March is Reading Month

March is here! Well, almost :) How do you celebrate March is Reading Month? Our school gets SO into it and I love it. Each day, we celebrate reading in a different way and it's a fun way to show the kids how much we (the teachers and admin) love to read. To kick off the special month (and celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday), each student gets assigned a number and their face put in the body of a "Thing." We then decorate their lockers with the "Things." Our amazing reading team puts it all together (shout out to Rita and Maggie). You're going to need to reference the picture below to understand that one... 

Super cute right?! I have another awesome March is Reading Month activity for you all but first...time for the  -->

Tech Tip of the Week

This past Friday, we tried two new tech activities. The first was Dance Mat Typing. This is an exciting and interactive way to learn how to "touch type." Touch typing is the fastest way to express your thoughts through writing--even faster than with a pen and paper. The program teaches you to type without looking at the keyboard. I LOVE letting my kids use this program because just about any job they will have one day will require them to use a computer (added bonus: letter recognition). They love it, too. I can remember back when I was in 3rd grade we had keyboards that had different levels that taught us to type. It was my favorite part of the day--and by the end of the year, my mom was convinced I would have a career in closed captioning! Haha! 


We also tried a f r e e app called Cargo-bot. Let me start by saying this program is pretty difficult...and I'm not just saying that because it took me 20 minutes to pass level 4 the night before I introduced it :) This is when having high expectations for your students comes in handy because two of my students finished level 4 in five my defense they were working together and I was figuring it out all on my own.... :) HA! On a more serious note, this app is great for unleashing the desire to program and code. You have to teach the crane robot how to move the cargo boxes for up to 36 levels! There is a lot problem solving and critical thinking required to solve these puzzles--and (as always) my favorite part is watching my kids work together and then celebrate their successes! 

Another really cool/fun fact about this app: it was the first app ever programmed entirely on an iPad. 

March is Reading Month

Looking to spice up Reading Month? Download the app Aurasma and let's get started. 

Step 1: Have your students pick one of their favorite books.

Step 2: Give your students ample time to draw and color the cover of their book on paper (try using this). 

Helpful Hint: Make this a big deal! I demonstrated drawing the cover of my favorite book and pointed out the different features to pay attention to--colors, sizes of words, sizes of pictures, etc.). 

Take a look at what my FIRST GRADERS did for this step...I mean maybe I am biased but this looks like upper elementary work to me. They worked SO hard...I am so proud #teartear . It is amazing what students will do when it relates to something in their life! Passion Project! 


I can't stop bragging about their's just SO good!

Step 3: Record student videos. Use an iPad, iPhone, laptop, camera or any recording device for students to share their projects. My students said something along the lines of, "Hi my name is Miss Stasiak and my favorite book is _________. I chose this as my favorite book because _________. Someone else might enjoy this book because _____________." 

Step 4: Link videos to book covers using Aurasma. Using this app, you can turn your students book cover into a trigger (kind of like a QR code) so that when you scan the book cover with the app, their video will pop up! Other students in the school can watch the videos and learn about new books. This time of year is also great to do this project for parents to view during Parent Teacher Conferences. Aurasma is (simply put) SO COOL--if you have never checked it out, please take some time to do so! I'll try to post soon about other ways I incorporate it in my classroom (vocab lessons). 

Want to learn more about how to use Aurasma? This step-by-step youtube video is great.

Step 5: Post the books on lockers for all to see! You will want to let people know that the pictures on your lockers so something awesome, so here are two freebies for ya! 

Let me know how you use Aurasma in your classroom--or if you decide to celebrate March is Reading Month with this activity. I would love to hear about it! Spring and spring break are around the corner...fingers crossed for warmer weather :) Keep doing what you're doing and inspiring kids everywhere!

Happy, happy teaching! 

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