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Library Stew

Updated: 2017-11-09T16:01:12.440-05:00


Breakout EDU Library Orientation


After hearing about Breakout Edu at ISTE this summer I knew I had found my library orientation. I am opening a new STEAM middle school in my district this year and the library is set up by genre, which is very different than the libraries at the school my students would be coming from. My goals for the orientation breakout edu were:1.      I wanted the students to explore the catalog (Destiny) 2.      I wanted the students to explore the genre fiction section and the non-fiction section3.      It had to take under 20 minutes to crack the locksI had not ordered a Breakout Edu kit from the website so I had to gather the materials myself. I found luck at Home Depot for most of the locks, the Dollar Tree store for the box and puzzle and Amazon for the rest.I started by searching the breakouts on the BreakoutEDU website and I found one called Locked In The Library by Melanie Thompson (@22MThompson). She had some great clues for books, but I needed my breakout to be more specific to my library.   I took a few of her clues (she has a gift for rhyming!) and I then created my own path to the clues. had 4 teams (to open 4 locks) and I gave each team an envelope with the first clue in it. I set the game up by reading a letter left to me by the Ghosts of Duluth Schools past.  At the opening of our school, the namesake of our school made a big deal about how our school sits on a site where there has been a school since the early 1900’s so I took this idea and ran with it.See the Letter here.  I then told the students that had 20 minutes to figure out the clues – and that the first clue would be found by going on the Destiny catalog.Here is the link to my set up page– how I set up each clue. Many of the book clues came from Melanie Thompson’s breakout so use the link above to get to those.What I learnedI wish I had done five locks instead of four, it would have made my groups much smaller since I have some large classes in some grades.Most of the groups finished in 15 minutes but there were a few groups that I had to give hints to in order for them to finish.I had to put a DO NOT CHECK OUT sign onto the books that I  was using as clues – we lost one book when someone checked it out (I hunted it down quickly) I originally thought about checking the books out to myself but then in the catalog it shows the book as OUT and the students would not think to look for a book that was checked out.A cheap puzzle from the dollar store does not last having 9 different classes come through to put it together and take it apart (but 24 pieces was the PERFECT size!)Students celebrating when they opened a lock!Students excited that they solved the clues!All in all my goals of having the students use the catalog and explore their new media center was a success. The students loved this new way to orient them to the library and I have already had some teachers ask me how they can set up something like this for their class for other learning targets. Can’t wait to do this again![...]

4th Grade Readers Theater


This is the fourth year that a gifted 4th grade language arts teacher and I have collaborated on a readers theater class for the year. We meet once a week for an hour. We have changed it up throughout the years, but the main focus has stayed the same, use readers theater as a way for students to enhance not only their reading skills, but also their confidence in reading aloud, their "stage" presence when they present their readers theater and their writing skills by writing blog posts and other reflections pieces.

 Check out their most recent blog posts on their class blog.

 We Skyped a few weeks ago with author Melissa Stewart and Melissa found our kids blog posts about her visit quite comical and she blogged about it here.

The students are in the middle of writing their own readers theater scripts using Patricia Polacco books, I can't wait to see how these turn out!

World Read Aloud Day 2013



My students and I had SO much fun connecting with other schools last week for World Read Aloud Day.  We had classes performing Readers Theater (4th grade), we had teachers read to us a Georgia picture book nominee (Same Same but Different) and we read/ sang Pete the Cat, Elephant and Piggie and Punk Farm. We connected with schools in Athens, GA, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut (my kids were so jealous of all the snow most of our Skyping friends had or were getting). And even though my district does not allow us to use Skype, we were able to connect using a cloud program called BlueJeans (where we use a program called Polycom to connect and the person on the other end uses Skype or another video conferencing program).

I can't wait to connect with some of these same schools (and others) for Poem in Your Pocket Day in April!

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Georgia Children's Lit Conference Presentation


Welcome to new followers if you are getting here because you attended my presentation on Kindles, Nooks and eBooks at the Georgia Children's Literature conference on March 8 at UGA.

Winter Time in the South


Here outside of Atlanta snow is an abstract thing most years (watch, I bet I just jinxed us) and while most of our kids have seen snow before, it is not a thing we live with on a regular basis. So each January I try and introduce some snow to my lessons.

