Monday, December 15, 2014

#HourOfCode Computer Programming in Grade 4 #resvt #cesuvt #vted

RES fourth graders writing computer code with 
Scratch programming language

Fourth graders at RES are learning to write short computer programs in their Enrichment Library classes. They are using the Scratch programming language, which was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as an engaging introduction to programming for students and other beginners. These activities are part of the nationwide Hour Of Code initiative to encourage young people to try writing or "coding" computer programs. Our scholars worked hard and helped each other as they were coding!

Here's one program written in Scratch by an RES fourth graders. Check out the others online at the RES Scratch Page!

Click the green flag to start
Press the spacebar for other fun!

More information about Hour of Code can be found at the links below:

Scratch is a free programming language! You can program with it online or download it to your computer from the Scratch Website. It's also available as a free iPad app for younger scholars.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book Commercials by Grade 4 Scholars #resvt #cesuvt #booktrailers

RES fourth graders have been learning about advertising and media literacy in their enrichment library classes. As culminating projects, the fourth graders created their own commercials for books they wanted to recommend to others. Their goals for these projects were

  • to provide some information about the books
  • to use at least two advertising strategies to convince other people to read them

Students were able to choose
  • the format of the commercials: audio or video
  • which books to promote
  • which advertising strategies to use
We are very proud of their work! Take a look at the advertising strategies in the photo at the bottom of this blog post and see if you can identify the strategies in the different commercials.

Mrs. Berliner's Class

The author of El Deafo gave us a compliment about this commercial!

Paper advertisement for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

 Ms. Erickson's Class

Audio Book Commercial for Holes by Louis Sachar

Ms. Senning's Class

Advertising Strategies used by the scholars
Which did you notice?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Video and Radio Commercials: Samples and Examples

You will be sharing what you have learned about media literacy and advertising by creating a video or audio commercial for a book. Video commercials will be shared on YouTube and this blog. Audio commercials will be shared on the RES Podcast and the RES school blog. Here are some examples of book commercials by students, radio commercials by adults, and the RES Podcast. You can go back to this blog post if you need ideas about how your commercial could look or sound.

Sample video book commercials by RES fourth graders

Sample audio book commercials by Illinois fifth graders

Radio commercials produced by adults

Sample radio ad, click Ice Cream Shop

Sample radio ad, click Pizza Shop

RES Podcast: Pilgrims and SBAC

Media Literacy #resvt #cesuvt

Fourth graders have started a unit on media literacy in their enrichment library classes. We began by brainstorming a list of types of media, then continued by discussing advertising strategies. The scholars have been evaluating magazine ads to see if they can identify what strategies the advertisers use. We have been impressed with the critical thinking our scholars have been using about the messages that surround them every day! Here's a video that shows some of their thinking.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What do I do if I finish?

   image created with
Today we a re finishing up our mini research projects.  If you complete your work, here are some things to do:

*Help a classmate (put those technology skills to work and help others!)


*Check out the awesome Halloween wonders on the Wonderopolis site:
Get all of your Halloween questions answered!


*Create an online monster at one of the following sites:
ThinkBank Monster Maker
PBS Kids Alien Assembly
Build Your Wild Self  

If you make something great and want to share it, check in with an adult so we can make a copy!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mini Research Projects--Putting It All Together!

So far you have learned how to find information in books, find images online, and write citations for books and online images. Now you will have a chance to put this all together on a poster about one of your interests!

Goals for this lesson:
  • Learn more about one of your interests
  • Share information about your interest with other scholars
  • Practice finding library books
  • Practice quoting or paraphrasing facts
  • Practice making citations for books and online images

Step 1: Choose one of your interests or hobbies...not an animal this time! Examples would be a sport, a craft, or a favorite activity.

Step 2: Look for a book in the RES library about your interest or hobby. You can use OPALS to search for a book, or you can go straight to the library shelves. If you can't find a book on your interest or hobby, go back to step 1 and choose something else (you will need to use a library book for this project).

Step 3: Use sticky notes to mark three facts in your book.

