Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey.  The kid's version was started by the lovely ladies at Teach Mentor Text.

I have been doing lots of reading, because it's been a while since I posted.  I've been participating in The Shelf Challenge set up by Matthew Winner.  Click here to read more about the challenge.  I've read a lot of "A" books from my Everybody section.  I've found some gems, some books that needed to be removed, and others that I've got to figure out how to get them into kids hands!

 The Water Castle
One of my favorites from the past few weeks was The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore.  A fellow Nerdy Book Club member Susan Dee (@literacydocent) recommend this book to me.  Click here for a summary from Goodreads.  This book was a very interesting read.  I loved it!  The characters were easy to relate too and feel all of their emotions.  I highly recommend this book!

I also read Timmy Failure by Stephan Pastis.  I was so thrilled to win this one from Susan Dee (@literacydocent).  I had seen it at Target when I was shopping, but I didn't have time to stop and read a bit.  Then after I saw the book trailer, I knew that I had to get this one for my library!  Click here for a summary from Goodreads.  I think that my students are really going to enjoy this book and have quite a few laughs over Timmy and his antics.  

My picture of Hattie Ever After.
I was so excited to find Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson in my Book Fair.  I have been waiting to read this book since it came out in February.  Well, it was worth the wait!  Click here for a summary from Goodreads.  I'm still amazed that I keep falling in love with historical fiction books.  I have never been a historical fiction fan.  I just didn't like what I had read before.  As I joined Twitter and became a Nerdy Book Club Member, it became very obvious to me that I had just been reading the wrong historical fiction books.  One of my favorites that I found was Hattie Big Sky.  This was one of the first historical fiction books where I could actually relate to the main character.  And that has not changed in Hattie Ever After.  In fact I wish I could be more like Hattie in this book.

As I was beginning to tweet about starting Hattie Ever After, I was thrilled and honored that Kirby Larson responded to my tweet.  And to added to my excitement  she started to follow me on Twitter.  I was really glad nobody was around to see my happy dance!!

Happy Reading!!
Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shelf Challenge Update

I've been reading up a storm until last week, when I had to start focusing on my Book Fair!  I have been reading the "A" books in my Everybody section.

When I first started this challenge, I thought I might be able to include the "B" books.  Boy was I wrong!  Even though it is a small section, I'm not sure that I will get all the way through the "A's"!  I'm going to give it my best shot!

I haven't come across any real gems since the last time that I posted.  The books that I've been reading a good ones, but sometimes get overlooked.  I'm going to have to find a way to highlight these books.

Hi! Fly GuyBy reading the "A" books, I got to read books with one of my favorite characters, Fly Guy.  Since the first Fly Guy book was published, I have been in love with this series!  I can't pick a favorite because I love them all!  After reading all of Tedd Arnold's books I realized how much I love all of his work!  I can't wait until can read Fly Guy Presents Sharks.  I'm interested to see the mix of nonfiction with Fly Guy, who is clearly fiction.

I'm hoping to finish the "A" books by the end of April.  Though I do get one extra day because when the Shelf Challenge started on April 1st, I was still on Spring Break.  So look for an update in the middle of the week.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Weeding, Weeding, and More Weeding

I've been staring at my nonfiction shelves for a while now.  They just seem so overcrowded with no room to grow.  I know that in the future I will be buying more nonfiction to support the Common Core.  I had no room on the shelves to put anymore.  I read Travis Jonker's blog post The Tebow Problem: The Hot and Cold Nature of the Biography Section and it really made me reflect on my nonfiction section.

Last Friday I was showing the students the Scholastic Book Fair DVD and was standing my one of my nonfiction shelves.  I was looking for a good poetry book for a teacher to share.  The poetry shelves were packed from one side to the other with no room for any movement.  I felt very overwhelmed trying to located a cool poetry book as the teacher.  I can only imagine how it feels as a student trying to explore that section.  So I started to weed!

I first went by those books that were so well loved that they were falling apart.  There were quite a few of these.  Then I printed a report and looked at total circulations, which was a HUGE eye-opener!  Many books that I would have thought had a high circulation didn't and others that I wouldn't expect to be circulating a lot were going out more than I thought.

