Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cleopatra Visits the Reading Oasis

Last year at this time, I was nervous about my first Book Fair.  At the end of the Book Fair I got sick, but had to make sure everything  was packed up and my bookkeeping duties were completed.  This year, I got sick right before the Book Fair was delivered.  I'm pretty sure it's a sinus infection. 

My volunteers this year range in ages from four years old (my grand-daughter) to 50 something.  I paid student volunteers with "Book Fair Bucks" to help me move chairs on the morning that I expected the delivery.  I wasn't positive about the delivery date, so I let my adult volunteers know to be on stand by.  The first shift of helpers were kindergartners and 1st graders.  They were so excited and so cute.  The last shift were fourth graders.  They were able to see how excited the librarian gets when that truck with Clifford on the side, pulls into the parking lot.

Two of My Wonderful Volunteers
When I pressed send on my phone, my adult volunteers sprang into action quickly.  Setting up the Book Fair this time went so much faster than last year.  The first two days of the Book Fair were pretty slow.  My volunteers didn't see much action until the first Family Event.  That is also when Cleopatra made an appearance to promote the Book Fair's theme. One volunteer had fun building a pyramid with the Book Fair's bestseller.  I apologize for the quality of the picture.  My four-year old volunteer is better at putting books in the bags than she is at photography.  I can't even begin to thank my wonderful volunteers enough. 
Cleopatra in Front a Pyramid of Popular Books
Cleopatra will be joined by Santa Claus for the Family Event on Thursday. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Library Projects and Jan Brett

First, I must give a shout out to Karen Whiteside at Creative Classroom for mentioning my blog.  I get so many awesome ideas from other bloggers.  It makes me happy to know that I can contribute something too.  Thank you Karen.

Next, It has been forever since I've had a chance to blog.  Grad school is no joke!  I have been trying to get some projects up and running with each grade level this year.  So far the second graders' Symbolic Monarch Migration is successful.  One first grade class was able to plant tulips for the Journey North Tulip Test Garden.  Third graders have created their "Flat People", but we haven't been able to mail them yet.   Fourth and Fifth graders had to put their projects on hold for a little while, until the Book Fair and Christmas activities are over.

Meanwhile kindergarteners have been working on an Animal ABC book. The students came up with a list of animals for each letter of the alphabet.  Then they choose which animal they wanted to write about.  I wrote out what the students wanted to say by making the letters just like they appear on the keyboard.  I used a long black horizontal line to represent the space bar. It made the one to one correspondence easier for the kinders. While I help four students at a time, the other students play an Alphabet/Animal matching game, build words with Legos, and play Candy Land.  I recently purchased a letter matching game from Teachers Pay Teachers that is perfect for kindergarteners. I will add this to a center to help them recognize upper case and lower case letters.

L is for Llama

First graders have been doing an Author Study with Jan Brett.  We have read Hedgie's Surprise, the Mitten, and Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve. The students researched hedgehogs and used a tutorial by Jan Brett to draw a hedgehog.  Jan Brett was nice enough to send me teacher packet of activities for some of her books. It included a really cool tote.  I was able to see Jan Brett at Quail Ridge Books and Music in Raleigh, recently.  I bought two copies of Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella. I got autographed book plates for the books that I bought.  I really enjoyed hearing about how she came up with the idea for Cinders... and some of her other stories.
Teacher Packet from Jan Brett

Me with Hedgie

Jan Brett and One of Her Silkies

Jan Brett with Her Drawing and Book

The second graders are using Wixie, Blabberize, or Animoto to present information about insects.  One class will use Wixie to make trading cards.  Another class will use my account to create a Blabberize.  This should be fun.

My resource for 5th grade's Revolutionary War project will be available after Christmas.  Fourth graders' NC Native American project will also need to wait until after the winter break.  Currently the fifth graders are reviewing genres and Big 6.  The fourth graders are reviewing Dewey and Big 6. We did a Genre Sort Activity.  The students really liked using the iPod to self-check with QR codes. 

I will post about the Book Fair later. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Making Our Mark

This was my first Dot Day.  The students were excited to share ideas about how they could "make a mark" and express themselves creatively.  The art teacher and I collaborated for Dot Day activities. Next year, I hope the PE teacher, music teacher, and guidance counselor will join us.   
Certificate Outside the Art Room

In art, students experimented with primary and secondary colors, negative space, and teamwork.  Their artwork is displayed all around the school.  Students were able to tell me about some of the techniques they used during art. The art teacher read Ish to some of her classes.  One student was able to make a connection about the boy at the end of The Dot.  Since I haven't read Ish, I was glad that she had the opportunity to share her observation.

