Sunday, February 22, 2015

Read the Most From Coast to Coast and Read Across America Week

You'd think after a week of snow days, I'd be more prepared, but nope, here I am at school again on a Sunday trying to get things done!  Well, some of that includes copying and getting things ready for this Friday and next week, so I guess I have some excuse!

Nevertheless, this Friday, we are participating in Renaissance Learning's "Read the Most from Coast to Coast."  You can find out more on their website {here}.  That will be our kickoff for Read Across America week.  We're extending it a week because frankly, I want it to go back to the way it was when we did it several years ago when it was BIG.  Being the library media specialist and part of the correlate that is putting on the whole show, I find myself mostly in charge! :)  One of our committee members brought up a good point that while Dr. Seuss is fun for the younger crowd, the fourth and fifth graders see the whole thing as babyish, so we're doing "Read Across America" week instead of "Dr. Seuss Week."  Still, we're dressing up as favorite characters and other things during the week, having quotes announced each morning from authors, and highlighting different genres.  One of our members also made a "choice board" so teachers could fit what they could into the curriculum.  After a week of missed school, it should be well appreciated!

While I'm still getting together my centers, lessons, etc for the library, I do have something I wanted to share with you!  With the "Read the Most" with "Across America," I thought it would be cute to do an interactive poster/board.  While not an original idea (I saw something on Pinterest), I thought it would go well with a reading challenge to our teachers based on the # of pages read during class.  We're throwing in math and graphing to the mix and providing teachers with different templates to use (younger grades can use the hundreds chart while older grades can create bar graphs or line graphs).  We're lucky enough to have a poster maker in our school, so I'll be taking "orders" this week to what type of graphs each teacher wants!

I'm also going to make a poster of the USA with cute cars that count for each 100 pages read.  I googled and found that from VA Beach, VA to San Jose, CA is almost 3,000 miles (2,990 to be exact), so hence the 3,000 goal.  I'm hoping we'll exceed that!  So, please click on the link {here} to access this file on Google Drive.  I won't be uploading it to my store at this point and wanted to offer it as a freebie to my readers!

So, between Virginia Readers Choice and other reading challenges, I hope to be posting and sharing more soon! (The Iditarod is coming up and I am so psyched to do something in the library about it!!!).

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Discover the Room: A Black History Month Activity

First of all, I am a complete sucker for anything Educlips produces.  I'm surprised I don't have her whole collection!  She is an amazing clip artist (?) and comes up with some of the neatest ideas!  So, when I saw her items for Black History Month, I decided I need to buy them and come up with something!

Being in the library, it's nice that I can kind of pick and choose my lessons.  (Notice the "kind of" in there!).  For the month of February, I am focusing 4th and 5th grade on African-American history and so far, they have really enjoyed it!  This past week, we focused on segregation and read about the Greensboro Sit Ins (4th) and desegregation of schools (5th).  Here are some excellent books I used from our library:

So, tie that in with the clip art I purchased, and I came up with a "Discover the Room" activity.  I use Write the Room/Count the Room with my Kinders-Second Graders.  This was a nice "older" version I plan to use first with my 4th and 5th graders, but might also invite second and third to use as well (we're finishing up Virginia Readers Choice, so we'll be doing some of the Black History Month in about another week).

In the packet, besides the cards, I added a recording sheet as well as bookmarks where students write down 3 facts about a chosen person from the cards.  I thought that might be a fun culmination to our studies at the end of the month!    If you'd like to see more, click on the pictures above to take you to TPT or {here} for Teacher's Notebook.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Currently, Library Helpers, and Thoughts of Snow....

First up - Currently!  I haven't taken the time to do this the last couple of months so while my daughter's at OM (and I have high speed Internet!) I figured it was time for me to get back into the swing of things!

Meet Thor:  we got him as a companion for our beagle.  Seriously.  Our other beagle passed away last winter and poor Molly's been so lonely.  So, we took her to our local animal control after seeing this handsome fella on their Facebook page and they tolerated each other nicely.  Granted, sometimes Thor gets a little too nosy and Molly gives a growl as a warning.  Funny thing - this dog that our beagle can walk UNDER will listen to her and back off good naturedly. :)  He is such a gentle giant and has captured our hearts, especially my son's!

As for the big snow - don't hate me - but we've been losing out here in central VA!  Our ONE snow day this year was for maybe 2 inches that was gone by the next day.  Everywhere north has been getting slammed....please send some our way!  One good snow before the end of winter (preferably before March!).

Ruler of Books - hah hah, so obvious with my position this year!  I've been getting good feedback from teachers and students about library, which makes me happy :)  So far, no one dreads coming!  I started the year with so many ideas in my head that I finally had to tell myself that some would have to wait until the summer or next year to implement!  One that I don't need to wait any longer on is my library helpers.  I've opened it up to 4th and 5th grade (with 3rd coming in as soon as I feel my older kids are comfortable with their role) and it's been a great success!  Granted, they LOVE checking books in and out on the computer, but I have them also helping shelve books, straighten up the library, and do other clerical tasks that take so much time out of our day!  I haven't had a huge gap of time open up, mind you, but it's been nice to have help!  It's just me and a few parent volunteers during the week so it's nice to have the kids help.  Plus, it gives them a sense of pride and responsibility!

So after looking at samples online of what different libraries have used, I finally came up with my own form and, after much thought, a daily checklist.  I have my library helpers from 7:50-8:30 each day (my first group is special needs at 8:45).  The students help one day during the week (although some want to help more!).  The application and checklist is a freebie I've uploaded to my stores.  You can click {here} to take you to TpT or {here} for Teacher's Notebook.  I hope you can find use for it! :)