I finished the 800's last week and I moved onto the 900's today.  I had done a good weeding of the beginning of the 900's a few years ago.  This was after I discovered a few atlas books that still had the USSR in it.  So I just had to move a few books on the shelves.  Then I started on the biographies!  This was another section that was packed.  It pained me to weed through this section, but there was no room to grow and the kids stay far away from this section.  I had to be very strict with myself, many of the books hadn't been checked out in over ten years.  I also found books of sports stars who, in the books were just beginning their careers.  And now many of the are retiring or have been retired for years.  In fact, I found four biographies on Cal Ripken Jr.  Three out of the four biographies still had him playing baseball and he has been retired since 2001.  

I didn't find any really interesting biographies like I found a few years ago.  When I was getting to know my collection after I first got to my school, I found a biography of Morris the Cat.  I hope that many of you know who Morris the Cat was because most of my staff didn't know.  This made me feel SO SO old!  If you don't know Morris the Cat was the spokescat for the cat food 9Lives.  Below is a commercial that he was featured in.

Like I said before, it pains me to weed through these books.  But it is something that has to be done.  If students need information about a specific person that we don't have a book on anymore, I have many different databases available.

Any words of advise, ideas, or commiseration about weeding? 

Happy Reading (or Weeding)!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shelf Challenge Update

Last week was a busy busy week!  I had three nights that I didn't get home until 8:30pm or 9:00pm.  So I didn't get much reading done for the Shelf Challenge.  Then I was hoping to do more reading over the weekend, but I had a touch of the flu.  The library gods have been against me.  I got some reading done on Monday and today from the "A"section of my Everybody books.

Giraffes Can't DanceI had a few that I really liked and can't believe I hadn't read them before.  There were also a few others that I weeded out.

I'll give you my top three that I found.  My first one is one that I had read before, Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae.  Click here for a summary from Goodreads.  As I was reading it, I was reminded how much I love the main character Gerald.  He wants to go to the Jungle Dance, but after the other animals make fun of Gerald, he slinks away and feels useless.  After some advice from a helpful cricket Gerald realizes he needs believe in himself.  Love, love, love the message for students that this book gives.  It is one that should be read often to students.

Keep Love in Your Heart, Little OneMy second stand out is another one from Giles Andreae, Keep Love in Your Heart, Little One.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  This book is all about a parent's love for their children.  This book is a wonderful read for any family.  It is one that I wish I could have found for my friend who is having  a baby any day now.  What I like is, even though it does look like parent who is talking to the child is the father, it works for either parent.  I can't highly recommend this book enough.  After everything that happened this week, it is a wonderful one to read to your children.

Van Gogh and the SunflowersThe last book that stood out is van Gogh and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt.  This is a historical fiction book about Vincent van Gogh and a french boy and his family who becomes friends when van Gogh comes to their town.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I bought this book because I thought the cover look interesting, but never got around to reading it.  I am a huge van Gogh fan, so this book really was right up my alley!  I found the author's interpretation on how some of van Gogh's more famous painting came to be painted.  I'm going to try and get more students to check this book out.  Maybe if I pair it with a nonfiction book, tie it with a ribbon and set in it my "Fiction and Nonfiction Make a GREAT Combination! display it might get checked out more.

Can't wait to see what others have been reading in their Shelf Challenge adventures!

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shelf Challenge Days Four Through Eight

It has been a busy few days, so I haven't had time to blog, but I've still been reading my "A" books!

With Love, Little Red HenI've found a few cute ones, that I'm going to have to share with students and staff.  The first two are Yours Truly, Goldilocks and With Love, Little Red Hen by Alma Flor Ada.  Click here for a summary for Goldilocks from Goodreads and click here for a summary for Little Red Hen.  These are book two and three in the series Dear Peter Rabbit.  I don't have the first one and will have to get it.  I loved that these books were all written in letter form!  I think in our high tech world, the simple art of letter writing has been pushed aside.  I remember growing up and writing letters to my grandparents for anything and everything.  I just loved the anticipation of getting a letter or a card in return.  I felt so grown up when I had a piece of mail addressed to me and only me.  After my Grandmother had passed away we found boxes under her bed of cards and letters that we had sent her over the years.  I'm sad that I don't have the opportunity to write to her or any of my other grandparents any more.  It just makes me want to keep sending cards and letters to my relatives who are still with me!

