Monthly Archives: October 2011

Mystery Teacher Reader

Last week I held our second annual Mystery Teacher Reader Contest.  I started this last year to get my students excited for our Scholastic Bookfair and it was such a hit I did it again this year.

Mystery Teacher Reader Contest  are movies of different teacher’s voice reading a story and the images from the story.  Every day a different movie is shown and students have to guess which teacher is reading the story.  At the end of the day two student names are pulled and  they win a $10 coupon to Bookfair. (This year’s movies)

As I walked through the school last week I heard,” Miss Kordek! Miss Kordek! I know who the Mystery Teacher was. It was ……!”  or “Miss Kordek! I thought yesterday Mystery Teacher was ……. but I was wrong.”   It was great to listen to them and feel their excitement as they tried to guess the mystery teacher.

Mystery Teacher Reader Contest is an idea I got  from my cooperating teacher when I was on Block (semester prior to student teaching) in Allegheny-Clarion Valley School District.  This is a very simple project that can be used throughout the year for many different purposes such as Read for the Record, Read Across America (Dr. Seuss’s Birthday), Bookfair promotion, or just a random library/reading week.

It is a relatively simple process to make the movie.  I used GarageBand and iMovie since my district is Mac based and that is what I am comfortable using.  The movie can be made using any application or Web 2.0 tool.  They can also be made using just a video camera or simply having a teacher read a book over the intercom.  How you make the movie depends on your resources, how comfortable you are with technology, and time.

I try to start the process of recording voices about a month or more in advance because with how teacher schedules go it sometimes takes a while to finally meet.  There was one teacher that I didn’t record her voice due to conflicting schedules and then we were both sick.  I also try to choose teachers that all students will know as well as some that will be a challenge.

I record the teacher’s voices using GarageBand.  I like using GarageBand because once it is recorded I am able to manipulate the recording.  This year the teachers had good pacing and pausing between pages  but last year there were some issues.  Last year I had to delete sections to shorten pauses, extend others, and delete interruptions (I can be a perfectionist at times).  When it was done being edited I exported them into iTunes as an audio file.

Next I take a picture of every page of the book.  When I take the pictures I try to focus on just the illustrations and keep the amount of text as limited as possible (Difficult with some books).


Once I have both the recordings and images loaded onto my computer, it is time to compile them together in iMovie.  I love using iMovie because of how the iLife applications (iTunes, iPhoto) are connected so it is a drag and drop to combine them.  I also like how easy it is make movies in iMovies.   What I think as the longest part of this process begins next,  making the length an image appears match the number of seconds the teacher reads each page.  This not a difficult process, a few clicks but it does take time to do every page.

After all the videos are completed I upload them to my Youtube account to share them with the teachers to show in class during the week.  I like using Youtube because you can make the videos private for only those with the link which keeps the privacy of the teachers and students.  I also like using Youtube because you can embedded the videos into websites and blogs.

Check out the rest of our Mystery Teacher Readers HERE.

Hope you enjoy!!


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Newsletter: Issue 3

The main literary focus for this Kordek’s Korner is Chris Van Allsburg.  Originally it was because he has two good fall stories (The Widow’s Broom and The Stranger) but it later changed with the upcoming release (Oct 25, 2011) of his new book Chronicles of Harris Burdick (Amazon).  This books is a collection of stories based on the illustrations from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick written by renowned authors (Kate DiCamillo, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, Lemony Snicket, Stephen King, and many more).

In past years I have done a unit on Chris Van Allsburg, covering a variety of his books such as The Wretched Stone and The Sweetest Fig.  I ended the unit having the class write a story based on one of the images in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.  As we went around the room each student could only write one line.  The classes made some very interesting stories.

To help promote the upcoming release both the New Yorker and Hough Mifflin Harcourt are having contests based on the Harris Burdick books.  Look for a possible future posting about one of these contests (The wheels are spinning).

PS. If you can’t tell I like his books as well as excited for the book to come out 🙂

Enjoy the newsletter!

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Kordek’s Korner Halloween

Below is a special holiday edition of Kordek’s Korner.  I decided that since there are usually enough holiday resources for major holidays that I would do some special holiday edition for them.  I’m not going to do it for every holiday but for some of the major ones like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and such.

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Newsletter: Issue 2

Here is the second issue of my Kordek’s Korner Newsletter. Enjoy!

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Doodling is Exonerated!

Doodling has been exonerated!  My doodles on the sides of notes and papers have a purpose!

I found the purpose of doodles watching a TED talk by Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!  I came across this video when reading  Free Technology for Teacher  and Langwitches.

Doodles have always been thought of as pointless and without value.  Sunni Brown states otherwise.  She sees them as a tool to help us process information.  I like how she defines to doodle (Below).

I find that I doodle when I am thinking or when I am in a meeting just listening such as at a staff meeting or in-services.   Doodling helps me keep my focus on what is being said even when I am on overload or distracted by other items.   If you ever look at any teachers notes there is always a small drawing or doodle somewhere, even if it is just making letters different.

In high school, one of the best experiences I had with note-taking was when I took notes in a web graphic organizer format.  I drew different lines, shapes, and pictures to connect my information.   My notebook looked liked a mess at the end of every class but when taking assessments I could visualize them and follow the information in my head quickly and easily.  If I remember correctly I still have that notebook some where because I enjoyed doing it so much.  Langwitches did something similar with her students.

If doodling allows for individuals to process information more completely, why are we not encouraging our students doodle more?

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