Step 4: Quote or paraphrase your three facts on a piece of paper. Information about quoting or paraphrasing your information is in this blog post.

Step 5: Write a citation for your book on the same piece of paper. Information about writing citations for books is in this blog post. Do not include page numbers, because you will be getting information from many different places in the book.

Step 6: Log on to a computer and ***USE INTERNET EXPLORER*** to find an image that shows your interest and helps to describe in pictures the information you found in your book.  Copy the image and paste it into a Google document. Information about finding images is in this blog post.

Step 7: Make a citation for the image and put it in the same Google document. Information about citing images is in this blog post.

Step 8: Check in with a teacher to verify your citation and then print out your Google document with the image and image citation.

Step 9: Put your image document and your facts-and-citation paper onto poster paper. Write a title on the top of your poster. Write your name and your teacher's name on the back. When you're done, your poster should look something like this. (Note: Your notes and citations from your book can be handwritten).

 Step 10:  Write at least 2 reasons why we need citations when doing research and add them to your poster.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Finding and Citing Images

Today we are going to be thinking about the best places to find images that we can use in our projects.  Sometimes the images can be ones we create----but sometimes we want to use a great photograph or drawing that someone else has created.  Pictures make projects even more interesting and exciting for your audience!

Our goals today are:

*Learn about a variety of places to search for images that are free and available for your use
*Learn how to cite your image sources
*Practice your cutting and pasting skills! 

Minilesson: Can I use it? Why do I write a citation for it? How do I write a citation for it?

Some images are for can't use those.

Getty Images

Some images are "resuable" as long as you cite them.

Wikimedia Commons

Places to look for reusable images - listed on library website

 RES Library website

How to cite an image: CESU fourth grade

Use the URL (web page address)


*****Google images is not an image source! Click on "View Image" to get the real URL***

Step 1:  Pick a wild animal.  You will be looking for an excellent picture of this animal in its natural habitat.

Step 2:  Use the search engines below to find great images.  The goal is the best picture you can find, so do not settle for the first picture! After you try a site, before you go on to the next one, please go to Step 3.

Option 1: 
World Book Online
Our library pays for a subscription to this resource. You can access it through the library website.  If you are not on a school computer, you need to use a login and password, available in the library.

 Option 2:

Option 3:
Wikmedia Commons

Option 4: 
Google Advanced Image Search
*type in your search words at the top
*then go all the way to the bottom, click next to "useage rights," pick "free to use or share"
*click "Advanced Search"

Only look at these if you have extra time!

Option 5:
Discovery Education Clip Art Gallery use and citation information here

Option 6:
Open Clip Art Library (OCAL)

Step 3:   Evaluate the site you used to find your images using the scorecard.

Step 4: If you decide that the image is the best one you can find, you need to cut and paste it into a Google Document or Microsoft Word document.  INCLUDE the CITATION! (Copy and paste the URL)

Step 5:  Note your preferred site for finding images on your scorecard.  Share this with Mrs. Redford or Mrs. Rankin.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Surprising Facts, Excellent Citations

Surprising Facts, Excellent Citations

Today's class: Find a surprising fact and make a Quote Poster

Step 1: Use OPALS or go to the shelves to find a book on a topic you are interested in

Step 2: Find 1 cool or surprising fact in your book and mark it with a sticky note

Minilesson: Quote or Paraphrase?

Quote = use the original words, put quotation marks around it

"The Iditarod is the longest sled-dog race in the world -- more than one thousand miles long."

Paraphrase = retell in your own words.

The Iditarod dogsled race is over 1,000 miles long.

You have to cite it either way.

Step 3: Write a quote or a paraphrase of your surprising fact on one side of your index card. When you are done, an adult should check it for you.

Minilesson: Citation for a book

Why do we cite / make citations?


Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. Title of the Book. Year the book was published. Pages where you found the information.

Siebert, Patricia. Mush! Across Alaska in the World's Longest Sled-Dog Race. 1992. Page 15.

 Author's Last Name, Author's First Name = Siebert, Patricia.

Title = Mush! Across Alaska in the World's Longest Sled-Dog Race.

Year the book was published = 1992.

