Saturday, March 15, 2014

Advertising New Books

     Have I told you that I love buying new books for the library!  (I personally think that it's directly tied to my love of new school supplies!)  When the new books come in, my receptionist lets me know right away, and I always do a HAPPY DANCE as I go pick up the boxes.  I may even be more excited than the kids, at times!  

     This year, I came up with what I think is a cool way to advertise NEW books, and create a great "end of the year" job for my 5th grade leaders.  Here's what I've done:
     First of all, I purchased green "Color Tinted Label Protectors" from Demco (I get the ones that are 1-1/2" x 2" that come in a box of 250), and I placed them over the call numbers on all the new books.
     Once they are all processed and ready to go, I display the books up on top of our bookcases.  However, if they get shelved, students can still find them easily as the green label sticks out. 
     This has really been effective this year! It's always fun to see the kids so excited when they come up to check out and say "Look, Mrs. Liptak!  I have a new book!"  
     I use a similar method for displaying the current Texas Bluebonnet books.  I have a special bookcase where I store the 20 nominees along with the Shutterfly books I make each year to showcase our Battle of the Bluebonnet teams.  I print out a small picture of the front cover of all 20 book nominees so that students can see where to put the book when they check it back in.

     I purchase the Bluebonnet Spine Labels from TLA's website and use blue Color Tinted Label Protectors from DEMCO to cover over it. (Hint: Make sure you put a normal label protector over the spine label first before placing the blue label protector over it.  Otherwise you can't peel it off easily.)
     At the end of the year, my 5th grade leaders will help me remove all the stickers so that we can begin again next year.  I can also use this as a job for students who need to work off lost books at the end of the year. 
     What kinds of things do you do to advertise new books? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Reading Brain Hat for Non-Fiction

     In a previous post in October, I had described my lesson using the Reading Brain Hat  where students practice "turning their brain on" and thinking when reading a Fiction story.
     In November, I took the same concept, and used the brain hat to introduce the different type of thinking that should be happening when using Non-Fiction books.  The first thing I did was show them the story, Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler, that we had read last week.  
     Using the brain hat, I went over the basic storyline as I placed the corresponding popsicle sticks on the hat:
  • Characters =  Turk and Runt, who are brother turkeys
  • Setting = the farm
  • Problem/Events = Turk is the biggest, strongest, and most graceful turkey on the farm, but no one listens to his brother, Runt, when he tries to tell them it's not a good idea to be the biggest at Thanksgiving time. 
  • Solution = His brother, Runt, is finally heard and together Turk and Runt devise a plan to save Turk from being sold for Thanksgiving dinner.
     I then showed them another story, Turkeys on the Farm, by Mari C. Schub. I told them that this story wasn't a made-up Fiction story, but instead was teaching us all about Turkeys that live on a farm.  I asked them, "What type of story is it then?"  They proudly shouted "Non-Fiction!" 

     Then, I asked them, "Does my brain do the same type of thinking when reading a Non-Fiction book?"  Some responded yes, some responded no, and some just shrugged, so I knew this was an important point to get across to them. 
     I began to take off the popsicle sticks, one by one, and explained that in a Non-Fiction story, I don't have characters, setting, problem/events, or a solution.  This left my hat bare, so I asked them, "Does that mean I don't have to do any thinking at all when reading a Non-Fiction book?"  They all shouted "No! You still have to think!" (Can you hear their implied "Duh!")  ;)

     I told them that they were correct.  When reading a Non-Fiction book, your brain does need to be thinking, but in a different way. The first popsicle stick that we put on the hat and talked about was the yellow one. I explained that Non-Fiction books are all about "How Can I Learn New Information?"  I introduced the concept of "Text Features" and explained that Non-Fiction books have these features to help you learn more about your topic.

     I walked them through the Turkeys on the Farm book, and every time we found a new Text Feature, I would add that popsicle stick onto the hat.  I also would show a corresponding poster of that text feature that we would put up around our reading area. 
     Once we finished adding the 5 popsicle sticks for this book (Table of Contents, Index, Headings, Keywords, and Glossary), I explained that there were other Text Features that books could have that can help you learn new information such as: illustrations/photographs, captions, diagrams, labels, maps, and charts.  I pulled other Non-Fiction books to demonstrate these features, and we hung up those posters as well.  
     The following week, I divided the students into pairs, and had them select a Non-Fiction book from the table.  They worked together to fill in their Non-Fiction Text Features Hunt and then we spent a few minutes letting each group share what they found.  I then gave each student a bookmark to remember the text features as they began their research unit. 

