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Monday, April 30, 2018

#KFkinders Present The Gingerbread Man on Green Screen

Hello All!  I am  so excited to share #KFkinders latest MakerSpace production.  We combined our learning of story elements like setting, characters, and important events and learned how to use the green screen app, DoInk, to make a green screen production using The Gingerbread Man.

#KFkinders were busy using a story board to outline the 3 most important settings.  We decided that the kitchen at the beginning of the story has important because it is where we meet 2 of the main characters, the old woman and the gingerbread man.  Then we decided that the most important setting for the middle of the story was the path that the gingerbread man ran away from the house on.  At the end of the story it is important that the gingerbread man runs to the river and needs help across it.  This is where we meet the third main character, the fox.

We spent a lot of time in the classroom, during our workstations, and during writer's workshop retelling The Gingerbread Man.  Retelling the events in a story is a really hard skill for kinders.  We used graphic organizers, re-read gingerbread man stories, watched gingerbread man videos on YouTube, and practiced retelling the story with our partners.  When kinders can retell the story, it shows us that they are able to visualize a story and comprehend what is happening.  This is a very mature skill for readers to be practicing.  Try practicing retelling familiar stories at home with your #KFkinders as a way to go deeper with their comprehension and reading skills.

Click on THIS LINK to watch the video of us using YouTube to retell our story!

After we outlined the important events, settings, and characters we took our learning to the MakerSpace and enlisted Mrs. Bear to help!  In the MakerSpace we made our own puppets using different supplies.  One thing that we really had to be mindful of was we could not use green on our puppets.  When you use a green screen, anything that is the color green will blend into the background.  This was hard for us to remember and caused us to make some redesigns with our puppets.  Another element to making our puppets was we had to work together with our partner to decide how we wanted each character to look.  Taking turns, collaborating on ideas, and using caring language is something that needs to be practiced in a structured environment before we can expect kinders to master the skill.  Check out these picture of  us making our puppets!

The last bit of learning was to use the green screen app, DoInk. We used the setting pictures that each kinder group drew for their backgrounds.  When it was time to record, we had to really work on making our voices match the characters.  This made hearing our voices hard.  Next time we do a green screen production,, we know we need to be LOUDER!!!
This is what the DoInk app looks like in the ap store.

for a great informational video to outline what DoInk can do and how to use it.

After we were done with our green screen production, we introduced a maker challenge to change the ending of our story.  Changing the ending of the familiar Gingerbread Man tales forced #KFkinders to really think of the purpose of the events and characters in the story.

To start the maker challenge, I posed a question for them...
Why did the gingerbread man want to cross the river?
This question generated great dialogue between #KFkinders revolving around the gingerbread man's motivation to get away from the little old woman.  So the next question that presented the group was...
Was the fox trustworthy?
As you can imagine, this got them all talking about how bad the fox was and his only motivation to help was so he could eat the gingerbread man.  So now we have outlined the problem...
The gingerbread man needs to cross the river, but doesn't want to trust the fox.  What else could the gingerbread use to cross the river?
With this question the #KFkinders worked in pairs to find a solution for the gingerbread man.  We had a river (blue paper) for each group to use and they got to choose from various supplies found in the MakerSpace (legos, cardboard, glue, blocks, straws, string, etc.) to build with.  You can see from the pictures below that our "solutions" varied.  We had some groups build a bridge, some built a boat, others got more creative!

We even hosted a learning team from Keokuk School District to  show them what we do in our MakerSpace!
Here are some interviews during our MakerSpace challenge!  Listen to how we problem solve, reflect, tweak, and collaborate!

   Kaleb and PaytenJackson and Lauren

Brock and Maggie

Kole and Grayce   

Elizabeth and Leah

Roman and Tripp   

Olivia and Maliah 

After we were done with the challenge, we talked about how using our solutions from the maker challenge would change the story completely.  We then spent some time retelling The Gingerbread Man using our new endings! 

Please enjoy our videos and our green screen production on our retelling of The Gingerbread Man!  We want to continue using our green screen at school to put together different projects but wanted to share our journey from start to finish!

  Lauren and Jackson Maggie and Brock   
 Roman and Tripp     
 Kole and Paetyn      
                          Grayce and Sterling
Kaleb and Payten    
Leah and Elizabeth  
Olivia and Maliah    

Friday, April 27, 2018

#KFkinders Tackle Informational Reports

Writing is a hard process for kinders to master.  When they begin their kindergarten journey, they have limited independence with writing self-composed pieces.  If beginning kinders can write their name when they come into Kinderland, that is amazing!  Now fast forward 160 school days and we are writing full-blown informational reports!  WOW kinders are amazing humans!  So here is our informational report journey...enjoy!