Negative Space

In the media center, students listened to the story, The Dot and Press Here.  With the help of the app colAR Mix 3D, students colored a dot and watched it spin and bounce around.  Two classes made word clouds, listing ways they can make a mark.  It really clicked with one class when I shared the display board of the Eagle Scout's Project. One student who has been attending our school for five years finally realized the change that took place this summer. He wants to become a Boy Scout so he can make improvements around the school.  One class used Wixie to make their own version of the book, Press Here.  The students had to use creative thinking to make the dots interactive for the reader. 

I love this border.

I am looking forward to celebrating International Dot Day in 2014. Let's Make a Mark every day.

Friday, September 13, 2013

I See You Checking Me Out

The first few weeks of school have been a little hectic.  Not only did I start another semester of grad school, I had to do lesson plans, set up AR, get student numbers ready, distribute Chromebooks and Nooks, set the timers for Chromebooks and Nooks, and get the library ready for students and visitors.  I'm sure that I left out something. 
The PAWSibilities are Endless

I actually enjoyed getting the library ready.  Our school hosted a PBIS meeting the second week of school.  One of the first bulletin boards that I finished was my PBIS board. The Bulldog was cut with the School Spirit Cricut cartridge.  The letters and scalloped border were cut with the Schoolbook Plantin cartridge.  You can't see it in this picture, but I added texture to the wide border with an embossing folder on the Cuttlebug.  The paws were cut with our Ellison Cutter.  It is time to replace the cutter.  The pads are worn, and we can't find new pads.

Putting speech bubbles on some of the books proved to be a "selling" feature.  I am trying to get the students to see that we have other books besides Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, Clifford, and Dr. Seuss. You know that feeling when a student leaves empty handed because there are no more copies of the series he or she has become "comfortable" with.  I am thrilled that the students are excited about reading the latest antics of "Pigeon", "Pete", Greg Heffley, and Skippyjon Jones, but I really want them to step outside their comfort zone.
I See You Checking Me Out
This is the Place for Characters
I know!  Why did I feature these characters on a bulletin board if I want the students to check out other books?  For one, I had no idea that the students missed their old friends so much.  I thought, okay, they are older, so their tastes have changed.  NOT!  Third graders are checking out the same "Pigeon" books that they checked out in second grade.  I even directed them to the new Mo Willems books that were added this summer. Another reason is that it will be easier to make connections when we talk about story elements.  I plan to do another bulletin board nearby, titled, Reading Takes Us Places or Oh! The Places You'll Go, for setting.  The main reason, I love these characters.  When I saw Primary Possibilities' door decor on Pinterest, I had to use the idea.
Word Clouds replaced the Dewey Decimal Posters in the nonfiction section.  I had fun searching for props for this section of the media center.  Some came from my past life as a first grade teacher.  Others were found while I was cleaning and organizing the media center, this summer.  A few of the dinosaurs just returned to their former residency.  I was surprised when I told a student that the book she was looking for, was on the shelf below the microscope, and she said, "What is a microscope?"  I am so glad that we are setting up a science lab in an empty classroom.

I am having a difficult time with the fiction section.  I will add genre posters. I plan to get the students to help make the genre posters.  Other than the speech bubbles on the books, I can't find my Mojo for this area.  Maybe a book club or classroom book/author study group could help me with the fiction area.

The art teacher and I are collaborating for International Dot Day.  I will post about our activities soon. Here is one the most fun activities that we did during library lessons.  You can download the app and coloring sheet at colAR app.  It's free.  It works on iPads, iPhones, and Droids.  I could not get it to work on the iPod.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The 70's Called...

The library was "overdue" for a makeover.  The orange counter tops and light blue cabinets had to go.  The walls needed a fresh look too.  Even the posters were outdated.  You may remember an earlier post, My Dream Library.  It's finally starting to become a reality (at least close to reality).
The 70's Want Their Counters Back

A Quick Fix

An answer to my prayer came when a friend contacted me, and asked if my school had any projects for her Eagle Scout son. With the help of his mom, dad, girlfriend, and two other scouts, we brought the library into the 21st Century.

