and Skyped with our graphic design expert, Tony Hart.  His feedback helped groups revise their designs as needed.
  • Students were treated to a great pizza lunch before launching into part 2.
  • Students considered what technology tool they would use to market & persuade people to choose their design.  Three groups chose Animoto and one group chose Glogster.
  • All adults assisted students as needed during their product creation.
  • The day closed with each group presenting their final advertising product.  Mrs. Foretich led the students in a critique session.

While all of this was going on, the Department of Education had 2 videographers documenting the day.  They will eventually edit this video into a model video for how this space can be used with students.  It was an exciting day.  Our next steps will be to continue the project, but also to reflect on how this space served us in the kinds of work that we want to do with students.  This will inform the design of our new classrooms in our new school.  We loved how productive students were in this space.  The flexible divisions of the space allowed students to create their own private nooks and work spaces.  Even though there was a rumbling energy in the room, groups did not distract one another from the tasks their group was trying to accomplish.  The space was a big component responsible for this success.  The space also supported students with a strong infrastructure for technology.  We did not have any problems with computers connecting and staying connected to wireless.  The large Mondo boards were very dependable for displaying student work as well as video conferencing through Skype.  We had one of the best Skype connections I’ve every experienced.  The size of the room wasn’t extremely large, but again, the divisions of the space provided multiple ways for students to be productive and engage with technology and other forms of documentation.  Seeing students work in this space is inspiring.  We  have already been doing this kind of learning in our media center and classrooms, but today showed us how a space and tools can strengthen 21st century learning.

Here are the 3 Animoto videos created by groups today:

Here’s a  link to the Glog created by one group:

Lightning Minds

 

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA

http://barrowmediacenter.wordpress.com

http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/webpages/aplemmons

2012 Georgia Conference on Children’s Literature

 

March 23 & 24th will be an exciting time in Athens, GA.  The 43rd annual Conference on Children’s Literature will be taking place at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education and this year promises some top-notch authors and illustrators.  They include:

  • Barbara O’Connor:  the author of TheFantastic Secret of Owen Jester, a 2011-2012 Georgia Children’s Book Award nominee. She is also the recipient of multiple Parents’ Choice Awards forGreetings from Nowhere, How to Steal a Dog, Moonpie and Ivy, and Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia.
  • Mike Wimmer:   the illustrator ofFlight: The Journey of Charldes Lindbergh, winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction,Homerun: The Story of Babe Ruth, andOne Giant Leap (all by Robert Burliegh). He is also the illustrator of All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan and Theodore by Frank Keating.
  • Carole Boston Weatherford:  the author of Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. She is also the author of Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins, Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane, andBecoming Billie Holiday. Her book Dear Mr. Rosenwald was on the Notable Books for a Global Society list.
  • Jody Feldman: the author of The Gollywhopper Games, winner of the 2010-2011 Georgia Children’s Book Award. She is also the author of The Seventh Level.
  • Meghan McCarthy: the author and illustrator of Aliens Are Coming! The True Account of the 1938 War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast, winner of the 2010-2011 Georgia Children’s Picture Storybook Award and an ALA Notable Book. Her other books include: Pop! The Invention of Bubblegum, Astronaut Handbook, and Strong Man: The Story of Charles Atlas.

Registration for this conference has remained an affordable $125 for several years.  Your registration includes 5 general sessions by authors and illustrators, 2 catered lunches where you will feel well-taken care of and have a chance to chat with educators that share your interests, 3 blocks of concurrent sessions presented by fellow educators, multiple opportunities to get author/illustrator autographs, and the state finals of the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl.  Early bird registration ends March 5th and the fee will increase to $145.

I invite you to attend my concurrent session called “Techno Poetry”, where I will share the many ways I’m using technology to allow students to craft and publish a variety of poems as well as connecting their poetry to a global audience.

More info can be found on the conference website.  Hope to see you there.

