Thursday, November 21, 2013

Funny Friday

For the first sememster, my kinder students are allowed to pick books that have the covers showing.  Which means that they are not allowed to go into the shelves to look for books because I haven't taught them how to use a shelf marker yet.  We have a TON of books on display on top of the shelves, on the bottoms of shelves and on 2 stands so there is always plenty to choose from.  If a kinder wants a particluar book or book about a certain topic that isn't showing, I will certainly go find one if they ask.  Anyway this week one of my persisiant rule breakers was looking through the shelves pulling out the books half way instead of the ones on top where she could see the cover.  Her teacher said, "Excuse me, can you see the cover of those books?"  She replied back as serious as could be, "If I pull them out, yes I can!"...  I guess she got us.

3 for Thursday: Thanksgiving Picture Books

 Turkey Bowl by Phil Bildner - Everyone likes a little football with their turkey.

 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey - field trips, turkeys and rhyming words make for a great Thanksgiving story.

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano - Turkey donning costumes to keep from being Thanksgiving dinner. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Technology Tuesday: Visual Poet

I was looking for something different to do with my first graders last week and came across the Visual Poet app.
In science, they were studying water, so we looked on our PebbleGo database and researched the different kinds of bodies of water and what animals live in those areas.  PebbleGo has information on lakes, rivers and oceans so we looked at those pages and the students wrote down the definition of the word and at least 3 animals that live there.  Then we used visual poet to put it all together. 
I love that in this app you can search for pictures right in the app.  Made it really easy for first graders to find a picture.  I can't wait to find other uses for this app.  What could you see using Visual Poet for?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Why, Oh Why Can't They Remember

Every year I teach 1st and 2nd graders how the Everybody section is organized and every year my 3rd, 4th and 5th graders act like they have never heard that the Everybody (and Fiction) sections are organized in alphabetical order by the first three letters of the author's last name.  I have two different activities for 1st and 2nd grade and in both lessons, they can find an Everybody call number that I give them.

In first grade, we read the book Elsworth's Electrical Ears, a cute alphabetical book of alliterations.  While we are reading I ask if they notice anything about the book and someone always comes up with that it is in ABC order.  After the book, I ask them if they notice anything about the Everybody section and someone always notices that the wooden letters I have attached to the shelves are in ABC order.  Then I talk about how the library is like a little city and we have different neighborhoods and if a friend asked you to come over and play, what would your mom need to know to get you to the house?  They say the address. Then I explain to them that each book in the library has an address or call number that tells us where the book "lives" in the library.  When an author write a picture book, then it lives in the Everybody "neighborhood" on the "street" of the first letter of the last name.  I tell them that if I wrote a book, my book would live on "R" street at the address "ROM" and I go stand at the Rs.  I ask them to think about their last name and to go sit in front of the shelf where their book would live if they wrote one.  Then I say the whole alphabet and tell them to stand up when I say their letter so they can see all the way around the shelves A-Z.  Then I give each partner group an index card with an address on it like E PAT, E MUN, etc. and tell them to find that address and raise their hand when they do.  I give them about 3-4 different cards depending on the time.  And low and behold, they are mostly successful.

In second grade I start with the story Alpha-Betti.  A story about a girl who finds out that it is easier to find things when they are organized in alphabetical order.  I remind them about the lesson we did in first grade and how the Everybody neighborhood is organized by the author's last name.  We then go to the tables and play a game called "Sticks and Stones" that I got from the book Stretch Library Lessons.
In this activity, they have stones with letters on them and sticks with author's names.  They have to arrange the stones in order first and then the sticks and if their are two names that have the same letters, they have to look at the second and third etc.  When they are all finished, I give each person a stick that has a call number on it, similar to the index cards from 1st grade, except this time they are working alone and I tell them we are going to see how many they can find in a certain amount of time.  When they find the first one, they raise their hand and the teacher and I go around, check that they found the right spot and give them a new stick.  

