Thursday, December 29, 2011

International Day Pictures--Part Two

Now onto the North Pole, Germany, Russia, and Japan.  I forgot to mention that our Office Area was the United States.  They had it decorated with Christmas and Hanukkah decorations.  Over the PA system they played "traveling" holiday music when it was time for the groups to move to a different country.

North Pole
*had "snow" on the floor for the students to walk through
*had arctic gear for the kids to try on
*had hot chocolate to drink

*decorated gingerbread men
*made Christmas trees
*listened to a German song and had root beer and pretzels

*made a set of nesting dolls
*watched a power point about Christmas in Russia
*watched a performance of The Mitten and listened to Russian music
*ate blintzes and drank tea


*wrote haiku (had a snowman haiku with a picture to color for the primary kids)
*made origami
*ate sushi with chopsticks (small pieces of rice crispy treats with a swedish fish on in and wrapped with a piece of fruit roll-up)

Sorry about the big spaces.  I was having trouble with the pictures and I got frustrated.  These pictures only give you a taste about what our International Day is really like.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

International Day Pictures--Part One

I'm finally feel well enough to post the pictures of my school's International Day.  I'll give you a little background about the day.  Each of the "houses" (which are groups of 3 or 4 classrooms), were assigned a specific county when the school was built.  The countries are Mexico, France, China, Germany, Russia, and Japan.  When my school used the trailers the country assigned was Australia, "the Outback".  It was funny because they were located in the back of the building.  This year our one Kindergarten class that is located in small hallway that connects our primary and intermediate hallway was the North Pole.  Also in between France and China is where our Guidance Counselor and our ISIC (In School Intervention Center) offices are located.  They decorated their small part of the hallway into the UN.  They hung doves from the ceiling and had a huge poster with the word peace in many different languages.  

Our school only does International Day every other year.  For the past two International Day's we have done it before Christmas, so we have incorporated holidays around the world.  So each house area decorates their common area and classrooms based on their county.  Each classroom has either food from that country, activities, games, or plays.  I'll list below what each county had going on in their area along with a few pictures.  The teachers divide their class into two groups.  Using parent volunteers, the first group travels in the morning spending about twenty minutes in each country.  Everyone gets a passport and gets it stamped when they reach a new county.  Everyone eats lunch at the same time and then those that stayed in the house area to help with the morning travelers get to travel in the afternoon.

*made sombreros
*ate Mexican wedding cake
*watched a power point about Christmas time in Mexico

*made a pointillism picture
*made a Noel banner
*made a yule log (braided pretzel with icing and sprinkled with chocolate chips)  

*made a dragon
*ate a sticky rice ball (a rice ball dipped in sugar) and drank tea
*played Chinese games and played with toys from China
*read parts of Grandfather Tangs story and made tangram shapes


I'll post the North Pole, Germany, Russia, and Japan tomorrow.  Hope you have enjoyed seeing the first three countries.  Does anyone else do anything like this at their school?


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Fog is Clearing!

I think I am finally starting to feel better!  The fog that has taken over my brain for the past three weeks is slowing beginning to clear.  Hopefully I will be able to really enjoy the last part of my break.  Though, I have begun to think about school.  

I started a new display to highlight books before the break.  I got the idea from the website Library Displays. If you haven't see this website, it has some great ideas about displays in the school library as well as the public library.  I'm doing a version of "Now Recommending", which is at the bottom of the webpage.  I'm going to have one for each grade level to put up in the primary and intermediate hallways by the Media Center.  I'm going to be creating a form, which I'll post, for kids to fill out if they want to participate. I'll also post pictures along with instructions once I get it up in the halls.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and enjoying their break. 


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and  Happy Holidays!  I also hope that everyone is a lot healthier than I am.  I was hoping to be doing some posting over break, but I'm just trying to get better.  I have a feeling that I'll end up feeling 100% right before I have to go back to work. :)  


Friday, December 16, 2011

Last Day before break!!

