6 Ways To Use PebbleGo In Learning Centers
Shannon McClintock Miller photo

Shannon McClintock Miller

6 Ways To Use PebbleGo in Learning Centers

March 20, 2019

As you walk into many school libraries, you will see multiple spaces set up engaging students in different types of independent and self-directed learning. These are called learning centers and are used within libraries and classrooms in a variety of ways. They can be used to teach skills, as enrichment, to explore, and as a place to cultivate individual interests.

We see students establish a purpose when visiting the learning centers and gain an understanding of the learning that will take place within each. They know that the activities with each learning center will help them reach their goals, therefore giving them a purpose for visiting the library. Your students will come to the library ready and equipped with the drive they need to embrace activities and projects, make choices, work collaboratively and develop a love for learning within the library and beyond.

Kids gathered around iPad

I loved using learning centers in our library.

It all started when I set up a puzzle station in the corner of our library. The students gravitated towards this corner and loved being part of the community that evolved around putting the puzzle together. Next, I added a listening center when I came across several books on tape that I made in college. When we got a few iPads, I added the Capstone Interactive app so they could read and listen to eBooks.

We even created the PebbleGo Listening & Reading Center next to our Book-on-Tape Listening Center. It soon became one of the hottest spots in the library.

Over the school year, we added a coding station during Hour of Code in December; a basket full of materials to create Rainbow Loom bracelets; a LEGO table; Makerspace stations filled with Sphero's, art materials, Bloxels and more; a book publishing center with materials to make handmade books and digital books with storytelling apps like Buncee and Storybird. We even brought in different learning centers focused around curricular topics, special events like Dot Day and holidays, and lots of centers focused on the interests of our students and what they had a passion to explore.

One of the most popular learning centers in the library, and within the kindergarten, first and second grade classrooms, was the Little PebbleGo Researchers Center. Our students would use the different PebbleGo databases for a variety of missions or activities within that learning center. I loved seeing them with their clipboards, pencils, and crayons as they ventured into these missions by themselves and with classmates each week. We used the Share What You Know sheets from the PebbleGo articles. Students would tell me stories of doing the worksheets at home too!

We also tied PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next into our centers in a variety of ways throughout the year. With six different databases covering a variety of curriculum topics, PebbleGo was the perfect resource for our library. And it was just the resource we needed for building collaborative relationships and work between myself, the teacher librarian, and the classroom teachers, as we tied PebbleGo into their learning centers.

PebbleGo truly did make a huge impact on our learning centers and I would love to share 6 ways to use PebbleGo in your learning centers too!

 

1. PebbleGo Science

Within PebbleGo Science, you will find several experiments under Activities in the different articles.

You can print these off and set them up in a learning center for your students to complete independently or with a friend. I put instructions like this in little sleeve protectors to keep them nice and clean too.

Once they are finished with their experiment, have the students record their findings using Flipgrid. This is an easy digital tool that can record their answers quickly and it is fun for students to use.

All you have to do is go to Flipgrid.com and set up a new Flipgrid with a few questions like I have done above (I created questions similar to the ones from the What Is Sound? Activity in PebbleGo).

In your center, have this Flipgrid up for students to use or share the special code so they can use that in the Flipgrid app or online. Plus, the students will learn from each other by watching the videos their classmates have added.

 

2. PebbleGo Social Studies

You will find a good overview of what is included within PebbleGo Social Studies here You can print off the PebbleGo Social Studies Fortune Teller that you will find in Capstone Community while having fun working through the Fortune Teller directions and questions.

You will find the Fortune Teller and lots of other activities perfect to put into a PebbleGo Social Studies Center in Capstone Community under "Resources," "Lesson Plans and Activities," "PebbleGo Social Studies."

The topics in PebbleGo Social Studies (My World, Jobs and Being a Good Citizen) are also perfect for role-playing activities using a simple pop-up theater or felt board. If you want to tie in technology, add the Puppet Pals app to a few iPads and students can create a digital play using one of the topics in PebbleGo Social Studies.

 

3. PebbleGo Biographies

Students have a large selection of people to learn about in PebbleGo Biographies.

For this learning center, have students research a person they want to learn more about. They can create a portrait or replica of that person using a variety of materials including paper and art supplies (crayons, paints, markers, etc...), clay or play dough, and collage materials like tissue paper, fabric and pipe cleaners.

They could even create the person they research using LEGO's. After they have finished their replica, have them use the Brickapic website to upload the person’s picture from PebbleGo to see the resemblance. They can even print this off or make a copy to use in a digital story of their two creations.

 

4. PebbleGo Animals

Your little researchers will love all of the animals they will find in PebbleGo Animals. Children love observing living things so in this learning center you could add a few things living things they can observe.

For example, have the students find and research Frogs in PebbleGo Animals. They can write down the facts they find about frogs. Then have tadpoles or frogs in little tanks for them to observe as they draw pictures and add details.

They can also use the Buncee App to document what they observe and learn. In the Buncee app, students can add images and video very easily as they are working in the learning center.

 

5. PebbleGo Animales

You will find each PebbleGo Animals article also in PebbleGo Animales, the Spanish version.

In this center, print off the PebbleGo Activity within the article. This is one from the PebbleGo Rana (PebbleGo Frog) article in PebbleGo Animales.

Have your students listen to the article read in Spanish within PebbleGo and label the parts of the frog as they go along.  

You can also create simple flashcards with the vocabulary words included in the articles. If they click on the highlighted vocabulary words in the article, the Glossary Definition will pop up. They can click on the little speaker icon to hear just the word and definition read. This is a great way for them to practice saying the Spanish words together.

 

6. PebbleGo Dinosaurs

Kids love dinosaurs and PebbleGo Dinosaurs is definitely one of their favorite places to go and research. This is a wonderful tie into a learning center filled with play! For example, you could have a sand and water table with little plastic dinosaurs for them to play with after they learn about dinosaurs in PebbleGo Dinosaurs.

To tie in a bit of technology, they will love using the free ChatterPix Kids app to tell about their favorite dinosaurs.

They can take a picture of the dinosaur they want to research in PebbleGo Dinosaurs and then add voice, filters, stickers, frames, and text. This can be downloaded and shared too.

 

As you can see, learning centers bring light to new topics, enhance learning and reinforce things being learned. Children gain a sense of ownership in their learning as they work independently and with others in centers. This helps them engage in their learning even more.

PebbleGo can be the spark that ignites learning and collaboration in your library and classroom learning centers too!