Tuesday, January 21, 2014
You may be wondering why I have all of my posts on one day.  Well, there was a user error and I lost my template, so it was back to the drawing board.  I am working on updating my blog with a new design.  Stay tuned for updates...
Monday, January 20, 2014
Fall Back

Part 2

Wow!  It is January and I am just now writing part 2 of my blog entry!  We are on Day 4 of snow days, so I feel like I should be productive.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been given the opportunity to work more with students, so we have been working diligently this school year. 

Through our PTO and grant writing, I have been able to purchase several iPads for the media center.  The students have been utilizing the iPads for various lessons, such as Media Center Orientation, Dewey Decimal Scavenger Hunt, research projects, and more.  I hope to continue utilizing the available resources to make lessons more engaging and productive for students.

Fall Back

Part 1

Since we have been given an "extra" hour today, I decided to spend it blogging to you.  There has been a lot going on at school.  I have enjoyed my time with the students and working together to become better learners.  Since we are on a six-day rotation schedule, I have much more time for lessons and activities.  Here is what we have been working on so far this school year...


As with every school year, teaching students responsible book care and the parts of a book has been a priority for the beginning of the year.

We read the following books to learn about book care:

The Shelf Elf

For more information on how I utilize this book in the media center, see the post on my Golden Shelf Elf Award.

Penelope Popper Book Doctor

A Book Is Just Like You

 We have also read a book about Johnny Appleseed and colored a picture of Johnny.  We have also studied book by David Shannon and Rob Scotton.  Additionally, we read a fiction story about Halloween and played an ABC matching game.  And just last week we read about the life cycle of a pumpkin and the students completed a cut/paste activity for the life cycle of a pumpkin. 

Every week we have focused on the parts of a book and this is one of my Student Learning Objectives for this school year.  I hope by the end of the year, most of the Kindergarten students will be be able to name all of the parts of a book.

1st Grade:

As a review to good book care, we read the following books:

Never Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book

Penelope Popper Book Doctor

My major focus for 1st grade is ABC order.  It is important for students to learn ABC order of words at an early age, so that they may excel in the upper grades in the use of dictionaries and thesauruses.  We have also read a story about Johnny Appleseed, studied author Steven Kellogg, and a Halloween story.  We also spent the past 2 weeks studying books that have received The Caldecott Medal or Honor.  They have really enjoyed reading these books and exploring the different types of illustrations.

2nd Grade:

The 2nd grade students review proper book care and read the same books as 1st grade.  We also read Perfect Square, one of the YHBA nominees, and the students created a class book making a picture with a square and writing a sentence about their illustration. 

We also worked on reading nonfiction and writing facts we learned about our nonfiction book.  We read a book about spiders and completed a graphic organizer on 4 facts we learned about spiders.  
by Sian Smith

I downloaded the free graphic organizer from The Library Patch.

The following week, we read a nonfiction book about pumpkins.  After we read, I had the students use the iPads and World Book Online to complete a graphic organizer with 4 facts about pumpkins.

We also spent a week browsing the magazines available in the media center and reviewed fiction and nonfiction with a group game.

Lastly, with all of the grades, we also used the SmartBoard to review book care.

This is the end of part 1 of Fall Back.  Stay tuned for Part 2...

This school year is already flying by.  We are 6 weeks into the school year and I feel like we are halfway through.  I have already had the book fair and it was a success.  Our sales are always lower in the fall than in the spring, but it went well.  I am hoping the spring book fair will be even better!
My schedule this year is very different.  We are on a 6 day rotation, so for 3 days I see classes for lessons and the next 3 days I see classes for check out.  I have never experienced this kind of schedule before, but I am making the best of it.  The greatest advantage is that I get to spend more time with the students and we have more time for lessons.  I believe this will really help the students become better learners.

I have added a free resource to my TPT store.  I like to keep track of the when the students return their library books.  At the end of every nine weeks, I hand out certificates for the students who returned all of their library books.  I would like to do even more this year, to recognize students and classes.  I purchased a resource from TPT to coincide with my theme this year.  I will post pictures as the school year continues.  Click on the picture below to download my free resource!