Singin' with Momma LouI didn't realized this challenge was going to really hit very close to home.  I read Singing with Momma Lou by Linda Jacobs Altman.  Click here for a summary from Goodreads. This book is all about a little girl named Tamika who doesn't like when she has to go to the nursing home to visit her grandmother who has Alzheimer's.  It is very hard for Tamika to relate to her grandmother, until she starts bringing pictures and newspaper clippings to jog Momma Lou's memory.  I can totally relate to this story because my Grandmother, who I mentioned earlier, was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's when she was in the nursing home.  This book brought me to tears as the memories of everything I did to get Grandmother remember.  In the fall I will once again participate in the Alzheimer's Walk. Besides my grandmother, my great-grandmother and a cousin have been affected Alzheimer's.
Waiting for Benjamin: A Story about Autism

Another great one that I found was Waiting for Benjamin: A Story About Autism by Alexandra Jessup Altman.  Click here for a summary from Goodreads.  This one is a great one to explain Autism to younger students and even to older ones.  I was glad I had this one for a classroom teacher, when she had a student with autism join her class.  This helped the class a lot to understand.

As I was reading I came across some old favorites, Miss Nelson is Missing, Miss Nelson is Back, and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day by Harry Allard.  I loved these when I was in elementary school!  What I found was, my copies need to be replaced.  They are very well loved.  I've added them to my to buy list for next year.

I thought this would be a short post, but it turned out longer.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, April 8, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey.  The kid's version was started by the lovely ladies at Teach Mentor Text.

This week I read a mixture of fiction and nonfiction.  I've been reading my "A" section in my everybody section becaue of the 2013 Shelf Challenge.  Read about my Day Three of the Challenge here and I will be posting about the past few days tomorrow.  It has been an interesting experience so far. 

Like Bug Juice on a BurgerBecause of the Shelf Challenge I've been doing a lot of reading, but I did fit in a bit of other reading.  I have, along with a third grade student, have been waiting for Like Bug Juice on a Burger by Julie Sternberg.  Click here for a summary from Goodreads.  I loved this one as much as the first book, Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie.  In Like Bug Juice on a Burger, we meet up Eleanor who is really excited to go away to the same sleep-away camp that her mom went to, for a few weeks until the summer.  She is really excited, until she actually has to get on the bus and go.  This book will tug at your heart strings as Eleanor tries to survive camp.  The illustrations by Matthew Cordell add so much to the book.  I'm so glad that he is illustrating this book.

Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our LivesThe other book that I got to read this week is Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives by Gene Barretta.  I learned so much for this book! There was so much I didn't know about Thomas Edison.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  An interesting fact that I learned was that during Edison's career he was awarded 1,093 patents.  The format that Barretta used added to the book.  On the left pages he talked about something from the present day and on the right pages he talked about how Edison helped create what he talked about on the left pages.  This is a great book and I'm going to have to look for others by Gene Barretta.

 The Water CastleUp next for me is The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore.  A fellow Nerdy Book Club member Susan Dee (@literacydocent) recommend this book to me.  Click here for a summary from Goodreads.  I can't wait to dive in to this book.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Adopt a Shelf Update

  Adopt a Shelf

Before Spring Break I met with my students who applied to adopt a shelf in the Media Center.  I had four 5th Graders who decided they didn't want to participate, which was fine.  So I picked four others.  

This week was our first week back from Spring Break.  I think overall the Adopt a Shelf Program has been a success.  My fiction and everybody shelves are looking better than ever.  It has definitely given those kids a feeling of ownership and they are making sure that their classmates are taking care of the shelves when they are selecting books.  Most of those in the program are taking their jobs so seriously.  In fact two of my 4th graders who had already been in at recess to check on their shelves on Tuesday, asked if it would be alright to check on their shelf during checkout time.  I was THRILLED!!  I even hear one explain to a classmate that he needed to be careful when putting the book back on the shelf because he was not putting it back in the correct space or with the spine facing out.

I did have two fifth graders who, after the first day, decided this was too much work and they didn't want to do it any more.  This made me chuckle, but I had more students who had applied.  I had 25 shelves available and 76 students apply.

This has been a great experience overall and I will continue it next year.  I think that I will have those students who are in 4th Grade, help train those new students next year.