Page where I found the information = 15.

Complete Citation

Siebert, Patricia. Mush! Across Alaska in the World's Longest Sled-Dog Race. 1992. Page 15.

Step 4: Write a citation for your book on the back side of your index card. These citations should be in your neatest handwriting--they will be on display!

Step 5:  We will go to the computer lab to create a fabulous fact picture to display on a bulletin board in the RES hallway. Make sure you have your index card!

Step 6:  Log on to your computer and go to:

Step 7:  Type your amazing fact into the application and choose how how you want it to look

Step 8:  Once you are happy with your image, create it! Download the image. Your image will be downloaded to your Downloads folder on your computer, and will be a .png file. It might look something like this:

Step 9: Go to your Downloads folder. Open your dowloaded .png file. Print it out on the rlab-colorcopier.

Step 10: Tape your index card to the bottom of your quote poster with the citation showing (see Mrs. Redford's example).

When you are done, you may explore with any of the tools we have used so far in class (Word Clouds, Recite This)...or help to create our bulletin board by checking in with Mrs. Rankin! You can also check out a 'new to class' green site called Wonderopolis  

This is a great place to learn how to ask great questions!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Our Grade 4 Blog Space and Word Clouds

Welcome 2014 fourth graders to our Think-Create-Collaborate blog space! 

We will be using this space to share our learning in fourth grade enrichment/library.  We will also use this space to create a visual reference for online assignments. Not sure what to do on a project we are working on?  Check here for information that will guide you!

Do you have an idea for something to share on our blog? Just let us know!

Our first online assignment is to create a word cloud that describes our interests!  We have spent some time taking a survey to think about what we are interested in learning more about.  This is another chance for you to really reflect on your interests! Follow the directions below to create your own interest word cloud!

1.  Open up your Google account and create a blank document in your Google drive(Note: You need to know your password for this!)
Open up a Microsoft Word Document

2.  Make a list of your interests in your document.  Some of your interests might be more important to you than others.  You can weight them by copying more important ones a few times!  Place your name on the list TEN times. Here is the start to an example from Mrs. Rankin:


(Make sure to save your document if you are working in Word!)

3.  Select a Word Cloud program to try:


4.  Cut and Paste your interests into the word cloud generator!

5.  Explore the different possibilities. (Use different tools and change colors, shapes and words!)
Here is an example Mrs. Rankin made on Tagxedo:

6. Check in with a teacher when you have your 'final' cloud.

7. Save your cloud.

8. Print your cloud (one per student in color please!)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Capstone Projects and Learning Celebration

Fourth grade scholars at RES have been participating in a once a week class, co-taught by teacher-librarian Beth Redford and enrichment teacher Darcie Rankin. The class focuses on digital literacy, critical thinking, and interest driven projects. Scholars’ culminating activities were independent, interest driven research projects. Each scholar self selected a topic and designed a Capstone Project to share his or her interests and knowledge. Fourth graders and their families and friends gathered on Monday, June 2 to share their Capstone Projects and celebrate their learning. We hope you enjoy the video of the projects and last night's celebration.

Digital versions of many of the projects are available at the links below:

Mrs. Berliner's Class:

Ms. Erickson's Class:

Ms. Senning's Class:

Thank you very much to all the adult experts and volunteers who assisted our scholars. And congratulations to our fourth graders on their hard work and creativity!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Capstone Presentations: Ms. Senning's Scholars #resvt #cesuvt #vted

Below are some of the Capstone Presentations created in Enrichment Library class by RES fourth graders in Ms. Senning's class. The scholars developed their own research questions, which are shown above the presentations that answer them. We are very proud of all our fourth grade scholars!

How does a computer mouse work?

How was basketball invented and why?

Why do people think Bigfoot is real?

What is the process of turning trees into paper?

How was the ancient art of China made?

What does smoking do to your brain?

Why are Komodo Dragons endangered?

Why do some video games have cheats and codes and what are they for?

