Sunday, September 18, 2016


Look at that shelf.

Such disarray.  That's kind of how I felt around mid-August.  Pulled in too many directions.  On overload.  In need of a bookend to hold me up and set me straight.  (or, in need of more time in my day)  One week, I tried staying no later than 4 PM, and leaving undone what I couldn't accomplish, but that was stressful, too!

I currently spend around 30 minutes everyday, either during classes, during planning, or after, afternoon car duty, to keep all of the books shelved.  I'm doing a better job of preventing the shelves from looking like the one pictured above.  (We've had 3 different moms come a collective six times to volunteer to help with shelving. Yay for Mrs. Stratton, who has come back multiple times!)  I implemented a new change this year, to allow 4th and 5th graders to re-shelve their own fiction or everybody/picture books.  That has helped!

I also started a 5th grade program called "Castle Apprentice" (since our library is painted to look like a castle) in which three to four 5th graders come during the morning to help younger students with check out, to sharpen pencils, and to turn on all 32 computers in the computer lab.  Fifth grade teachers were wonderful to support this and allow students to come help between 7:10 - 7:50 a.m. Students have been a TREMENDOUS help to me, since I'm also trying to co-run the morning news during that time with our school's ITS, Angela Wilson.  That's one of our peak circulation times, so having reliable, extra help has been wonderful!

This year I set up a "New Books" area for our (JLG) Junior Library Guild books that arrive monthly.   I already called our book representative, because I don't know that we can continue to fund that option, though I have loved that new books come in every month instead of only from our twice-a-year book orders.  It's hard to wait until mid-November to see how much money is raised through the Scholastic Book Fair.  Our current Follett book wish list is hovering just above $3,000 - SO many good titles that teachers, students, and I want for our library!  Here's hoping the book fair goes well...

 This easy "Author Spotlight" is definitely a lesson I need to work in again this school year.  I just need to find time to start it sooner.  It might become part of a choice board...time will tell.

I publicized all of our awesome summer readers again this year! Kids loved seeing their names up on the board!
First through fourth graders got to fold an origami bookmark, as an introduction to our new Makerspace, and as part of a review for how to care for our library books.

Kindergarteners learned about book care by working on creating their own book jackets, similar to the one in The Jacket by Kirsten Hall.  I also started a book bin that I keep under our ActivPanel, and I rotate out different titles.  Kindergarten students who don't want to do the activity, or who finish early, can simply go to the bin to get a book to read.  We've worked on how picture books have a picture on every page, so even if they can't yet read, they can read the story by looking at and thinking about the pictures.

I've started using the career lessons that I made this summer to sell on My Dear Watson.  Second grade did some writing about their favorite "Health Science" career,
Students looked back through the PowerPoint to find how to spell different careers.
 and they categorized "Arts, AV/Technology, and Communications" careers into categories of their own choosing.

Fourth graders have been crafting something "useful" or "beautiful" for an activity for the "Manufacturing" career cluster.  They each had access to the same amount and types of materials, and they worked in small groups to plan and create their idea.  We utilized materials from our Makerspace.  The kids took to it so easily, and really seemed to love it!  The very best ones from each class are on display.  

Third graders have been working on one of 4 choices as an extension activity in the "Hospitality & Tourism" career cluster.  Students could choose one of the following:
  • Plan and design a roller coaster model
  • Plan and design a museum exhibit
  • Plan and advertise a party event
  • Plan and advertise a travel destination

Most of them have been building a roller coaster or a museum exhibit.  One teacher's kid even brought his mom into the library to see his project - that's how excited he was about his Makerspace project!

And, just this last week in celebration of The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, kindergarten through fourth grade experienced the Quiver app to "make their mark", be brave, dream big, embrace creativity, and have fun!  (Unfortunately, as part of my six period, fixed rotations, I see 5th graders significantly less times than K-4th, so we have to focus all of our time on the Georgia Career Portfolio.  Hopefully this year, with our writing coach's help, 5th graders may be able to finish their projects earlier and utilize the Makerspace or something fun before the school year's end!)

It's been a whirlwind.  But, if I stay focused on successes and the growth of 'trying something new', even if my lesson looks like a bedraggled shelf of books, I always end up with a smile.  


  1. You are amazing!! Our school is lucky to have you! Pam Muñoz Ryan is one of my favorite authors; I loved seeing her name spotlighted!!

    1. Awww! Thanks! I work with an amazing staff! That poster was from your class last year - Trisha and Landon!