Yablonski and Orlando's grade 4 students made history last night when Westborough's Conservation Commission unanimously approved Mill Pond's first ever, student-created interactive hiking trail. Four student representatives along with grade 4 teacher, Erin Yablonski, Mill Pond Literacy Specialist Stephanie Nephew, and Stephanie Garrett Technology Integration specialist presented their multimedia projects and answered questions from the commission.
Below are the kids' interactive projects:
189 interactive pages! Movies, puppetry, research, primary sources, literacy, creativity, 21st century skills, collaboration, communication, civic responsibility, authentic audiences, professional collaboration amounting to Mill Pond's first ever interactive hiking trail created by fourth graders for the Westborough community just in time for the 300th year celebration!
Yablonski, Orlando and Garrett thank Stephanie Nephew, grade 4-6 literacy curriculum specialist, Alison Defoire, Mill Pond Technology Specialist, Pam from Massachusetts Wildlife and Fisheries, Greg Kessler from Westborough's Conservation Commission, Cousin Frank The Best local biologist EVER, Ithycologist Dr. Snider from the University of Buffalo, and archeologists Alan Levelliela and Sue Speckman for their unwavering expertise, time and passion for our beautiful Earth and our young naturalists.
Book Creator just updated and it's transformative
Below is an example for you of a close reading book I created and published online!
Book Creator updated to allow teachers to upload books online! Your students already have the updated version on their iPad. Teachers are allowed 10 books to publish so if you had a class project you could combine the books into one and upload away. Book Creator made it clear that their online publishing is COPPA compliant too!
Read how you publish online by clicking here!
Experience Joan and Keith's Grade 4 Moth Hour by clicking the image below:
Students in Keith and Joan's room recorded their personal narratives using garageband! They did not read their stories, they acted them out to replicate a real moth hour experience for their authentic audience. They recorded seagulls, chinese drum sets, classic piano, electric guitars and more to their recording using their critical thinking and creativity skills.
I know what you are thinking. How does the image above fit in this blog narrative? I have been inviting myself into grade 4 homerooms for week long stays and in some cases - weeks. I expected after a few days that like the saying: " Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days," that I too would start to stink and wear out my welcome. That was not the case. It started with Laurie Woodward and from those visits, Laurie and I put together a personal narrative unit starter, Garageband Feelings Match activities for Morning Meetings and a pumped up version of Newsela close reading.
Next stop was Kristen Kilpatrick and Joan Follette's room where I borrowed their kids for a week to introduce them to Swift Playgrounds coding, Quizlet Live, Garageband, and more. I did not stink yet. Looking for a new homeroom to welcome me, I swam into April Knight's room one morning while her students were finishing up on their personal narratives. By the time I left that morning, I managed to talk April into keeping me for two weeks so we could work on teaching the kids how to add green screen movies and writer's reflections to their incredible stories. Do fish really start to stink after three days?
The following week my journey was indeed serendipitous! After the Mill Pond Tech PD day last month, Joan, Keith and I hung out in my room, the main floor lab: AKA: THE FISH BOWL to take advantage of the collegial collaboration time given to staff. Joan happened to have final drafts of their students' personal narratives and shared them with me. It was hard to believe that I was reading stories written by 4th graders. Their writing was heart-wrenching, sophisticated and grabbed my tech integration imagination.
Storytelling, an ancient art and a modern phenomenon, bonds us all as humans. Tales of survival, celebration and life epiphanies brought on by struggles are all part of the human experience- even for a youngster in 4th grade, just beginning their human experience, there are stories to be told.
Storytelling is not just for ancient warriors seated around a fire; stories are also part of the 4th grade landscape here at Mill Pond. From April Knight's 4th grade student wonderful personal narratives that weave tales of a new baby brother to tales of triumphant soccer games. Personal narratives from the 4th grade Sanders and Solle's students share heartbreaking pet losses to a serene fishing day with grandpa. Stories from our youngest can remind us all what is important in life and what is not.
April K's Students used: Google Docs, Google Classroom, greenscreen, QR app and the camera app to record pivotal moments from their narratives and to reflect deeply on their writer's journey.
I am looking forward to One of my final stops before I am back in the classroom: Labriola and DiBona's classroom to support their wonderful students with a mother's day poetry celebration for the best moms in the world!
It's been a wonderful ride these last two years! My final blog will be next week where I will reflect on the two years of tech integration in your classrooms. For those who have welcomed me into your classrooms and made me feel welcome over the last two years, I thank you. I have learned so much from so many different styles of teaching and am in awe of how, despite the challenges you face, that you remain committed to always up your game! You understand that technology, if integrated thoughtfully, can be a game changer for your students. I am forever grateful for sharing your students with me.
Take your students to any place on earth