Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Technology Tuesday: Doodle Buddy App

Our teachers received 3 iPads for classroom use this year and since some teachers are still unsure about how to use them instructionally, I  like to try to model different apps with the 20 that I have in the library when classes come in for a lesson.  I have author, Aaron Reynolds, visiting in January so I decided to introduce my 2nd graders to some of his books and the Doodle Buddy app at the same time.
I started by reading two of his books, Creepy Carrots and Carnivores to the class. Then I told them to think about the characters, problem/solution and setting of one of the books.  I sent them to the tables and with very minimal directions - basically just how to start a text box and the drawing tools - I told them they had to write a sentence about one of the books and then illustrate.  It always amazes me what they can discover on their own just by using the app.  Here are a few of the pictures the 2nd graders made.  

I love that without me telling them, they figured out how to use the glitter paint, the speech bubbles and the google-eyes.  I want the teachers to see that it is OK if they are not 100% sure what an app does, the kids will figure out way cooler things that we ever could.  

After the students finished their Aaron Reynolds picture, I let them have a few minutes to explore and draw whatever they wanted.  During this time, one of the students had figured out how to add backgrounds and found a "snow globe" background.  The teacher happened to see this and said, "Oh wow! We could use the snow globe for a writing prompt when we come back from winter break at stations!"  -  Now that's what I am talking about!  It never would have occurred to this particular teacher to use Doodle Buddy at a station during their language arts time if I hadn't introduced her students to the app in the library and if they hadn't had time to be creative on their own and find the snow globe background.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

How have you used Doodle Buddy in the library?  Have you had successes making your teachers comfortable with a new piece of technology so they will use it in the classroom?

Monday, December 16, 2013

To Genre-fy... Part 1

I did it! I actually genrefied my fiction collection. Back in October I posted that I was thinking about doing it.  After a week more of thinking about and convincing my assistant that it would be ok, we did it.  It took us about a month and at times I was thinking "What have I done?" but now I think it is going to be wonderful.  I was a huge undertaking and I weeded about 400 books in the process, but actually touching every one of my fiction books has been a real eye opener.  Here are the steps to what I did.

First, I needed to know what my genres were.  Lucky for me our middle schools have been genrefying also so I mostly went with they had already set in place with a few exceptions.  For example, they have a "Romance" genre and I wasn't going there.  They also have a "Horror" section which I call "Scary".  I wanted to add an "Animal Fiction" section for books with animals that drive the story like the Betty Birney Humphrey series, many of the books written by Bill Wallace, Black Beauty, etc.  After talking with some other elementary librarains to make sure I had a good agrument, I had to state my case to my director and get approval.  Our middle schools put animals that talk in Fantasy and animals that act like animals in their Genreral Fiction sections.  However, at the elementary level, I do have students that come and ask for chapter books about animals and so I felt like it was warrented.

Once I had my genres decided on, I had to figure out how I was going to label the books.  Demco has some genre stickers, but there were some that I didn't like and I was also afraid that they would discontinue them at some point and I would have to switch stickers.  So I decided to get white labels and make my own symbols.
After making my labels, I starting pulling groups of books that I was sure about like the A to Z Mysteries, the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, Andrew Clements books, the Animorphs series, etc.  I pulled those off the shelf, labeled them and then put them back in the original ABC order by author's last name since the kids were still checking out during this process I didn't want to move them books until I had all of them done.  
Once I had done the major clumps that I was sure about, I started in the "A's" and pulled a cart-ful of books and went through them one by one.  Some were very obvious and I knew right away what genre I would place them in, but I always checked one of my middle school libraries to see if they had the book and what genre they had put it in first.  I also looked in the subject headings, read the summaries, asked other librarians and then it occured to us to ask the kids :) For example, I was not sure where to put the Magic Tree House books and of course our middle schools didn't own those.  I thought they could be Historical, Sci-fi because of the time travel, or Adventure.  One of the other librarians and I were chatting on the phone about it and she happened to have some 3rd graders in the library at the time.  She called a few over and asked them why they liked the Magic Tree House books and they replied, "Because they go places!".  BINGO - Adventure it is.  From then on whenever I wasn't sure I would think where would the kids look for this book? 

(I decided this post would be too long all as one post, so look for part 2 in a week or so).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

3 for Thursday: Elf on a Library Shelf

We are on night 9 of my "Elf on a Library Shelf" project.  I must admit it has been fun and I love seeing the kids looking for "Seuss" every morning but I am really tapped out of ideas and still have 5 more nights!  As I have said before I am not the most crafty, creative person so this has really stretched my artistic abilities.  Luckily I have some awesome kinder teachers who don't mind helping me make bows or lend me pipe cleaners or nicely make suggestions as they stiffle a laugh at the first attempt I have made at some of these ideas.  Thanks Girls!  Here are 3 of our favorite Elf Clues so far.  I can take no credit for the first one.  That was all my 2 kinder teachers' doing.  I was just going to use the wand and skirt.   

Can you guess the books?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Technology Tuesday: Long Ago and Today

In first grade this week, we are researching how communication, transportation and recreation have changed over time.  We are using books and PebbleGo to find our information.  We split up into 2 groups.  One goes with the teacher to look at the book and one goes with me to look at PebbleGo and then we switch.  After the students have seen both and taken notes, they write a sentence telling how people traveled long ago and then how people travel today.  Then they used the Super Duper StoryMaker app on the ipad to create a picture.