This has been a long last week!!  International Day went so well on Wednesday.  It is a great experience for the kids, but a very exhausting day for the teachers.  I'll post some pictures over break.  I've also been fighting a cold, which makes having the energy for the kids a challenge.  I have to get through three classes in the morning, but they are doing the book pass activity I posted about before.  Then I only have two classes in the afternoon, but one is happening during our sing-along, so it is not really class time.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fiction Book Pass

Another blog that I follow, The Organized Librarian, by Susan Couture a few months ago posted about a really great activity to do with new books, called the Fiction Book Pass.  She had an article published explaining the activity in the October Library Sparks magazine.  (Which by the way, is a great resource for the Media Center.) I had to wait for a while to do this activity until my new books came in.  Well, I've been doing it with my 4th and 5th Grade students last week and this week.  Oh my gosh do they love this activity!!!  I made a big deal on how they were getting a sneak peak at some of the brand new books for the Media Center.  I knew I had a great activity when after we finished, the kids asked me if we could do it again the next time we had class!

I even used it with 3rd Grade today.  I have an easy chapter book section that is new and many of the students were not going over to that section.  So my assistant suggested to use some of those chapter books to do a "Book Pass " in order to get the kids excited about that section.  Well it worked, all I heard during the class was "Wow, I didn't know we had this book."  I had a lot more students visit that section during check out time today!

Thank you Susan for such a great activity!  It has really been a lifesaver for me during these last two weeks before Winter Break!!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Power of Book Trailers

I posted awhile back (July 21st) about this great blog I came across, Watch. Connect. Read. by Mr. Schu.  He believes that using video book trailers is one way to connect kids to books.  Well let me tell you, after the beginning of this school year, I am a believer!!!  I started slowly with my Fourth and Fifth Graders, showing a few when I had a few spare minutes.  Well, those books began flying off the shelves!  I next started on my Third Graders.  I'm still putting holds into the computer for the book trailers that I had them watch!

I had my Fifth Graders in one class watch a book trailer for the series The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, along with two others.  Once check out started, this series was gone off the shelf within seconds!  I was amazed because I had been trying to get some students interested in the series for a few years.

I'm going to be using book trailers with my primary grades in the new year.

If you haven't checked out Mr. Schu's blog yet, I would highly recommend it.  You will hopefully get as much inspiration and information as I have.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's December 7th already????

Wow, time is really flying at school and at home.  At school we are getting ready for our HUGE school-wide activity, International Day.  This is a gigantic undertaking by staff and students.  Each of our six groups of three or four classrooms (called houses) are a different county.  Each house decorates the shared area and then there are activities set up in each classroom.  In the morning half of the school travels around a visits each country, then a break for lunch, and then the other half travels.  It is a great day, one that the kids will always remember, but a whole lot of work.

I'm getting my reading incentive program up and going.  Which is a lot of work for me.  I'll explain my program in my next post.  My theme this year, to keep track of the students progress is Reading Across the Countries.  It goes along with International Day.

I just can't believe how fast the holidays are coming!!  I'm not close to being ready.  It seems like they come faster each year.


Monday, November 21, 2011

What a Day!!!

I think that I had the right idea when I didn't want to get out of bed this morning!  Technology was not my friend today.  What went wrong today:  1. My Voki account said that it was expired, so my Fifth Graders couldn't work on their projects. 2. The Ipod touch would not stay connected to the wireless connection 3.  I had computers that just lost their network printers, they were no longer connected.  

My one bright spot was my Third Grade class.  I taught six kids how to Blabberize their landform.  Then I brought the next nine kids in and the first six kids became the teachers.  I just got to sit back and facilitate, but stepping in if needed.  These kids really stepped up to the plate today and surprised me.  I'm going to try and hold onto that good feeling as I try to get through tomorrow.

I ordered a new book from Upstart Publications in the mail on Saturday.  It is called The Centered School Library.  I'm excited to read it over Thanksgiving break.  It's all about creating "centers" in the library.  I'll post about it after I finish reading it.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Natural Disaster Projects

My Fifth Graders are working on their final projects.  They are are doing such a great job!!  I'm so impressed with the results.  I'll see if I can work on posting a project from, but if not I'll post my example. One of the other choices was to use to make their natural disaster talk.  The one that I've posted is great!  Make sure you have your volume turned up.  There were a few glitches with using Blabberize and having to shrink the sound file to upload it, but thanks to a wonderful fellow Media Specialist in my county, I was able to shrink the file.  Let me know what you think about the project. (If you are reading this in something like Google Reader, you will need to go to the  Library Gals website to see the project.)


Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Fouth Grade Funny

As I was teaching my first class on Friday, I realized that I would only see four of my classes only one more time in November!!  We use an A/B week schedule in my school system and these classes have Media always on Fridays.  When I was telling my Fourth Graders this, one said "Oh, yeah we have off next Friday for Veterinarian's Day."  I couldn't help myself but laugh out loud!  Then I corrected her.  I also checked out a few Veteran’s Day books for the teacher and told her the story as I gave them too her.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Tale of Two Classes

I tried my Kindergarten activity again with the book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  Well, this time it sank like a lead balloon.  When making the web, the student either just raised there hand and had no answer or gave the same answer that three students who had original answers gave.  My favorite by far today, which I had to chuckle at or I was going cry, was when asked "It was cloudy with a chance of ______?  The answer that I received was "water".  Thank goodness this was the last class of the day!  I get an opportunity to do the lesson again on Friday and next Tuesday.  So I will see if it was just the class having an off day, or if it was me! (I think this is the best part of my job, getting to reteach the lesson and tweak what doesn't work).


Technology in Action (part two)

(I'm sorry if you have read this already. My computer was not cooporating yesterday so I just deleated the original post.  My technology issues followed me to school.  Hopefully today will be a better technology day.)

I didn't plan for my Kindergarten lesson to have a technology piece when I planned on Sunday. I knew that they had been talking about weather in science. So we made modified web using Pixie 2. I included pictures along with the text.
My modified web.
Then I gave them a sheet with three gray clouds on it and this sentence printed at the bottom, "It was cloudy with a chance of _______________." They had to fill in the blank with one of our words on the "web" or one of their own. After they tried to write the word they needed to draw many examples of it under the clouds. It was going alright, but the students had just had their fall celebration, so they really didn't want to work. So I pulled the few that had been really working hard to the back of the Media Center. Once I had them there, I used the ipod touch to record them "reading" their sentence. As soon as the others saw what we were doing, they got right to work. It turned out so cute!! I wish I could post some of the videos.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Technology in Action (part one)

(I'm sorry if you have read this already. My computer was not cooporating last night so I just deleated the original post.)

After today, I can't wait for my 5th Graders to complete their final products from their natural disaster research!! They double cedked to make sure they had enough research, the students wrote the script for whichever choice they picked. (They had to pick between A. using the ipod touch to record a newscast, B. use to create an avatar, or C. use to make their natural disaster talk.) After reading some of their scripts, I can't wait to see them performed.

Technology in Action (part two) coming later today.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Fair is Done!!

Don't get me wrong, I love Book Fair. Sometimes I think that I get more excited than the kids. But, it's been a long week and I'm glad it is all packed up ready to go back. The Media Center is back to normal and now it is my time to recover.

I'm getting excited that my 5th Graders are close to finishing their research, so that we can start working on our final projects. If I can, I'll post some when we get done or I'll post my examples.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Fair, Book Fair, Book Fair

I just finished setting up my fall book fair this evening. I just love book fair because I get so excited over all the new books. I found a new favorite this year, The Candymakers by Wendy Mass. I haven't read any of her books before and I'm really glad I picked this one up. Here is a link to her website with a summary of the book, I've also posted a video clip of Wenday Mass talking about the book The Candymakers. I'm interested to read her newest one, 13 Gifts. I have a feeling it will end up in my pile to purchase at the end of the book fair.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Another Winner from Rick Riordan--The Son of Neptune

I have been a fan of Rick Riordan's books for about five years. My then fifth graders and I were watching the DVD for the upcoming book fair. The third book in the Percy Jackson series, The titan's Curse was advertised. I had never heard of it before, and I told the kids that. One fifth grader named Jack, told me it was a great series and I should read it. Well, I took all three books in the series home and read all of them over the weekend! And I even pre-ordered the fourth book!

