Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thank You, Capstone Publishing, for this video

Here is a wonderful video created by Capstone Video that really captures the essence of why school libraries are more important than ever. They don't just house books, (which is still essential) they transform learning for our students.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Using Padlet for exit ticket assessment

It's that time of year again to review the AUP policy and and kick off our Internet safety curriculum. Every year there are more and more great resources to support this effort in so many different ways. This is the first year I have used Padlet as an exit ticket. Fourth graders reviewed our AUP policy with a wonderful discussion and great visual of our AUP created by Jennifer Reed. View it here. Then the students were able to leave their feedback on a Padlet wall. It really helped them synthesize their learning and it gave me a quick and easy assessment to evaluate. And it was fun!! Here is a sneak peak of our Padlet wall.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dot Day at the library

September is a good time to think about how a library is valuable for all our students. It also happens that Peter Reynolds' Dot Day is celebrated in September. It honors his book "The Dot" by asking students to "make your mark and see where it takes you." We decided to make our mark on our library using the colar mix app that takes the dots you create on paper and brings them to 3-d life! It's fun and gets you thinking about lots of different ways you use your school library. Have a look at them here. Happy Dot Day 2014!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September is a good time to reflect on the contributions of those who have served Williams School

Yesterday I saw a facebook post from the "I grew up in Auburndale" page. It noted the death of former Williams principal Merton C. Tefft, and included a link to the obituary. The post tugged at me for a couple of reasons. I learned about his tenure at Williams a few years ago, when I created a short video of the history of the school. I included a picture of Mr. Tefft in the video because he became the first full time principal of the school when the administration decided to give Burr and Williams their own administrator. Prior to 1955 they shared a principal and the two schools were called the Burr-Williams district. I was truly saddened to hear of his passing and although I was a student in NPS when he was principal and not an educator during his tenure, I felt I had lost a Williams colleague. I read so many good memories from his former students under the obituary post and it made me feel good that he was so fondly remembered by the community he served. I've been at Williams long enough now that I have seen many fine educators retire or move on from Williams to other adventures. All of them contributed to making Williams the vital place it is today for our students and staff. Even though many are not walking the halls anymore, I know they are still at Williams in the minds eye of the students they served. As I begin this year at Williams I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Tefft and all the educators who have served Williams School and my promise to continue to serve Williams in the fine tradition that I and my current colleagues have been entrusted to preserve. We can add to the legacy and it is our responsibility and honor to have the opportunity. Let's have a great year for the Williams Community, past, present, and future.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fifty nifty United States

With the fourth of July quickly upon us, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at our 50 states project. Hopefully, the summer will bring lots of great adventures for everybody in our nation! Every year third graders study states. On Arch Day, our last day of school celebration, they proudly sing Fifty nifty United States. In library class we use enchanted to research our states. Then we share our findings on Google presentation. It's a good way to introduce our third graders to another of the Google apps. As a teacher you really just have to show the kids a couple of things and then they take over, making the presentation their own by exploring many features of Google presentation. This year I was very excited to show them the research tool where they could search for an image about their state and get their citation. It made teaching them about the importance of citing your sources easy because they just dragged their image and the citation came with it! Take a look at their work.
Ms. Reardon's class Ms. Matrisciano's class

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What did the fifth graders love most about their six year Williams School library experience?

Padlet is a useful web tool to use with students for a quick formative assessment. Our fifth graders were asked to think about what they learned and loved most at the Williams School library. All they had to do was click on the link from the library webpage and put their thoughts on our library padlet wall. Not only could they record their own thoughts, but they get to see what their classmates thought and stir up memories from their K-5 years in the library. Some loved learning about the Dewey Decimal System, many loved the Digital Passport program we used in the fifth grade year, and some went all the way back to kindergarten folktale unit. Padlet is quick, easy, paperless, allows you to share everybody's thoughts and gathers useful anecdotal data for the teacher. Here is our Fifth grade Padlet wall.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Reading opportunities

This summer I am very excited about my students' ability to access ebooks and many other great resources from our library catalog homepage at home. This means they can enjoy reading titles from the Williams School Library all year long!! You may need passwords for some of these titles within the catalog, but if you are a Williams parent you have received that information in your weekly update from Ayesha. Our summer reading lists are also available here and lots of other great resources on the web. Here's how to get there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

2014 Book Trailers by Grade 5

Check out this year's book trailers created by Grade 5 students using imovie and Google Docs. The students collaborated to create trailers of their book group reading titles. Teachers also collaborated on this. Mr. Lavigne, Mr. Garlick, and Ms. Kosmo created the lesson, but the kids did all the work! We are really pleased with how they turned out.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fifth graders get creative with idioms using ABCYA's animate

Sometimes at the end of year it is difficult to keep the fifth graders engaged in their lessons, but they are eager when they can use a cool tool to demonstrate their learning. It is also great for us teachers, because we can have some fun with the kids and still teach them something in the waning days of the school year. We used two cool tools, Brainpop and Animate from to create a motivating learning experience. You can view the animations by going to and then opening animate. Just drag one of our animations into the frame and click the play arrow and have some fun with idioms!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Learning our letters with Skitch

Skitch is an app that we have used this year to create Internet Safety posters with grade 4. It is a versatile app that can also be used successfully with our youngest learners. Kindergartners practiced identifying their upper and lower case letters and typing their names using Skitch. Some of them even did a little drawing. Check them out! It's quick, fun, and easy to share.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Explain Everything: An app for all subjects!

