Friday, November 30, 2012

Genre Detectives, Part II

Every month I highlight a different genre in the Media Center to encourage students to try new types of books.  We've been reviewing the genres that have been the Genre of the Month so far this year so I decided to make another Genre Detectives activity.  It is the same activity as the Genre Detective activity I did last year, just with different genres.

First we reviewed the different genres that we've covered so far this year. Then students broke into groups to become genre detectives.  They worked together to match the genre to its definition.

Then they had to use that information to determine what genre a set of books were in.  Each group was given 8 different books with 8 different genre labels.  They simply placed the labels on the books and when finished, used the answer key to see how they did.

Overall, I think they enjoyed the activity.

If you'd like to get a copy of the activity, you can download it from my TpT store by clicking here or by clicking on the picture above.  The genres covered in the Genre Detective Packet II include

Fairy Tale

Also available in my TpT store is the Genre Detective Packet I which covers these genres:
Historical Fiction
Realistic Fiction
Science Fiction
Tall Tale

You can download a copy the Genre Detective Packet I by clicking here or on the picture above.

Both of these activities are great companion pieces to go with my Genre Mega Pack which includes posters, bookmarks, and secret symbols for 28 different genres.  (You pick a different genre every month and hide secret symbols in books that are in that genre.  If a student finds a secret symbol they can redeem it for a prize after they have read the book.)  The Genre Mega Pack covers these genres:

Animal Fiction
Fairy Tales
Folk Tales
Tall Tales
Graphic Novels
Historical Fiction
Informational Text
Realistic Fiction
Science Fiction
Traditional Literature

You can purchase the Genre Mega Pack by clicking here or on the picture above.

If you do try out these activities, I'd love to know how it went!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


In the spiriti of Thanksgiving, I want to say thanks to all of my followers and fellow bloggers. I started this blog a about a year a half ago to chronicle my journey as a School Library Media Specialist.  I've always kept a journal of my life and figured blogging about my job would help me reflect on my teaching like my journals do about my life.  Along my journey into bloggy land, I have found some great bloggy friends.  I have learned so much through not only blogging my thoughts but through the blog posts of you all, too.  I am a better SLMS for that and I thank you.  Although we may not have ever met face to face, I feel a connection to you because of your passion for what you do.  I hope that I have given back some of what I have received.

Hope you have a great Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Get Ready for a Cyber Sale

Currently, my county is off for Thanksgiving and I am very thankful for that because I have been recovering since last Thursday from a very bad sinus infection that felt like the flu at times. While having a few extra days off is nice, it would be nicer if I wasn't feeling under the weather. But here's something that perked me right up...Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale.  It's the Cyber Monday + Bonus Tuesday sale taking place next week on TpT.

I have put my store in the sale so you can save up to 28% on any of my products. The sale starts on Monday, November 26th and runs through Tuesday, November 27th.   Just enter promo code CMT12 at check out.  Many other TpT sellers will be participating in the sale, so head on over to Teachers Pay Teachers and fill up your wish list now.  It sure did perk me up finding out about this sale.  Hope it made your day, too!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fall and Thanksgiving Bookmarks

I've posted before about how much my students LOOOOOOVE bookmarks.  I put out 250 bookmarks a few weeks ago and they were gone by the end of the day. Crazy. Anyway, since they have such a love for bookmarks, I thought I'd make some fun Fall and Thanksgiving themed bookmarks for them to enjoy and I've put them on my TpT store so you can enjoy them, too!  =)

I've made 4 free in a sample pack so that you can get an idea of what they look like.  There are 2 color and 2 black and white bookmarks in this pack. You can get them by clicking on the picture above or by clicking HERE.

I've also created a pack of 16 bookmarks which includes 12 Fall and Thanksgiving themed color bookmarks and 4 black and white bookmarks that your students can color, all for only $2.00.  You can get these by clicking on the picture above or by clicking HERE.

Hope you and your students like them!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

All Star Book Fair

So we just wrapped up our Fall Scholastic Book Fair.  The Fall theme was "All Star Book Fair."  I have to say, after completing two Book Fairs last year, I felt like I had the set up, run, and take down under control.

And I suppose that was a good thing, because the Book Fair was not delivered until the Friday morning the week before the Book Fair.  I didn't really want to spend the night at school getting things set up, so I closed the Media Center except for book returns and with the help of a parent volunteer, got to work setting things up.  By 3:30, everything seemed ready to go for the following week.

I tried to make decorating simply, quick and easy by simply carefully taping over the door decor I already had up so that I wouldn't have to take down and redecorate after the Book Fair.  It worked pretty well.