For story time this week (Grades K-2) and next we will be reading one of my favorite picture book biographies, Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  This book  is also on Scholastic BookFlix if you happen to have a subscription to this (we do!).

After the story, we are making coffee filter snowflakes (a find on Pintrest and it just so happened I cleaned out my pantry and found 300 coffee filters I no longer need - gotta love the Keurig!!)

For my older grades we are making snowflakes online. I love this online snowflake maker, and it even gives you the option to print the snowflakes. I talk with the kids about the science of snow and snowflakes (I am showing them the BookFlix Snowflake Bentley book mentioned above) and also about symmetry as they make their snowflakes. BrainPop has a great winter and snow spotlight page that I am using with the students too. BrainPop is a subscription site, but has a free movie everyday, watch their twitter account (@brainpop) to see what the free movie of the day is if you do not subscribe (but I highly suggest looking into subscribing, my teachers love this site!)

Next story time I do will be a favorite here, we make Steve Spangler Science's Insta Snow!!  Hopefully that will be the closet my students come to actual snow fall this year - as a southern transplant, I have grown to love non snowy winters!

Happy winter everyone, hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are!

Holiday FUN


It always seems like a race from Thanksgiving break (which for us is a whole week) and Christmas Break (which starts December 20th for us this year).  BUT this year since Thanksgiving was so early, it seems like I was given a few extra days to celebrate in the media center.  I am lucky to work in a district that allows holiday celebrations and decorations.

My "Grinch" book character tree

My story time this season is The Mitten and The Hat by Jan Brett.  Even though our Library looks very Christmas festive, I like to use non-specific holiday books for my story time.  The students are decorating white mittens (like the ones in the Mitten) and I am using them to decorate the library!

The Mitten bulletin board

I am also (as Mr. Schu says) "paying it forward" and having a book give away.  I am calling it The Twelve Days of Books and I am giving 4 books away everyday.  To enter, the students must leave me an entry form in the boxes I have in the media center - and they must include the name of a book they recently read and a short review of it.  I am planning on reading many of these reviews on our morning announcement show.

And finally, this year I attempted to do something I saw last year on Twitter and Pintrest - a book tree.  I am pretty proud of how ours turned out - now I am hoping that it STAYS this way until Winter Break!  I think my next task is a book menorah for the library!

Happy Holidays!!

Dot Day 2012


I look at this blog and the fact that I have not posted ANYTHING since January and it makes me sad, but also makes me realize how crazy my life has been. I would promise to update more, but as they say, life gets in the way!

BUT, I wanted to share the video from our two weeks of Dot Day celebrations in the Rock Springs Media Center.  My kindergarten, first and second grade students had a great time watching the book The Dot on our BookFlix subscription, then I read to them Peter Reynolds companion book Ish.  The students then created their own Dots using paint, markers or crayons.  We put the dots up all over the media center - it is a palace of DOTS  in here right now- and it looks FABULOUS!

Check out the Animoto video of our Dots.

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allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />We have been blessed this year with a VERY mild winter, even for Georgia (knock on wood) so this year my unit on SNOW is even more exciting since I don't think we will see much of the real stuff this year.My books this year are  Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart - these books go GREAT together and I love when I can read some great picture book non-ficiton to the students.For our story time activity we make SNOW.  I purchased Insta snow from Steve Spangler Science (I love this guy!) and this is where the fun begins.  I talk to the kids about what real snow is made of and then I tell them that since we can't make real snow in the library that we are going to use insta snow. I talk to them about how insta snow is a chemical (sodium polyacrylate) and that it is called a polymer. We talk about how when I add liquid to this it will have a chemical reaction and change into snow (I get more in depth the older the class is). Then we experiment - I add insta snow to two clear cups - I add milk to one - which results in what I like to call Massachusetts snow - it is sticky (it is stuck in the cup) and yellow. I then add water to the other and you can see it instantly puff up into white fluffy snow (Colorado snow). The reaction of the kids is awesome!  Then I tell the kids they are going to experience a chemical reaction in their hands - each student comes up to my "lab" table and I make snow in their hand (see the video above).  This is by FAR my most popular story time - I have done it with my usual story time classes (grades K-2) but also with all of 5th grade (they are studying chemical and physical changes), all of our special ed self contained classes (they love it for sensory lesson) and some 3rd and 4th grade classes.  I'm exhausted, but it is such fun seeing the reaction of the students - when you can get 5th graders excited about ANYTHING, I call that a good day!bucket of snow I'm still crossing my fingers that this is the most "snow" I see all winter!![...]

