Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Genre of the Month

When I became a MS, I decided I was going to do whatever I could to get students excited about reading and to read different types of materials so that they can become well-rounded. So in keeping with that goal, I started the Genre of the Month program where I teach a different genre of literature in the Media Center in the hopes of getting students excited about reading.

The GOTM is highlighted on a special bulletin board, and I do a lesson once a month to make sure the students understand the genre.

I also put up signs about the GOTM on top of the shelves and pull books from that genre to go next to the signs to make these books easy to find.  (If you're interested, you can get a free sample copy of these signs here or click on either of the pictures above.)

I put special signs on the computer about the GOTM to make it easy to look up a GOTM book and I put out GOTM bookmarks, cause you know these kids love them some bookmarks.  ;)

I have made 28 genre bookmarks.  I have them for sale on my TpT store for $3.00.  You can get them here.  And TpT is having a sale today!!!!  That means that the bookmarks are on sale for $2.40.  Who doesn't love a sale?  Just enter the promo code you see in the pic below.

As an extra incentive to read a book from the Genre of the Month, I hide a "secret symbol" (examples seen in the picture above) in random books that fall into that genre.  When a student finds the "secret symbol"  they bring the symbol and the book to the Media Center. I quiz them on the book to be sure they have really read the book, and if they pass the short quiz, they get to pick a prize from my treasure chest.  The treasure chest is filled with items from Oriental Trading and toys from kids' meals, stuff the kids go crazy over.  If a student finds a secret symbol, I take their picture and put it on a bulletin board.  They are so proud to see their picture hanging up.

You can find the posters, bookmarks, and secret symbols all in this Genre Mega Pack in my TpT store for just $8.00.  Click here or on the picture above to check it out.

During "slow" weeks (is there really a such thing in the Media Center?), I will do a genre review game I call "Genredy."  The winners of the game get a roll of Smarties.

I also have made a fun hands-on activity called Genre Detectives that I used mid-way through the year to reveiw all the genres we had covered.  I used it with 2nd-5th grade classes and they really seemed to enjoy it.

This is how I set up the activity.  I put 8 books, one from each of these genres in the white bucket:
tall tale, fable, legend, science fiction, historical fiction, realistic fiction, mystery, and non-fiction.  Large craft sticks and genre labels are in the small bin.

The poster lists the 8 genres and their definitions.  Students work together to match the genre to its correct definitions using the craft sticks.

Next, students label each book with the correct genre label.

This is an example of how the book would be labeled.  The shapes on each book correspond to a genre which the students find out at the end of the lesson when they check their answers.

The Genre Detective packet is available on my TpT store and is included in the Leap Day sale.  It's normally $3.00, but you can get it during the sale for $2.40.  You can get it here.

I also have a second Genre Detective packet.  It is also $3.00.  You can get it here.

I recently came across a new blog, The Library Patch, started by another elementary librarian, Sonya. She is starting a similar program to the Genre of the Month in her library, but with fiction books.  She calls it the Roundup for Reading program.  You can find her post about the Roundup for Reading program here.  She even has some downloads about the program.  I am definitely going to keep this program in mind for next year, just to kind of mix things up.  I highly recommend stopping by and checking out her blog, The Library Patch.  Tell her Mrs. Nase sent ya!  =)

As for the GOTM program, I feel like it has done a great deal to get students to read different types of books, mostly because they want to find the "secret symbol," but hey, if it gets them reading, I'd stand on my head and juggle fire, if I knew how to do that, that is, 'cause that's just how I roll.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I saw this video posted by Julie Greller on  A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet a few weeks back (see her post here) and just had to share.  It's a little over the top, but I have to admit that there are days when I feel at least a little bit like this, although I would NEVER say what I am thinking out loud like she does.  

Can you imagine what would happen if an elementary school library media specialist went on a rant like this?  Oh my!  Yeah, you'd get to go on a break alright...a permanent break.  This blog post did get me thinking, however.  If this is really bothering me so much, what can I do to fix the problem?  Then I came across a post from Kelly Butcher on The Lemme Library (now called The Book Butcher) blog about red light and green light shelves. You can read the post here.

It is such a simple idea, but it's brilliant!  So this week I am totally going to try it out and see if it works. I made a PowerPoint to review check out procedures and book care and included red light and green light shelves in it.  I can't wait to try it out.  Then maybe I can watch the video below that I found on the Effective Teaching Articles blog and feel "The Joy of Books" again.   =)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Care

Next week I will be letting the Kinders and Firsties check out from the BIG shelves for the first time this year.  It's a big step for them and I know they are really excited about it.  To get them ready, I have prepared a review lesson about how to choose a "just right" book and also how to take care of library books.  It seems they need a gentle reminder about book care as some of their books have begun being returned with extra pictures or missing pages in them.  I found a really cute book on the Kindergarten...Kindergarten blog called Forest Friends Go to School:  A Very, Very Sad Story (With a Happy Ending!) that I downloaded, printed, and put together.  You can find that book here.  It's perfect for this lesson on book care.

And since next week is also Read Across America week I wanted to tie everything together with some cute bookmarks with a Seussy theme.  After all, using a bookmark is good book care.