I used sports items to go with the All Star theme and traced "foam fingers" and megaphones onto bulletin board paper.

Then I simply added some small cut outs of basketballs, footballs and baseballs because they were the easiest to draw and cut out.

Unfortunately, Preview Day had to be moved to Monday since the Book Fair was not ready on Friday.  I think this might have hurt sales a bit.  We made only about 66% of the sales that we made around the same time last year.  It was the end of the month, too, so that might have had something to do with it.

I was glad to see that less of the doodaddy stuff was bought this go round. I followed the advice of  Jenn Underhill of the Three Ring Library blog and made this board to display the junky stuff.

Customers simply had to tell the cashier the number of the item they wished to purchase rather than digging through everything on the table.  Nothing mysteriously disappeared from that section either.  It did take me a couple of hours to put the board together, and I am not sure that it didn't negatively affect sales, but I realize the Book Fair is about getting books in kids' hands, not selling junky stuff, so I guess it was worth the effort.

If you're looking for some more Book Fair ideas, I've started a Pinterest board that you might like to check out.  There aren't a whole lot of pins on it, yet, but I do add a pin to it from time to time.  Check it out here if you are interested.

Do you have any great Book Fair ideas to share?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guest Author Ed Spruill Visits

Mid-October we had a very exciting Friday.  It was Hat Day to celebrate giving to the Ferst Foundation, a local non-profit organization who gets books in the hands of kids who don't have access to books at home. AND we also had a guest author come visit.

Ed Spruill is a children's book author who writes stories about building character.  His stories are based on his real life.  Several of his books feature his son as a main character.
Not only did he share about his books, but he also brought his puppets and performed for us.

 And he got the kids involved, too!  

 The kids had a blast!  

After the show, Mr. Spruill stuck around to sell his books and autograph them, too.

If you'd like more information about Mr. Spruill you can go to his website: or you can email him at

I'd love to hear from you if you do decide to invite him to your neck of the woods.  =)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rockin' Out with AR

So the end of the first nine weeks was several weeks ago and we celebrated with a dance party since the Media Center theme this year is "Read Like a Rock Star."  Students in second through fifth grade who met all three of their AR goals for the first nine weeks were invited to the dance party.

I was able to set up in the Art room because our Art teacher leaves at 11:15.  All the tables were pushed off to the side and I turned off the lights, except for a few hanging lights.  I plugged in a couple of spinning multicolored disco balls I picked up at Big Lots and with the help of a PowerPoint I created, the mood was set.

The kids had a rockin' good time dancing to their favorite songs...or kid-friendly versions of those songs. Please excuse the blurry pictures.  They were dancing so fast, these were the best I could get with my camera.

 As you can see, the kids were partying it up!

Even the fifth graders had a blast...and if you know fifth graders, you know that is saying something!

Probably their favorite part of the Dance Party was posing behind the Rock Star photo poster.

How do you celebrate the reading successes of your students?  Do you hold reading incentive parties?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Reference Lessons Updated

Today is my baby's third birthday, so I thought I'd post a few freebies in honor of his special day.

A few weeks ago, I reviewed reference books with second through fifth grade classes.  (You can get a free, updated copy of these lessons by clicking on the pictures above or by clicking here for the 2nd-3rd grade lesson or here for the 4th-5th grade lesson.)  I had already been over these books with them last year, so I knew they all should at least have heard of these books before, but I wanted to expand on the lesson a bit more by giving them some hands on practice choosing and using the correct reference book.


With second and third graders, I choose to use a dictionary, encyclopedia, atlas and glossary in the back of the atlas.  Students had to work together to find the answer to five different questions using these four resources.  You can get a free copy of the PowerPoint and activity here or by clicking on the picture below.

With fourth and fifth grade classes, I chose to use an atlas, almanac, encyclopedia, dictionary and thesaurus.  Again, students had to work together to find the answer to five different questions using these five resources.  You can get a free copy of the PowerPoint and activity here or by clicking on the picture below. 

How do you teach reference skills?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Reading Spotlight Poster

Whew!  Where did October go?  I thought August and September were busy months, but between regular classes, a Fall holiday, a guest author visit and a Book Fair, October went by even faster. It was crazy busy.  Hopefully November will be just a normal amount of busy...maybe.

I know I am a few days late, but here is the next Reading Spotlight poster freebie.  This one is for Gertrude Chandler Warner, author of The Boxcar Children series.  Click here for this freebie or click on the picture below.

I hope to have some posts ready soon to update you on all the October fun in the Media Center, so stay tuned!