Monday, March 18, 2019

My Favorite Scholastic Dollars Catalog Purchases

I'm currently in my 8th year of being a Media Specialist at my school. And I've held a few book fairs during that time.  Our school uses Scholastic Book Fairs.  One of the incentives that Scholastic offers for holding book fairs is Scholastic Dollars. These are like bonus points that you can spend like cash either at your fair, at a Scholastic warehouse, or on the Scholastic Dollars catalog.  Depending on how many fairs you host during the year and how much you sell during those fairs, you can earn up to 55%  of your sales in Scholastic Dollars which don't expire. This means you can save up for some really awesome purchases.

One of the first Scholastic Dollar purchases I ever made was right after our first book fair.  I had heard from others that a change sorter might come in handy for those who come in with bags of coins.  I had no idea just how much of a difference that change sorter would make, but I can't imagine holding a book fair without it.

The change sorter is currently  $149.99.  You might be able to find a change sorter for less, but using Scholastic Dollars won't cost you any actual cash. It really is worth the investment.

Another favorite Scholastic Dollars purchase was a bit more costly, but it has just about paid for itself in less than a year.  It's the CoverOne Book Repair Machine and supply kit.  I decided to take our profits all in Scholastic Dollars for our fall fair so that I could purchase this machine.  It is truly worth the investment!

The first time I used it, I saved 9 books- books that would have been trashed otherwise.  I have since repaired about 30 more books this school year and have a stack waiting to be repaired.  I can't say enough good things about this machine!

The CoverOne can be a bit tricky to use at first, but after a few books, you get the hang of it. And the CoverOne tutorial videos on YouTube are a big help!

If Scholastic's price tag is a bit too much for your budget, try checking eBay.  I found a similar machine for much less. I can't vouch for how well the other machine works, but it might be worth trying if you need to save money.  Be sure to check with your system first to make sure that you can purchase from eBay.

A few years ago, I was able to start a MakerSpace in our Media Center.  If you have a MakerSpace, you know that building up our MakerSpace with materials can get expensive. That is why I was so excited to find that Scholastic offered so many MakerSpace items through the Scholastic Dollars catalog.

Because I took all Scholastic Dollars for profit for our fall book fair, I had quite a bit to spend. So I used part of our profits to purchase a Cue Educational Bundle.  This bundle has so much!  It includes the Cue Robot from Wonder Workshop,  a sketch kit and pens, a mat (ships separately), a year subscription to support materials from Wonder Workshop, and a digital teaching guide.    As soon as I took Cue out of the box and turned it on, I knew it would be a hit with our students.  Cue has a spunky personality which makes learning with it super fun!   Note: Scholastic does not offer just the Cue robot by itself, but you can purchase the robot separately directly from Wonder Workshop if you feel that the bundle isn't something you'd use.

One favorite MakerSpace items for fourth and fifth graders is littleBits.  The kits can be quite expensive, but using Scholastic Dollars, I was able to purchase 6 kits to add to our MakerSpace-enough to give students plenty of parts to Make with.

So those are some of my favorite splurges using Scholastic Dollars. Do you have any favorite Scholastic Dollars purchases?  Anything I should add to my wish list?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Possible Solutions for Check Out Dilemmas

The Dilemma:  A student has overdue books or owes a fine for a lost or damaged book and cannot check out due to fine policies, but you don't want to discourage the student from reading.  What to do?

There are several options I offer in our Media Center for these instances.

1)  Students can put books they would like to check out on hold for up to one week.  If they bring in the overdue items or pay the fines, they can quickly pick up the books they put on hold.  At my school, we don't charge for overdue books, but students cannot checkout any more books until the overdue items are returned or renewed.  Offering to hold books for students shows that you trust them to bring back what they owe and the majority of the time, those overdue books will show up the next day.

2)  Students can get a book or two from our Honor Book section.  This is the section of books that have been donated over the years, but aren't sturdy enough to be library books. Students are on their honor to bring these books back-thus the name "Honor Books."  The books are designated with a sticker on the front.  Read more about our Honor Books on THIS blog post.

3)  Students can adopt one book from our Adopt a Book shelf.  These are books that have been weeded due to poor circulation or because the book just can't be repaired any more because it is so well loved.  This book is theirs to keep.  They must sign a pledge that they will take good care of the book they adopt and READ it!  Read more about our Adopt-a-Book program on THIS blog post.

4)  Students can read a book while waiting for their classmates to checkout, but cannot take the book with them.

And for students who are having trouble paying their fines, I offer alternatives for "working off" their fine.

1)  Work off the fine during recess time on Fridays (or whatever day works for you).  15 minutes of work = $5 off the fine  I only offer this option on Fridays, as I do not have classes on Fridays and am able to supervise students.

2)  Read off the fine in the Media Center. Students may come into the media center during their free time to read in one of our reading areas.  15 minutes of reading = $5 off the fine  The reading must be done in the Media Center so that I can document it.