Another great app that we have been using this year is Explain Everything. It allows student to create, collaborate and share with a global audience. You can insert images, choose themes, free draw, and record on your slides to create an appealing presentation. Our math coach, Jesse Winch, has been using it with his students to help them show and explain their work. This app brings learning to life in all subject areas! Our fourth grade students researched the Underground Railroad using Then they took their information and created presentations using Explain Everything. Have a look at their presentations here. While you are at it take a peek at how Mr. Winch has used this app.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Curious about Presidents? Our third graders found out some interesting stuff!

I really love the Pic Collage app. Not only is it easy to use and fun, but it is such a powerful way to share your learning. Every student can be successful and turn their handwritten research into an entertaining and attractive presentation for a wide audience. It provides us teachers with a differentiated learning opportunity that all students can access and use to make their learning shine! We researched presidents using PebbleGo databases. Students took notes using the PebbleGo "Share what you know" sheets. Then we created eye-catching posters using the Pic Collage app on our ipads. We chose one important contribution from the president we researched to include in our poster. Take a look here to learn something new about presidents!

Oliver the Golden Retriever promotes reading at Williams

This week our library had a visit from Oliver, the Golden Retriever who loves to listen to young readers. Mr. Beaudet and I hosted Oliver, his owners, and 8 students from Williams as part of our Williams School PTO fundraising efforts. Oliver listened to our student readers read from a wide variety of books. Among the titles read were Take me out to the Yakyu, Your pet dog, Biscuit, and Henry hikes to Fitchburg. Oliver came to us from the Pets & People foundation along with his owners, Karine Alexander and her daughter Caroline. They are a certified pet therapy team and they are terrific. It gave our students a chance to practice and enjoy reading aloud. Reading should be fun and enjoyable and Oliver certainly gave us a wonderful opportunity to share books and reading together in the Williams library in a new way. Thanks to Oliver, Karine, and Caroline for a creative and exciting visit to Williams. You can learn more about this program at

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Williams community is proud to be part of the Boston Strong tribute

Our school was fortunate to be chosen to participate in a project called America 4 Boston, which has been creating a quilt of artwork and well-wishes from across the country. This “prayer canvas” project began last spring as an expression of support and care for the city and people of Boston in the aftermath of the marathon bombing last year. This giant symbol of love and support will be displayed on the Boston Common on April 15th and presented to the City of Boston at the Red Sox game on April 20th. It will be exhibited at the Red Sox game on April 21st and at future events. Let by our wonderful art teacher, Kathy McGill, each student and staff member created a 6”x6” square on our portion of the canvas. They used paint markers in blue, red, black, and white. We got 340 squares for our school. We are honored to be part of the tribute to the strength, resilience, and determination of all the people who were affected by the tragic events of that day last April. Our own third grade teacher, Kate Reardon, is running in the race tomorrow. Many of us will be there to support and encourage her and all of the people who will participate tomorrow and continue the message of Boston Strong. Here are a few pictures of our quilt.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Williams Library student teacher, Gabrielle Sobilo, checks in on the blog!

Guest post by student teacher, Ms. Sobilo: Hello, my name is Ms. Sobilo and I am a student teacher in the school library at Williams Elementary School. Since January, I have been working with Mrs. Kosmo, and learning about the school library program. During the month of March, second grade students studied Aesop’s fables. Students learned the different characteristics of a fable and all about Aesop, a famous Greek storyteller who loved to tell fables. With a partner, students read three fables and matched a moral to each fable. Then each group selected and read one fable from the Aesop’s Wheel of Fables App on our ipads and wrote a moral in their own words. Students created an illustration using Kid Pix that included the fable title, the moral, two characters from their fable, and a background in their illustrations. Students used their creativity and imagination to create these artistic pictures. Take at look at each group’s artwork by clicking on the classroom teacher’s name below. Mrs. Osiecki's class

Monday, April 14, 2014

Can kindergartners do research? Yes they can!

