Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Don't Let the Pigeon Teach Kindergarten

The kindergartners at Van Horne Elementary have been hard at work making their own "Pigeon" book. They love the series of Pigeon books by Mo Willems that we have in the library and their classrooms. Kids love interacting with these storybooks and the main character, the pigeon. The pigeon always wants to do something, in our version the pigeon wants to teach kindergarten.

We started the unit by reading several books, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Don't let the Pigeon Stay up Late, and The Pigeon wants a Puppy all by Mo Willems. We examined what the books had in common. The pigeon is always asking to do something that he is not supposed to do. Then we brainstormed things that teachers get to do that kids are not allowed to do at school. Using a storyboard sheet, the students created their own page for the book. I used the Little Bird Tales app to take photos of the drawings and to record the students' narrations.

I hope you will enjoy the books as much as we enjoyed creating them. I am so proud of our kinders for all of their hard work and creativity.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


1st Graders at Van Horne Elementary are collecting socks for homeless people and people in need in our community. This all started last week when I saw a tweet about Kid President's Socktober video. I love the Kid President videos and his message to be awesome. I shared this video with Anna Upah, one of the 1st grade teachers at Van Horne, and awesome things started to happen. Anna and her teaching partner, Samantha Happel have taken this little video and created an amazing learning unit.

Students in the first grade class have made flyers, posters, designed t-shirts, mugs, a Glogster and they are making a video. Students are also writing an article for our local newspaper. Students are working in small groups and are so excited about Socktober. Their enthusiasm is contagious. In the Socktober video, Kid President questions, "What are we doing with the Internet?" As part of this project, the parents and adults have reached out via social media to raise awareness of the project and to collect socks. Senders were asked to write a note about how they heard about the sock drive (which 1st graders they are connected to) and from where they are sending the socks. The teachers are posting these notes and putting the locations into BatchGeo so the kids can visually see how far they can make an impact. The students will also be selling t-shirts to raise money to help pay for a women's shelter in Little Rock, Arkansas.

I am so proud to be a part of this learning experience as a parent (I have 2 first graders at Van Horne Elementary) and as a teacher. If you haven't caught the Soctober excitement yet, just wait until you see the amazing projects that are being developed. If you want to send socks, send them to: 1st Graders at Van Horne Elementary 101 Third Ave. Van Horne, IA 52346  - say you heard about Socktober from Mrs. Bange.

Thanks for being awesome!

Monday, October 14, 2013

What is Symbaloo?

Our computer labs are all now set to open to a Symbaloo page. Each center has its own Symbaloo links. Here is an example of our Symbaloo for Keystone:

The Symbaloo page is essentially a page of links. This allows students to quickly get to the webpage that we will be using for class. It also provides a group of fun, educational links that students can easily access in the computer lab or even from home. For instructions on how to add a Symbaloo page to your home computer click here.

The Symbaloo will update any time I add links or make changes. Your home Symbaloo will always look the same as the one at school. This is a great tool for making websites available to students as we need them. It also makes it easy for students to share their technology learning at home with their families.

Some of our resources through the AEA require log in information. These are resources that are provided to our students through Grant Wood AEA. Our log ins are determined by building.
Atkins: 0609atki       Keystone: 0609keys        Norway: 0609norw      Van Horne: 0609vanh
all passwords are: aea10.