     In the weeks that followed, I would show them the story that we would read, and I would ask them which brain hat would we need to have on, Fiction or Non-Fiction?  This has helped them become more aware of the different types of books as well. 
    If you would like copies of any of these activities for your students, feel free to visit my TpT store or Teacher's Notebook.  Happy "BRAIN READING"!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Shop now at the TpT Sale!

Just a quick note to let you all know that there's an awesome sale going on right now at TpT!

All my items are on sale for 20% off, but with their promo code (TPT3) you can get items for up to 28% off!  

This is a great time to grab some activities to do with your students this year or even next year!

I know I plan to do some shopping today and tomorrow to stock up!

Stay Tuned as I'll also be posting some additional blogs posts about two of my new products "Reading Brain Hats for Non-Fiction" and a fun Scavenger Hunt:Amazing Race style" for the library!

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Library Book Request Form

     I’ve started doing BOOK TASTINGS this year, and the level of excitement about books has really grown! So much so, that the students are constantly asking me to put a book on hold for them.  I created these forms to help manage the process. 
     The process is pretty simple.  Students take one form, fill it out, and place it in my “IN” box.  My “IN” box is simply a 3-section organizer that I found at Wal-mart for $2.24.  One slot for the empty forms, middle slot for pens, and the last slot is for their completed forms.  If you don't want to go out and buy anything, you can simply use any baskets that you have available.  I created a sign to post behind the area to give the students a reminder of what to do.
     At the end of every day, I go through my “IN” box and find the books on the shelves or place a hold for them through Destiny. 
     Once I “fill the request”, I insert this form into the book (with their name showing at the top) and place the book in my “OUT” box.   Then, I send an email to their teacher, letting them know that their book is ready.
     When the students come down, they know to look in the “OUT” box for their name/book, and proceed to check it out, just like they normally do.

     If you would like to start this process in your own library, you can check it out my

How do you manage book requests in your library?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Digital Learning Day 2014

     Have you heard about the National Digital Learning Day?  It'a nationwide event that the Alliance for Excellent Education is officially hosting on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 in Washington, DC.  They are hoping to spread the word through this website to encourage schools around the nation to participate.   The purpose of this event is to highlight innovative educators who are creating digital learning opportunities for their students.  

       If you are interested, their website has an amazing amount of materials and resources to help support educators who would like to plan their own Digital Learning Day, whether it's an activity just for the day or something that lasts all year long!   
     As I started to plan my own Digital Learning Day, I unfortunately ran into some minor problems.  First of all, our district has already scheduled a Staff Development Day on Wednesday, Feb. 5th, so the students will not be in the schools.  I have also already arranged to have an author present to our school on Thursday, Feb. 6th, and for those of you who have done author visits, you know that day is crazy!  So I've made a command decision to hold our Digital Learning Day celebration on Friday, February 7th!  Better late, than never, right!?
     Here's my plan....I will be sending out an invitation to all 3rd-5th grade students to bring their own devices to school on Friday.  I will schedule a time for classes to come down and learn how to create their very own "Library in my Pocket". 
     I first heard about "Library in my Pocket" from Shannon McClintock Miller's blog.  A few librarians in my district were so excited about this concept, that we've gotten together and created our own version of a "Library in my Pocket".  Basically, we will be teaching the students and teachers 
  1. How to create a folder on their own device called a "Library Pocket" where they can save useful Library APPS and LINKS
  2. How to download APPS from their store and move them into their folder
    1. Destiny Quest
    2. Overdrive
    3. QR Reader
    4. Access My School (Gale)
    5. Dictionary
  3. How to add LINKS into their folder for other websites that are useful
    1. Our Library's Webpage
    2. TumbleBooks
    3. World Book Research
    4. CultureGrams
    5. NoodleTools
    6. Maps 101

     My goal is to help the students get these APPS/LINKS into their device as we begin the 2nd half of the year, when we typically start focusing more on research.  This way, they will have all the resources they may need as they begin their various research projects in class.  Here's the handout that we will be giving the teachers & students to help them see the final look of their Library in my Pocket.  

        We will also create a QR Code page so that the students and teachers can quickly get to the different links to add into their folder.

         Are you interested in joining the Digital Learning Day yet?  If so, what activities do you plan on doing?  I'd love to hear your ideas, and don't forget to share them here!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year Means New Books!

     It's almost time to go back to school, so I've been thinking about a fun activity to do with the kids to ease back into school.  As usual, I have a large order of books that came in right before we left for Winter Break.  You know what that means, right?!  It's a perfect time to do another Book Tasting!
     I created some table signs at the beginning of the year when I did our Bluebonnet Book Tasting. (You can read about that event here.) I'm going to place these signs on tables around the library.

