Thursday, September 24, 2015

Drama, Drama, Drama

My students are SO into Raina Telgemeier's graphic novels. I decided I would read at least one and see why they love them so much. So I started with Drama. So far, I like it!
It looks like she is in the process of writing another one! It's called Ghosts. It will be out in the Fall of 2016. 
Here's the link to her blog where Raina talks about her new book. 

I know some of my kiddos will be excited! 

Have you read one of Raina Telgemeier's books? What'd you think? Is there another graphic novel author you love?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I met a STAR!

Almost every April I go to the Texas Library Association's annual conference. There are tons of authors signing books, vendors (like book companies) giving away free stuff, and learning sessions. I particularly enjoy meeting authors and taking their books back to my students. I think it's beneficial to show the students that authors and illustrators are REAL people. I like to tell them that our writing and artistic abilities go further than school. In fact, I tell my students about how it is such a rush for me to meet authors and illustrators. They are like movie stars to me. Only...really they are book stars! All the same in my book. As I wait to meet them, my palms get sweating, I try and figure out what I am going to say to them (usually repeating it in my head over and over). By the time I reach them, after standing in line sometimes longer than a Six Flags ride, I end up just saying Hi! Thank you!, and I love your books. I'm a dork. A Starstruck dork at that.
This past April I met a few authors...one being my all time fave! You can imagine how much I DIDN'T say to him! lol (enter Starstruck Dork)

My all time favorite has to be Jon Scieszka. He's a genius when it comes to picture books and middle grade novels. A classic and my all time fave...Stinky Cheese Man and Fairly Stupid Tales. But, I also loved his Autobiography, Knucklehead. I brought my personal copy to TLA and had him sign it. When you meet an author they will also take a picture with you! You bet I did that!

This week I have been telling the younger students about my meeting with Sarah Weeks at TLA. I bought her book Glamourpuss and it was such a cute and fun experience meeting her, I of course had to share it with the kids. She brought fancy and glamourous glasses for us to wear  in our picture with her. The kids love the book of Glamourpuss and Bluebelle!

I can not wait to see which authors will be at TLA this year! Who is your favorite author? Would you be able to speak to them if you met them?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony

We are into the 3rd week of school! I can't believe it! I started it off with a bang and had our Scholastic Book Fair on week 2! It was a whirlwind, but HALLELUJAH! it's behind me! Orientation is done too, so I can now get into the nitty gritty of library land! I read such a cute book to my kindergartners, and I have to share it with you!
Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony is great for discussing manners to students! Mr. Panda offers doughnuts (spelled the old fashioned way, I might add) and to a variety of animals. He offers and when they request what the kind they want, he ends up saying, "Never-mind, I changed my mind". Until he asks the upside-down lemur! Lemur uses his manners and gets the WHOLE box of doughnuts!
What's amazing is I even had some kindergartners figure it out! That's a success in itself! All the other animals had NO manners! We had terrific discussions! It goes along great with our campus focusing on Ron Clark's Essential 55 rules! I plan on reading it to a few other grade levels because of it's terrific message and cute illustrations! Please, Mr. Panda is great for young and beginning readers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

March Book Madness

I have discovered that I am not a creature of habit. Not in the way of "library events". I like to mix it up. Maybe I get bored? Maybe I like the element of surprise for the staff and students? For instance, last year I dressed up as a "different person" for a day. I made up this character. I called her Opal Hughes...or Mrs. Hughes, my second cousin twice removed.  (I think I was in the middle of watching Downton  when I came up with Hughes). It flowed and brought question to my student's eyes when I stated I was "Mrs. Hughes, Ms. Reynolds 2nd Cousin Twice removed." I adored their wondering expressions, especially on the little one's faces as I spat out my broken British accent. I even startled myself a little when I would look in the mirror. If my words don't give enough description I guess I'll let you peek.

All that to say, I did it once. (Had Mrs. Hughes sub for me that is) and the kids ask all the time when my second cousin twice removed will be back to sub. But, this dog is not fond of old tricks. I need something new all the time. Something unexpected. So, I decided to unveil March Book Madness. A world wide event (but not my invention). There is a weebly and everything. 
Found here ---> March Book Madness

It was a lot to put on alongside of the Mockingbird Book Program we do with Kinder-2nd through MISD. But, we managed and the whole school was involved. I didn't have all of the new books in my library, but between Amazon and our inner-school library loan system I was able to obtain them all rather quickly. I only had to order 3 from Amazon so it worked out quite nicely and didn't break the bank.

I only did the picture book bracket. Next year, I am considering the middle grade book bracket. That, is if I decide to forgo the event again. I created a bulletin board bracket on a large wall space in my library. Here she is:
On the left are books that were published in 2014. i.e. the new books. One the right are books published before 2014. Many classics! In the end, a new book will go head to head with an old book. 
Students voted by every Tuesday through the weebly site. I usually emailed the teachers a picture of the bracket and a QR code for the kids to and teachers to vote. 

