Monday, June 29, 2015

Legos in the Library

We had our first summer in the library series with "Legos in the Library."  Competing with local VBS, vacations, and working families, I was pleased with the turnout of 12 kids and 6 adults.  All that attended had fun and said they wanted to come back for our Secret Agent/Spy Day in the Library which is coming up this week.  Our last 2 sessions will be a superhero theme and a Minecraft theme.

Not knowing how many to expect the first session, I went ahead and copied 30-50 of each activity just so I'd have enough.  It was set up as a "come in and play" type activity - no read aloud, no set schedule of anything.  I had come in the day before to set up and had activities scattered among my 9 tables.

Seven of the tables I had set out containers of miscellaneous Legos (I do have 3 sets of "educational legos" from an old grant) and challenge cards.  I had my son's 2 huge containers of misc. Legos set out on the floor where you see the boys playing.

Another table, I had copied Lego masks and had set out twine, scissors, and crayons.  

Some of my moms liked this activity as well.

 On another table, I had the "Create Your Own Mini-Fig" sheets copied, along with several crayon boxes.

One family had a great time with the Lego Challenge cards, and created a garden!

So, even though the turn out wasn't huge, everyone who came had a lot of fun and the moms commented on how much they liked the "break up" in the summer.  It had been hot and rainy, and it gave some of the kids (and moms) time to get together and create.

My "Spy Day" is this Wednesday.  I tried to vary my days each session to help out with babysitting and work schedules.  Speaking of which, I need to go set up!  If you'd like the copies to the Lego activities above, they are not mine, but you can find them on my Pinterest Lego board.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer in the Library

One of the ideas I mentioned at my interview for my library position was that I wanted the library to be more open to the community.  One way I'm accomplishing this is having 4 open library dates this summer for parents and students to come in and hang out, check out books, and do an activity.  Taking it one step further, I decided to theme each day.  I also kept the same time, but picked different days during the week so hopefully if someone couldn't do Mondays, for example, they may be able to come to another day!

Knowing I would HAVE to do a Minecraft activity since those strategy guides are one of the most highly circulated books I have (besides Wimpy Kid!), I also picked Legos, since that is another theme very popular with students.  Gaining inspiration from Pinterest, I also included a super hero day and a spy day (just because I thought the spy obstacle course looked so cool!).

I created a flyer that went home the last week of school and was excited to hear that even some of the fifth graders were excited about the days, especially Minecraft.  I feel I'll have a lot of little ones at Lego Day, but we'll see.  I have no idea what the response will be - guess it depends on vacation schedules, babysitter/work schedules, etc.  I know my daughter will miss 2 of the days because of day camps she's attending (fortunately I scheduled it from 10-12 so no conflict getting her there!).

So there is a LOT out there for Lego activities.  Other than challenge cards, I really didn't need to create much.  The link to my Pinterest page on Legos is {here} in case you want to check it out.  I'll make sure to post pictures of each event!  Since this is my first time doing this, I'm sure some of it will be trial and error.  I have a feeling I'll have more ideas for my challenge cards, so I'll post those when I post the pictures.

However, I was inspired to create activities for the second date, "So You Want to Be a Spy?"  Students will fill out a badge, fingerprint themselves, crack a secret code, hunt for character silhouettes, and dust for fingerprints.  They'll also go through a "laser" obstacle course set up in one of the aisles. (Pinterest page on my summer themes {here})

If you're interested in seeing more, please click on the picture below.  I'm so excited and am already working on the next two dates/themes!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sugar and Spice...Women in History

Ok, I know, it's not March.  However, one of the things I really wanted to do this year was Women's History Month.  I mean, we do so much with African American History Month, it seems like we're worn out by the time we get to March!  Our March this year was super busy - Dr. Seuss, Iditarod, a Guidance lesson, and something else (I can't remember - but it was jam packed!) it took me awhile but I was finally able to finish and now share my activity for Women's History Month.  (I'm such a dork, I already have a calendar printed out for next year detailing all the events I want to do each month so I won't miss out again!  That and take the time to make things this summer so I have to use them!!!  No excuses!!!).

Since my "Discover the Room" for Black History Month was so popular with my kiddos, I decided to do a similar activity with Women's History Month.  Using one of my favorite clip art artists, Educlips, I focused on some of the women she created in a bundle, which really gave a universal appeal!

So, in March, I'll be selecting some of these women to read about, having a display of their biographies, as well as other ladies, and having the students learn more about some of these courageous women!

If you'd like to check out more, click {here} to take you to the packet.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Marshmallow Incident

Being in the library, I start to discover books that I didn't really know existed.  Granted, I have a summer reading list a mile long from all the interesting chapter books my older kids checked out.  However, my picture books are just as interesting!  Whether it's finding interesting ones by shelving, looking them up in Destiny.....I had to learn early on I couldn't teach everything! :)

One that I found I was unfamiliar with was Judi Barrett's The Marshmallow Incident.  This is the same author as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Pickles to Pittsburgh, so I thought it would be interesting to look at when I found it on the shelf.