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA

http://barrowmediacenter.wordpress.com

http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/webpages/aplemmons

How to teach 3 social studies units covering over half a century in 4 weeks: A 5th Grade Glogster Project

Last year, I began a journey with 5th grade that integrated multiple social studies standards into one big project.  The teachers put students in cross-classroom groups and assigned them social studies topics for a unit on the turn of the century.  Each group made a glog about their topic after using print and digital resources to gather information.  We were amazed by the leadership, collaboration, and innovation that took place in that project, but we made a lot of mistakes along the way too.  You can read more about last year here and here.

This year, we almost didn’t do this project.  The teachers were feeling even more overwhelmed by the content this year because they had to teach 3 social studies units and 2 science units in 9 weeks.  You would probably feel overwhelmed too if you knew you had to teach these units in that amount of time:

Even the district planner recommends a total of 12 weeks for the units, but requires that it be done in the 3rd quarter (9 weeks).

After multiple combinations of meetings between me, the 5th grade social studies teacher, the gifted collaboration teacher, and the instructional coach, we developed a plan for how this year’s content might look.  Each of the 3 social studies classes were assigned a unit.  Within each class, topics were assigned to individuals as well as groups of students.  These students made plans of how to divide the content among their group.  On Mondays and Fridays, the social studies teacher and gifted teacher did direct teaching of some of the content from all 3 units.  On Tuesday-Thursday, students came to the media center to research their topics in online databases, websites, and books.  Last year, students just took notes as they read, but this year we wanted students to have a better structure that was based in questions that came from the standards.  The gifted teacher combed through the standards and created 2 different graphic organizers with questions for students to consider.  The organizer also had space to document resources used.  Some students chose to use digital copies of this organizer while others chose to print it out and write their notes.

Once again, I pulled together a pathfinder divided up by topics.  This pathfinder gave each student a handful of websites about their topic.  I also showed them how to search the databases found in Georgia’s Galileo collection.  My paraprofessional took the topics and searched through our print collection.  If a book matched one group’s topic, she put a post-it with their names on the book.  If a book spanned multiple topics, she put it in a shared stack.

To begin our journey, I briefly introduced the pathfinder, graphic organizers, and how to take notes (not copying and pasting entire paragraphs of information from websites).  I also showed a glog from last year’s students to give them an idea of what they would ultimately be doing.  We chose not to introduce how Glogster works at the beginning.  We also chose to not give students logins and passwords to Glogster.  Students then began a week of research.  The social studies teacher, gifted teacher, student teacher, my paraprofessional, some college students, and me began working with students as much as possible to support them in their search.

After a week, I introduced how Glogster works by showing a very basic run-through of the kinds things it can do.  Students continued to research, but as they finished, they checked in with one of the adults.  Most of the time we offered additional guiding questions and support so that they had the most complete information possible.  Once students reached a point where they had enough information, they received their username and password to Glogster.

Most students began Glogster with deciding on their wall background.  Then, they moved to adding text from their organizer.  Eventually, students branched out to include photographs from public domain searches and linked their pictures to the sources they came from.  Some students also did audio introductions to their glog or recorded audio for various parts of their glogs.  Some students used Screencast-o-matic to do screencasts of timelines from PebbleGo or tours in Google Earth.  A few students used webcams to record themselves talking.  One group even did a webcam video of their resource list rather than just creating a text box for it.

You can view some of the finished or in progress glogs here:

Recovering from the Great Depression

Black Cowboys

Wright Brothers

George Washington Carver

Alexander Graham Bell

Thomas Edison

Spanish American War

McKinley & Roosevelt

Panama Canal

Immigration

Voting Rights

US Contributions and Treaty of Versailles

Lusitania and Other Ships

Duke Ellington

Louis Armstrong

Harlem Renaissance

Babe Ruth

Charles Lindbergh

Henry Ford

The Great Depression

Jesse Owens

Stalin, Mussolini, Roosevelt, & Churchill

Holocaust

Presidents of WWII

Bombing of Japan

Changing Role of Women

Tuskegee Airmen

Cold War

Khrushchev & McCarthy

D-Day, VJ, & VE Days

Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, & Hirohito

Panama Canal 2

Once students finalize their glogs, they will present them to the rest of the 5th grade to share the responsibility of teaching and learning this massive amount of content.

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA

http://barrowmediacenter.wordpress.com

http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/webpages/aplemmons