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Monday, September 14, 2015

Monster Book Fair

We just finished with our fall book fair. Scholastic's theme for this book fair was a monster theme.

Lucky for me, I had made some products with a monster theme over the summer, so making signs to advertise the book fair was pretty easy.

My five year old also helped me advertise after he discovered the Clifford costume in all of the book fair stuff.

Setting up, on the other hand, wasn't as quick or easy.  It took about 8 hours.  Here's some quick peeks at the process.

The decorations on the table and the decorations hanging from the ceiling came from the Scholastic decorating kit which I was able to get for free from the Scholastic Dollars catalog by attending a book fair workshop and using my special code I received from my book fair rep.  Although it's valued at $69.99, I value it at a much higher price because it saves me from having to create a bunch of decor or from having to run around town to find items to match the theme.  

Before I moved out the bookcases and boxes, I went ahead and put the tablecloths on the table.  It saves me some time when unpacking to go ahead and have those on the table.

It took me about an hour to get to this point.  Keep in mind I was setting up on my own.  I did have a parent volunteer sign up to help set up,  but she was unable due to an unforeseen circumstance.

After about an hour and a half, all the boxes were in the sections where they were ready to be unpacked and the books inside of them put on display.

After about six hours, this is what the fair looked like.  It's the details that get me every time.  I do like to label as many books as I can with AR labels since we use AR at my school.  I also label each shelf with letters so when teachers are creating their wish lists, it is easy for them to put what shelf that book can be found on.  All of this takes time, but it is worth it for the fair to run smoothly the next week.

A good part of the set up time involves creating "doodad" board and organizing the "doodads." I forgot to snap a picture of our "doodad" board from this fair, but here's a picture of one from a previous fair.  I use a trifold board and tape one of each item to the board. I number each item.  Students can let the cashier know which item they want when they get up to the cashier.  It helps to prevent the little items from disappearing and since I began using the "doodad" board, more books are purchased than the junky stuff.  So it's worth the extra time.

I always dress up the front doors of the media center.  The students get very excited when they see these decorations go up because they know the book fair is just about to start.  This time around, I left these doors until the end. You can tell by my sad little monster over the door that I was a little tired by then.  But the kiddos still liked it, so I am good with it.

And now that the fair is over, I can smile about it all.  
It really was a "monster"ously good time.

Monday, August 3, 2015

#TpTBTS15 Reminder

Don't forget the TpT BIG Back to School Sale starts today.  

You can get 28% off my paid products during the sale with the promo code BTS15 at checkout.  Happy shopping!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Reflection and Goals

As a new school year is about to begin (and because I didn't do it earlier), I am ready to reflect on last year and look to the new year with fresh eyes.

At the end of last year, I created a Year in Review that I shared with the staff at my school.  You can check it out HERE.

After creating the Year in Review, I looked back at previous years and felt maybe I didn't do as much as I had in the past, so this upcoming year, I would like to challenge myself to do better.

Big Goals:
  • Collaboration    This is a big one for me.  I feel like I just touch on basic collaboration when I meet with the media committee to plan out each nine weeks.  I let them know what I have planned, but don't feel like we collaborate that deeply to create lessons.  I really would like to do more than just the same lessons over and over each year and I feel like collaboration is the key.  Finding the time to collaborate always seems to be the obstacle. *sigh*
  • Tech Centers    I'd love to design/offer more technology based centers for my patrons. This will take some time to develop and then teach, but it's something that I've wanted to do since I took this position.  This could open the door to MakerSpaces, the Hour of Code, Digital Learning Day activities, and maybe even a Technology Club after school.
  • Building a MakerSpace   I have spoken to my principal about this.  She agrees that we might be able to do something in the future so I want to start exploring what is out there now.  There is a grant opportunity offered through our county each year that might be a good starting point.  It offers up to $1,500, which could be a way to get some starter kits.
  • Technology Club   This is another one that has been on my goal list for several years.  I always have lofty aspirations for doing something after school, but doing the job of two, sometimes three people every day burns me out.  I am going to try to push myself a little more this year to get this accomplished, at least maybe by the end of the year.
Smaller Goals:
  • Author visits via Skype or Google Hangouts    I have done Skype visits before, but our connection wasn't so hot.  I am thinking that Google Hangouts might be a better option because our county is going to Google Classroom this year, starting with teachers and a few trial grades.  Next year, we will be 100% Google Classroom 2nd grade and up. This goal may or may not be feasible because we are still working out the kinks.
  • Reading Tent    This was a big hit last year, and I'd like to do it again this year.  You can read about it HERE.
  • Book Awards    I did one lesson last year during Read Across America about Book Awards, but I'd like to do more this year.
  • STEM lessons    This one isn't so much a goal as it is a requirement. I have been told that we will be a 100% STEM recognized school by the end of the year, so that means that I have to do my part to fulfill the requirements to personally get STEM recognized by our county. This involves creating and teaching 5 STEM lessons.  This can be tricky with only 30 minute time slots for K-3, including check out, and only 45 minutes for 4-5 every other week, including check out.  But I WILL, somehow, make it work.
Collection Goals:
  • Change the call numbers in the Biography section from 921 to B.  The current call number 921 causes confusion in both locating and shelving biographies.  I think the B call number might help this.
  • Evaluate the collection and determine which series might be ready to be weeded or at least replaced with newer copies.
  • Look at the Easy Chapter book section and determine if some series might fit better in the upper fiction section or perhaps create yet another section for beginning chapter books.  Some of the books I have in this section are much longer than others, and although the longer books have larger print, they still might fit better in a different section.
  • Continue weeding the entire collection to keep it fresh and up to date.
Personal Professional Goals:
  • Present at a least 1 conference
  • Attend at least 2 new conferences
  • Complete Goodreads reading challenge (Feel free to follow me on Goodreads.  I am Jnase1.)
  • Clean up blog posts and organize the Freebies page.
  • Look into the location, the requirements and cost for acquiring a doctorate degree

I have begun my Scope and Sequence in the hopes I will be able to see how I can accomplish many of these goals.  There are still some areas I need to work on, but it's a start.  If you'd like to see what I've done so far, you can click HERE to download the Google doc.