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day Three--Shelf Challenge

Well, it is Day Three of the Shelf Challenge for me.  Day One started off good, I read six books.  No books really stood out in the six that I read.  I had hoped to read more, but a teacher came in and we starting talking. I lost my momentum.  Day Two was a no go.  It was not a great day for me and something had to give.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?Day Three has been a bit more successful!  I read eleven books in my "A" section!  I found some books that I loved and some that I needed to weed.  I even found one that was catalog wrong and needs to be moved to the correct section. (It was one of the ones that I loved!)

I'll talk about the one that was in the wrong section first, since it will be move tomorrow.  The book is Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?  Click here for a summary from Goodreads.  This book has many different illustrators who drew the answer to the question:  why did the chicken cross the road?  I don't think that I can pick a favorite, they are all so good. 

Mr. Putney's Quacking DogIn my "A" section I had three books written by Jon Agee.  They are Milo's Hat Trick, The Retired Kid and Mr. Putney's Quacking Dog.  I loved Mr. Putney's Quacking Dog the best!  Click here for a summary from Goodreads.  I got a good laugh from all twists on the animals.  I'm going to have to find more of Jon Agee's books, I enjoyed the three that I read.  A funny thing is, that in the chicken book I mentioned above Jon Agee is one of the illustrators featured.

The PencilMy other good find, was one that I have read before, The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg.  Click here for a summary from Goodreads.  This is a story about a lonely little pencil who draws different things to keep him company.  Things get a little out of hand when his company starts complaining.  It gets a little crazy.  I laugh when students check it out, because most come up to tell me that someone has written in the book.  It is just the black and white drawings at the beginning.

I did find two rebus stories that I was removing.  The stories were about Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.  The story in rebus was first, but there were so many pictures in addition to the illustrations on the other page it drove me crazy.  Then in the back, without the rebus picture or illustrations was the story written in text.  The copyright date is 1989 for both and looking at the report I printed out for the "A" section told me that together the books had only been checked out a combined total of 14 times.  There weren't any check out in the past few years.

Can't wait to continue on with more "A" books tomorrow and this weekend.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Shelf Challenge

I went back and forth for the last week about joining the Shelf Challenge set by Matthew Winner.  Click here to read more about the challenge.  I finally made my decision and joined.  I've been waiting to beginning weeding and getting my Everybody Section straighten up.  This should be the good kick in the behind that I need to get started.  I'm going to start at the beginning, which are the "A's".  I will have to look when I get back to school tomorrow because I don't think that my "A" section is very big.  I might add the "B's" as well, but I'm not committing to that just yet!  

I'll post before and after pictures.

I'll keep posting throughout the month about different gems I find in my section.  And I'll also post any "Oh, my gosh I can't believe that was on my shelf!" finds.

Have you accepted the challenge?

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Kindergarten and Research

With the Common Core being used now in the younger grades, my Kindergarten teachers were freaking out a bit of having their students do research.  So to support them and prove that it could be done I did some "research" with my students.

Right now in Kindergarten they are learning about Natural and Human Features in the Environment.  I started by showing students different pictures of natural made features (caves, mountains, tide pools, etc.) and some human made features (school, birdhouse, shopping center, etc.).  On the Smartboard we sorted the pictures.  They had some background knowledge because they had been talking about it in classes. 

Then we moved over to where we read books.  I explained to the students we were going to be reading a nonfiction book.  I asked them what do we listen for when we read nonfiction books.  The answer is neat facts.  I always tell them to remember nonfiction and neat facts both have an n and an f in them.

Mountains (Blastoff! Readers) (Learning About the Earth) (Learning About the Earth)The book that we read was Mountains by Emily K. Green.  After we finished I allowed those students, who wanted to, share the neat fact that they learned.  Once everyone was done sharing, I had the students move back to their seats and try and write a sentence about their neat fact that they learned.  I told them I wasn't looking for perfect sentences, but I wanted them to try.  Some struggled because of their developmental level or they wanted it to be perfect.  Others really tried, and got a sentence down.  Once they had written their sentence, they brought it to me or my assistant and we wrote it correctly.  Then they could go back and draw a picture.

After I did this activity, I made the sheet that you see in the pictures below.  When I just gave them a blank piece of paper, many of them drew their picture over the sentence.  I found that the box helped keep the picture off the sentence.

I was really impressed with what my students came up with.  Once I shared their papers with the Kindergarten teachers, I think they realized that research isn't impossible for their students.

If you do anything similar or have some great ideas, please share in the comments.

Stacey (@libraryjo92)