They think it is SO fun to find books this way and love to see how many they can find in the given amount of time.  Afterwards, we gather back together and I tell them that they are becoming better library users and can now start finding books on their own.  If they ask me where a "No David" book is and I tell them SHA, they should be able to go there and find the books.  Then I make them raise their right hand and repeat after me..."I am a library user.  I know the Everybody books are organized in alphabetical order by the author's last name.  I can find books in the Everybody section by myself.  I will NOT forget how to do this when I am in third grade"(that's when they giggle).  I tell them that something must happen to the brains of 2nd graders over the summer because every year I teach this same lesson and every year the second graders know how to do it and every year, the third graders look at me like I am crazy when I tell them to find something.  They assure me that this will not happen to them and they WILL remember.  They are so excited about this and for the rest of 2nd grade, they quiz me about where different favorite books are and I love to see how proud they are when they find them.  Then they become 3rd graders... and look at me like I am crazy... but this year I have proof... I have pictures! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

3 for Thursday: Funny

Three funny library/technology quotes or signs I've seen on Pinterest.  Needed a laugh today.

I actually have a t-shirt with this on it and I love wearing it to school because it makes the teachers laugh out loud every time and the kids don't get it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Technology Tuesday: Flipping the Library

Well, we did it!  One of my awesome librarian friends and I created a plan for flipping some 5th grade research mini-lessons.  In our district's ELA scope and sequence, 5th grade does their research project in late April.  I have always hated waiting until the day(s) they come in to "explain" and take them through the whole process.  I started these research mini-lessons with 3rd grade a few years ago and it seems to work really well.  They come in a few times before the big research time and we hit the research process in small chunks.  So we decided to try it with 5th grade but in a flipping format.  To start, we thought out the chunks of the process that we wanted to focus on.  We decided that our first lesson would target formulating questions and finding key words within the questions. We made a video using the screencasto'matic website and a short accountability worksheet for them to record some information from the video as they watched it.  I then uploaded it to my library page.  A few days before I did the lesson with each class, I went in and told them about the idea of flipping the lesson - that they would be doing the "listening" part at home and the "doing" part at school where they could get help if they needed it. I also showed them how to navigate to the video and gave them the worksheet.  I had already talked to the teachers and we had a plan for those kids that didn't have internet access at home for them to come to the library before school one day and watch it.
When the came to the library for their scheduled lesson, about 75% of the kids had actually completed the worksheet (that actually surprised me, I thought it would be lower).  We talked through the worksheet where they had to pick out a few key words from the TEKS in the video and then formulate three questions based on the TEKS (talking through this gave the kids who didn't complete the sheet a chance to write something down).  Then I showed them another quick video to remind them how to search in our library catalog.  
I assigned each set of two kids one of the 13 colonies.  They had to choose one of their questions, find a book in the library catalog about that book, go get the book and by looking at the table of contents and index predict some pages they might find the answer on.  Then they actually tried to find the answer.

All in all, it went REALLY well.  Most of the kids were successful and when we finished I asked them what they thought about the flipping idea.  "It was fun."  "More interesting than just listening to you talk and tell us how to do it" and "It was a different way to learn" were a few of the comments.  I asked them then if they thought the idea of flipping would work in other subjects and they said math and science for sure.  As we were talking about that, one student even said, "I think it would be good in math because then if we didn't understand we could watch the video again!" BINGO.  Best of all the teachers were so intrigued by the lesson and the kids comments that they are toying with the kids of flipping a fraction lesson next week!  Total success in my book and I can't wait to try the next one in February.  

Have you tried flipping a library lesson? What other types of library related lessons do you think could flip?  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

Just a quick "Thank You" to all our veteran's and families of veteran's and active duty military who serve for our freedom.  I realized that I have quite a few nonfiction books about Veteran's Day in my library collection, but besides Eve Bunting's The Wall, I didn't have any other picture books about today.  If you know of any picture books for elementary students that address veterans, Veteran's Day or maybe even military in general, please leave the titles in the comments.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