Marty McGuire - a 2nd grade unit


Earlier this year two second grade teachers asked me if I would be willing to take their higher level kids and do something with them, they wanted me to do something with reading and they were looking at my readers theater unit that I do with some gifted fourth graders and they wanted me to do something like that.  I decided that since these groups were small I could do a book group and add extras into it.  I meet with each group once a week for about 45 minutes.  The first book I decided to do was Marty McGuire by Kate Messner. it was the PERFECT choice on so many levels and both the boys and the girls in the group LOVED the book - they have not stopped asking me WHEN the new books is coming out - I have a feeling I will have to have the new book - Marty McGuire Digs Worms on preorder for these guys!Here is an outline of what I did each week with the students.  I used the AWESOME discussion guide from Kate and Scholastic to guide my planning of this unit.  Where it says "discussion questions" below, I used the questions from this guide. The other great thing about Scholastic is, they released this book as both a paperback and hardcover at the same time - there is no way I could have purchased 17 copies of the book in hardcover, but could do it in paperback! I assigned chapters for them to read every week, but they could always read as much as they wanted to, I had some kids finished with the book by the second week!Marty McGuire Book Study UnitWeek one: Introduce the book and the author, look at Kate Messner’s website. Give the kids bookmarks I created.Week two: Use discussion questions for chapter 1-3 and also read a picture book version of Princess and the Frog.Week three: Use discussion questions for chapters 4-6, use the databases (our school subscription to World Book Kids and PebbleGo) and National Geographic site to gather information on frogs. This is where I was hoping to bring in a live frog, but catching a bull frog seemed much easier for Marty then it was for me!Week four: Use discussion questions for chapter 7-9 and talk about improve and do an improve exercise (this website has some good improv exercises for kids). Introduce what reader’s theater is and give them their parts for the readers theater. We used a reader’s theater from the book: Fairy Tales Reader’s Theater by Margaret Allen from Creative Teaching Press we used the reader’s theater To Kiss a Frog Week Five: Use discussion questions for chapters 10-12 and practice readers theaterWeek six: Use discussion questions for chapters 13 & 14 and practice readers theater (we were hoping to do a Skype visit with author Kate Messner but we had a compatibility issue, she was so willing to connect with my students, but I couldn’t figure it out this time, going to try harder next time to come up with an activity that we can connect with Kate!Week seven: Perform the reader’s theater to classmates and start writing, as a group, a book trailer for Marty McGuire (show examples of book trailers to them before we started).Week eight: Create the book trailer – the students drew pictures illustrating the book and we used those illustrations plus some video and audio recording I took to create the book trailer. I created the final product this time, but might have the students try their hand at it next time.Here are the finished book trailers: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="420"> allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="420">Next up we will be doing a unit using Mr. Poppers Penguins starting in January.[...]

