I spent some time in a media center at a local elementary school earlier in the school year, and I was working on one of the computers while listening to the beginning of a lesson.
The media specialist was sharing some of the nominated books for the North Carolina Children's Book Award Program. This is a children’s choice program sponsored by school and public librarians in North Carolina and is designed to introduce children to current children’s literature and to instill a love of reading.
She is going to read aloud nine of the nominated books and then students are going to vote for their favorite stories. Votes from students all over the state will be combined and an award will be given to the author and illustrator of the favorite books.
One of those books is Silvie, and the main characters is a flamingo "of a different stripe". The media specialist asked the 1st graders if they knew why a flamingo was pink.
Then she went to #1 Wonder of the Day on Wonderopolis to help them answer that question on her SMART board!!! After they explore that for a few minutes (short attention spans), she switched to a Smithsonian Zoological Park animal webcam showing flamingos.
That was a new experience for most of these students!
After finishing that book, she pulled out another short book to read with the students, Shark vs Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld . The media specialist had the Monterey Bay Aquarium webcam site ready to show students sharks, turtles, and stingrays to help build some background knowledge.
Before she was ready for the students to view that site, we heard a voice talking. On the animal webcam she was going to show, they were preparing for an live afternoon feeding of the sardines.
Even though that was not a planned experience, she took advantage of a teachable moment by bringing the outside world into her library through a webcam! She and the students got to see the live feeding!
Since students did not get to see the things she has planned for them to see on the webcam, the media specialist showed still images of sharks, turtles, and stingrays. She was prepared and had a backup plan ....which is always important especially when using technology.
When I started this blog post, it was because I was excited about how she was using Wonderopolis to help build some background knowledge and connections. I did not know that so many more great things would happen ....