3 for Thursday: Author Visits

In my 9 years as a librarian I have had some amazing authors come to visit.  Way more than 3 so consider this Part 1 with more to follow another time.  I am not a "programming" librarian.  I hate dressing up.  I don't do puppets.  I have trouble keeping track of reading promotion and rewards(although I am getting better at this).  Programming is such an important part of being a librarian, but it is not my strength.  So needless to say, I STRESS out about author visits.  I mean REALLY STRESS OUT about them.  I am in awe of those librarians that host 2 or 3 or 4 authors in a year.  Hosting 1 just about puts me over the edge.  I think the anticipation of the visit is always the worst; once they are actually on my campus, most are as nice as can be and the day goes fine.  The following 3 authors I have hosted recently (or am about to host) and they have been AMAZING.  If you have the opportunity to host them - DO IT!  You will not regret it.

PHIL BILDNER was SO awesome!  He is a giant kid at heart and really connects with the students.  I had him the year Hallelujah Flight was on our Texas Bluebonnet list so he presented to my 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.  He was a middle school teacher prior to doing author visits so he knows how to keep the kids engaged in his presentations.  He has a great writing workshop where he talks to the students about making your words come alive and actually has them do some writing while they are with him.  He was very easy going and just an amazing presenter.
 Phil Bildner

Matt McElligott was also fabulous!  He is an author and an illustrator and has a variety of different programs to offer.  If you choose one of his illustrator presentations, he projects his computer to the screen and shows the kids how he makes a monster or alien from shapes or how he takes different patterns from clothes to "color" his Backbeard books.  The kids were fascinated by that and were astonished to find out that you didn't have to be a good "draw-er" to be an illustrator because technology can help you out.  
 Matt McElligott

Aaron Reynolds is visiting my campus in January and I can not wait!  He has visited my district already this year and the librarians that hosted him could not stop RAVING about his presentations. (Apparently his theatrical background is on full display) :).  I am most excited about his mystery presentation where he teaches the kids about writing a mystery and they solve one right there during the presentation.  I'll let you know how it actually goes in February!
 Aaron Reynolds

Do you have any author or illustrators that you recommend for a visit?  If so, please leave them in the comments.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Technology Tuesday: 1st Grade Then and Now Video

Last year my first graders researched how communication, recreation and transportation has changed over time.  I had 6 first grades and this was in December so we decided to make it more manageable instead of each class researching all 3 areas, 2 classes would do transportation, 2 communication and 2 recreation.  Then we would combine them into a video that the whole grade level could watch.

We had the kids draw a picture of then and now and then the teachers picked a few from each class to feature in the video.  I used Photostory to make the video and the kids loved coming in and recording a sentence about their picture.  

This year I want to try to kick it up a notch and maybe try using scribble press to make each class an ebook that they can then share.  Have any of you used scribble press or another ebook creator?  Please comment below.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kinder in the Library

I think there is a special place in heaven for Kinder teachers.  I once saw a sign at a craft show that said "Teaching kindergarten is like trying to herd grasshoppers".  I would be lying if I said that I didn't have a little panic attack right before each of my 6 kinder classes come into the library every week.  I see them once a week for 30 minutes which includes story time and checkout.  I hate to admit this but when I first became a librarian, 5 minutes before my first kinder class came for the week, I would look quickly around the library and chose a book at random to read to them.  There was no rhyme or reason to what I picked.  It was just something to get me through those 15 minutes.  I am happy to say that I no longer do that.  Thanks to one of the other librarians in my district that I was mentoring one year (however I think I actually got more from her than she got from me).  She was new to our district but had been a librarian way longer than I had.  She showed me the journals that she does with some of her grade levels and something clicked for me.  I could do this with Kinder!  Each one of my kinder students has "My Library ABC Journal".  It is a journal from A to Z with a book and activity for each letter.  It stays in the library all year long.  Each week we do a letter in the journal and at the end of the year they get to take it home to remember all the great books we read that year.  They really enjoy seeing how at the beginning of the year their "writing" is mostly pictures and maybe the beginning sound of a word but by the end of the year they are writing sentences.  It is fun to see their excitement each week as they try to guess what letter we are going to do that week.  And I feel better knowing that I have a focus for my lessons using our state standards and really great books.

What are things you do with kinder in the library?