Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Shelf Elf for Book Care

     I've posted a lot about teaching book care with the younger grades, and while I like to use the same poster board set to introduce the idea of book care ( you can read about that activity here), I wanted to use different books with each grade level. 
     This year for 2nd grade, I introduced them to the great book The Shelf Elf by Jackie Mims Hopkins.  
     In the book, the students meet Skoob, the Shelf Elf.  He explains that his job is to take care of the books on the library shelves, and to hopefully win the "Golden Shelf Elf Award" at the end of the year.  The book starts off by showing students how to use a shelf marker (we call them Book Buddies) and how to recognize books that have not been placed on the bookshelf correctly.  Then, with each new page, Skoob shows examples of things that COULD happen to a library book and then gives a rhyming reminder for the students. 
     I wanted to find a way for the students to review how to take care of their library books to go along with this book once they got back to their own classroom.  So I created this Book Care booklet.  I copied the front cover in color and laminated it.
     Then I copied the other 10 pages in black and white and cut them in half.  This gives you a total of 20 examples.  But I also made a blank example in case you have more than 20 students. 
     Library is part of the Special's rotation at my school, so I have a mix of classes instead of just one homeroom class.  I knew I would have to find a system that would allow me to easily hand out and collect their pages.  So I made a file folder for each teacher.  I attached the laminated front cover to the file folder with a binder clip and paper-clipped all the half pages. 
     After we read the book, I took the students on a quick tour of the library.  Then I told them that Skoob made a book for each of their classes to help them remember how to treat a library book.  Unfortunately, he ran out of time and wasn't able to illustrate it.  He was counting on their help.  I called each teacher's name, and those students came up one at a time.  I took the half pages from that teacher's folder and read the statement at the top.  They had to tell me if Stacks would be happy or sad. (This was a quick way to see if they knew how to keep their library books safe.)  If they were correct, I handed them the sheet and they went to draw their pictures.  Then I called the next teacher's name and those students came up.  I continued until I had called all the teachers. 
     When they were finished, they brought their pages back up to me and told me their teacher's name.  I added their illustrated page on top of the laminated cover using the binder clip.  Once I've met with all library groups, I will take all the illustrated pages and staple them into the front cover to create a book.  I will then deliver the books to the classes for their classroom library.   
     The kids had such a good time drawing the pictures, and they turned out sooo cute!  Here are a few examples!   This activity turned out even better that I had hoped for!

If you would like to try this with your students,
you can get it here at my TpT store or at Teacher's Notebook.

I hope your student enjoy it as much as mine did!


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Beginning of Year Library Dragon Scavenger Hunt

I always like to do some sort of a "Scavenger Hunt" with the upper grades at the beginning of the year.  It helps the students reacquaint themselves with the library, but it also helps them notice changes that may have been made over the summer.  It's also a great stress-free and fun way for the new students to be shown around the library by the returning students.  

I had previously created a Scavenger Hunt that I have used for the last couple of years (you can read about that here).  This worked well, and the kids really enjoyed it, but I wanted to try something different this year.  I wanted to start the year off reading a book for every grade.  So I spent a few days going through books and talking with other librarians and we came up with a great list of books to use. 

The one I'm going to focus on for this year is The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy.

It's such a cute story about a new librarian, Miss Lotta Scales, who is hired for the Sunrise Elementary School.  She takes her job very seriously, which tends to cause some problems for the students and teachers. 

What I loved about this book was it mentions all kinds of places around the library that you can use to create a scavenger hunt.  
  • 398.2's and 500's
  • Biographies
  • Fiction
  • Easy (picture books)
  • Reading nook
  • Supply area

It also mentions many different behaviors that you could use for a review with the students at the beginning of the year.
  • protecting books from getting dirty and tearing
  • forgetting to bring library books back
  • using quiet voices in the library
I knew I wanted to have the students up and moving around the library, so I created a set of question cards with the Library Dragon theme that I could give groups of students on their first visit to the library.

If you are interested in doing this Scavenger Hunt with your students, 
you can find it at my TpT store or at Teacher's Notebook

There are 8 pages of questions cards total.  The last page has the same question, but two different versions of it.  One uses the term "Book Buddies" and the other uses the term "Shelf Markers".  

I printed them on white cardstock, laminated them, and then cut them apart.  I hole-punched each of the 16 cards in the top corner and put them on a ring.  I started each set of cards on a different question so that the groups wouldn't all be going to the same place at the same time.  After I finish reading the book, I'll hand out the cards to groups of 2-3 students and let them start.  After about 15 minutes, I'll have the students come join me back on the floor and I'll have them share their answers and ideas to make sure that we are all on the same page. 

Be on the lookout for some additional Scavenger Hunts connected to other books coming soon!  

Hope you find this helpful!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Super Secret Sale August 19th!

We just had our first day back to school, which means summer is officially over.  But, don't worry...I have something that will help you wake up early tomorrow with a smile on your face!  TpT loves teachers so much that they are going to hold ANOTHER sale...
a special One Day Bonus Sale!

You can get up to 28% off all my products during this sale just by using the promo code MORE15!  This is a great time to pick up products that you've had your eye on or maybe even put on your wish list!