So those are my goals for the year.  What about you?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

I {Mustache} You to Check Out My New Theme Decor

I have been busy decorating the media center for the new school year.  I went with the mustache theme after discussing it with the media committee last year. It's a theme that both upper and lower elementary will enjoy, which is always a plus.  I still have a little bit more to do, but the majority of the decorating is complete.

The signs I used to decorate with are included in my

(now with EDITABLE blank signs and library/media center passes)

Here's a sneak peak:

I cut out a large mustache out of bulletin board paper to hang over the door.


I made the door signs when I was designing my Mustache Themed Library Media Center Pack to see how they would look.  I made some changes to them in the pack, but since I had already printed them out, I went ahead and used them on my doors.

These are the doors on the inside of the media center.  The parent volunteer sign is included in my Mustache Themed Library Media Center Pack.  The Tweet door is something I have used for several years now. I got the idea from the Filling the Frame with Learning blog.  You can read more about how I use the door HEREHERE, and HERE.

I updated my AR Hall of Fame in the hallway.  I used this to highlight the top word count earners in 2nd-5th grades each month.  I didn't change out the letters, although I have made new letters that match the mustche theme.  I just haven't had a chance to do that yet, but they are printed, laminated and cut out, ready to hot glue to the wall next week.  The AR Hall of Fame letters and month signs are included in the Mustache Themed Library Media Center Pack.

For the circulation desk, I tried changing out the mustache clipart for black mustaches to go with the black background and to match the black mustaches in the colored background on each poster.  I liked the look so it's what I went with in the Mustache Themed Library Media Center Pack.

I like using book jackets that I don't use for new books that come in to decorate the media center.

I have one large bulletin board on the wall as you enter the media center.  I divide it into three parts to create 3 different bulletin board displays.

The first is the Reader of the Month bulletin board that I use to highlight the 2nd-5th graders who have the highest word count in AR each month. These signs are included in my Mustache Themed Library Media Center Pack.  The Reader of the Month pictures are also placed on the bulletin board in the hallway.  The pictures in the hallway stay up all year, whereas the pictures on this bulletin board change out each month.

The end of the bulletin board is my Mustache Themed Book Return Reward Bulletin Board Set.  I use this bulletin board to encourage and reward students for bringing back their borrowed materials on time.

The middle bulletin board changes each year.  Some years I highlight different authors; some years I highlight teachers and their favorite books.  This year I decided I would highlight our media center's collection.  I am going to display
  • the number of books in our collection
  • the number of weeded books so far
  • the number of lost books each month (I hope this stays at a low number)
  • the number of checkouts each month
  • the number of class visits each month
  • the top 5 books checked out each month
  • the top 5 patrons each month (who checked out the most)
I think this bulletin board is a great way to showcase what we have in our collection and to show how much (or how little) it is being used.  I hope that this will increase visits and circulation throughout the year.

I have made this into a freebie that you can download on TpT. You can snag it HERE.  If you download it, please let me know what you think.

And here's the really awesome news.  Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School sale August 3-4 and my TpT store will be 28% off during the sale.  Just use the promo code BTS15 at checkout.  If you've had your eye on something, August 3-4 is the time to buy!

Hope you enjoy and good luck this year!

Friday, July 17, 2015

#toptentitles Non-fiction

The nonfiction section had so many ties that there were more than 50 titles listed.   However, looking at the first 10 books listed, you can get a good idea of what types of books are the most popular, so in the interest of time, that is what I went with.

Here are the top ten non-fiction books based on circulation in our media center:

What?!  A cat book?!

Guess I better order some more military vehicle books for this upcoming year.

What are your top nonfiction books?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

#toptentitles Wildcat Favorites

The Wildcat Favorites section in our media center is made up (mostly) of fiction series books that are the most popular with our patrons.  This can include picture books (E), easy chapter books (EC), upper fiction books (FIC), as well as middle grade fiction books (MG FIC), and graphic novels.  Because these are the most popular books, the number of circulations for these titles is higher overall.  To read more about the Wildcat Favorite section, click HERE.

Interestingly, this year Diary of  a Wimpy Kid did not take the top place, although it did appear in the top ten more than once.  It's nice to see that different series are becoming more popular...Bad Kitty, Lunch Lady, and Squish are among some of the favorites gaining ground.  Here are the top ten Wildcat Favorites from 2014-2015 in our media center.

Three Lunch Lady titles sharing the top ten spot with 3 other books

Another Lunch Lady and a Squish book along with a Dork Diaries title make the number nine spot.

Number eight includes another Lunch Lady and the first of many Bad Kitty titles and Diary of a Wimpy Kid titles along with 3 other favorites.

Number surprises there

Number six...the first DOAWK

Number five...a Bad Kitty title

Number four...a Bad Kitty title

Number three.,..they love Lunch Lady!

Number two...down several spots from last year...DOAWK titles

And the number one Wildcat Favorites of the year went to a Bad Kitty title and an I Spy title.

It seems that the books I have placed in the Wildcat Favorites have certainly earned their spots.  What are your patrons' favorite series books?