I emailed the picture to myself and then used Scribble Press to put a book together.  
I have 6 first grades so 2 classes will research transportation, 2 communication, and 2 recreation.  Then we are going to share the Scribble Press books either through the website or the teachers can load the books onto iBooks on their ipads for the students to look at during station work.  Here is one of our finished books.  
The only thing that I didn't like about mashing these two apps was that StoryMaker can only be done as a landscape picture and Scribble Press only in portrait.  That is why the pictures only take up the middle of the page.

(I promise I do technology with the other grades, I just see 1st grade more than the others.  I will have other grade levels'work after the new year.)

What book makers do you use?

Everybody Folders? (I really don't have a name for these)

During my first year in the library, 10 years ago, I think the students had a master plan to see how many time they could stump me.  You know when they want a "Monster" book or a "Princess" book.  And you know they mean a story from the Everybody section, but of course the "Monster" books and "Princess" books are all over the place.  So you have a few go-to's but since those are the go-to's they are pretty much never on the shelf because you point them out all the time.  Well, coming up with the folders saved my bacon (and my sanity).

I went through my catalog in search of "Monster" Everybody books.  I copied the cover image into a table in a Word document, added the title and call number

Then I glued them into a file folder, added a cover to the front and laminated them.

Volia!  Problem solved.  The kids go to the bucket that I keep them in (I made about 10 different folders on popular topics... cats, dogs, princesses, sports, horses, different holidays, dinosaurs, etc.) and choose the folder they want to look at.  They look at the covers and decide which book they want and then they can show me which one they wan,t or better yet, when they get to 1st and 2nd grade and we have talked about how the Everybody section is organized, they can go find the book themselves.  The only problem is that sometimes the book is not there (because this is the new go-to list), but at least then there are plenty more to choose from.  

What shortcuts have you found to help kids find books?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Elf on the Library Shelf

The "Elf on a Shelf" craze has hit my library! I had a brainstorm over Thankgiving break to get an elf for my library.  I wanted to tie his poses into reading somehow so I decided to have him pose with parts of books from our library. And then I had another crazy idea to make a contest out of it.  I'm not sure what I have gotten myself into as I am not the most creative person when it comes to crafts and making things but here is what "Seuss" has been up to in my library.  

On Monday when I came in here is what we found.

I read the note, which was a poem telling about the elf and why he was there, on the announcements that morning.  Seuss told us he was here to play a game with us and that every night before he went to sleep he would read a book in our library and then leave us clues to what the book was.  If we guessed all the books by the end of winter break he would be able to come back next year. I told the kids that I was going to need their help and to check my library webpage for more details.

On Tuesday, this is what we found.

I had about 55 kids submit guesses for what book Seuss had read Monday night. Today here is what clue we found.  
The kids have been really excited each day o see what Seuss has done (even the 4th and 5th graders). I did ask the teachers for some specific items I might need for later books. As I said, I am not so gifted in the creativity department and 12 more scenes is stressing me out a bit, but we'll see what Seuss comes up with.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Technology Tues: iPad Storage

Because of my book fair, I don't have a technology lesson to share, so I thought I'd share my brand new toy that just got dropped off yesterday!  An iPad storage cart!!  Isn't it funny the things we get excited about.  When our secretary came down and told me it was here, I think I might have squealed.  My assistant looked at me like I was crazy, but when you see the picture of my current set up, you might understand.

I have 20 iPads for the library and over the summer, I found this great idea on Pinterest to store them on a dishrack.  This is what it looked like on Pinterest...

This is what it looks like in my office...

See why I needed a better solution.  So I decided to spend my hard earned book fair money from last year and buy an iPad stoage/charging cart and now they look like this...

Well worth the money, don't you think?

How do you store iPads?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Book Fair Week

It's a time of year that I love and dread at the same time... Book Fair!  I love the anticipation and seeing the kids get so excited about the books. I love setting it up and running it for the most part and I love the break from lessons and check-out. But I won't lie, by Friday I am ready to tear it down and get back to normal (I hate to say this, but I am the same way about Christmas decorations at home... December 26 - they are taken down and packed back up for next year).

I have some wonderful volunteers, not a lot, but some very reliable ones that I know I can count on.  I have found that at my school, I really only need them for the first two days all day and then the rest of the week just the first two hours of the day (what we call rush hour).  The first two days are for the most part the days the teachers bring the kids in and the kids can make their wish list.  My volunteers are so helpful in helping kids find the prices of the books and writing titles for the kinder and 1st graders.  After those first two days, we found that they teachers mostly send the kids the first 2 hours of the day which is why I do schedule volunteers for those times.  The rest of my traffic is mostly random kids at various times thoughout the day that straggle in as their teacher sends them.  This my assistant and I can usually handle ourselves.  I do give my volunteers a book fair gift certificate as appreciation of their time.  

Most of my students are able to purchase at least something at the fair, but I do have a few families that can not afford to send any money (especially at this time of the year).  On Thursday, I usually ask the teachers if there are any kids in their classes that did not bring money for that reason and I ask those kids to come help me do something Friday afternoon to pack up the fair to "EARN" a book.  It is really special to see those faces light up at the thought of working to buy a book.  They are so proud of themselves.  I usually have 10-20 that this applies to and I only do it at my December fair.  I figure that I can forgo $100-$200 profit to make sure everyone has a book :)  

What are special things that you do at your book fairs?