Sunday, September 30, 2012

Browsing Sticks With Bar Codes

We call them Browsing Sticks, but you may know them as Shelf Markers.  The idea to put the students' bar codes on them came from Mrs. B at 180 Views from the Library Desk.  Cari from The Centered School Library highlighted a comment that Mrs. B made in a post.  The Browsing sticks have been a hit in our library with teachers as well as students.  We still need to work on how to use the sticks to mark their place, but it will come with practice.
Ignore the books to the left.

I had several Pringle's cans from previous projects, but I still needed donations.  I decorated each teacher can differently so the students could recognize their can at a glance.  The cans are stored on a book cart, so it can be moved when we have staff meetings or get-togethers. The cans are divided by grade levels.  Since this picture was taken, directions for using the sticks are posted on the side of the cart and in front of the cart. 
Decorated Cans and Sticks

A good friend got the paint stirrers for us.  She is an angel.  We let the students decorate their sticks with crayons and markers.  We encouraged them to make their stick an original, so they can tell their stick apart from their peers' sticks.  They wrote their name on the back, and we put the bar codes on the handle of the stick. The students will keep their stick as long as they attend our school.  The fifth graders will take their sticks home as souvenirs, when they graduate from elementary school.  I am holding on to the the sticks of the students who have left, because our school history has shown that many students return eventually.  We have extra sticks for new students.  In the future, only kindergarten students and new students to our school will need to decorate a stick. 
An Original

We practiced using the Browsing Sticks, and plan to make a video for the future and for review.  The teachers like the sticks because they often forget to bring the cards with the bar codes.  The sticks make checking out books faster.
This Is How We Use the Browsing Stick

When I was in the classroom, I had a can with the students' names on craft sticks.  I used the sticks to call on students for games, responses, making random cooperative groups, etc. It made it fair and kept the students alert because they did not know when their stick would be pulled.  Recently I discovered that I could use the Browsing sticks for the same purpose.

I can't thank Mrs. B and Cari enough for sharing this brilliant idea.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Good Fit Books

Since I blogged last, I've started taking Foundations of Library and Information Studies, finally got AR up and running, and published my first school newsletter.  The following is an article that I wrote for the newsletter.  I changed the names of the students.

Students had fun learning about picking books that interest them, are on their level, and is just right for their purpose. To make it fun we compared “Good-Fit Books to picking out shoes.   We read Pete the Cat: Rocking in His School Shoes, and we talked about our school shoes.  Students agreed that wearing skates to school would not be a good idea.  We read other books about shoes, and talked about how choosing a book is like choosing shoes. 

Do I like it?  Does it interest me?  My pig slippers interest me, because I like pigs.  I have a small collection of pigs.  I would enjoy reading the Olivia books that we have in the library.  One of my favorite books is Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini.  Just because I like my pig slippers, and stories about pigs, does not mean that my best friend will be interested in pigs.

Does it fit? It is not too easy or too hard.   My pig slippers fit me.  They were not too small or too big.  When Ray tried on my slippers, they were too big.  Although Ray might like books about pigs, he probably would not be able to read Charlotte’s Web about Wilbur the pig. A “Good-Fit” book for Trey might be If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff.  Choosing a book that is too easy or too hard will not help us become good readers.  My pig slippers are comfortable to me, but my granddaughter’s tap shoes were too small.  I would not be comfortable in her shoes.

Does it help me?  Is the book right for what I want to do?  Duncan tried to play basketball in my fancy high heels.  It did not work.  My pig slippers did not help me play basketball or tap dance.  Fourth graders are not going to read Good Night Moon to learn about the moon phases. 

I hope the shoe lesson will help students remember to pick books that interest them, fit, and help them with their purpose for reading.  The lesson was adapted from The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades, by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.

The students have been decorating "browsing sticks".  I will share how we plan to use the sticks in a later post.