Book Return Spreadsheet

My Teachers Pay Teachers Store

I have created a TPT store!  You can check it out here:
or click on the gadget to the right.

I only have a couple of items posted right now, but follow me to keep updated when I add more items.  My first paid item is Library Word Wall Cards.

Feel free to purchase these and use them any way you can.  I will be implementing my first word wall this year, so that is why I created this product.  Pictures to come!

In my next post I will be showing off my media center, so stay tuned!
Goals for the 2013-2014 School Year

 Every year I tell myself to make some goals.  This year, I have decided to write them down, or type, so that I can actually try to achieve the goals.

  1. Make myself more available to students and teachers.  Each year, I feel like I have to tell students and teachers that I have other groups in the library, so don't interrupt.  I feel like I am being mean, even though I am required to see these groups.  We have a new principal this year, my 3rd in 4 years, so I have already met with her about this topic.  Hopefully we will be able to work together to make the library/media center more available.
  2. Keep up on cataloging and processing books.  I feel like this is always the last thing on my to do list.  I have a shelf full of books that need to be cataloged. I found out that I am running on an old version of the circulation system, so getting that updated is first.  I have already contacted my building tech to help with this issue.
  3. Incorporate more technology into my lessons.  Congratulations to me!  I finally have a Smart Board!  Now I just have to figure out how to use it and implement it with my lessons.  I have already created one for my Shelf Elf lesson plan.
  4. Continue writing grants for technology.  Last year I worked closely with a parent (our now president of the parent association) and we received $1,000 for new iPads.  We were able to purchase 3 with these funds.  We now have 5 iPads available for use.  I will make sure to incorporate these into the lessons, as well.
I think this will be a good start to my goals for this school year.  If I achieve these goals, then I can work on more goals for next year.  I will keep you posted on how I am doing this year.

Can it really be true?  It is already July 8th?  We have been out of school for a little over a month and I feel like I still have so much to accomplish!  Here is an update on what I have been working on this summer.

Young Hoosier Book Award

Each year, our state holds the YHBA contest for grades K-8.  Since I am at a school for grades K-5, I will be implementing with those grades.  I think that I will work with grades 1-5, since I do not think most of our Kindergarteners are ready for reading on their own.  Students must read or listen to 12 of the primary picture book nominees or 5 of the intermediate book nominees.  Since our school uses Accelerated Reader, I will have the students take a quiz over the books they read.  They must score a 70% or higher, in order to pass the quiz.  I am very excited to implement this program in our school, for the first time.  I will need to order more books for the media center, but I think the students will enjoy the program.  At the end of the year, the students get to vote on which book they want to win the YHBA.  The winner is announced in May.  Here are the current nominees.

Picture Book Nominees

All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel by Dan Yaccarino
Argus by Michelle Knudsen
Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet
Blackout by John Rocco
Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj
E-mergency! by Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields-Meyer
Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O’Connell George
Firehouse Light by Janet Nolan
Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator by Mo Willems
The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Me--Jane by Patrick McDonnell
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama
Perfect Square by Michael Hall
Pig Kahuna by Jennifer Sattler
Rosa’s Bus by Jo S. Kittinger
Same, Same but Different by Jenny Kostecki-Shaw
Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman
Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester Laminack
Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw

Intermediate Nominees

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy
America Under Attack: September 11, 2001: the Day the Towers Fell by Don Brown
Balarama: A Royal Elephant by Betsy and Ted Lewin
The Case of the Diamond Dog Collar by Martha Freeman
Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World by Allan Drummond
Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer
Good Curses Evil by Stephanie Sanders
Heart of a Samurai: Based on the True Story of Nakahama Manjiro by Margi Preus
Hound Dog True by Linda Urban
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha, Lai
Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto by Susan Goldman Rubin
Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age by Cheryl Bardoe
Mockingbird : Mok’ing-burd by Kathryn Erskine
Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts about Peace by Anna Grossnickle Hines
Pie by Sarah Weeks
Sidekicks by Dan Santat
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Star in the Forest by Laura Resau
The Shadows by Jacqueline West
The Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the True Story of an American Feud by Suzanne Jurmain

One of the other great things about this program, is that every year they post resources on the website, that correlate to the books.  Click here to access these resources.