     Then, I'll display all the new books on the tables, and allow students their entire library time to go explore new books.  (I can hear their shouts of excitement already!) 
     I also created this fun bookmark so that they can write down titles of at least 4 new books that they would like to read in the new year.  I'll remind them to also write down the call number so that they can find the book quickly when they want to check it out.  I copied them double sided on card stock, but you can also just do it on white paper if your budget is an issue).  Students can color/decorate their bookmarks if they finish early. 

     If you'd like copies of this activity, you can get them here at TpT or Teacher's Notebook.  I’ve included bookmarks for the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
     What kinds of activities are you doing for the New Year? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fairy Tale Update

     One of my favorite things to teach in the library is Folktales.  I

I had previously posted my activities with how to introduce Folktales with students on my blog here, but as I was teaching it again this year with 2nd grade, I decided to make some changes.
     I originally was going to create a chart on large tablet paper for each class like this one:
As we talked about each type of Folktale (Fairy Tale, Fable, Myth, Legend, Tall Tale), I would fill it in and eventually give each class their own chart.  As I began to create the 6 separate charts, I realized that there was a better way to do this...a much faster way, and a way that would lend itself to being used as a review tool.
      I quickly got to work on my new passion....making posters!  I created a blank poster grid and took it to Office Depot to make a 24x36 poster.  Once I laminated it, I stuck Stikki Clips on each of the sections. 

Then I created cards to hang on each of the Wikki sticks.  The orange cards gave the main title, Folktales, and the 4 things I wanted them to remember about Folktales.  It also gave the headings for each of the 5 types of Folktales.

The Yellow cards gave the types of Characters found within each type of Folktale.  The Blue cards gave the types of Settings. The Pink cards explained the Plot/Problem in each story, and the Green gave information about the Solution or Ending.

     On the first day, I introduced Folktales, and went over the four parts to the definition.  Then I showed them where these books are located in the Non-Fiction section and pointed out the special labels for the 398.2 bookshelves.  Then I introduced the first type of Folktales, Fairy Tales.  As we went over the definition, I hung the cards on the chart. 
     Then I read a fairy tale.  I always try to find new versions of common Fairy tales or even Fractured Fairy Tales to make things interesting.  This year, I read The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz.  It's a great retelling of the common fairy tale of The Three Little Pigs.  In this version, there's even a theme that staying in school to study and practice is important, which is an added plus! 
     The next week, I had each class compete for "points" that they earned for remembering each part of the definition.  (They don't really get anything for the points, but it helps to motivate them to pay attention!)  We started off reviewing Folktales and it's definition, which earned them 5 points. Then we reviewed Fairy tales, which earned another 5 points.  After that, I introduced the next type of Folktale, Fables, and we went over the definition as we hung up the cards on the chart. Then I read them a Fable, again trying to find new ones that they may not have heard before.  This year, I used The Prairie Chicken Little by Jackie Mims Hopkins that I had gotten signed by the author at TLA last year. 
     The next week, we continued our review for "points", starting with Folktales, Fairy Tales, and adding in Fables.  After the review, we began to talk about  
Legends.  Since many teachers read or have already read the Legend of the Bluebonnet or the Legend of the Poinsettia, I decided to read something different.  I showed the students books on Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.  Then I read the story Uncle Bigfoot by George O'Connor.
     The following week, we reviewed again and then discussed Myths.  I showed them several books from different cultures such as Greek Mythology, Egyptian Mythology, and Roman Mythology.  Then I showed them a decorative wooden box that I found at TJ Max.  I began to tell them the story of Pandora, and stopped right at the point where she begins to open the box.  At that point, I showed them this really cool website that has animated myths and let them watch the story.  After they check out books, I let them go onto the computers to watch other legends or myths. 
     For the last week, we reviewed everything once more, and then I introduced Tall Tales.  After we put the cards on the chart, I read the story called Outrageous, Bodacious, Boliver Boggs by Jo Harper.  I love this story, and pull out my cowboy twang as I read it!

     Each week, I would hand out a bookmark that went with the type of story that we had just read. 
On that last week, I handed out a copy of the poster that I printed 11x17 on card stock from our copy center.  This way, they had the information in their classes to refer back to when they reviewed. 

I went ahead and added the chart and cards to this activity in my store.  If you have already purchased it, you should be able to simply re-download it from the stores.  If you would like to purchase it, you can find them here at my TpT store or at Teacher's Notebook.  Thanks, and I hope you find this post useful!