Friday, March 30, 2018

Owl Activity Freebie

Every year about this time, I introduce the BIG nonfiction section to the first graders.  First we read a nonfiction book about owls.  And then I surprise them with a very special "visitor"- Mr. Owl.

Mr. Owl was donated to our school many years ago-even before I was even a teacher (so a really long time ago LOL).  He has lived in the Media Center ever since. 

Students are always fascinated by Mr. Owl who sits in the back of the Media Center keeping watch over everyone.

So, I like to play on that excitement.  First we read a nonfiction book on Big Universe.  We have a subscription to this fabulous ebook site. But you can also find nonfiction books on Epic about owls. Then I bring out Mr. Owl.  I explain that Mr. Owl is not alive and how he came to be at our school.  He actually flew into the side of a barn and that is how he died.  Someone found him and had him stuffed and then donated him to our school.  We have special paperwork granting us permission to keep Mr. Owl because by law, you can't just kill and stuff an owl.  After I tell the story of how Mr. Owl came to live at our school, I point out the beak and the talons.  And then I let the students touch the feathers of Mr. Owl with the back of their hands to keep the oils from their hands from damaging Mr. Owl. They love it!

Then I let students know that they can find fact books about owls and other animals in the BIG nonfiction section.  I show them how our nonfiction section is organized with book stops to label the different types of books in that section.  I don't go into Dewey. They learn more about that in second grade.

To wrap up, students label the parts of the owl and find pictures of owls on their activity sheets while they are waiting their turn to go to the shelves.

You can get a copy of these activity sheets for FREE in my TpT store. Just click HERE to download. 

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hippity Hoppity Easter Freebie

It's almost Easter time so it's the perfect time to read a fun story about the Easter Bunny.  

One of my favorite books to read this time of year is The Night Before Easter by Natasha Wing.

Because we read The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing a few weeks ago, the students were familiar with the author and illustrator.  We compared the story and the drawings in both books and also talked about the characters and plot of the story.

I made this quick little freebie to go with the book.  You can download it for free HERE in my TpT store.  I'd love to know what you think of it if you use it.

Do you have any special books you like to read this time of year?

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


It's almost April which means it's almost School Library Month.  This year's AASL theme is "Making Connections at Your School Library."

As I have done for the past 2 years, I have created a free advocacy pack based on this year's AASL theme, filled with fun facts and statements about school libraries. This is a freebie in my TpT store.  You can download it HERE.  Please let me know what you think of this freebie.  I also love seeing pictures of how these packs are being used.  Feel free to tag me in your social media posts if you decide to post pics using this pack.

For more advocacy tools, check out these links:

AASL School Library Month free downloads -Here you will find all kinds of pics to add to your social media accounts to advertise SLM18

AASL Advocacy Tools- Find downloads you can print and handout to stakeholders

AASL Toolkits

AASL Position Statement on the Role of the School Library Program

School Librarian: State of the Union- An informative read

You can find more resources on my past posts HERE, HERE, and HERE.

How are you celebrating SLM18?

Friday, March 23, 2018

It's Springtime in the Media Center

Spring has arrived so that means it's time to change the book displays in the Media Center.

I was able to change the displays today in between checkouts.  

I used some leftover plastic table cloths from previous Scholastic Book Fairs, some small spring stuffed animals (donated from my own kids' stash), and some fake flowers that I bought on clearance at Michael's several years ago.

I grabbed some books that had bright colored covers to highlight and added these Spring Book Display Signs to them.  It took maybe 15 minutes all together.  I did have the signs already printed, so it may have taken just a little bit of extra time if I had had to print.

Doesn't it look so happy?!  Of course, five minutes after taking this picture, I had to replace several of the books because they had been checked out, but that was the purpose of the new displays-so mission accomplished!

If you'd like to purchase the signs I used in these displays, you can get them HERE from my TpT store.

Do you do any special book displays in your Media Center?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Lion Lessons Freebie

Yesterday was the first day of spring, so I thought I would read a fun new-to-me book to my kindergarten and firsties about lions.

We read Lion Lessons by Jon Agee.  I received this book (and a few other books) free a couple of weeks ago from my Perma-Bound rep when he came to meet with me.  Have I mentioned how much I love Perma-Bound?

After reading the book, we discussed how spring comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. We talked about what a lion does, how it acts.  I showed them  a video I found on THIS link from National Geographic Kids.  We compared the lion in the video to the lion in the story.  They also enjoyed looking at the gallery of lion pictures on this page.

We also reviewed the story, mentioning how the story is make believe because real lions don't talk or wear clothes.  We talked about the different settings the lion and boy go to throughout the story and we reviewed the steps for becoming a lion.  

Students then went to their tables to complete THIS review sheet.  You can download your own copy to use from my Google Drive.  Just click HERE and then click the download button in the top right hand corner of your screen and save the file.

Do you have any books you love to read for spring?

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Monday, March 19, 2018


Let's talk about the awesomeness that is Flipgrid.

Flipgrid is a website that teachers can use to ask students questions and students respond by recording up to a 90 second video using a mobile device with a camera.  Teachers can make the grids they create be private by using a password for access and can turn the grid off and on as well.  Video answers can also be set to be approved by the teacher before they appear in the grid.  Flipgrid can also be used for projects, like Andy Plemmons' Barrow Peace Prize projectFlipgrid gives students a voice, and that's what I love about it.