Letterboxing - Library style


A few weeks ago I attended a presentation at COMO by two of my colleagues, Suzanne Skeen and Sharon Amolo about using GPS technology to create geocache's outside the school. I loved the idea, BUT I don't have any GPS units and I really don't have a space outside that I could use for this.  I have also read a few blog posts about a librarians (Shannon Miller ) this year using QR codes to create scavenger hunts throughout the library and the school, but I don't have any devices that my kids could use to read the QR codes.  SO I got to thinking....  While I love technology and try to use it as much as possible, I realized recently that even low tech things can be just as engaging and create authentic learning experiences.I thought back to this summer when we visited author Matt Tavares and his family and we went on a letterbox hunt for some letterboxes that his family had created and hidden on Marginal Way in Ogunquit.  Letterboxing is a lot like GeoCaching but without having to use a GPS system - the low tech version.  Someone hides a box somewhere, in the box is usually a stamp and an ink pad, a notebook and sometimes a little trinket.  You can get the directions to different letterboxes at sites like this one or you can just send out the directions to friends and family who might want to go on a treasure hunt.My second graders were still having trouble understanding how to find books in our catalog (Destiny Quest) and then writing the call number down and finding the book in the library, I thought this might be a great way to create a "scavenger hunt" to show them in a fun way how to do this. I had some old plastic video boxes that I should have thrown out awhile ago, but just KNEW I would find something to do with them - these became my letterboxes.I filled them with a stamp, a stamp pad and a question. I added a spine label to the spine of the boxes and a sticker asking not to remove the boxes (so far only one student has removed one and asked what it was!)When the students find the boxes from the clues I give them they get to stamp the stamp on their paper and in the box there is a question they have to answer (they write the answer on the same paper that they put their stamp on). SInce I have fairly large classes this year I had the class break up into groups of three or four to do this activity.I created 8 letterboxes and "hid" them in the library. I put the clues on index cards and each group got a clue, when they found the letterbox and answered the question they came back to me for another clue, this way I did not have more than one group looking for the same clue at the same time.  Here is an example of one of the clues that the students needed to use to find the letterbox - CLUE:1. Go to Destiny on the computer2. Search for a book on Hank Aaron3. Write down on scratch paper the call number of the book4. Find the book in the library using the call number to guide your way.  You should find a letterbox near the book. Follow the instruction on your letterbox sheet once you have found the letterbox.I hid letterboxes in all the key areas of the library (non-fiction, biographies, fiction, everybody, magazines and reference sections.) This lesson followed my lesson on how to use Destiny and a review of call numbers and areas of the library.I am planning on doing this a few times this year to reienforce the skill so hopefully by the time they leave second grade they will be EXPERTS at finding materials in our library.Someday when we have devices that can read QR codes, I can see using this same lesson but adding in QR codes in the leterboxes![...]

Virtual Storytime with Jarrett Krosoczka


On Tuesday some of my students were treated to a "wicked awesome" virtual story time with author Jarrett Krosoczka as he introduced his new picture book Ollie The Purple Elephant.

For most of my kindergarten students this was not only the first time they had seen a virtual visit (Jarrett did the visits every hour on the hour via his UStream channel from 9am-5pm) but also the first time they had ever seen a REAL author.  We were able to interact with Jarrett by posting questions using the chat function on UStream. My kids were SOOO excited when Jarrett answered our questions "ON TV" (as one of my kids told me later).

I am sure that Jarrett was tired by the end of the day, but I can guarantee you that I will be ordering MANY copies of this book, my students were already asking to check out a copy of Ollie right after the story time.

Of course technology always doesn't work, I had a group of 2nd graders in at the noon story time and we could never connect to watch, not sure if it was on my end or the fact that there seemed to be over 100 people viewing the UStream channel at that moment, but we didn't have any problems any other time (we tuned in two other times on Tuesday).

Thanks to authors like Jarrett for taking time out of your schedules to make time for our kids and give them opportunities like this to interact with authors!

Georgia COMO 2011 Presentation


Welcome new visitors to my blog from GA COMO 2011. Below is the presentation I gave at GA COMO 2011 today titled: Inviting the World into Your School Library Using Web 2.0 tools.

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Happy Birthday!


Two of my favorite people have new books coming out TODAY!

Matt Tavares' new book, Over The River And Through The Wood is a beautiful picture book of the song we all know, Matt also included some background information on the song that I didn't know about! I just love the book trailer!

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Laurel Snyder's new book, Bigger Than a Bread Box is about divorce, Bruce Springsteen songs, Baltimore, Atlanta and a magic bread box.  It is SUCH a great book, and I am not just saying that because she is a friend and because at her book party on Friday night at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur she is serving TastyCakes (butterscotch krimpets - YUM!) I gave the book to a 5th grader on Friday, she read the book this weekend and had the BIGGEST smile on her face Monday morning when she came in to tell me she loved it - she keep stopping me in the halls telling me more about what she liked about it!

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There is also a slew of other great books out today - check out a list and book trailers at Kid Lit Frenzy.

Who says kids books are dead???

International Dot Day at Rock Springs


International Dot Day at Rock Springs

Check out the animoto video of all the FUN we had in the Media Center last week celebrating DOT DAY!