Rick Riordan continues to write such interesting and engaging books for students and adults. His newest one, The Son of Neptune, is amazing!! I couldn't put the book down. Once again I got to the end of the book and screamed in frustration because Riordan left me with a cliffhanger! He is such a masterful storyteller who always leave you wanting the next book. Now I only have to wait until the fall of 2012 until the next book in the Heroes of Olympus is published.

It's going to be a long wait!!!


P.S.: I've posted the book trailer for The Son of Neptune. I was thrilled to figure out how to do this.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Research Rocks!

I'm getting ready to start a research project with my 5th Graders and my 3rd Graders. With my state adopting the Common Core Standards, research is front and center. I told my 5th Graders that they will have three choices for their final product and one of those choices in not PowerPoint. I have never seen a group of kids panic so fast! I told them that I was going outside my comfort zone, so they were going to go outside their comfort zone. I'm planning on giving them the following three choices: 1. Blabberize their information ( 2. Create an avatar ( or 3. Use the ipod touch to video their presentation. For 3rd Grade I think that I'm going to give them choice 1 or 3 to present their research.

I'm excited, but nervous. Hopefully the research will go well and so will the presentations.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Revamping my Intermediate Grades

I took a really cool course this summer offered by my county. I wrote about it in a previous post. Those of us who took the course got an ipod touch to use in our classrooms. I've been trying to think of the best way to incorporate it into my library media lessons. Since I have such large classes it is difficult. I've been doing a lot of thinking about breaking the classes into small groups and having them do "centers". One of the centers being the ipod touch. I'm still in the planning stages. Has anyone ever done centers in the library before?


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wicked Weather

The weather has made for a very interesting start to the year!! My first research project for 5th Grade is all about natural disasters. Well, here we have experienced since Aug. 24th, an earthquake, a hurricane, 2 possible tornadoes, and now flooding. Maybe I need to rethink this project for next year! :)

This year class wise has been a tough start too. As a result of the weather, there are four classes that will not have their Media class for the first time until next week. While others, by the end of this week, I will have seen three times. It's frustrating for me and the kids. Hopefully after next week things will settle down and I will be able to get into a routine with my kids.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We are rocking and rolling already!

Wow, what a way to start the year. In the middle of Open House we had an earthquake!! I'd never experienced one before, very unsettling. The parents were wonderful about leaving the building. We continued to have Open House out in the parking lot! :) How ironic that the first story that the Fifth Grade students read is Earthquake Terror by Peg Kehert.

We still have one natural disaster to go during this beginning of the school year. All eyes are watching the path of Hurricane Irene. Very stressful way to start the year, hopefully this is the most excitement that we will have this year and the rest will be very calm peaceful.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to Work

Well, I can't deny it any longer. The summer is over and it's back to school. Don't get wrong, I'm excited to start a new year, but there is so much that I wanted to get done at home. I guess the to do list for home will get pushed to the side until next summer, and I get a nice big clean sheet of paper for the first to do list of the school year.

If you haven't gone back to school yet, enjoy your last few days. If you already have, I'm right there with you now. Wishing everyone a great start to the year!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Technology in the Classroom

I'm in the process of taking a class offered by my county, called Technology in the Classroom. It is a wonderful class and I'm learning so much. I never realized how many Web 2.0 tools are out there for teachers. The only problem I've found is that trying to figure out what tools are going to work for me and my teaching. It is easy to get overwhelmed when looking at all the Web 2.0 tools. I think that I'm going to pick a few of my favorites and incorporate those into the beginning of the year and see how it goes. I'll post what I'm using and how it is going as the year starts.

Seeing all these wonderful tools, has gotten me excited about the beginning of the school year. But I'm still not ready to go back. :)


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Trailers

Even though it's summer, I've still been doing a bit of planning and searching the web for new ideas. One really neat blog that I came across was Watch. Connect. Read. Mr. Schu, the author of the blog, is an Elementary Librarian, who believes that video book trailers are one way to connect kids to books. As I've been reading his blog, I was inspired to search out video book trailers. I speak from personal experience that viewing a book trailer can make you want to read the book. I watched the book trailer for Jon Scieszka's new book Spaceheadz, which I have in my collection. I now can't wait to get my hands on it when I stop by school!