Capstone Presentations: Ms. Erickson's Scholars #resvt #cesuvt #vted

Below are some of the Capstone Presentations created in Enrichment Library class by RES fourth graders in Ms. Erickson's class. The scholars developed their own research questions, which are shown above the presentations that answer them. We are very proud of all our fourth grade scholars!

How are ballet, hip-hop, and jazz dancing the same and different?

What are the stories of Bigfoot and are they true?

What are the five most deadly diseases and how do we prevent them?

How do you choose a good brand of cat food for your cat?

How do you care for your bike?

Why do some trees get so big?

How do you get to be an athlete on American Ninja Warrior?

How are trading cards made?

How do jellyfish survive in the sea?

How does the Nexus 7 tablet compare to the iPad Mini?

Capstone Presentations: Mrs. Berliner's Scholars #resvt #cesuvt #vted

Below are some of the Capstone Presentations created in Enrichment Library class by RES fourth graders in Mrs. Berliner's class. The scholars developed their own research questions, which are shown above the presentations that answer them. We are very proud of all our fourth grade scholars!

How do you create a video game on the computer?

How was Spider-Man made and how has he changed over the years?

How do we pick the right kind of dog food?

Why do bulldogs make good pets?

How do you qualify for Olympic downhill ski racing?

How does Mac Barnett get his ideas?

What is it like as a fourth grader living in Paris, France?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Capstone Project - Disease Prevention Brochure #resvt #cesuvt #vted

We would like to spotlight the work of one RES fourth grader who decided to learn more about illness and health for her Capstone Project. This was a broad topic, but she focused her research by asking the research question "What are the five most deadly diseases and how do we prevent them?" She collected information from books, the Internet, and by interviewing a local doctor. For her final presentation, she created the brochure below to share her learning with others. We are very proud of her work and that of her fellow fourth grade scholars! They will be sharing their learning and their final presentations at a Learning Celebration at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 2. Please contact Mrs. Redford or Mrs. Rankin for more information.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Capstone Presentations Update #resvt #cesuvt #vted

Fourth grade scholars at RES are continuing work on the self-directed Capstone Presentations they have created to share the answers they have found to their research questions. One scholar's research question was, "How are ballet, hip-hop and jazz dance alike and different?" After she wrote a Google Presentation to share her answers in writing, she decided she wanted to demonstrate some of the differences by showcasing the different moves in these types of dance. She choreographed an original dance that included moves from ballet, hip-hop, and jazz dance. Then she and a friend performed the dance for a class of first graders. What a creative way to answer a research question!

Dance Demo

A note: the scholar wrote and performed her dance to a different piece of music, but since that music was copyrighted she chose to use one of YouTube's free pieces of background music for this video: Standing Here by Silent Partner.

Other fourth scholars continue to write scripts, film videos, assemble posters, and much more as they approach the end of this Capstone Project unit. We are very proud of all of them! - Mrs. Rankin and Mrs. Redford

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Capstone Complete...Still Thinking, Creating and Collaborating are done your capstone project, and others are still working.  We want you to make this time valuable and interesting TO YOU!  Use this time to learn and explore while respecting the work of your peers!

Here are a list of possible things you could do. Please review and make a plan.  Make sure that whatever you choose can be independent! Will you create or evaluate? What will you make so that you can share your learning?

*  Support a classmate with their capstone project. Perhaps someone would like a friend to review their project and provide feedback.  Maybe someone could use help filming or editing a video?  Helping others is a great way to learn a new tool or about a different topic than you already studied!

*  Review your interest inventories.  Was there another topic you really want to learn about?  Do it!  Find books, videos, online resources and learn!

*  Explore digital tools other than the ones you used for your project!  If you do this....we ask that you evaluate the tool for its usefulness in creating and sharing content (we will use these evaluations and share them with other students next year!)  Here are some possible tools to check out:

 Web based:
Google Presentation
Microsoft Word
 BitStrips (see Mrs Rankin for pwd)
 You Tube Editor

iPad Based:
Explain Everything

* Design your own plan for something you would like to do.  Check in with Mrs. Rankin to share your plans!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fourth Grade Capstone Presentations in Progress #resvt #cesuvt

RES fourth graders have continued to work in their Enrichment Library classes on presentations to explain the answers to their Capstone research questions. The scholar in the center above built a touchscreen with the assistance of a community volunteer. The touchscreen will help him answer his research question, "How do touchscreens work?"