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Time flies when your having fun...


I can't believe we are starting week six of the school year - it seems like it should only be week two or three!I have been busy in the media center and here are a few things we've been working on:I've been working with all five 5th grade classes on a big civil war research/technology project - we are almost done with the research and are ready to get going on our multimedia projects and get our Wiki up and running. I am having my 2nd graders learn a little bit about the world of Roal Dahl and one of my 2nd grade classes decorated peaches to Follow that Peach - we have sent our decorated peaches to Van Meter, Iowa as part of a multi school project - the students are so excited to see where their peaches are going! Here is a blog that the schools participating will be posting to.Today we started celebrating Dot Day (which is actually on Thursday). I have loved the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds for years, so when I heard about Dot Day from my friends Shannon Miller and John Schu I knew I had to do something.  Today I showed my 3rd grade technology class the TumbleBook of The Dot then the kids made their own Dots using the program KidPix.  Tomorrow I am going to show my Kindergarten classes the TumbleBook and I am also going to read them the book New York's Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne. We are going to talk about heroes and how people leave their mark on the world.  Then the kids will create their own dot with paint and crayons and markers. And finally, today I had my first Club Click meeting. Shannon Miller and Diane Cordell started Club Click last year at Shannon's school Van Meter - well a bunch of us joined in on the fun this year and started clubs in our schools.  My club is an after school club for fourth and fifth graders.  We will learn about digital photography, share photographs with the other schools and learn how to use digital photography to tell a story. The kids were very excited today and they started taking photographs of our school to introduce our school to the other members of Club Click.I also had a few costumes already this year - the first one was for a little video I created for an in-service meeting of media specialist for our county - I am SUPER LIBRARIAN and my tag line for the video was 'Even Super Heroes Need Capes" this was in reference to the fact that we all need mentors and a PLN (personal learning network) to rely on as we try to be the best librarians/media specialists we can be!And my next costume was for a contest author Jarrett Krosozka (and fellow Worcester, MA native!) was holding for the book release of the latest Lunch Lady book - Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco.  Even if I didn't win, it was worth it to see my 13 yr old daughter absolutely MORTIFIED by me dressing up in the middle of downtown Atlanta (she was my photographer)!  I kept telling her it could have been worse and I could have worn the cape too!It's been a busy first six weeks and a great, if not hectic, start to our year![...]

Happy New School Year


School actually began a week ago here in my neck of the woods, and I have about five blog posts in my head, but haven't had a chance to actually sit long enough to write them out - my own three kids started school last week also and it has been a week filled with forms to fill out, checks to be written and the start of football, dance and baseball tryouts - whew - what a week!This year my media center schedule looks a lot different than in years past- I am teaching a fifth grade technology special (basically teachers planning period) everyday and teaching a third grade technology special two days a week. I scheduled all of kindergarten, first and second grade to come in once every other week for story time.  With the success of my readers theater collaboration with our fourth grade gifted teacher, I have had two second grade teachers ask if I can collaborate with them with their gifted students twice a week. I am still working with the fourth grade gifted teacher with a reader's theater unit, only this year instead of meeting with two small groups once a week I will be meeting with one very LARGE group once a week. After I put my schedule down on paper,  I realized I have very little flexible time to meet with classes for projects and special things. I am hoping that as the year goes on I will realize my schedule isn't as packed as it seems and I can fit in more special collaborations, but time will tell. Summer Reading Bulletin Board, filled with postcard book reviews sent in by students this summer I am excited to get a club click going in my school this year.  This will be an after school digital photography club that I will be collaborating with Shannon Miller at Van Meter School in Iowa, John Schumacher at Brook Forest Elementary in Illinois, Jen Malphy at Kickapoo School in Wisconsin and the FABULOUS Diane Cordell, a retired media specialist and amazing photographer in New York.  Shannon and Diane started the club last year and I am excited to see what this year will bring with all of us collaborating!  I am also excited to have a fifth grade lunch book club (using books for our counties Reader's Rally list) and a fourth grade Penny Dreadful lunch book club (with books that I acquired last year from a Donors Choose grant).I have also been looking at the possibility of acquiring some Nooks in our library.  I have been working with the Principal trying to figure out the logistics and the funding and am hoping ((fingers crossed)) that we can get these in here sometime this fall.I do admit, 5am comes AWFULLY early and I really am missing the somewhat lazy days of summer, but I think this is going to be a great year and I can't wait to see what exciting things happen here in the media center this year! My already out of control desk  [...]