We are fortunate to have a district-wide subscription to PebbleGo, a research database for K-3 learners. Recently, our kindergartners had a chance to explore the animal database. Led by my student teacher, Gabrielle Sobilo, they learned how to go to the PebbleGo database from our school website, log in, and access the animal database. Ms. Sobilo created a screeencast to introduce the access and login process. She demoonstrated with them, and the eager researchers were off and running. They were able to choose the animal they wanted to research, and then they used the audio feature to read an article, look at pictures, view video, and see a map of their animal's habitat. Then they recorded what their animal eats and something else new they learned. We asked these questions: What is an online database? Why do we use a database? How can we access and use our subscription database to find the information we need? The students thought about more questions as they completed their Share what you know guide: What animal do you want to know more about? What do you think you know about the animal you chose? What do you want to know? It is very exciting to see our youngest students so enthusiastic about an opportunity to take charge of their own learning in the library. The best thing is they can access and use it at home so they can share with their parents and others as they use their new skills to explore all four PebbleGo databases to find information they need and want to know about. Here are a few examples of their work:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ruby Bridges visits Williams

April 10th was an exciting day for Williams students in grades 3-5. Ruby Bridges visited our school and engaged students in the story of her role in the integration of New Orleans schools in 1960. The event was funded by the Creative arts and Sciences. In preparation for the event we studied about Ruby Bridge's experience on the PebbleGo database and with biographies in our library. We also viewed Disney's Ruby Bridges, a full length movie that was a powerful visual for our students. The children asked many insightful questions and we are grateful for the authentic learning experience that happened at Williams. It isn't often that we are able to have such a difference maker in our midst during a school day. Ruby Bridges certainly made a difference and continues to work for Civil Rights for all in her work today. Thanks to all who made it happen.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Trees all year round

Again this year third graders were introduced to their Google Apps accounts via the Trees science unit. Students answered questions about trees using the Trees are Terrific website. Then they logged on to their Google accounts and used the draw tool to share their information and learn the basics of their new online account. Take a look and learn something about trees. Ms. Reardon's trees project Ms. Matrisciano's trees project

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I would like to give a big shout out and Thank you to all of the Williams families who made our December 2013 gift book drive another big success for our library. Thanks to your generosity we were able to purchase 49 new books for the libraries. Among the notable additions to our collection are The Pet War, Princesses are not quitters, Journey, and King Jack and the dragon. It's always exciting to get new books so come on in.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What is an avatar? How, when, where, and why do people use avatars? These are questions 1st graders asked and answered as part of their Internet Safety curriculum. Then they created their own avatars using the website Take a look at them here. Build Your wild self
This morning I am feeling extremely gratified with the responses from my kindergarten students to the question "What do you like most about coming to the library at Williams School? With the help of fifth graders this past June they used the app Scribble Press to illustrate and write their responses. We explored Mo Willems website and his Knuffle Bunny books and modeled our responses based on his style of writing and illustrating those books. I was just taking a second look at them and decided they were too good not to share with everybody. There's lots to do in the library! So here they are: What do you like most about coming to the library at Williams School?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

This is the third year that I have used Common Sense Media's Digital Passport interactive program to teach 5th graders how to stay safe in the online world. Each year I get better at using it and this year I am hopeful to get through all five modules. We have completed Search Shark to help students improve their online search skills when they do research, and Evolve, which is the module that helps students understand cyberbullying and fight against it. This week we completed our third module, Mix and Mash. This module addresses creative credit in a really fun way. All the students were able to simulate creating a music video using online materials and citing their sources properly. They loved it! here are a couple of examples of what they came up with in this session. From Mr. Garlick's class From Mr. Lavigne's class

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Overcoming Obstacles

Want to learn about some people who overcame obstacles and went on to make a difference for lots of other folks? Our fifth graders read picture books about these people and then used Thinkfinity's Character Trading Cards app to synthesize their information and create a trading card featuring the main character in their true life story. Then they imported their cards into the Educreations app where you can hear them tell about these amazing true life characters. Kudos to the fifth graders for collaborating to learn about the people, learn how to use the apps, and create these fabulous cards. Check them out!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Our fourth graders know how important it is to be responsible users of our technology. They shared what they have learned about being good digital citizens by creating posters using an app called skitch. Then we took the posters and used them as backgrounds in another app called Tellagami. Tellagami allows you to create short animated video. You can get your message across in a fun and quick way. Check them out at our Internet Safety Tips page. Tellagami is free for your iPad and you can learn more about it at

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On Monday, January 20, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. This year our fifth graders remembered and honored Dr. King by viewing a video of his last speech in Memphis, TN on the night before he died. We thought about what Dr. King's message was that night. We answered the questions: What did the mountaintop stand for? Why do you think Dr. King felt that It would be OK if he did not get to the mountaintop? We wrote about it and then we took our work and created a collage with our thoughts and images of Dr. King using the pic collage app on our ipads. Please have a look at these. Click here for MLK posters.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

In November of 2013 my colleagues, Erin Broderick, Jamie Lightfoot, and myself presented "Developing an Internet Safety Curriculum for K-5 at the AASL conference in Hartford, CT. In addition to outlining our curriculum, we have posted many free online resources that you can use with your students. The presentation is available here: Developing an Internet Safety Presentation