I started using Flipgrid four years ago, but really didn't use it much after the first year until this year. Now that our students are 1:1 Chromebooks in 3rd grade and up, it is much easier to find a way to incorporate Flipgrid into media lessons.   You can read about my first experience with Flipgrid HERE.

Recently I used Flipgrid as a way to assess fourth and fifth graders understanding of genres and as a way for them to recommend their favorite reads to classmates at the same time.  I did not require students to participate in the Flipgrid, but left the link along with the password to access the grid on our Media Center Google Classroom.  Over the last few months, students have been sharing their favorite genres and books and I have seen the books mentioned in the Flipgrids have a rise in circulation.

Recently I had a brainstorm idea while I was getting dressed for work.  Why not use Flipgrid for messages of good luck for our state testing?  I ran this idea by our counselor who is usually in charge of "cheerleading" our classes during testing. She liked the idea so we are going to try it out soon. We will pair up each class who is testing with a lower grade level class who is not testing.  Students who are not testing will record, either as a class or as individuals, messages wishing their adopted class good luck on their testing. We are also going to open it up to parents to send messages to their child's class.  We will need to set some guidelines of course, but I am excited about the positive energy this can create.

In the summer of 2017, Flipgrid began offering badges for teachers to get Flipgrid Certified.  I knew this was something I wanted to do and could easily do as I had been using Flipgrid for awhile.  But actually finding the time to go through the steps took awhile.

Last month, I finally found the time and became a Flipgrid Certified Educator! My next step will be to become a Flipgrid Certified Educator Level 2.  I hope to have that accomplished by the end of the school year.

If you've used Flipgrid, what are some of your favorite ways to use it?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Care Review

If your students are anything like mine, they need frequent reminders about book care.  So I make sure that I review book care several times a year.

Last week it was book care review time with my firsties.  We read the story Penelope Popper, Book Doctor by Toni Buzzeo.

After reading the book, I brought out some of my book hospital supplies and demonstrated how they are used.

I also showed them some examples of books that had not been taken care of.   

There may have been a few gasps when I showed them the book covered in mold.

After discussing the proper way to take care of library books, they went to their tables to work on this review sheet while waiting their turn to go to the shelves.  You can download this freebie HERE in my TpT store.  I'd love to know what you think of it, so please leave some feedback if you download it.

Do you do anything special to address book care?

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Monday, March 12, 2018

New Candy Themed Items

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am thinking of doing a candy theme next year.  So, I've been working on some new candy themed items.

I've created some free bookmarks (2 colored and 2 black and white bookmarks for your students to color) that you can download HERE...

...and a bigger pack of 16 bookmarks, which includes 8 colored bookmarks and 8 color and black and white bookmarks.  You can purchase them HERE.

I've also created a free candy themed calendar that you can download HERE...

...and group and table signs that you can purchase HERE.

As I get more time, I will be working on more candy themed products, including a Library/Media Center decor pack.  Hopefully I will be able to get it finished within the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

New Scope and Sequences Added

It has only taken me all year to get it done, but I've finally posted this year's scope and sequence on my freebies page.  You can download it HERE or by clicking on the picture above.  Click on the down arrow at the top right hand corner of the page to download and save a copy.

I also FINALLY got around to posted last year's scope and sequence.  I really am trying to catch up on my to do list.  =)  My schedule changed quite a bit last year and I was adjusting my lessons week by week so my scope and sequence was constantly changing.  But since last year is over, there are no more changes to it.  LOL You can download it HERE or by clicking on the picture above.

You might also be interested in the Policies and Procedures Handbook I created a few years ago.  I need to update it a bit, but you can take a look at what I made by clicking HERE.  Remember to click on the down arrow at the top right hand corner of the page to save a copy.

Hope you find something you can use.  =)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

St. Patrick's Day Resources

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, so I thought I would share some St. Patrick's Day resources that I have either created or come across over the years.

I created these signs for book displays.  I like to put out books with the word "LUCKY" in the title or books with green covers.  You can get them HERE in my TpT store.

I have also created some fun centers with a St. Patrick's Day theme.  This is the call number sorting center which is a fun way to review call numbers.  Click HERE to purchase it in my TpT store.

This is the shelf order center.  It is a great way to review shelf order.  I also use this as a "Minute to Win It" type game where students have to sort the cards within one minute.  They love it!  Click HERE to purchase it in my TpT store.

I also have some freebies available in my TpT store, like THIS leprechaun story starter-perfect to use after reading....

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing is one of my favorite stories to read for St. Patrick's Day.  I have made some auras with HP Reveal (formerly Aurasma) to go with this book to make the pages come alive.  If you'd like to use the auras I've created, just follow the HP Reveal channel I used to create the auras.  To do that, after downloading the HP Reveal app on your mobile device, click on or type in this link in a browser on your DEVICE and you will be able to follow the channel: 

As a follow up activity, we use this story element freebie, which you can download HERE.  Once you have opened the Google doc, click on the white download arrow in the right hand corner to save and download the file.

And of course, I have St. Patrick's Day bookmark freebies. 
You can click HERE to download them now.

I also have a full pack of St. Patrick's Day bookmarks that I recently updated.  It now contains 32 bookmarks.  You can purchase HERE in my TpT store.

For even more fun, check out this fun leprechaun cam in Ireland. It is a live webcam feed in a field in Ireland.  I usually keep this website up on our ActivBoard the entire St. Patrick's Day so that students can keep watch for leprechauns.Click HERE to access this site now.

And you can check out some St. Patrick's Day games and activities I have bookmarked using the bookmarking site Swqorl.  Just click HERE to access this Sqworl.

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

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.