I am going to incorporate some of these books into my plans for the year, so I will be working on resources for my TPT store.  Stay tuned for more!
Spring Book Fair

The spring book fair was a HUGE success!!

We needed money for books, prizes, and library supplies, so I knew that we needed to sell as much as possible.  I was not overly impressed with the theme, but I decided to "run" with it.

At each book fair I like to have different contests for students to win prizes, a.k.a. books, from the book fair.  I used to let the students choose what they wanted from the book fair, but they always went straight to "the stuff".  So, in the fall, I decided to change that.  The whole point of the book fair is to get books into student hands, so that is what I did.  I would choose clearance books and ring them up and use Scholastic Dollars.  This became more cost effective and helped achieve my goal of getting books to students.

One of the contests I held was "dress like a scientist day".  I was worried about the response to this contest, but the students really stepped up and made it a great experience.  

Another event I held was Hat Day!  Each year, for United Way, our school has a hat day.  So I thought, why not have one to raise money for the book fair.  The students had to pay $1 to wear their hat and all of the proceeds were used to purchase books for students that could not afford to buy anything from the book fair.  I had the teachers send me a list of 5 students, in the class, that are in need.  Hat day raised over $140 and I was able to give a book to each student that had a their name submitted by their teacher.

Lastly, we held GRAND Day!  We had over 300 GRANDs in attendance!  They were allowed to visit the classroom, where the teachers had a special activity or something special made for the GRANDs.  They were then allowed to attend the Book Fair and have refreshments (cookies and punch).  Marsh Supermarket was very generous and donated 1,000 cookies!  Here is a photo with a special guest!

The beginning of the school year can be very hectic.  This school year has been just that.


We can back in the middle of August and greeted our returning and new students.  I worked on the media center (library, whatever you want to call it) and prepared for the school year.


I began seeing classes and I was thrilled to see how well all of the classes behaved.  I started using some new incentives this year, because a group from last year was not well behaved.  For the K-2 students I began using The Golden Shelf Elf Award.  This has been one of the best years I have ever had!  Each class wants to win The Golden Shelf Award!  What is this exactly?  There is a book, "The Shelf Elf", by Jackie Mims Hopkins, that I purchased over the summer.

It is a story about an elf (Skoob) that goes to live in the library and helps take care of all of the books and shelves.  Skoob wants to have the best library so he can win The Golden Shelf Elf Award, from the Grand Dewey Daddy shelf elf.  The book discusses proper book care and library procedures.  So I read some information from Upstart, the company that published the book and they had resources available on how to use the book in the library.  I informed my students that, over the summer, we had a library shelf elf come to live in the library.  His name is Rustig, he is from Holland, and his name means "quiet" in English.  He is here to help take care of the library shelves and to make sure that all classes behave and follow the library rules.  I used one of the ideas listed and created an incentive program for the students to earn The Golden Shelf Elf Award for their classroom.  Each class has a marble jar and receives marbles for good behavior, returning library books in good condition, perfect shelves, sitting quietly, etc.  At the end of each month, whichever class has the most marbles in their jar, gets to display the award for one month.  The excitement from the students AND teachers was unreal and they are fighting hard to win the award.  It is very prestigious!

Making the Golden Shelf Elf Award:

I went to several home improvement stores and I found some lawn gnomes.  I chose one from Menards and purchased it and some gold spray paint.  I sprayed a few coats on the gnome so it is completely gold.  (I had a lot of students ask if it was real gold!)  I brought him to the library and displayed him for the first month, until he was given to the first winning class.  Click on the link to see the list of rules that they have to follow.  Here is the Golden Shelf Elf Award:

Book Fair

I was not happy with the way that our book fair ended, in the fall.  We had very low sales and did not raise much money for the media center.  Hopefully, the spring will be a success!


These months were hectic with lots of great lessons!  Grades K-2 completed author studies and grade 3-5 completed a lot of library lessons.

That is all for now, but check back soon, because I hope to keep more up-to-date and create resources to share!

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