This is a youtube video. I know that in my school system, is blocked. I have found a website that allows you to download the youtube video so that I can play them at school. The website is
Keepvid. It has proved to be very helpful in downloading book trailers.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Another Year Finished

Another year is finished. I'm really going to miss some of the 5th Graders. I've taught many of them since Kindergarten. I will admit during the slide show at the promotion ceremony, I got a few tears in my eyes.

But now it is time to start looking towards next year. I've got a lot of things to explore over the summer for next year. I'll keep posting throughout the summer I as begin to plan and get excited over new lesson ideas for next year.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Kindergarten Rocks"

As I was trying to do a little bit of planning ahead for the rest of the year for Kindergarten, I came across a neat activity on the TLC = Technology + Library + Classroom blog. Tara, a librarian at the International School in Bangkok, Thailand, read about this idea on another blog. We read the book Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis, then using Inspiration we created a web about what they thought rocked about Kindergarten this year. Then I had them draw a picture showing what they enjoyed the most. When they were done with their picture I scanned some of them in, with their help. (I will finish scanning them.) The next time I see them for class I will have put the pictures into a Power Point presentation and we will record them saying "This is ________ and _________ rocked!" Many things that were said were Art, PE, and the most was field trips. Once the Power Point is completed the Prekindergarten teachers will show it to their students. I'm really excited to see how this turns out.

Tara used an online program called Voice Thread to create her final product. She didn't have the students draw a picture. She just used a class picture for this product. I had never heard of Voice Thread and it is now on my list of things to explore this summer.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Doodle 4 Google

It has been an exciting day! One of my third grade students was a regional winner in this years Doodle 4 Google contest. The Googlers came today for a school wide assembly. Everyone was very excited! You can vote for a winners in the 4 age categories from the link on the Google home page.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Low Tech Fun

Due to online testing causing everyone to stay off the computers we have been going low tech for the past two weeks. It has really been fun. The older students are creating travel posters--I opened the supply cupboard & gave them free rein. At first the students didn't quite know what to do but then everyone relaxed & had fun. - I enjoying watching the students create & it was interesting listening to their conversations. The only downside I could see was that there was glitter everywhere! :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Technology Gone Wild

This week and last week I feel that technology has been conspiring against me! Right now it seems that technology is making my life harder, not easier. For example, the interent drops off at least 4 times a day, two student's power point files disapper, my check-out system is telling me that some kids have books checked-out still when they really don't and a website that I based my whole lesson on for 4th Grade gave me an "oops" message all class period. I was really frustrated that day because I had just check the website 2 minutes before the class came in.

Ok, my mini vent is now over!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Days, Holidays & Professional Days

One of the biggest challenges I find in my teaching is implementing my lessons around days off. Don't get me wrong I enjoy the days off. The difficulty comes when a class misses 2 classes in a row which sets that class behind the other classes in the same grade level. I find it easier to keep my grade level classes on the same lessons but missing days or shorten class periods due to delayed starts & early dismissal makes it impossible. Should I shorten & speed up the lesson for the class that has missed or slow down the lesson for the other classes? Often I choose to add a short enrichment lesson for the classes that are ahead.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

January already!!!

I can't believe it is already January! As one teacher said "It's all downhill from here!" There is still so much to do. This past week I did a fun lesson with 5th Grade. I divided them into groups of three or four. I had them brainstorm one or two word phrases describing things that we can do in the library, things that happen in the library and things associated with our library. Once they created their lists they gave them to me. I showed them the site and began to create a word cloud. So that the students were not just sitting around waiting as I typed, I let them check out. Once check out was done, we created our word cloud. They thought it was cool. Then I began to click randomize and different word clouds appeared. I chose 5 that they seemed to like. I used the print screen button to capture the image and then pasted it into Microsoft Word. Then they voted on which they liked the best. The one pictured is the one my Thursday class liked the best. I also gave them a slip that had the website listed.

As I was typing I did do some editing, if one group had word learning and another then had the word learn I change learning into learn. This was just so there would be similar words. The kids had fun with this lesson. I noticed when this class went to the computer lab later that day, most went to the Worldle site and explored.