Unfortunately, the original version of these bookmarks had to be taken down due to copyright issues involving the Seuss name.  Such a shame since the clipart was being used for educational purposes and in a way to encourage kids to read which is why Theodore Giesel wrote his children's books in the first place.  Kind of hypocrytical too, considering the new Seuss movie that just came out is all about how corporate greed is evil.  Just saying.  Or perhaps Stephen Colbert says it best in this video clip.

This comic spoof by Ruben Bolling hits the nail on the head, too.  Can you tell this issue has really riled me up?

Found both of these on a post from 100 Scopes Notes.  You can find that post here.

Please excuse my "Grinch"iness, but this whole business just gets up my nose.  Anyway, hope you enjoy the new version of the bookmark. You can get it here.   And hope you haven't lost your love of the true Seuss, the one who was about fostering a love of reading, not of greed.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Read Across America Ideas Galore

Read Across America week is quickly approaching.  Officially it begins February 27 and culminates on March 2, Dr. Seuss' birthday.

I wanted to do something special for this week in the Media Center, so I had collected ideas on Pinterest.  
I ended up with 246 pins which way more than what I need.  So I went through and created a new board of Read Across America Library Center ideas. 

It was a much more manageable 22 pins, but still way more than I needed. So I spent last week parring it down EVEN further and came up with 8 activities I thought would capture the interest of my PreK-5th grade patrons.  I have posted pictures of what I ended up using.  I have had to take the links down since I orinally posted this due to copyright issues involving Scrappin Doodles Cat with Hat graphics and Seuss Enterprises (don't even get me started about the  hypocrisy  of it all on the part of Seuss Enterprises).  I am going to keep the photographs up, but am removing the links to any packets that contained this clipart to comply.  I have also deleted most of the pins on my boards just to be on the safe side. Wouldn't want to give Seuss Enterprises any free advertising by using clipart that resembles a Seuss character.  (Can you tell I am a little peeved about this whole thing?)


Table 1 had a super cute 100 chart color in the numbers that I found on the Lil' Country Kindergarten blog created by Marlana.  She has since had to take down this freebie because someone had bundled her freebies and were selling them as their own.  =(  She still has a few 100 chart freebies, but this one is now gone.

Table 2 had an antonym matching sheet that I found  on the Fun in First Grade blog.  It came in a mini unit from Jodi.  She will probably end up taking it down as well since it had the clipart in question on it.   Her blog is still a great one to follow and I highly recommend checking it out.  I created a "challenge" antonym sheet to go with this center where students must look up a word in a thesaurus and write at least one antonym for the word.  

Table 3 had a story sheet that goes along with the book I Can Read with My Eyes Shut.  I found this cute worksheet in a free Unit for March 2nd packet created by Rachelle on What the Teacher Wants.   This packet has been taken down since the original posting.

Table 4 had a fun number and numeral matching game that also came from Rachelle's free Unit for March 2nd packet on What the Teacher Wants, but again this packet has been taken down since the original posting.

Table 5 had an ABC order sheet with characters and words that I, again, used from Rachelle's free packet on What the Teacher Wants.  I also created a "challenge" page where students have to look up words in a dictionary after putting them in ABC order.  

Table 6 had a fun word search again from Rachelle's fabulous free packet on What the Teacher Wants .  I also created a "challenge" word search for the older kiddos.  

Table 7 had a fun math fact family activity that I found on Classroom Freebies from Shelley Gray of the blog Teaching in the Early Years by Shelley Gray.  This packet may have also been removed because of the clipart.

And finally, I made a guessing jar station with rainbow gold fish.  And here is the pin that inspired me.  Unfortunately, there isn't a link back to the webpage it came from. If anyone knows where it originated, I'd love to know.  =)

I'd like to say a special thanks to Marlana, Jodi, Rachelle, and Shelley for creating some great resources. Such a shame they had to be taken down.  Thanks again, ladies, for making such great items and for sharing them with the rest of us, if only for a little while. The blog buttons above link to their fantastic blogs, in case you like to drop by for a visit.  Tell 'em Mrs. Nase sent ya!  

I originally had made center signs to go with the centers I used, but have had to remove those due to the same copyright issues.  Geesh! 

I also spent one day last week using the opaque machine to "draw" some characters on bulletin board paper and cut them out.  (Hope I don't get in copyright trouble for doing that!)   I used them to decorate the doors in the Media Center.  Here are the front entrance doors.  


These are pics of the inside doors.

The kids got a sneak peak of them on Friday and the "oooos" and "ahhhs" I heard makes all the hard work worth it.  They are already super excited.

In addition to all of these fun centers that were set out all week, I had special guest readers on March 2nd come to read Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which is the official book of Read Across America this year, and, coincidentally (not!), the movie the Lorax came out in theaters on March 2nd.  I have personally decided to boycott the movie because of all this copyright nonsense and corporate greed hypocrisy, but the kids who have gone to see the movie have come to the Media Center looking for Seuss books to check out, so I guess there is still some good left in the Seuss name.

You can find out more about Read Across America by going to the National  Education Association's official Read Across America web page.  There are tons of resources on this page, including activity ideas.  Did you know there is even a Read Across America song?  Yeah, no kidding!  You can find it here and you can even download the sheet music.

So what are/were your plans for Read Across America week?  I'd love to hear them.