Sunday, May 26, 2013

Last Week of School!

It's finally here! The last week of school for 2012 - 2013. It seems like this week  year has flown by. This has been a year of firsts for me. I started using centers and  puppets in my library classes. I began blogging and following stalking other bloggers. (Should have started this one earlier!) I have a TPT store. I started my store because I couldn't find enough centers for my middle grades. Hey, if you make them, sell them!

Since my vacation started today, so begins my summer reading challenge. I had so much fun with the Shelf challenge I had to join another. Nerdy Book Club has a book a day challenge for summer vacation. Our vacation started last Thursday so I'm already a couple books behind, but today is Sunday. After church I'll get caught up.

List to read for this week:

Chapter books:

Notes from a Totally Lame Vampire by Tim Collins
Prince of Dorkness (More Notes from a totally Lame Vampire) by Tim Collins

Picture books:

Trust Me, Jack's Beanstalk Stinks! by Eric Braun
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick! by Lucille Colandro
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover! by Lucille Colandro
Bat Jamboree by Kathi Appelt
Emma Kate by Patricia Polacco
The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers
Big Bad Wolves at School by Stephen Krensky

Non-Fiction Books:

Dinosaurs by Gail Gibbons
Artemis by Terri Temple
Katherine Stinson Otero - High Flyer by Neiler Skinner Petrick

Professional Books:

The Centered School Library by Cari Young (I just have to finish this one!)
Literacy Work Stations: Making Centers Work by Debbie Diller

It looks like a big list, but several are picture books. It shouldn't take a day or two right? Who needs to clean house! :)

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Puppets, Puppets, and More Puppets

As a project for the last nine weeks, a few of my classes have been writing plays. Our first attempt didn't find us any Tennessee Williams, but who knows maybe there was a future George Shaw or an Agatha Christie lurking in one of my classes. This project all started because I found a couple cute puppets last summer at Barnes and Noble. I brought them to school with me and the kiddies when crazy. Thus began my puppet craze.

I investigated prices on-line and discovered Folkmanis Puppets.  This company will sell puppets wholesale to schools. So for about $300, I racked up a very nice puppet collection. (Yes, that was a lot of money for my small library, but my school has a very supportive PTA program.)

To make a long story short, my some of classes wanted to "play" with the puppets. Of course being the really sneaky creative librarian that I am, I informed them they had to write a puppet skit. Then we talked about what make a good skit. For me this was a great way to teach/reinforce story elements. So after all of our hard work, today we "produced" our skits for the K-2 grade students at my school.

I learned real quick that next year I'm going to have to limit the number of plays to 6. I started to see some of my Kindergarteners begin to get real fidgety. Ten was way too many. Yes, they were short, but I think some of the students were getting tired of sitting even for puppets. My favorite skit for the day was "The Barnyard Rumble". This skit was written by three third graders. I did help them type it because they were fussing over reading their own handwriting. I couldn't help but laugh. (Flashback) I still remember in 6th grade Miss Clayton trying her best to get me to write neater. Today, I type everything.

I have to show everyone their skit. It was so cute. :)


I had a couple of the teachers take pictures for me. The gym is not the best place for a grand production, but our school doesn't have a stage.  This activity was as much a learning process for me as it was the kids. I have decided a few things. One, I will have students write skits in the future. Secondly, I will limit the number of skits for one sitting. And finally, and maybe most importantly, the skits will not be during the last week of school!


Keep Reading!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mountain Fun

Today I made my annual trip to the Flagpond Ramp Festival with my family. If you are not familiar with upper East Tennessee, Flagpond is the last stop on I-26 before you get to North Carolina. My husband's family lives there and every year the Saturday before Mother's Day we always go to the Ramp Festival. We get to spend some time with Granddaddy Roy, eat "tators and ramps", and listen to Bluegrass. For those of you who have never eaten or heard of a ramp, it's a wild leek. Allium tricoccum for those of you who like to get all technical!  I like them cooked in food but not raw. My sweetie pie can eat them raw, but.... Let's just saw they have a strong odor!  Now what does my weekend trip have to do with library? It reminded me of two of my favorite mountain stories.

I just love Cynthia Rylant! I like to read When I Was Young in the Mountains to my first graders as an introduction to autobiographies. After I read the story, I have them draw a picture of a favorite place or memory. Then they write about it like Mrs. Rylant. It has to be a real place they have visited to make it autobiographical.

Come a Tide is another one of my favorite stories to read in the spring. Ella George Lyon is such a wonderful author. This delightful story is about a spring flood in the mountains.

Why did I think of this one today? It rained, of course! I think it rains every year at some point during the Ramp Festival. It doesn't dampen our day.  Even my teenage boys always have a great time. If it's warm enough, they go swimming in the Blue Hole. Not I, says me. I don't like COLD mountain water, at least for swimming. (Ok, maybe in July!) Hopefully it won't be cool and rainy when we next visit Granddaddy. It should be little warmer in a couple weeks, even at the Blue Hole!

Happy Reading!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Inventory Fun. NOT!

I just love inventory. NOT! Inventory is just not as fun as reading to my students. Yes, it is a great time to clean the shelves and do a little weeding, but..... I would rather be teaching my students. I was scanning my Easy/Picture books today and realize I have a few classic books that no one reads anymore. I'm going to send them to the teachers. If my teachers don't want them, I'll give them away this summer. I can't stand to throw them out. Julie @ A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet  had some excellent suggestions on recycling old books. If you haven't checked out her latest post, do so immediately! It was wonderful. I'm going to have to get crafty with a few of my old chapter books.

