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Because my kindergartners were making so much progress with their reading, I decided to introduce “book projects.” I wanted my students to have the opportunity to do something with a book they were reading independently. It turned out to be a dynamic learning activity in which students not only practiced reading skills they identified for themselves, taking charge of their own learning, but also had the chance to be creative, 21st century learners.
Comment to help create a master list of Web sites and Web 2.0 tools to use with literacy projects.
Here’s What We Do
On Mondays, students get together in their reading groups for about 30 minutes and peruse books that I have selected according to each group’s reading level. After browsing through all the books, the groups have time to discuss the selection and decide on one book. Each child gets a copy of the book and carefully reads it.
Then the groups determine the skill they feel they need to work on. We have identified the following skills to choose from:
Download the Reading Book Projects Planning Sheet I created to keep track of the students' work and progress.
The last step for Monday is to come up with a project idea to illustrate their learning. It was great to see how the students easily selected a skill to work on and really knew what the skills meant. With some guidance we were able to come up with some amazing projects.
On Tuesday during a 45-minute work period the students did the following projects:
The Snowman Retelling With Flip Camera (Comprehension)
The students in this group wanted to retell the story while one child was drawing the snowman. The kids picked their roles, such as illustrator, videographer, reader, and director. Below is the video from the second taping. After watching their first attempt, in which the reader went really fast through the text and the illustrator struggled to keep up, they realized the importance of good fluency, too!
Wordle With Blends and Diagraphs From The Sweetest Present (Word Work)
The children in this group noticed that their book had a lot of blends and diagraphs in it. Since we are working on these in class, they decided to pick out all of the blends and add some of their own. I showed them the Web site Wordle, and they decided to use it for their project. They had so much fun creating this word cloud and learning words with these blends. We also published their word cloud in the Wordle Gallery. Take a look at it here.
We also had a PowerPoint photo album with I See . . . Sentences that worked on reader response Download I See blog, and a PowerPoint photo album working on vocabulary with a Counting Book. Download Our Counting Book blog PowerPoint Presentation. A Wixie presentation of beach words from At the Beach also worked on vocabulary.
All the groups were completely engaged and proud of their work. They presented their book projects to the class and we posted them on our class blog for the parents to see and comment on.
Enhancing Learning With Technology
This activity is a great example of how we can look at students' learning and match a technology tool with it. By first deciding what skill the students were going to work on, we were able to select the best tool to assist in completing the task and practicing the skill. Many times teachers look at technology from the tool standpoint first, asking, "How can I use this tool?" Instead, come at it from the learning point of view, asking, "What do we need to learn? Now, what tool will help to learn that skill?"
Since this was only our first week doing book projects, I have more projects to look forward to next week. Right now I am in the process of making a list of effective Web 2.0 tools and sites. What tools and Web sites do you use for projects like these? Please contribute your favorites, and I'll create a master list to share with everyone.