Rock Springs Library Media Center: Have you visited the library this summer??


Rock Springs Library Media Center: Have you visited the library this summer??: "Can you believe that 3 weeks from today we will all be back at school?? I have had a great summer, but it did go by fast! If you are sending..."

Rock Springs Library Media Center: Summer Road Trip part 1


Rock Springs Library Media Center: Summer Road Trip part 1: "I am BACK! I was hoping to blog while I was on my road trip, but Internet connection issues made it hard for me to post. So here is my wra..."

Rock Springs Library Media Center: Road Trip!


I am *trying* to blog at least once a week on the blog I set up for my summer reading program at school - check out my latest blog post -

Rock Springs Library Media Center: Road Trip!: "As most of you know, I am from Massachusetts and my family still lives there, so every summer I pack up my kids and we take a LONG drive to..."

It has been a busy summer of teaching, dancing and car trouble - hard to believe only 6 1/2 weeks until I start work "officially" for the 2011-2012 school year!

Welcome GCPS Digital Conference Attendees


Below is the link to the Prezi presentation that I gave today at the GCPS Digital Conference.

21st Century Classroom Prezi

If you have any questions or comments about the presentation please feel free to comment here.

Thanks for stopping by!

GCPS Leadership Presentation


Welcome! If you have found my blog because you were involved in the GCPS Leadership conference, below is our presentation Reader's Theater With a Technology Twist.

This is just awesome!


If you have followed my blog at all you know I LOVE to dress up, to me it really is one of the best parts of being in elementary school! Here is a blog of a dad who took it a bit farther - he dressed up everyday (so far) this school year to wave at the high school bus (which his son is riding on) as it goes past his house. Read his blog here and then make sure you watch the interview a local tv station did about him below (thanks to Mr. Schu for pointing me to this blog)

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I am already thinking of what I can do with this - the high school bus doesn't go down my street (and I really think my oldest son would run away if I did this) but what could I do at school (it is my youngest son's last year at my schools, after all!) The wheels are turning - but that is a LOT of costumes... stay tuned!

The End


Well another school year, my 7th as a media specialist and my 4th at my current school, has come to an end. I always have mixed feeling with the end of the school year - happy that I have a break from the alarm clocking waking me up at 5am to sadness seeing students leave our school either on their way to middle school or leaving due to a move. I am also taking stock in what happened this school year and what I can do better next year - first up was cleaning my office - I really need to get more ORGANIZED next year! I will be working on a wrap up report next week to get a handle on what we DID do in the media center this year and it will help me as I plan for next year.

I also have been busy talking about summer reading to my students. I have started a blog for the students to follow this summer, my goal is to post at least twice a week... we'll see how that goes. My hope is that I have some students who do log on and take a look, I have spent the year introducing small pockets of students to things like blogs and podcasts and I am hoping to expand that next year... baby steps sometimes work best in a VERY large school setting, but sometimes I am just too impatient for these baby steps to happen - I want ALL my students blogging and podcasting and sharing, but like I said, baby steps....

Speaking of summer reading, check out my friends (and FABULOUS librarians) Shannon Miller and John Schu's summer reading project - it will KNOCK your socks off (and I am wondering if I can enter a picture in their contest, even though I am not one of my students??)

Next week we will have end of the school year meetings and I will be preparing my web 2.0 course that I am teaching to some media specialists and technology specialists from my county in early June. I will also be tap dancing - our recital is in TWO weeks - YIKES!

Happy summer to those of you who have ended school and happy last days to those of you who are still dealing with the CRAZINESS of the end of the year.