The follow up activity actually came about because I needed an activity for my sub that week.  Since it was a Friday, we weren't checking out books (we repeat groups on Friday we've already seen during the week), so my sub needed something that would keep the kids engaged - not too hard, but not easily finished in 10 minutes!

So, I created a packet to go along with the story.  It's a great story, by the way, and you could actually use it with older students and pair it up with The Sneetches or The Peanut Butter Battle Book, both by Dr. Seuss.  It talks about how silly things can get when we disagree on things and don't respect others' differences.  I actually might use it as a companion book with my fifth graders next year when they study World War II and see if they can make a connection!

I thought the kids would enjoy the packet, and they did.  Some of it is kind of easy, but still fun to do (tracing a left hand and a right me, it goes with the story), but some made them think a little, like sequencing parts and drawing scenes.  All in all, I got a great report from my sub, as well as a thumbs up from the kids when I returned!

Image result for the marshmallow incident

If you're interested in seeing more, check it out {here} at TPT.  I'm more than happy to highlight a "lesser known" book and hope you can find it and use it with your students as well!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Inference Investigations and Main Idea Mysteries

Wow, this has been quite a year in the library!  I love my new position and am very happy that I'll get to do it all over again next year!

That being said, a lot of my "social media" has been neglected due to it as well as some family matters we've been going through.  With that being said, this summer's goal is to polish up some of the things I did in the library and, if I haven't told you about it already, will share with you on here!  Unfortunately, I'm down to a "dumb phone" since my Droid was left at a dr's office and hasn't shown up yet :( but its better than no phone at all, so I can't complain too much!  I must admit, though, I miss Google Calendar most of all.  Not that I can't access it from my laptop, but it was sooo nice to have on the go!  Funny that's what I missed, but like many of you, I become full time mom during the summer and need that schedule!!!

Back to school things, though!

One thing that my fourth and fifth grade teachers asked me to work on at the end of the year was main idea, context clues, and inferencing to help review for the state tests.  Knowing its the end of the year, that the kiddos were wild and crazy, I wanted to do something active that would engage them, but also be beneficial.

I had seen on Pinterest how people used Pixar movies to teach different comprehension strategies.  So, on two of my wiki pages for my students, we used movie clips (including this great detective series from Houghton Mifflin, although I never could find "part 2" to any of them).

I followed that up with an activity.  For context clues, we took the book, Baloney, by Jon Scieszka, and first watched a YouTube version of the read aloud.  Then, I had photocopied pages and made an "alien translator" for students to use to figure out what the alien words meant in the book.  For some of my more "active" classes, we did this orally, but believe it or not, it was the higher classes that took to the alien translator and groaned when we ran out of time to finish it!  (Always makes you feel good to plan an activity where the kids are sorry to leave it!!!).

Here is the what the alien translator looks like.  Click {here} to see more.  You can also check out the page I used for context clues, with the videos, {here}.

Our next lesson, the kids were begging for more video clips to watch, so we looked at videos {here} and {here} and then completed our follow up activity.  This was, as I told students, a use of their detective skills.  They were given 3 cards and had to figure out 1) what they had in common and 2) go look around the library for the answer card to write on their recording sheet.  It was a definite hit and the kids had a blast!  It was great for them to be up and moving around test time, when they had been sitting all day.  They were even willing to calm down with the main idea passages that I had cut up and had them put back together like puzzles.  (Click on the title page to see it on TPT).

So I taped the "dog" card in the library (since these were my older students, it was fun to hide them in tricky places!).  Students received a bag with the other 3 cards, wrote it on their recording sheet (below), and once they figure it out, they had to find the dog card!

I presented these to students cut up and in baggies.  They had to piece it together and put the main idea at the top.  If we had more time, and maybe another week in resource, we would've talked about how the main idea was really the topic sentence of the paragraph!

I have to admit, I was surprised and very pleased the kids were so into these activities!  It's a rough time of year to be a resource teacher apparently!  I remember last year with my classroom, we were doing a space unit at the end of the year to help "maintain control" as well as keep the students' interest.  My students really enjoyed the "Around the Room" type activities where they had to find answers throughout the library.  We did go over some ground rules (it's still the library - no running), but they loved being up and mobile.....AND I got a kudos from my principal for doing something meaningful but also very "kinesthetic."  Hee hee :)

So, as the summer goes along and I "fix up" the activities I created (but had no time to post about), I'll hopefully be seeing you more on here!  I'm actually kind of glad I waited so I can reflect on what worked, what didn't, etc. so I can get them ready to go for next year's crew! :)