 I just received my last book order for this school year and I'm really sad. SAD because my students won't be able to check them out this school year. My students only have 6 days left and of course they're not checking out books at the moment. I keep reminding them that they can read them this summer. (I'm open on Wednesdays during June and July.) What they don't realize is that I get to read them before they do!  The hardest part will be choosing which ones to read first. I'm real excited about my Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt  and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a ... by Lucille Colandro  books. I've been finding some cute units on TPT with Ms. Colandro's books. Now I have an excuse to go shopping! As for Ms. Watt's stories, who doesn't love Scaredy Squirrel. My older students even like me to read them OUT LOUD!


Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Games for the Lunchroom or the Library

I monitor the lunch room once or twice a day at my school. Usually the last five minutes or so when our students are finished eating, they need to be engaged or will quickly get too loud and disruptive. Oh wait a minute, just like teachers at an in-service meeting.:) When the lower graders begin to get restless, I usually play a game with them before I send them back to their classrooms. (These same games may be played in the hall or library while you are transitioning to the next class or activity.)  Sometime we play "Read Mrs. Brown's Mind." I think of a student/person and they have to guess who I'm thinking of in the room. I encourage them to ask questions before they start guessing. Some days to get higher level questions, I limit them to three questions.

I was inspired by Pinterest on my latest lunch/hall/library game. (I'm not sure where I first saw a similar idea, but thank you fellow bloggers!) This week I started playing "Guess What's in Mrs. Brown's Library Bag." I took one of my bag purses and placed items I use frequently in the library. They had to guess what was inside. Every correct guess earned them a sticker. For the game this week I placed: AR book labels, label protectors, pen, pencil, dry erase marker, sharpie, sticky notes, stickers, stapler, tape, and of course a library book! After baseball season, I'm not brave enough to try my purse. I'm not sure what's in there myself. :) If we finish my bag, we're doing Nurse Angie's bag tomorrow! She's going to give me a box of band aides for prizes.

After lunch I went back to the library to get ready for my afternoon classes and look what I found on my desk.


My school's PTA is soooooo awesome! Desert!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week

I have to admit, my school as a wonderful PTA! Today they brought us lunch today for teacher appreciation week.  It was great. I had bus duty and didn't take the time to pack mine. I wasn't in the mood for cafeteria food. The last couple of weeks are always a little hectic so a home cooked (not mine) meal is always a hit. I'm going to try to get a little reading done tonight. I had a book order arrive and it had a few books that are on my summer reading list. Bad Kitty, The Buddy Files, Duel: Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of Words are going to be the first books I read.

 I just read Tad Hill's How Rocket Learned to Read. ADORABLE! Am going to have to read this one to my kindergarteners this week. Can't wait to read the rest of my order!!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Three weeks and trying not to count!

Yesterday, I took one of my teachers some books from the library and I saw the number 15 posted on her board. SHOCK. Yes, I know we only have a few weeks left, but it was still astounding that there are only 15 more outfits (days for some of you) left in this school year. So little time, so many books!

With that in mind, I'm planning stress free and easy lessons for the next three weeks. That means making plans with the KISS method - Keep it simple Sara! (You thought it was going to be the S word! I have kindergarteners in my building so that would be "stupid" for those of you who teach uppers only!) That's 27 more lesson to plan, as I'll see each of my K - 8 classes three more times assuming field trips do not keep them from attending their library day.

As I'm preparing for the end of year library inventory, I'm trying not to cancel library classes. At my school I'm considered a "specialist" and therefore I provide planning time for my teachers. This week if I'm not teaching my library classes, I am inventorying all technology in my school. Usually it's not too bad, but this year I have 3 new teachers. I've got to make sure the room inventories match the district's inventory list. One of my teachers received a new teacher station today. That will need to be added. I was glancing around a couple days ago and I know a couple of my newbie’s moved a few things. I don’t mind. I just need to make sure the inventories are correctly updated before summer break. The month of May gets a little crazy in my library world.

Basically my library lessons this week are:

I like to ready my favorite authors to Kindergarten. I haven't shared Mo Willems yet. His pigeon books should keep them busy for a couple of sessions. I have a couple ideas I "borrowed" from Pinterest for his stories.

I found a freebie at Shawna's (The Picture Book Teacher's Edition) site yesterday I'm going to use with my 1st and 2nd grade classes.  I wanted a cute activity to accompany the book I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont. Now I don't have to create one. I love her website. It's great for getting ideas for my lower grades.
Third graders are still practicing their skits for the puppet performance on May 15th. Now I just have to convince Mr. Brown to help me fix their stage. A pan of brownies work miracles at my house!

I'll work on idioms with my 4th and 5th graders. I found a couple cute ideas on TPT. Now I just have to decide which one. It's a good thing I have a few minutes before my first class tomorrow morning. I can print which ever I decide upon then.

My 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes are going to be a little crazy this week. Between field trips and special assemblies, I won't see all of them this week. The ones who make it to the library are going to help me check my library games to see if I need to replace parts or pieces. I've been slowly making or assembling centers for all grade levels to use with my library lessons. A couple game pieces make it under my desk. Got to find their homes!

Keeping it simple,
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