Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Melvin Dewey, Meet Tagxedo

This time of year people start (excitedly) reminding me "Only 39 days!" Which instantly turns into wait, that means I only have 7 days left with some groups in the library. 7 days to teach them all they need to know about being literate library users and lifelong readers. And, now, to share this in a technologically forward way with the world.

Really, the only kids I stress about this way is the 4/5 group. Those 5th graders will be in middle school in a flash.... library will be a distant memory and they will probably start asking people where "submarine" and "war" and "spy" books are with glazed looks in their eyes.

Not on my watch, right? haha... So in a panic, every year I ramp up the Dewey Decimal lessons and activities. I feel like every year I am "reteaching" the same thing. This year I saw Wordles used on Pinterest in a hands on demo.

Kids split into groups and each group was assigned a non fiction case. Their job on the first day was to compile 8-10 SUBJECTS that are covered in their case. Not titles, I am not interested in How to Talk to Your Cat. I think I saw some lightbulbs go off when they realized that we can find SUBJECTS in a designated place. Have they been that attached to titles?

The next day I had the kids each group hit the computer lab and created a Tagxedo with their subjects. This was a cool way to relate that some cases are more full of subjects...in Tagxedo and Wordle, the more a word is entered, the more prominent that word becomes in the graph. We would have used Wordle but our MacLab needed a Silverlight update and the kids love the shapes of Tagxedo anyhow.

After all of the graphs are printed, the groups will mount and present their findings. The most comprehensive will be laminated and mounted on the cases. Hopefully the subject connection will continue among the lower grades.

If you have not used tagxedo or wordle, I recommend them. Last year 4/5 used Wordle to create their shelfmarkers and used their favorite reading subjects as text. It was cool for me to learn about students and have that visual reminder each week about what they love to read.

Tagxedo website

Wordle Website