We had to have a lot of modeling in Writer's Workshop on how to start an informational report.  #KFkinders were REALLY good at writing detail sentences (because we were so excited to learn new things about our animals), but we struggled to come up with a topic sentence that would cover the main idea of each chapter.  So we practiced while learning about sharks.  We really had to dig deep and review what it meant to find the main idea of our report, and then craft that into a topic sentence.  We would read a little bit each day about sharks, then stop and decide what the main idea was.  Once we found the main idea, we could then outline details.  After we found all our details, we went back and composed a topic sentence together and wrote it on our poster.  This helped when we would go to write our informational report for the day because we could read our topic sentence and that is how we started our report!  Then we would look at what details we learned.  Mrs. Fisher would not write the details in complete sentences because that was something we could do by ourselves.  We would use our turn and talk partners to say a complete sentence with each detail from the poster.  This is what we called our detail sentences!  When we were all done practicing that, the last hard part came.  We couldn't just end our report with a detail, so we worked together again to come up with an ending (closing) sentence.  This sentence kind of sounds like a topic sentence!  This was really hard for us, so we came up with the sentence together and Mrs. Fisher would write it on the poster.  Then after we wrote all of our detail sentences by ourselves, we could look at the poster and remember the awesome ending sentence we came up with.  Check out an example of our Writer's Workshop poster below.

After a lot of practice writing our informational reports together in Writer's Workshop, we were ready to try them in Workstations.  For our informational reports #KFkinders got to pick to be 1 of the following animal groups:
  • snakes
  • spiders
  • penguins
  • whales
Within these groups we tried to learn as much as we possibly could about our animal.  We read books, we watched YouTube videos, we asked Google for some fact checking!  It was so much fun.  Then we took time to write a chapter book about our animals.  To do this we had to do some pre-writing (what...kinders can use graphic organizers?!?! ABSOLUTELY!!).  We drew concept webs, we identified 3 topics we wanted to write about, and we outlined details for each topic with Mrs. Andresen.  Check out some examples of our pre-writing stage!

The next stage was to use our detail outlines to write a a chapter.  We split our report into 3 different chapters, so that meant we needed to write 3 different topic sentences...oh my!  The first 2 chapters were still a little hard for us to come up with the topic sentences on our own, but by the 3rd chapter it started all coming together!  We got to use our detail outlines to help us write our detail sentences, and then Mrs. Fisher helped us with the ending sentences.  When we were done, we had a chapter book of informational reports on our animal.  

The final stage was reading our informational report in front of the green screen.  We love to use the green screen and share with our families.  It is great to read through our writing and to listen to ourselves read.  Listen to see how fluent I am reading aloud, this is always something we can work on at home when I bring home a Take Home Book or a piece of writing!  Enjoy!














Tuesday, March 6, 2018

#KFkinders Visit London on Digital Learning Day

This year our #KFkinders have tried to break down the classroom walls and travel around the world by connecting with Benton alumni who live/travel around the world.  This trip took us back across the pond to London!  Our tour guide was 2001 Benton Community graduate, Tiffany Hartkemeyer.  Although Tiffany's current zip code is outside of the Benton county boundaries, she has remained a Bobcat and took time out of her busy day to share her new town with us.
Lauren and Jack with Aunt Tiffany

Tiffany is the daughter of Keith Hartkemeyer and Michelle Schoening.  She grew up just outside of Keystone with her brother, Brandon, and her sister, Emily.  Brandon and his wife, Beth, have two children (Jack and Lauren).  Lauren in a current #KFkinder and got to introduce our class to her Aunt Tiffany!  Tiffany's sister, Emily, is an English teacher at Benton's High School.  As you can see, this family bleeds blue and gold.
Tiffany's home near Keystone

Tiffany attended Keystone Elementary just like our #KFkinders and actually went to 5th grade in our classroom with Mrs. Fisher!  Upon graduating from Benton Community in 2001, Tiffany chose to go to Iowa State University to pursue a degree in journalism.  While at ISU, Tiffany was an intern in Media Relations for ISU Athletics.  She was a liaison between ISU sports and the media.  This gave her the opportunity to sit in the press-box for ISU football games, court-side for basketball games, and travel with the gymnastics team.

