Words become Art

Today I met with the second group of first graders to continue the QR code activity with them. Just as Gail and I did with the first group, I guided the girls through their search as they learned more about the Chocolate Pilot, Gail Halvorsen and Mercedes, the little girl who grew up during the days of the Berlin Airlift. The QR codes took the students to various sites including a YouTube video of children singing to Colonel Halvorsen, current day photos of the Colonel and Mercedes, and a book review about Margot Theis Raven’s book. Because this would prove to be a challenging exercise for the girls, they worked in pairs to explore their thoughts and reactions. Together, they used their hearts and minds to answer questions about why Colonel Halvorsen would continue to bring candy to children even long after the days of the airlift ended or how Mercedes felt when she read the book written about her childhood experience. The girls’ words were insightful and sweet. After collecting all their responses, I took their words and entered them into a Wordle. The result is below, and I think it so wonderfully reflects the feelings this lesson evoked in the girls. By sharing this Wordle with them, Gail and I will then begin to help them see what actions and feelings are vital to the idea of making a difference, words such as happy, good, feel, make, think, learn, and special. It has been an insightful beginning into this inquiry.



Brainstorming with First Grade!

In trying to decide how to incite my students to think about making a difference that might go beyond "pick up trash on the playground", I used a recently published picture book as my springboard.  The book is entitled Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot by Margot Theis Raven.  It recounts the true story of the Berlin Airlift and the candy that dropped from the sky.  I began by doing research on the Berlin Airlift and the efforts of a young American pilot,  Lieutenant Gail S. Halvorsen to drop candy to 100,000 children of Berlin.  What my research revealed was a heartwarming story that I knew our students would love (What is not to love about candy when you are six years old?).  I met with our Technology Coordinator, Chris Shriver to discuss my plan to introduce our students to the story of the "Candy Bomber" and to follow up with student-centered research using QR bar codes.  What ensued was immensely rewarding.  The girls viewed a PowerPoint presentation (see below) on the Berlin Airlift and the Candy Bomber.  Chris and I used oral questioning as our formative assessment strategy in order to ascertain their comprehension. Their demonstrations of learning of accurately and creatively discussing the how's and why's of the Airlift, allowed us to move forward with the QR code  activity.  The girls were given sheets with four different QR codes.  Each bar code directed them to a website directly related to our discussion.  In addition, the girls had one question to answer relating to the information, which they could work on collaboratively.  It was so amazing to watch the girls work on this assignment and Chris collected the responses.  She will then enter their responses in a Wordle so that at our next  meeting with our students they can see which words directly affect "making a difference".  Words like helping, serving, giving hope to others, sharing, etc., will then prompt our brain storming of how they might make a difference.  Stay tuned!!!  There's more to come!
The Candy Bomber