Sunday, August 28, 2016


Our Resource team is trying something new this year.  Since we have 4 resources (Art, Music, Library, P.E.), in the past our Fridays have been a class we saw earlier in the week, and trying to come up with a different activity for students to do.  This year, we are trying "Club Fridays."  Each nine weeks, students get to choose what club they'd like to join.  We gave a little presentation back on August 19 and had students choose:  Art/Gardening, Music & Movement, 100 Mile Club, or my club.  Unfortunately, my club has been called Makerspace, STEM, building club, and I had to stop the Art teacher from calling it Lego club at one point!  This past Friday was our first club day!

We have our small but growing Makerspace in our library, which the kids love, so it made since for my club to have something to do with it!  I thought about it this summer and finally came up with some cute ideas, thanks to Pinterest inspiration (pinspiration?).  I also decided to make it easy on myself:  group lessons by K/1, 2/3, and 4/5.  Well, for K/1 and 2/3, I'm focusing on stories and projects.  This past Friday, we read Mark Teague's version of the 3 Little Pigs, and students got to become pigs and build houses from each of the materials, then become the wolf and try to blow them down!  I differentiated between the two levels.  K/1 got all 3 materials and built in groups:  "sticks" (unsharpened pencils), "straw" (drinking straws), and "bricks" (connecting cubes).

2/3 had the same story, but different approach.  They had to choose a card from a bag to determine what type of house they would build - sticks (popsicle sticks), straw (drinking straws), or bricks (Legos).  I laid the materials out for students, as well as tape and string, and they had a certain amount of time to build.  Then, they too became wolves and got to blow their creations down!

I was a little nervous, thinking students might not want to hear a story and then do the activity, but they loved it!  Next Friday, we're doing Jack and the Beanstalk.  On a side note, when I asked students who had heard the story of the 3 little pigs, not everyone raised their hand!  Interesting.

For my 4/5 group, I was so excited to finally be using our Makedo tools we earned from Donors Choose last school year!  We are working together as a group to build a giant windball, so we can become familiar with the tools and working together.  This will last several Fridays.  In fact, we are still working on cutting out the cardboard squares!  Then, after that project is finished and we've played with it, we'll take it apart, and I'll show students the story of Cain's Arcade.  We'll then build our own arcade machines from recycled cardboard and other materials.

I'm really excited on how our clubs turned out this past week.  Each nine weeks, I plan on offering something a little different.  I just hope it's not one of those things that we do for one year, and it gets dropped!  The kids have really enjoyed having a choice and being able to mingle with other kids in their grade not in their class this year!  I've included some pics below on what we're doing, as well as a video of my 4th graders hard at work (and a preview of what our ball will hopefully look like!).  I can't seem to get the video to orient, so hopefully your neck doesn't get too stiff!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the Library!

Every year in the second semester, I start teaching the parts, or different sections, of the library to my first graders.  I wanted a fun way to review these different parts, but not be too overwhelming, while my older students reviewed Dewey. 

I love funny books, and so do the kids!  I thought of the story, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, and had a fun idea where students could use clues to find different areas of the library.  Once they found that area, they would then find a missing piece of the Gingerbread Man.  Once all 6 clues were solved, they would then put together their gingerbread to form a whole "man"!

So, then I had to think - what areas did I really want them to recognize, but not repeat the activity from the week before, our Library Survivor.  There, I emphasized books like graphic novels, that the students started getting into at the end of last year.  I decided with the Gingerbread Man to stick with more general areas - nonfiction, fairy tales, fiction, circulation desk, fiction ("chapter books"), and computers where we look up books (although they won't be learning about Destiny, our online catalog, until the following week!).

So, I'm excited about what I came up with AND the fact that I was thinking ahead and decided to color-coordinate!  Each group will have a color to look for (to avoid chaos) that matches their clue cards.  So red clue cards = red team = red gingerbread parts!  You know sometimes those thoughts don't come until after the activity! :)

Here's what I came up with!  If you're interested in seeing more, I listed it on TPT and Teacher's Notebook.  I also included blank cards since every library is different, so you could program your own!