These scholars used the Explain Everything iPad app to create videos with text to answer the questions, "How do jellyfish survive in the wild," "What are the five deadliest diseases," and "What is the best kind of food for your dog?"

And this scholar used the Tellagami iPad app to create a series of videos to answer his question, "How do you care for your bike?" One of the videos, about how to clean a bike, is included below.

We are looking forward to seeing all the final presentations! - Mrs. Rankin and Mrs. Redford

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Big6 Step #5: Synthesis -- also known as Capstone Presentations

One example Capstone Presentation
Research Question was, "How did the band The Script get their start?"

Big6 Steps for Information Literacy

#1 - Task Definition
What is my research task? What types of information do I need?

#2 - Information Seeking Strategies
What are possible sources? Which sources are best for me?

#3 Location and Access
Where is each source? Where is the information in each source?

#4 Use of Information
How can I best use each source? What information in each source is useful?

#5 Synthesis
How can I present the results? How can I organize all the information?

#6 Evaluation
Is the task completed? How can I do things better?


#5 Synthesis, otherwise known as your Capstone Presentation!

  • How can I present the answer to my research question?
  • How can I organize all the information in my presentation? 

A few more examples:

Research Question: How does the weather in the rainforest affect the environment in the rainforest?
Research Question: How was soccer invented?

Research Question: How are rookie stats from the 2012-2013 season
different than experienced players?

Big6 skills and worm image are from

Friday, March 7, 2014

Research Sources

"How does smoking affect the brain?"
source: iPad app

RES fourth graders are collecting information to help them answer their research questions for their independent Capstone Projects. This morning Ms. Senning's class was using a variety of research sources as they gathered information. In the year 2014, information doesn't just come from books...or from the Internet! The scholars had excellent, thoughtful discussions with each other about how to tell if their sources were reliable. These projects are an opportunity for our scholars to practice their research and critical thinking skills as well as to learn more about topics they are passionate about.

"What did ninja and samurai use for weapons and armor and why did they choose them?"
and "Who is King Tutankhamen and what did he do for Egypt?"
sources: websites

"How is primate behavior like human behavior?"
sources: websites

"Who invented basketball and how?"
source: website

"How does bioluminescence work?"
sources: iPad app and book

"Why is the Mars Land Rover on Mars and what is it doing?"
source: website

"How has boxing changed from how it originated to the current day?"
sources: book and website

"How do wolves survive in the wild?"
sources: websites

"How does smoking affect the brain?"
sources: book, iPad app, interview with scientist

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thinking About Sharing Our Learning--An Exploration of Possibilities!

Do something that you are going to enjoy making and sharing!
Think about your project—what you share should be connected to your question.
At the end of the project our goal for you is to have something you are proud of!
Here are some ideas for sharing. Today is about exploring some of these tools and ideas.  If you know a lot about one of these already….explore something different today!

On the iPads:
Make a movie, make a trailer

*Word Photo
Combine pictures and words to convey your idea

Post information or pictures on unique photo displays

Create and talking avatar and use it to share information

*ExplainEverything, Skitch, Educreations, ShowMe
All of these apps allow you to create a presentation with words and pictures, drawings and more

Create a rap about your topic

*Sock Puppets, Puppet Pals or Toontastic
Try some different ways of presenting information

Use Stop Motion Video to tell a story

On the computer:

*Microsoft Power Point/Google Presentation
Do you really know what you can do with these tools?  How to embed pictures and text and make them interesting?

* Word Clouds
Present your main ideas

Create an online poster, include pictures, words, weblinks
(See Mrs. Rankin for a username)

Create a cartoon picture


And, these are just a few ideas—don’t limit yourself to something you have already done!
What else can you do?
*Build or make ‘something’
*Puppets Shows
In person!
*Record drawing and speaking
*Audio Recordings
*Radio Show, podcast
*Create a Book
Digitally or on paper