Tuesday, November 8, 2016


We enjoyed a rather summery October this year with highs in the mid-80s.  Whew!  Hot! However, I went ahead and pulled all the fall books and eventually sipped on a pumpkin spiced latte.  :)

Our "Fall" display of books, made its way into the window, since we'd been running out of space on top of our book shelves.  I had to turn down 5th grade for displaying their Civil War projects, because PTA's Reflections (student art) were already going to be using the space.

I made some new shelf labels to replace old ones and to help students locate books on their own.  These also assist me when I shelve books during my classes.  After 3 years, I've almost memorized where everything is located, but these visual clues are quite helpful.

(On my "to-do" list are visual clues for the "E" and Non-fiction sections.)

I did do a fiction lesson with first grade on different series found within the "E" for everybody section on the first grade readability level.  Some were to focus on series that students didn't naturally gravitate toward, or weren't aware existed.

These yellow "1st grade" labels were on the shelves, temporarily. 

It was also good to review how to choose a "just right" book, as I've noticed that students aren't attempting to read the first page before deciding if a book is one they could read independently.  Lots of judging a book by its cover and size instead of content or first page appeal.

Kindergarten lessons had been focused on story elements.  We first did a lesson on characters, defining them as "who or what the story is about".  We then did a lesson on settings, defining them as "where and when the story takes place". 

Students got to practice applying these concepts by using PicCollage on iPad.  They did a wonderful job learning to use this app.  

In the picture to the right, students photographed and identified a pond, "gras" (grass), an "oshen" (ocean), and a "frist" (forest) as different settings in a book, since settings can change in a story.  Their reward for taking a picture walk through the entire story was to add a background and digital stickers.  

Kindergarten students just recently started working on plot, defining it as "all the events, or things, that happen in the story".  This, of course, is a newer/more challenging concept, but exposure to the correct terminology is vital in growing as a reader. We worked on a story map together as we listened for the main characters in the introduction, what they wanted, the conflict or problem that they had, how they tried to and eventually solved their problem.  We will continue to work on these story elements as we delve into the Georgia Picture Book Award Nominees for 2016-2017.  

At home, I worked furiously on creating different centers for each of the Georgia Picture Book Award nominees, not only so that I could use them with students, but also so that I could post them to My Dear Watson.

My favorite creation was this lap book (pictured left) for 28 Days:  Moments in Black History that Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr.  My husband, Michael, was happy to draw and create the shuttle foldable.  I love it when he makes items for our TpT store!

Second grade started learning about the different topics in each of the Dewey Decimal periods.  Then we started rotating through 10 Dewey centers.  Each center had two different activities, so students could choose what they wanted to do.  Many gravitated toward the 100s where they read a book about thankfulness and created a thank you card for either an adult at school or an adult at home.  (I tried to tie in "Attitude of Gratitude" since our school just started 7 Mindsets Academy.)  They also loved the 300s, where they read books about holidays, preferably one they don't currently celebrate, in an effort to learn more about another culture.  Then they used items in the Makerspace to create a decoration for that holiday.  (The other option at that center was to record facts about a holiday, but no one yet has opted for that!)

Above left, students created flags for Memorial Day, and above right, a student created a candle for Diwali.  LOVE their ingenuity!

In a fourth grade lesson I taught, students learned about the "Architecture & Construction Career Cluster", and had started drafting and planning a building/structure of their own.  I created a worksheet where groups of 6 students were each assigned a job.  I provided structural requirements and items in the Makerspace, and they planned accordingly. After I approved their plans, they began working, each contributing his/her own part to the project.  As supplies dwindled, or plans went awry, students had to re-think, persist, and create different solutions.  They loved this activity and have asked that they have more time!  It makes this librarian's heart happy to see them critical think and use the library for more than a place to get books.

Third graders had started a project with a partner or small group to choose a country and formulate some guiding research questions.  Loved seeing them explore places all over the world through CultureGrams!  I even tweeted about the group (pictured right), as I overheard them saying, "Dude! Did you know there was a country named Hungary?!?"  CultureGrams replied and retweeted!  #socool

Lastly, I wanted to share this quote from my teacher calendar.  It's a good one!  It comes at a perfect time, as book fair started this week.  I'm so fortunate that even though I'm teaching all day, the parents at our school support the library by running the book fair.  We wouldn't have books without them!

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