Thursday, October 31, 2013

3 for Thursday: Halloween Pumpkins

We had over 80 pumpkins "planted" in our literacy pumpkin patch this year. Even though it says "book character" on the flyer, we still got minions, mine-craft and Pokemon. I justify it by saying somewhere out there Chick-fil-a or Burger King has made a promotional book for the kids meals and so technically they are characters in a book, right. Here is our full pumpkin patch and then my 3 for Thursday.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Technology Tuesday: The Million Dollar Project

This is a project that my own 5th grader has to do and (un)lucky for him, he has a mom who likes to use him as a guinea pig.  For this project, he was given $1,000,000 and had to spend all of it.  They were supposed to find pictures with prices of things, tell why they wanted it and round the cost to the nearest $1,000 and show their subtraction work as they spent their money.  We will turn this in as a paper project, but I thought it would be fun to mess around with a few apps at home.  We started by creating a title page using the Story Me app.
With this app, you can turn pictures from your camera roll into comics with speech bubbles and a really cool cartoon feature.  Here is what we did. 
Then we used Skitch to add a title. 

Then we took screen shots of the actual word documents that he was going to turn in that had the item's picture, price, his reason for purchase and his rounding and put them all together with his subtraction work in Educreations. 

Here is the final product in Educreations.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I found this Hallo-wiener idea on The Teacher Geek and adapted it for my first graders who were studying character feelings.  We first read the book The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey
 and I told the kids to watch and listen for how Oscar feels during the story.  After we read, we made a list of the feelings Oscar had and when he felt that way in the story.  Then I sent them to work.  
They each got a piece of manila paper for a bun, brown paper for Oscar and a few tracing dogs for the table (I do round the corners of the bun and cut the brown paper ahead of time).

They trace the dog, cut him out and glue him to the inside of the bun.  I love how some decided to put on ketchup and mustard and give Oscar a face and ears  J  Then they choose one of the feeling words to write on Oscar’s belly and write the text evidence on the inside of the bun.  They turned out really cute.

Some of Mrs. Brown’s first graders showing off their Wiener Dogs.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dream Job

This week was Red Ribbon Week at our school and yesterday was “Dress up as Your Dream Career” Day.  I came to school dressed with a reading t-shirt and black pants (forgot to take picture).  When the kids asked me what my dream job was I replied, “A Librarian!”  They would say, “But you already are a librarian” and I would say back, “I know!  Isn’t it great that I am already doing my dream job?!”

And that is the truth.  I LOVE being a librarian and I can’t imagine doing anything else.  I was a classroom teacher for 10 years and while I liked doing that, nothing is better than this.  I love that I get to work with all the kids in my K-5 school.  I love that I get to try to work with all the teachers.  I love that I can get kids excited about reading or introduce them to a new series that they then devour.  I love that I get to be a creative and step outside the confines of our district’s scope and sequence and while I always focus on our state standard when I am supporting or enriching the classroom curriculum, I can take risks with technology and projects that the classroom teachers don’t have time to.  I love that I can make the teachers’ jobs a little easier by finding them resources or fixing a simple technology issue.  I love that I get to brainstorm and work with the other great librarians in my district.  I love that I get to read all the new books before the students (or at least try to) and then can honestly say “yes” when they ask me if I've read that book.  I love that the students think it is fun to come to the library.  I just love being a librarian!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

3 for Thursday

I bought 3 new apps this week for the iPads in my library.  I am lucky enough to have 20 iPads housed in the library that the teachers can check out, but I get to use them when they don't.  Our PTA gave us some money to use for apps, so of course I started spending right away.
Strip Designer was the first one I bought.  I have seen so many greatl ideas for this app on Pinterest, I just had to have it.  I can't wait to get classes in for inferencing, categorizing, labeling...There are so many cool things.  I think the kids will love the speech bubbles and cool text effects of this app (they might even forget they are learning).

                                Puppet Pals HD      Puppet Pals 2
I couldn't decide between the two, so I got both Puppet Pals.  I love the sets of Puppet Pals HD, but in Puppet Pals 2, the characters mouths move and you can move the arms and legs.  The sets are more like real scenes instead of play stages and the characters can move through the scene as it is moving. You've already seen how we used Puppet Pals 2 for Digital Citizenship.

This one I am least familiar with but I wanted a book maker and I was debating between two.  This one looked like it has some great features and they are working on a web version that will work with the app version.  

How have you used these apps?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Technology Tuesday: Puppet Pals Videos

Digital Citizenship is a huge push in our district these days.  So much so that the technology department created 4 modules for elementary teachers to go over with their classes during the 1st nine weeks.  The 4th lesson is about copyright and plagiarism.  Last year, the teachers were responsible for teaching all 4 parts and when it came time for researching in the library, it seemed the students did not make the connection about citing sources that they learned in the Digital Citizenship lesson at the beginning of the year and research information.  So this year, the librarians presented that module to the classes. (Yes, ALL of them). In the 4th grade module, there are a couple of scenarios that they kids are supposed to discuss as a table and then share out if what the person did was OK or not.  Rather than discuss and share, we did Puppet Pal 2 skits to share.  This was my first time to use the paid Puppet Pals 2 and I must say, it was really cool and the kids LOVED it.  Below is an example of a kid created skit.  The scenario was that Samantha found a report on the Internet and she was going to use that but change the first sentence. Was that OK or No Way?
For the first time being exposed to the app, I thought they did pretty good.  They loved that they could move the characters arms and legs.  Have you used Puppet Pals or Puppet Pals 2 for some cool videos?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Flipping in the Library

