Monday, May 27, 2013

Perfect Square Activity

Trying to do some fun things to end the school year with my classes.  One of the nominated books for the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award is Perfect Square by Michael Hall.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I just loved this book!  It's a very fast read, but the kids have fallen in love with it.  After reading it and see what things the square could be made into, I gave each student a square.  I told them that they could cut, tear, rip, crinkle, wrinkle, or whatever they wanted to do to change their square into something else.  I gave them glue, so they could put the pieces together.  Then, if they wanted, they could get a piece of paper to mount it on.  After they finished, I let them use crayons to add details, if they wanted.

I was amazed at how creative my Kindergarten students were with this activity!  I wanted to show off a few of their creations.  I didn't want to have picture after picture, so I pushed myself to try a new technology tool,  Animoto.  This was my first attempt at a free video.  Well I love it!  I wish that could afford the Pro version, but I might be buying the Plus version.  My brain is just spinning with all the ways that I could use this in the library!

Has anyone else use Animoto?  If you please share what you have done.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Try our video maker at Animoto.

Make your own slideshow at Animoto.

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.

Well, I started this post about two weeks ago.  I had really good intentions, but it just didn't work out.  I've been feeling so stressed lately and haven't been doing much reading.  Yesterday I took a step back and wrote down everything that kept running through my mind.  It was a long list, but I came to a realization:  I'm drowning in end of the year paperwork!  It seems worse that usual this year and I'm not sure why.  So I have my list and I'm working through it.  

The books listed below are ones that I've read in the past two weeks.  I just realized I haven't even been updating my Goodreads account!  I have to fix that.  I'm hoping once school is over I can concentrate on my book gap, which is nonfiction. (On a side note, I'm looking for suggestions on an elementary nonfiction books that will support Core.)

I read the Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain by Jarrett K. Krosoczka.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I enjoyed this one just as much as the first one I read!  I couldn't believe that we were left with a cliffhanger.  One of my students, who was the first one to read it, came back and said "How could he (the author) leave us hanging like that?"  I told him that's how the author keeps us coming back.

The Hero's Guide to Storming the CastleI also read The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I was hoping that this sequel would live up to the first book; I wasn't disappointed.  I just love all the strong female characters in this book.  And was really excited to see the ladies at Teach Mentor Text used these characters as examples in their Girl Power posts.  My only disappointment is that my two 5th Grade girls who LOVED the first one are not going to have the opportunity to read this book from my library.  We will not have it until next year.  But I told them both about it, and told them to check it out from the public library.  
Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked

This weekend I picked up Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett J. Krosoczka.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I have been waiting for this one for a while, ever since I saw the book trailer.  I know that this is going to be a very popular title next year!  This book reminded me of so many old police shows that I watched as reruns growing up.  I'm so glad that Jarrett didn't have the main characters as penguins like he originally did.  I think having them as platypus works much better.  And who doesn't like saying platypus!

Energize Research Reading and Writing: Fresh Strategies to Spark Interest, Develop Independence, and Meet Key Common Core Standards, Grades 4-8
I also got to start reading a professional book, Energize Research Reading and Writing by Christopher Lehman.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I'm only on Chapter Four, but I just love this book.  Makes me almost wish I was back in the classroom!  Everything that Christopher is saying in this book about the way to teach research is very powerful.  I'm still trying to figure out how to fit it into the library.  I'm sure that I will be contacting Christopher (@iChrisLehman) on Twitter many times this summer.

Up next for me is Doll Bones by Holly Back.  This one just looks so interesting!  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship With the Book Fair

The Lions of Little RockSometimes I think that I get more excited than the kids do that Book Fair is coming to school.  I just love the feeling I get when I am able to put new books in kids hands.  It feels great when they seek me out, after they have started reading their books, to tell me how much they love it.  I think at this Book Fair I introduced a lot of students to historical fiction books.  They are usually the books that kids shy away from unless they have to read them.  We had two really great historical fiction books in the Book Fair this year, The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine and Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm.  Click here for a summary from Goodreads for The Lions of Little Rock.  Click here for a summary from Goodreads for Turtle in Paradise.  
Turtle in Paradise

When they kids come into the Book Fair for the first time, no matter what grade level, I always highlight some fiction and nonfiction books to them.  This gives them some suggestions that they might pass over.  Too many times they kids get caught up in the books related to toys or movies and miss some of the best books.  

There are only two things that I do hate about Book Fair.  The first is, that I hate to see it leave.  It is so much fun been surrounded by all those new books.  The second thing I hate, is how tired I am by then end of Book Fair and how bad my feet hurt!  By the time the fall rolls around, I'll forget how tired I got with the spring Book Fair and the excitement will build the closer we get to October.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)