After graduating from ISU with a journalism degree, Tiffany continued her studies at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska for law school.  This required Tiffany to attend school for 3 more years.
After law school she moved to New York City as a contracts lawyer for MetLife.  As a contracts lawyer she negotiated contracts of insurance for corporate insurance plans.  She held a couple different titles as a contract lawyer/insurance compliance lawyer while at MetLife prior to taking a job with Marsh and McLennan Companies in New York City.

At Marsh and McLennan Companies, Tiffany was a data privacy lawyer.  Last year they asked her to move to London to be the European Data Privacy Leader.  So after 9 years in New York City, she moved to London.  Now she is responsible for making sure the company complies with privacy laws all over Europe.  She also oversees that her company is safely and securely transferring data all over the world.  She has been living and working in London since August.  Tiffany's career aspirations really widened our scope of the commonly asked question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?.  Thank you for introducing a whole new lifestyle and career path to our #KFkinders.

Although it was cool learning about Tiffany's academic and career paths, the tour around her office was definitely #KFkinders highlight.  Tiffany's office is right across the street from Tower of London and right down the street from Tower Bridge.  Tiffany took 30 minutes out of her busy day to walk around while FaceTiming us.  London is six hours ahead of Keystone.  It was 9:00 A.M. here and our school day was just getting started.  In London it was 3:00 P.M. and Tiffany was nearing the end of her work day.  She showed us, up close and personal, some of the attractions we had been studying while telling us details about each.  She pointed out the Gherkin and the Shard buildings from across the Thames River.  Then she proceeded to walk around the block to show us the Walkie Talkie building, a classic red London phone booth (that actually had a working pay phone in it), a bus stop, and she even found a double decker bus for us!  It was amazing to see all of these places that were right outside her office while other people travel thousands of miles to visit them.

After FaceTiming Tiffany, we dove deeper into our learning of these London attractions.  We used YouTube Kids to watch videos about Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Parliament, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, London Eye, and double decker buses.  Then we even listened to picture books that had these famous London attractions right there in their story settings.

Each year educators from around the world celebrate what is known on Digital Learning Day.  This year it fell on February 22nd.  To celebrate we checked out the virtual reality goggles from Grant Wood AEA to take virtual tours to these attractions.  We imagined what it would feel like to walk across the glass-floor walkway on Tower Bridge.  We saw the stairs you can climb to reach Big Ben.  And we felt like royalty when we visited Buckingham Place's grand entry.

The following day we started using YouTube again to follow step-by-step directions on how to draw four of our favorite attractions; Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the London Eye, and a double decker bus.  Each #KFkinders picked their favorite attraction of these four to use in Writer's Workshop.  They wrote facts about that attraction that they had learned in their studies.

Finally we used the green screen and our favorite green screen app, Do Ink, to present our writings.  Enjoy our video that recaps our learning HERE.
We owe a few thank yous to some individuals that made this whole project possible.  Thank you to the Hartkemeyer family!  Thank you Tiffany for taking time out of your busy day to give us a personal tour.  Thank you Lauren for sharing Aunt Tiffany with us.  Also thank you to Grant Wood AEA's Digital Learning Team and Anna Upah for allowing us to use the virtual reality goggles.  We had a blast visiting London...families beware, the travel bug may have bit all of the #KFkinders and London may be high on our "must travel" list!
Tiffany standing in front of her office saying goodbye to #KFkinders and Lauren

Monday, November 6, 2017

Wrapping Up Our Adventure With Jenny, Nate, and Ellary!

We are wrapping up our journey with the Kleins.  They have taken us from Iowa to Ethiopia, tugged at our heartstrings, and made us have real and meaningful conversations about accepting others.  The #KFkinders want to thank the Kleins for sharing their story and for all of you for following along with us!  Here is how we wrapped up our learning!

While we were checking in with Jenny, Nate, and Ellary via FaceTime, we learned a few facts about Ethiopia!
*Ethiopia has one of the largest populations of orphaned kids in the world (13% of the children throughout Ethiopia-4.5 million kids as stated on
*Ethiopia's national language is Amharic...check out this YouTube video we watched to practice saying family names in Ellary's native language!
*Soccer is Ethiopia's biggest is a picture of a new soccer complex that is being built in Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Ababa.

*Here is a picture of Jenny and Nate eating a traditional Ethiopian meal.  Notice there is no silverware!  Usually Ethiopians eat raw meat, but this platter had cooked meat. 

