Monday, September 21, 2015

Add audience and purpose to library routines lessons with Puppet Pals

Why should I teach my kindergarten students library routines, when I can empower and engage my 2nd grade students with this task?

Our 2nd grade students creating Puppet Pal videos
 to teach the kindergarten students library routines

In these first weeks of the school year, I wanted to add audience and purpose to our lessons on library routines.  While teaching our students how to use a shelf marker and check out a "just right" book is essential, I didn't want to miss out on an opportunity to increase student engagement and introduce some creativity and collaboration.

Over the past few years, I have become increasingly influenced as an educator by Daniel Pink's Drive and Alan November's Who Owns The Learning?  One major takeaway has been that we must empower our students and engage them through purposeful and meaningful work.

This led me to the following question: Why should I teach my kindergarten students library routines, when I can empower my 2nd grade students with this task?

This question led me to Puppet Pals, an easy to use digital storytelling app.

Instead of spending whole lessons reviewing library routines with my second grade students, I decided to challenge them.  As the oldest grade in our K-2 elementary school, could they create puppet show movies on the iPad to teach the kindergartners? I placed the second grade students in small groups of 2-3, and provided them with a script sheet, a clipboard/pencil, and an iPad.

We reviewed the scripts, explored how to use Puppet Pals 2, and introduced how to export saved files to our class Google Drive folders on the iPads.  After two sessions of writing scripts, reflecting on library routines, and introducing Puppet Pals 2, the students were ready to create on our third session. One of the great things about Puppet Pals 2, the students could take photographs of the library to set the scene for their show! 

Here's an example of a video for finding a just right book:

Please excuse my voice in the background, I learned 
to give class instructions more quietly when students are recording!

And another example for using a shelf marker (or "hold my place card"):

Today I surprised my kindergarten students with the videos that the second graders made just for them.  After we watched the videos, we reflected on the main ideas presented.  When I asked for their feedback to share with the second graders, they gave a resounding "Thank You!", "It was awesome!", and "We loved it!"

This year I plan to continue adding a meaningful audience for student work, and hopefully to extend that audience to beyond the classroom.

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