How did I get all the kids to read all the books in a short amount of time? Well, I didn't. I left the books on my desk and had the teachers read them to their class at their leisure. They just had to read it right away and return it right away. Some participated and some did not. Honestly, I just wanted to expose the kids to new and old books. I read some to older grades when they visited the library. I read Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen to the entire school I looooooved their expressions and comments as I read it. Good book, read it! not the winner, but a great read!
The final two are shown in the picture above.

 Have you participated in March Book Madness on your campus? What were your strategies to get students and teachers reading the books? Maybe you just like to dress up as people you are not?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Love is in the Library

"Love is in the Library" was the theme for February this year. I geared all of the Library centers around Valentine's Day. Here's what we did!

Our Felt Board Center was all about LOVE!  Kindergarten LOVED it, too.

Here are some Valentine's Day themed bookmarks being made in the Book Mark Center.

Here are Valentine's Day Cards being made by 3rd graders.

Puzzle Center...the Frozen puzzle is a LOVED by everyone!

 The 3rd graders are listening to a playaway matched with it's book in the Listening Center.
The third graders naturally LOVE helping each other out!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Digital Bookshelf

I LOVE goodreads.com and keeping track of the books I have read, want to read, and books I am currently reading. I am also fascinated with seeing what other people are reading. I, like many other librarians have my digital bookshelves displayed in a window of my library for my students to see. I am toying with the idea of creating a way for students to share their digital bookshelves. Students must be at least 13 for goodreads and sites like Biblionasium can be tedious with having parents confirm their accounts. (Which isn't a bad thing, just tedious for teachers)
Today, I had an idea! It was a Staff Development Day and we we learned different ways to use padlet.com. I though this would be a cool platform for teacher, librarians, AND STUDENTS to create their digital bookshelf.
They can be as creative as they like and can show it on Edmodo and other social media outlets.
Here is mine. I took a screenshot that is a little fuzzy. But, you can click the link to see it full on!

I think I am going to try it out with a class this week. I'm still playing around with it and haven't learned all the quirks with using it on an ipad. I'll post an update soon!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Battle of the Books MISD Style

Mesquite I.S.D. began Battle of the Books as a district competition last year and Black Elementary participated in the event! It was a blast and surprisingly, not too much work outside of a normal day in the library.
We are onto year two and the kids are gearing up and reading their 10 books! We have teams of 5 or less and the kids divide up the books and eventually become an expert on 2. We meet every other week during the student's lunch. They bring their lunch to the library and battle! I remember the first time I experienced battling (which is asking the kids questions and them scrambling to find the correct book title). The only word I can come up with on how I felt was GIDDY. I mean it was so fun! These are the kids that don't particularly compete in sports (maybe they do, and I don't know it). But, reading is their THING! It's what they love and just what they do. So, I can tell you they were giddy too! I'm a nerd, I know. But, this excites me! My kids came into the library the first week of school asking for their  Battle of the Books assignment. Sadly, I had to turn them away because we don't REALLY start until the Spring semester. Luckily, we have some of the books on hand in the library.
I have recruited more teachers this year to coach teams, which is helpful in keeping the kids accountable for reading. We will have a semi-finals competition in early April and Finals in May. 

I'm so proud to represent my B.O.B. readers at Black elementary!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Day the Crayon's Got Back to Work

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywat and illustrations by Oliver Jeffers

The Day the Crayons Quit is a favorite at our school! The teachers love it, the students love it, the librarian loves it!
The boy in the book named Duncan finds a stack of letters in his crayon box. It turns out the letters are from his crayons. They all seem to have some type of problem. For instance, the red crayon is tired because he is always working so hard to color all things red. He even complains about working on holidays like Christmas and Valentine's Day. So he asks Duncan for a break. All the letters are quite clever. An all time favorite is the peach crayon. His wrapper was peeled off and he is hiding in the crayon box because he claims to be in his birthday suit, if you know what I mean. Everyone is usually rolling by the time this page comes around. 

I decided to do an activity with my students after we finished this book. I told the children to listen closely to each problem the crayon had. I asked them to find a way for Duncan to solve the problem. I read the book and then challenged the kids to choose a color and write a thank you note to Duncan. The thank you note had to be written in response to him solving the crayon's problem. The letter had to be written from the perspective of one of Duncan's crayons. Finally, they could illustrate the resolution.
The kids loved this writing activity in the library!
We called it The Day the Crayons Got Back to Work! :)

Lester's Dreadful Sweaters by K.G. Campbell

This is the last week to read the 2014 Bluebonnet books. I'm conducting the voting...but not until AFTER I read this little gem to the kiddos.

[Cover]Doesn't he look dreadful? I think in everyone's lifetime they may receive one dreadful something or other to be worn in public and have utter humiliation ensue as a result.That is exactly what happen to Lester.
I loved that I was able to add a little lesson on alliteration while reading this book. For instance, it all began as "Cousin Clara's cottage was consumed by a crocodile!"

After reading the book, I had the kids make a pom pom bookmark out of yarn. They loved it! Good old Pinterest gave me the idea and with a few tweaks 3rd-5th grade were able to accomplish the bookmark rather smoothly. I basically gave them a bucket of yarn and some scissors and they got after it!