3) Can the Fine- students can bring in non-expired canned goods to be donated to our local food pantry.  3 cans = $5 off the fine

Whichever option the student chooses, they must bring back a signed permission form. This way I know for sure that their parent or guardian knows of the fine.  I have made the permission slips I use available on a Google Doc so that you can edit it to fit your needs.  Click HERE. Note:  You will be asked to Make a Copy.  Once you click the Make a Copy button, you will be able to edit the notes to fit your needs.

I never want a student to hate coming to the Media Center or to hate reading, so I hope by offering these alternatives, students still feel welcome.

What options do you have for your patrons who cannot check out books due to overdue policies or fines?

Monday, March 4, 2019

March is Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month and I have a freebie for you to help you celebrate this month.  It is just a few printable signs that you can use to create an eye catching bulletin board to promote books in your Media Center for Women's History Month.

This is how I used it.  I looked up biographies of famous women and printed off book covers.  I then used those book covers to make a bulletin board.

Monster Wrangler Mike also has some awesome posters available for free on his blog that you could use in place of book covers.  You can download his freebie HERE.

You can download this freebie HERE.  Hope you enjoy'!

Monday, February 25, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Resources

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner.  Here are some St. Patrick's Day resources I have created that you might like to use in your Library/Media Center.

If you need center ideas for St. Patrick's Day, this St. Patrick's Day call number sorting center may fit your needs.  Students practice sorting call numbers into their correct section: Easy (or Everyboday, Everyone), Fiction, or Nonfiction.  Click HERE to view this resource in my Teacher's Dojo store.

Or try this St. Patrick's Day themed shelf order center where students practice putting call number cards in correct shelf order.  This center pack includes cards for Easy (or Everybody/Everyone), Fiction, and Nonfiction.  You can view this resource HERE in my Teacher's Dojo store.

If you're looking for bookmarks, check out these free St. Patrick's Day bookmarks.  This product includes 2 different bookmarks- four to a page; one page is full color and one page is black and white for your students to color.  Click HERE to download this freebie from my Teacher's Dojo store.

If you want more bookmarks to choose from,  this product includes 32 bookmarks,  16 colored bookmarks and 16 black and white bookmarks for your students to color.  Click HERE to view this resource in my Teacher's Dojo store.

And if you're looking for a fun way to promote books during March, check out these fun St. Patrick's Day signs for your Library or Media Center.  You can view them HERE in my Teacher's Dojo store.

Are you planning anything special for St. Patrick's Day?

Monday, February 18, 2019

February is Love to Read Month

We are celebrating reading this month as February is Love to Read Month.

Here are some fun way we've been celebrating reading.

We kicked off February with our Spring Book Fair.  

The Book Fair is always so much fun and our students love getting new books to read.

And for the next two weeks, our students participated and continue to participate in our Love to Read Month centers.

Here is what our centers look like:

Amazing ABC Order

Students use Styrofoam cups that have authors' names written on them to stack the cups in ABC order. They can then check their answers to see if they were correct.

I Spy

Students look for library words hidden in rice.  I use a small orange juice bottle to put the rice in.  I copy the words on to cardstock, laminate it and cut them out.  Then I place the words into the bottle with the rice.  Students have to shake the bottle in order to find the words.   When they find a word, they write it down. They try to find as many words as they can.

Book Words

Using magnetic letter tiles, students spell as many words as they can think of that have to do with books and reading.  They write their words down on a recording sheet.

Book Love

Students write about their favorite book.  These slips are then put onto our special bulletin board in the hallway for everyone to read.  Hopefully someone will find a new book to read based on what other students love.


Student create and color their own bookmarks to keep or give away.


Students work on completing puzzles with a book theme.

Name That Book

Students try to guess the book that has been shredded.  (Don't worry.  This was a book that had sever water damage and could no longer circulate.)

And to tie it all together, I created a special bulletin board of our most favorite reads based on circulation for the past year.  I just love how it turned out.

I have put all of these center signs, forms, and bulletin board display signs in a packet.  You can purchase this packet in my Teacher's Dojo store by clicking HERE.

Are you celebrating Love to Read Month?  I'd love to hear about it.  Drop me a line in the comments and let me know.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Even though Kindness Week is officially over for this year, our school is celebrating Kindness Week this week, so I thought I'd share a Kindness Week freebie and some Kindness Week resources.

Random Acts of Kindness Day is just around the corner and I have a freebie for you to help celebrate.

This freebie includes free bookmarks,

a special kindness books display sign,


and two activity sheets for students to fill out about how they can show kindness.
Just click HERE to download this freebie.

You can read more about Random Acts of Kindness Day HERE, and although it is over for this year, you can also find out about Kindness Week HERE to plan for next year.

When talking about kindness, I like to read Be a Friend by Salina Yoon.

And then we follow up with Emily Arrow's Be a Friend video, which is based on the book.  Emily Arrow is the BEST!  If you've never heard her songs or seen her videos, I highly recommend checking them out.  They are totally fun and happy!

Here are some of my other favorite kindness books that you might like to use for Random Acts of Kindness Day:

Do you have any favorite books about kindness?