Spring has blown right by me


We have TWELVE days of school left - yep 12 - where did this year go?? And where has spring gone?? Things have been so busy here since spring break that many times I have said - Oh I need to blog about that and then 3, 4 days later I just gave up finding the time to blog about it, so here are some high lights of what we've been up to here in the media center.Poetry MonthI wrote about Poem in your pocket day, but we also had a great Poetry Cafe in the Media Center - due to state testing we had some scheduling glitches in getting a lot of classes to come in and share their poems, but the classes that did get in here had a great time sharing poems they wrote and some of their favorite poems by others - my favorite was the first grade class that shared the Kentucky fight song as their group poem (can you tell where their teacher went to school!).InventoryNot very exciting, but necessary. We were lucky that it did not take too long and in the end we were only missing about 6 items - not bad for a library with over 18,000 items!Author visitsFor Children's Book Week we celebrated by having two authors visit us.Monday we had my friend Laurel Snyder - she was GREAT - I wish more of my teachers could have listened to her, she had some great tips for my kids in their writing and was very inspiring - and FUNNY!! The best compliment to a program that you run is when you have a parent come up to you and say "Johnny came home and couldn't stop talking about the author visit"Tuesday we had Eric Litwin, author of Pete the Cat. He was SOO FUN! His program had guitars and harmonicas and storytelling and just a lot of FUN.Both is these authors have some AWESOME stuff coming up and if you are local, you MUST get them booked for your school for next year - I really think both of these people are going to be BIG (as in, I knew them when kind of big...)Summer ReadingI have started to talk to students about summer reading - I am doing a program that I have done for the past three years - basically I help the kids sign up for our local library's summer reading program and I also encourage them to participate in the Barnes & Noble program (and get a FREE BOOK) and in the Scholastic Summer Challenge website. I also ask them to send me a postcard to tell me what they are reading this summer. At the beginning of school in August I display the postcards on the bulletin board outside the media center. Last year I had a great response (even getting a postcard from Korea!) and hope that this years is even bigger.I am also starting another blog - I have tried this before and things get so busy in the summer at home that I forget to post to it (gee, same things happens here too) but I really want this to work, so I am going to try and blog about different books and tie the books to some things and places I am going this summer. I am going to try and come up with a schedule 0 like every Monday I blog about picture book, every Wednesday I blog about a chapter book (grade 3-5) and then maybe a picture on Friday - I'm still trying to figure it all out, but I better figure it out quick, I only have 12 days left!!Tomorrow is our 4th annual used book sale (here is a story from the first sale we held) - I am so excited, I have been sorting books all week and we have some great ones to sell - I am hoping we make about $500 to donate to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.And finally, the weekend is almost here and I get to see one of my FAVORITE p[...]

Poem in Your Pocket Day


Poem in Your Pocket day was last Thursday and I celebrated it with some pretty AWESOME folks from around the country via Skype! First up, one of my first grade classes Skyped with a kindergarten class at Van Meter school in Van Meter, IA where the FABULOUS Shannon Miller is the media specialist. My kids shared their poems and her kindergartners shared a poem all together that they had learned. Next up, one of my fifth grade classes Skyped with a group of students and teachers and even the Principal at Brook Forest school in Oakbrook, IL where Mr. Schu is the media specialist (and also the coordinator of this FABULOUS day). My students shared their poems and Mr. Schu had students and teachers share poems with us. Our favorite was when his principal shared a poem about picking your nose with us!! My fourth grade gifted students (who have Skyped with me before) got to share poems with 4th grade students at Kickapoo School in Kickapoo, WI. Mrs. Malphy, the media specialist, even shared a great poem about rocks making good pets! My last Skype of the day was with Mr. Gagnon's 4th graders in NH and one of my kindergarten classes. Of course I couldn't help but start off our Skype visit with a little Red Sox talk, but wouldn't you know it, one of his students, sitting front and center was a Yankee fan! The 4th graders shared their poetry with us and I had two of my kindergarten students share poems that they had written THEMSELVES. It was an awesome day and one totally worth all the hoops I have jumped through this year in order to be able to use this resource. In my county, Skype is not readily available to all teachers and I went through MANY hoops and begging and pleading to be able to use it. Hopefully projects like this will show the people in my county what a great resource Skype (and/or some kind of video conference software) can be. Check out my video with some pictures of the day and read about the celebration at Mr. Schu & Mrs. Miller's blog and at Mrs. Malphy's smilebox presentation.[...]