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 that you can now purchase on Teacher's Dojo.  Click to HERE to go there now.

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 Teacher's Dojo 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.

I tied our lesson together with these cute book care bookmarks.

Hope you enjoy the bookmark. You can get it HERE

Sunday, February 19, 2012

now!Board? More like WOW! Board

If you haven't heard about Interactive White Boards, chances are you don't have them in your school.  They are the latest and greatest in educational technology and more and more schools are installing them in classrooms.  Interactive Whiteboards are exactly that, interactive and whiteboards.  One of the coolest IWBs on the market is the SMARTboard.  I was lucky enough to have a SMARTboard in my last job as a computer lab teacher.  The kids loved it and so did I.  What makes it so cool is that you can actually touch the board to move things on the screen, no extra tools needed.  Then there is the Promethean ActivBoard. The ActivBoard is similar to the SMARTboard, except it requires the use of a pen or wand to manipulate objects on the screen, much like a mouse would do for a computer.  The downside to this technology is the cost.  A SMARTboard can set you back $1500 or more and a Promethean ActivBoard can go for $5,000.  But now there is a very cool, lower cost!Board.

This little guy turns any plain old white board or even a wall into an Interactive White Board.  And the cost is much, much less...only about $499.  

And here's the super cool, exciting news..Ms. Saoud of the Primary Graffiti blog is GIVING AWAY a $100 giftcard to Learning Resources to help offset the cost of one of these babies!  WOW! right?  

If your curiousity is peaked, then you can head on over to Primary Graffiti to find out how Ms. Saoud used this cool technology and enter to win her giveaway.  Tell her Mrs. Nase sent ya!  =)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Techy Talk Live Binder

Once I month I try to have a Techy Talk for the teachers at my school to show them a cool technology trick or two.  Last month the Techy Talk was about cool websites and web 2.0 tools they could use in their classrooms.  I created a live binder and a handout for the links on the live binder for the Techy Talk.   Perhaps you could find them useful, too.

Click on the picture above to go to the Live Binder.

Click on the picture above to get the handout.