Happy shopping,
and have a FANTASTIC start to the school year!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bluebonnet Wall of Fame

     Each February in Texas, we celebrate the announcement of the book that won the Texas Bluebonnet Award.  But in the months prior to that is actually when the fun begins in my library!  
     At the beginning of the year, one of my favorite lessons to do with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders is to introduce this year's Bluebonnet books.  I start by showing them the 20 nominees, and then give them time to either watch book trailers or look through the books.  After about 30 minutes, I have them come back and we talk about the stories that they found the most interesting.  We discuss the different types of genres that are represented, and we look at the lengths of each book and predict how long it would take to finish.  As they leave, I show them our Bluebonnet Wall outside the library, where I have already hung copies of each of the book covers.
      I let them know that this is our Bluebonnet Wall.  As soon as they finish reading a book, they can go to our library's website and click on the link to take a quiz on that book.  (I used Google forms to create the quizzes, and then added the Flubaroo extension to grade the quizzes for me!) When I receive a notification email that a quiz has been taken, I will check their grade.  If they answered 8 out of 10 questions correctly, their name will go underneath the book cover. I told them that I would also put a notification card in their teacher's box letting them know how they did on the quiz.  They can put this card in their locker or take it home. (Green means they passed, and yellow means they need to try again.)
     Last year, I cut small rectangles in three colors (blue for 3rd grade, green for 4th grade, and orange for 5th grade) and taped them to the wall as students took a test.  This worked okay, but after awhile the rectangles began to curl as students walked by the wall.  I made a note to think of a better way to do this for next year. 
     Once they read 5 books, I took their picture and placed their certificate on the "Wall of Fame" which showed that they were eligible to vote for their favorite in January.
     It was really fun to see the name cards “growing” as more students began to read the books.  I heard a lot of cool conversations as students lined up to leave the library and looked at the wall.  One student said, “Wow!  14 people have read that book!  It must be a good one! I’m going to try to check it out next time!”  Another sweet student said,  “Aww..Mrs. Liptak…Noone has read that book! I’ll read it so it can have someone’s name underneath it too!”
      In the past, I was lucky to get around 15-20 students reading the Bluebonnet books.  This past year, when I did the Wall of Fame, my participation grew to 156 students and even some teachers as well!  
     Now that another year is about to begin, I've made new display posters of the 20 nominated Bluebonnet books.  This year, I decided to use alternating dark blue and light blue frames to make it look more like a "picture frame" wall. 
     To help prevent the problems with the student name cards curling on the wall, I decided to preprint cards on white cardstock and I will just tape the whole page underneath each poster.  As students pass a quiz on the book, I will write their names in with sharpie. If more than 14 students read that book, I can always tape another page underneath the first one.  
If you'd like to use these posters in your library or classroom,
you can get them here at my TpT store or at Teacher's Notebook.     

Just in case you are interested in doing this activity with your school or classroom, I've included all these items together. I will also be updating this file each year with the new Bluebonnet Nominees.  So, all you’ll have to do is check for the update! 

What types of book displays are you doing in your library this year?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Friday, July 24, 2015

STEM and STEAM Centers in the Library

     Last year I started Makerspaces in my library as a way to give my students more opportunities to be "hands-on" in their learning.  (You can read about my Makerspace beginnings here.)  I definitely learned a lot by jumping right in, and as with most things, found that some parts worked great while others needed some tweaking.  At the end of the year, I did an informal survey with mainly 3rd through 5th grade asking them "What lesson/activity did you enjoy the most in the library" and MANY of them mentioned our Makerspace activities.   I was super happy to hear that, and planned on continuing Makerspaces again this year.
     Around the same time, I found out that my district was going to open a new elementary school this year, and it was going to be a STEM school.  I went to several meetings about it, and was completely hooked in this concept! (It took me back to my days of teaching 3rd grade and all the inquiry-based projects I used to do with my students that integrated Science, Social Studies, and Math.)      So, there I was at the beginning of summer, brainstorming ways to improve Makerspaces when it suddenly hit me!  I remember it was like the skies cleared, the birds chirped, and the music exploded in my head all at the same time!  A huge smile came across my face as I said to myself, "What if I combined my Makerspace activities with a STEM/STEAM focus?"  
     I immediately thought of my library and how I could rearrange things to make 5 clearly defined areas, near a wall, for each station.  I moved some tables that I had up against the wall and made them go perpendicular instead.  This would allow more students (up to 4-5) at each table instead of only 2-3 if the tables were flat against the wall.  Then I looked at the wall above each table, and in my mind I could see posters that would state the STEAM concept, and give the kids an idea of the skills that they may use at that station.  So that's how I came to make these posters:

I made the main posters at Office Depot probably 16x20 but then made the "Challenge" sign a little smaller on cardstock and laminated them. That way, I can change out and rotate the activities, and can either write in the activity or tape the instructions on the sign.  
After I hung up the posters, I wasn't too happy...they just didn't "POP" off the white-ish wall like I had hoped.  So I went to Mardel and found posters to match the colors and put the posters behind the letters.  THAT really helped, and I was so excited!
     I also made some additional signs that combined all the concepts to post up around the library's Makerspace area and some bookmarks to hand out to the students as reminders of activities we are doing in the library.


If you are interested in using these in your own library,
you can find them at my TpT store or at Teacher's Notebook.

Update:  I just added four new posters on the 4 C's (Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking) to teach in conjunction with the STEAM concepts.  I decided to make these all in purple so that they stand out against my other posters, but also show that they are related to each other.

If you are interested in using these in your own library,
you can find them at my TpT store or at Teacher's Notebook.

I'm super excited about starting this new way of doing centers!  I'll keep you posted and update pictures on how things are going!

What new things are you trying this year in your library?  I'd love to hear from you!