We were lucky enough to FaceTime the Kleins when they were hanging out in their hotel, but they weren't able to take us outside to show us the landscape and community due to WiFi issues.  Instead we enjoyed watching Ellary walk around (we asked them if she could walk yet!), babble to us (she wanted to tell us her own story!), and show off her Benton blue and gold (she had her first Benton shirt on!).
*We had so much fun watching their story unfold with pictures, FaceTime, research, and conversation.  The depth of our conversation revolving around poverty, adoption, and acceptance was proud of your #KFkinders and the beautiful hearts they have.

Now Jenny, Nate, Ellary and Lily are all home together!  Lily and Ellary have hit it off and are already the best of friends!  To finish off our journey with the Kleins, we wanted to officially welcome Ellary into the Bobcat Family.  We put together a little video of their journey and some interviews with the #KFkinders on what is awesome about being a Bobcat!  Enjoy!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Continuing our Journey with Ethiopia and the Kleins

If you asked your #KFkinder what they did at school today, they might have said, "I had music with Mrs. Galligan and we did our Halloween song again!" (check it out in Seesaw or Instagram!).  Or they might have said, "I did my October writing sample for my writing portfolio.  I really tried hard to write a whole sentence about what my favorite Halloween costume is!".  What I hope they might have said was, "We got to see pictures of Jenny and Nate (my sister and BIL that are adopting) and their first time meeting Ellary!".  Today we continued learning about Ethiopia and adoption, but we also opened up our discussion to what an orphanage is and the process of international adoption.

Jenny and Nate left Friday evening for Ethiopia with my other sister, Becca (which many of the kinders had last year as an associate in their Preschool room!).  They flew out of Cedar Rapids to Chicago.  From Chicago they flew to Washington DC.  And from Washington DC they flew into the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.  They are 10 hours ahead of us, so they got in Sunday morning, but it was Saturday night for us.  On Monday morning (Ethiopia time), they got to go to the orphanage and meet Ellary.  They were able to spend 2 hours with her to start the bonding process.  Ellary must have been waiting to meet Jenny and Nate as well because she took right to them.  You will see in the pictures that Becca captured that she is ready to have the Klein last name!  The emotions that they all must have been feeling were present in the pictures and opened up a lot of questions from the

There were so many questions and take-aways from the kinders.  I don't know what you all have done as families to raise such caring and open-minded kiddos, but WOW! they are so caring!  Here were some of the questions the kinders want to ask Jenny and Nate!
*Can Ellary walk?
*What did the orphanage look like?  Did it look like a daycare? <--- This was our closest understanding of what an orphanage is.  One of the kinders actually came up with this comparison after I have an initial description of one!  Isn't it amazing how much they understand when we allow them to control the learning!
*When will Ellary get to go home with them?
*What else are they doing while they are there?
*Are there any sharks, lions, birds, or elephants there?<--- We are really stuck on the animals that live in Ethiopia! 
*Does Ellary know any words?  Does she speak like us (English) or like something else (the native language is Amharic)?   

Lastly, they had some take-away's that weren't exactly questions!
*I bet the orphanage workers really love Ellary and will miss her when she goes home with Jenny and Nate.
*Nate looks like a funny guy, he makes lots of faces and seems silly (they really pegged him...he is a bit of a character!).
*Jenny looks like a nice mom!
*Mrs. Fisher has big feelings too (my eyes were a little misty when showing the pictures and having this talk)!  We also talked about how happy feelings sometimes make us cry and that is okay!  We even had a few kinders with tears in their eyes...they are really digging this journey!
*Lily looked so excited when she got to FaceTime Ellary...that was their first time "meeting" too (Lily stayed back in Atkins with my oldest sister, Tracy, during this trip)!
We ended the conversation ready to pick up the next time we can connect with Jenny and Nate, either with FaceTime or pictures.  Isn't it amazing the power technology has!  It allows us to feel like we are right there with them!  We are excited to ask Jenny and Nate our questions, and hear more about the community Ellary is from!

One underlying theme with this whole experience is the power in storytelling.  Through story, the #KFkinders are able to travel to Ethiopia, learn about international adoption, open their eyes to what a third world country is, understand and accept differences in the world/people/communities, and realize how different families can be; but love is what binds us together.  I encourage you all to have a conversation with your kinders tonight or tomorrow about all of this and see what they can tell you in their own words!