Already Looking Better



I'm still putting things back together.  With a very small budget, I'm recycling, using the Cricut, and using Dollar Tree finds to decorate. 

I really wanted to cut the old encyclopedias into letters to spell out fiction and nonfiction. For now the encyclopedias are covered with adhesive shelf liner from Dollar Tree and duct tape.  The crate seats were covered with paw print fabric which I had cut out to make my sister's dog a dog bed (The dog left with the ex.).  The crate seats will hold stuffed animals and puppets for students to read to. :)

Instead of painting the teacher work spaces, I used the "granite" adhesive shelf liner and duct tape to make the 70's disappear.
New Granite Counters
We were not able to install new laminate counters, per maintenance department.  We sanded, primed, and painted/covered the counters instead.  The doors will remain closed to the kitchenettes.  They still have orange counters.

More pictures will be added soon.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Celebrating Children's Books

Due to End-of-Year testing, we celebrated Children's Book Week one week late.  It was also the last week of school, so we combined our field day and book character parade.  The art teacher came up with the idea to have a book themed field day to go along with our book character parade.  It worked out great, because after field day, we used the station signs to decorate the path of the parade.  During our spring Book Fair, the students voted for our principal to dress up as Sponge Bob.  Personally, I don't consider Sponge Bob to be a book character. 

The day began with our field day.  Some of the events were The Very Hungry Caterpillar Obstacle Course, Green Eggs and Ham Relay, Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau Relay, a modified version of Quidditch, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Bean Bag Toss, Hop on Pop Sack Race, and many other awesome book themed games.
One my favorite events

Green Eggs and Ham Relay

Students had to dress a teammate in scuba gear for Manfish...

Students worked on their math skills with this "Quidditch" game.

Can you believe  Mouse was once a clown? 

The sack race is always a POPular event.
After lunch, students and staff were replaced with book characters.  Some of the student characters were; Clifford the Big Red Dog, Fancy Nancy, Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, The Grouchy Ladybug, Charlie Brown, and others.  Some of the staff characters were; Olivia, Fancy Nancy, Pirate,  Mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, The Cat in the Hat, Chicka, Chicka..., Thunder Rose, Sponge Bob, and others.  The Dance Team performed before the parade.

Charlie Brown with Snoopy

Thunder Rose, Sponge Bob, and Fancy Nancy Doing the Cupid Shuffle

A Mouse and Her Cookie

Olivia, Cat, and Medusa
We received several compliments about the field day and book character parade.  We look forward to doing it again next spring.  I hope to get the students more involved with planning and set up next year.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dream Library

I'm ready to do some decorating in the library.  Our school colors are red and white.  I refuse to paint the walls red.  I don't want to leave them white either, but I could live with white walls.  I see myself in an art gallery library.  Please help me with paint colors.
Since there are blue tile insets, I will be able to incorporate my favorite color ;).  The current shade of blue is not working for me. 
This is a work room beside the circulation desk.  The orange counter tops are throughout the library.  Hate is a strong word, but that's how I feel about the counter tops.  I hope there is a remedy for the orange.

Rockhill Public Library could be the inspiration for my dream library.  http://www.bondarchitectsinc.com/img/projects/Libraries/rockhill-public-library_02.jpg  The blue walls might be a little too dark.  Maybe the counter tops could be painted grey. Check out the site, and let me know what you think.

What does your dream library look like?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reading Conference Rocks

I am proud to be part of an organization that brings the community together in a big way each spring.  The Reading Association sponsors the Catch the Reading Bug Community Reading Conference every year.  It has been so successful that we had to move to a bigger location this year.  Even with the bigger location, we were still packed.

Big Bang Boom, Dolly Dozier, Chad Cameron, Pete the Cat, Little Critter, Clifford, and the Teacher from the Black Lagoon helped us celebrate a day of literacy activities.

This year, our school decided to connect science with reading.  Participants followed directions to make Oobleck.  We wanted to address the Common Core Standard of reading informational text, by having children read a recipe.  With so many food allergies, we didn't want to have food.  The art teacher suggested making slime.  Our "Book Hook" was Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Our table was so popular that we ran out of glue.  We had to reduce our ingredients, but we gave the recipe to the participants so they can try it at home. We also gave them a list of children's books that inspire science activities.

The student volunteers were great. It was wonderful having so many helpers who didn't mind getting messy.  We all had green fingers by the end of the day.