There’s a lot of talk in education circles about “Flipping the Classroom”.   I have been intrigued by this idea but didn't fully understand it until I read this book 
by Jonathan Bergmann

It makes a lot of sense.  The students watch some kind of presentation at home and then do the practice, what would have been the homework, in class where the teacher can actually help them.  Being that librarians are supposed to be technology leaders on our campuses, another librarian and I got together to talk about the logistics of “Flipping the Library”.  We had a lot of questions that we had to hash out answers to together.  Who would we do this with?  What if they don’t have access to a computer or Internet at home?  What kind of lessons would we flip?  How would we actually get the information to the students?  We both like to do research mini lessons with our students throughout the year before they actually come and do a BIG research project so we thought the mini lessons would be the perfect ones to flip.  We seem to spend a lot of time telling kids how to research and BOOM then it is time to do it for real.  They do not often get a lot of time to practice the skills.  So we are going to work on creating a video of coming up with questions for a project and looking at key words within the questions as our first flip.  The idea is that the classroom teacher would assign the video and short recording sheet for homework and then they will come to the library to actually discuss the video and then practice coming up with questions and key words of their own.  If students do not have access at home, they can come into the library before school or during our whole school intervention time right at the beginning of the day to watch it here.  We are planning to start this in early November so I will post then how it actually worked. 

Have any of you tried flipping the library yet?
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Friday, October 18, 2013

Funny Friday

Just two funny little stories to wrap up the week.  Kids say the funniest things don't they?

A kinder student told me that I did a great job picking out all these books in here.  When I told him thanks, he said, "You must be rich to buy all these!"

Three 1st grade girls holding hands searching for books, moving quickly through the nonfiction.  When I asked them what they were looking for, the leader of the three said, "A starbucks".  I said, "Starbucks? We don't have that in this library and aren't you a little young for coffee?"  She looked at me and said, "No, star books!  You know the ones about famous people?"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

3 For Thursday: Literacy Night Pins

(Thursdays are going to be days that I share 3 of something... 3 pins, 3 apps, 3 books, etc)

We are going to be having a Literacy Night in November.  We haven't had one in a very long time so I have been scouring Pinterest for ideas.  Here are 3 that caught my eye.

Love the idea of BINGO with books as prizes.  I have some from my Scholastic Fair, but I bet parents would donate some gently used ones too.

Kristyn has some great ideas on this post from her blog.  We are looking into getting food trucks for our literacy night and I am going to have an attendance raffle for a book fair gift certificate.

Love the idea of a reading fair. Could maybe be done by classes the first year?

What have you all done for literacy nights?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Technology Tuesday: QR Code Match

(Tuesdays are going to be my “Technology Tuesdays”.  I will be posting some kind of technology lesson, idea, app, etc)

In Texas, we have a Bluebonnet Reading List for students in grades 3-6.  Every year in August I stand in front of classes and show my powerpoint and booktalk the books over and over again.  This year I decided to do something different.  After seeing Digital Goonies present about QR codes at TCEA last year.  I made a Bluebonnet QR code activity for the students.  I made 20 QR codes that had positive messages on them, “Great!”, “You got it!”, “That’s right!”.  Then above the codes I put the titles of the books and below the code I put a short abstract or summary.   I cut the codes in half and put each set in baggies.  Each group of kids had an iPad and a baggie with the codes.  They had to read the abstract and decide which title it went with, match up the two halves and scan to see if they were right.  (I did show a PowerPoint of the covers beforehand just to give the kids a visual).  The kids (and teachers) LOVED it!!  Some of the kids even said, “Mrs. Romine, we are inferencing!.  I feel like the kids got so much more out of it, even if they only got through 5, than if I had stood up and book-talked for 25 minutes.  Score One for Mrs. Romine!  

Monday, October 14, 2013

To Genre-fy or Not To Genre-fy

So I think I am going to create a little chaos in my library. Right now my fiction section looks like this
pretty, right?  Books shelved by author so the students can find the Rick Riordan books in the "Rs" and the Beverly Cleary books in the "Cs". But let's be real, how many times does a student ask, "Ms., Where are the Dan Gutman books?" because if they know the author is Dan Gutman, they know to find them in the "Gs". Don't they?  The questions that I get a hundred times a day are "Where are the scary books?" (Translation: where is a chapter book ghost story) or "Where are the adventure books?" (Translation: I just read one of the I Survived.. books and want something like that one).  

A few of the middle schools in my district have started to genre-fy their fiction collections... meaning to shelve the books by category - mystery, scary, adventure, fantasy, etc. I have always been against doing this because I felt like if I did it at my library, then when students go to other libraries that shelve by author they would be lost.  But the more that I think about it, and the more kids are asking about books by genre, I think it could be beneficial.  What do you think?  I'd love to hear about any experiences other librarians have had with genre-fying or thoughts about the subject.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

No Turning Back

I finally did it!  I am jumping into the blogging world!  No turning back!  You might ask what has taken me so long...  well, I didn't feel like I had anything to really blog about.  It wasn't until I went to a great presentation by 2 other librarians in my district that it hit me.  I want a place where I can share what is happening in my library and in my friend's libraries, and learn along the way.  I want a place where parents and teachers can see what a 21st century library looks like.  It's definitely not the same as when we were in school.  Gone are the days of the librarian "Shh-ing" kids for being excited about books.  Gone are the days of individual study carrels. Libraries now are a place of noisy, active learning and working together.  Kids talking and exploring and getting excited about learning.

Teachers and librarians working together to enhance curriculum.  That's what I want people to see.  I welcome your comments, discussions, ideas and collaboration as I start this journey.