A Sphero Traveling Through Picture Books…

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Every spring Inly’s third graders begin to feel both excited and a bit nervous about their move to Upper Elementary for fourth grade.  To bring them together and help ease the transition, we plan a project that brings books and technology together.  The kids began in January by learning about the Caldecott Award and the elements of picture books.  Initially, we gave them a stack of books that were generating “buzz” before the American Library Association annual meeting.  Not all of those books ultimately received shiny gold or silver stickers, but they are all beautiful, and it was most important that the kids could choose a book they loved.

The books they selected were:

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers

Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Christian Robinson

The Storyteller by Evan Turk

Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Before Morning by Joyce Sidman

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin Stead

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield and illustrated by The Fan Brothers

Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarenski

After that, the kids worked in teams to build a path that reflected their book – and then programmed a Sphero to travel through their maze. A Sphero is a robotic ball that is controlled via a Chromebook or other device.  It was the first time we’ve used the Sphero for a project like this, but it was a success.  We emphasized constructing and imagining first – using cardboard, paper, fluffy colorful balls, popsicle sticks – anything to create the world of their book. It was fun to watch them in our Maker Space, using it as a big craft kit to build their mazes.

Below are scenes from the process:

There were lots of other awesome library moments last week….

Because Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton was so popular, I ordered two of the next installment: Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt.  Therefore we had two very happy library patrons!

I love this project based on From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  Asked to make a new book cover for E.L. Konigsburg’s classic novel, this fifth grader used actual files:

A middle school student taking a reading break during a day in Boston:

One of the highlights of my day is finding notes on my desk from students looking for books. This one was excellent, but he may have to find a new series since the next DATA Set series by Ada Hopper comes out in November!

And finally, one of those awesome library moments:

Happy Reading!


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