Monday, December 20, 2010


I first came across Wordle a few years ago and fell in love. I could not wait until I had an opportunity to use it in a lesson. I knew that students would get a kick out of using it. I have an image to share that was created by two fifth graders.

Their assignment was to pick a category of the Dewey Decimal system and come up with a list of words that describe the subjects of the books you find in that category. They then typed those words into the wordle program and created their word cloud. These students didn't follow instructions and actually printed out the image, when they were only supposed to use the Print Screen key on the keyboard to save it, but we made use of their mistake and hung the image in the appropriate section of the library. In this case it was the 700s of Dewey. After everyone finished their wordles, I managed to save them all to a flash drive and create a power point so that we could play a game and guess which section of Dewey each pair of students chose to study. I thought it was a really great way to get the students in the stacks and get them familiar with the classification system.

So while, this may not be the intended use of Wordle, I think it accomplished my objective. I almost wish that I was a writing teacher so that we could plug in samples of their writing so they can see that maybe Student A uses the word "however" more than any other word, or that perhaps Student B uses the word "like" 15 times in two paragraphs.

This is the wordle I just created after typing the above text. Click to see it enlarged.

Pennsylvania in the Dewey Decimal System

This is the bulletin board I referenced in my previous post. The younger students who weren't learning about the Dewey Decimal System were more interested in it than the students who were actually working on the Dewey lessons.

A close-up shot so you can read the tags. The letters and state outlines were cut out of scraps of paper that others chose to recycle. I was tickled pink that I could make use of what others wanted to recycle.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bulletin Boards

While cleaning up my harddrive and going through old pictures, I found some photos of bulletin boards I created during my student teaching experience. I had forgotten about these, so I am really pleased that I have the photos to remind me. All of the following photos are from the same elementary (k-5) school.

This display is the first one I did at this particular school. I am most proud of this one because it was completely my idea. This was fall of 2008, a big election year, as you may recall. I had every student in grades 1-5 vote for their favorite book, author or series. I arranged and counted up the voting. I kept each grade's results separate for obvious reaons.
Boo! is by Robert Munsch, and we had just recently completed an author unit on Munsch. The first graders really responded to this man, and the unit was a lot of fun to teach.
I particularly love the confetti around the top of the display. Luckily the art teacher had scraps of shiny paper that she was willing to part with.

This next display I put up around the holiday season. The librarian had recently ordered these Grinch images. It was getting close to the end of my time at this school, and the holiday season is very short, so I wanted to make it as customizable as possible. Take off the Grinch images and you are still left with a winter wonderland scene that could potentially last all the way to March. All that you would have to do is add other pieces to make it fit the different months. I don't know if my supervisor took advantage of this after I left or not. When you have the same students for six years in a row, I think it's important to rotate and change displays. I think this is the kind of shortcut that is very useful without detracting from the surroundings.

The only credit I can take for this display is that I am the one who stapled it to the board. But I wanted to share it because I love that it incorporates the Dewey Decimal System. This board is one that inspired me to create a similar one for books about Pennsylvania. I just love how it shows all the different categories that books about one subject can be found in. You have Christmas poetry in one area and Christmas crafts in another and more general books in another area in entirely. I love the Dewey Decimal system and while it may not be used in many universities, you still find it in public libraries. So since not every child does go onto higher education after graduation, those who venture in public libraries will at least know how to get around and find what they're looking for.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Prisoners in the Palace - Not a book review

I can't wait to get my hot little hands on this book, Prisoners in the Palace. I love the way the publisher is promoting this book on their website. I love that you can read a sample of the book, which I did and thoroughly enjoyed. I am hoping my local library has a copy of it.

I love the pop art cover art, a kind combination of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. I know one is not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I myself have read a good number of books (and loved them) simply because I was drawn to the cover. In this case, I really like the fact that the genre of the book and the cover of the book are so juxtaposed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

1920s Research

The following links were sought out by myself when I was helping two Social Studies teachers work on research with their ninth graders.

The Sacco and Vanzetti Trial
Features: chronology, maps, courtroom statements, biographies, trial transcripts, etc.

The Immigration Act of 1924
Description of the 1924 Act which completely excluded immigrants from Asia

Palmer Raids
Description of the events which led to the massive roundup of suspected radicals

Merchandising and Advertising
From the Library of Congress, provides primary sources on advertising as well as automobiles and radio

Jack Dempsey
Official site of the popular heavyweight boxing champion

Early Baseball Pictures
Photographs from the Library of Congress of major and non-major teams and players

Charles Lindbergh
Features: timeline, maps, map of the famous trans-Atlantic flight

Fashion History
Features: Flappers, hats, wedding dresses, Hollywood and royal fashion icons, etc.

All of these links are active as of 11/18/2010. Maybe some of them will be useful to you!