Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Orientation Videos

Wow!  Five posts in a row from me.  Don't get used to it.  I'm just making up for lost time.  LOL

First I want to say thanks to everyone who stopped by my TpT store for the Back to School Sale.  Hope you found some great deals from others as well.  I know I had some fun shopping.  =)

This week is orientation week in the Media Center.  I usually show a PowerPoint and review the rules and sections of the Media Center as well as the procedures for checking out a book. While planning out my orientations this summer, I came across some cute videos on YouTube that pinned.  I thought you might like them, too:

Shelf Marker Song

This is a short video demonstrating how to use a shelf marker using a song.  It is to the tune of "The Hokey Pokey."  Granted the first part about the picture on the shelf marker is unique to that library, but you could always start the video after that part, or if you are really brave, just sing the song yourself.

Sammy the Shelf Marker

This is a super cute video.  Again, it has a few parts that are unique to the library it was created for, but it is still usable for demonstration purposes.

How to Use a Shelf Marker in the Library

This video is performed by upper elementary students and is also a demonstration of how to use a shelf marker. I like that the students are acting it out.  You can hear a librarian reading a "Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a..." something book in the background, which makes me think, "WOW! Now that's a library!  Lots going on at once."   I don't think it's too distracting, and again, I like that the kids are the ones demonstrating the proper and incorrect ways to use a shelf marker.  I especially like the sword fight scene.  LOL

Library Manners

This one has been on Pinterest for awhile.  I repinned it from another SLMS.  It is short and sweet, so it's perfect for PreK, K and 1st grade classes.  

Scaredy Squirrel Goes to the Library

This is another cute video.  2nd-3rd graders might enjoy it. 
I like that it is narrated by kids.

 How to Take Care of Library Books

This is probably my favorite video.  It was created by a librarian and even has places built in to stop and discuss each scene.  It's perfect for 1st and 2nd grades...maybe even 3rd.

And I have to throw this one in just for fun.  Being as it's set in a college library, it's definitely not for elementary, but I found it entertaining, anyway.  Hope it makes you smile, too.

The FUNdamentals of Book Care in Five Easy Lessons

Happy back to school!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Help Students Accelerate Their Reading...and Freebies

I don't know about at your school, but at my school Accelerated Reader is a BIG deal.  Kids are very eager to earn their AR points, but that doesn't always equate to reading success.  AR is an expensive program; we spend close to $3,000/year on the online program so it's important that we get our money's worth. There are so many aspects of the program that are very underutilized.  One of the little-used tools that comes with the online program is Home Connect which allows students and parents to monitor their progress at home or at school at any time.  When I turned on the AR Home Connect option last year, it also allowed teachers to set three different reading goals to help optimize a student's reading ability.

The three reading goals include

Book Level Goal
This is based on the ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) on the student's STAR test and, hopefully, increases each quarter or nine weeks.  The ZPD gives a high reading level and a low reading level and the student should read within that level to have the most chance to effectively increase, or accelerate, their reading ability.  The goal is usually the average of this high number and low number.

Example    ZPD = 2.3-3.3   Book Level Goal =  2.8

Points Goal
This is the standard goal that most teachers have used in the past. Students have a certain number of points they should earn by taking quizzes on books that they've read within their ZPD.  I suggest that students read at or above their Book Level Goal, but not above their ZPD.  Renaissance Learning has created a PDF that helps you determine what point goal to set based on how many minutes you want your student to read each day.  It's very helpful when determining what point goal to set.

Quiz Average Goal
This goal is just what it sounds like.  It is the average of all the quizzes a student takes in a set grading period.  It is automatically set at 85% by the Reniassance Learning Company, the company that runs Accelerated Reader. I contacted them about how to lower it, but was told that I could only increase it, not lower it because their studies show that 85% is the lowest average a student can earn and still increase their reading level.

*AR and Accelerated Reader are registered trademarks of Renaissance Learning, Inc.

Using Home Connect, students can monitor their progress every day on their goals each quarter, six weeks, or however your school year is divided.  Home Connect gives a visual so students can see how close they are to reaching their goals. When they reach their goal, a star appears next to that goal.  You can see in the screen shot above that the student has reached 2 out of the 3 goals.

I encourage teachers to talk with their students and set their goals with their students' input.  I gave teachers a copy of this goal sheet to keep a record of their progress each quarter.  I did not make up the contract.  It was made several years ago by someone in my county, but I still use it because it's good documentation and a good goal planning page.  You can get a free copy by clicking here or on the picture above.

*AR and Accelerated Reader are registered trademarks of Renaissance Learning, Inc.

For students, I teach a lesson, and a review lesson half way through the year, about how they can meet their AR goals.  If you'd like to see the lesson for free, you can click here or on the picture above. Some of the information included in the PowerPoint are specific for my school, but you can get the general idea of what everything looks like and how it runs by looking at this PowerPoint.

In addition, I also give students this AR Goals bookmark.  I have added a place for them to mark their goals on the back which is also a good way for them to see their reading progress through the year.  You can get a free copy by clicking here or on the picture above.

I have contacted Renaissance Learning and they will send a rep to do an hour long overview of the program for free.  They also offer a day long Professional Development, but the cost is $3,000.  That's not quite in the budget, so we are going to make due with the hour long overview and hope that it helps us learn to use more of the tools offered through the program to help our students truly accelerate their reading.

So how about your school?  Are you using AR or another reading incentive program to encourage students to read?

*AR and Accelerated Reader are registered trademarks of Renaissance Learning, Inc.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Connecting With Other SLMS

So I know some of my librarian and media specialist readers out there have some great ideas they are implementing in their libraries and media centers that they'd looooove to share with others.  I have the perfect place for you to do that.  It's a blog called Sharing the Shelves.  Ever heard of it?

I created this blog several months ago as a place for public and school librarians and media specialists to share all the great things going on in their libraries and media centers as well as a place to connect with other librarians and media specialists.  There are links to media lessons, freebies, Pinterest boards of other librarians and media specialists, TpT stores of librarians and media specialists, and TN stores of librarians and media specialists.  You can even add your own links to these items.

Right now, I am looking for more contributors on this collaborative blog.  There is not a required number of posts; just share what you think others would find helpful when you get the urge to.  If this sounds interesting to you, just shoot me an email ( and I will add you as a contributor.  And thanks for sharing the shelves!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Finishing Touches

So, here's the post you've been waiting for...the post about the finishing touches on the MC that I've been working on for, like, three weeks now.  There was no way I could get everything I needed to do done in the three pre-planning days we had so I was in and out of the Media Center this summer for about a month.

Here's a quick peek around.  There are quite a few pics here, so I'm sorry if it took a long time to load.  I really need to make a video tour one day.  I'll add that to my to do list.  LOL

This is a front view of the Media Center from the back of the Media Center...

And this is a view of the back of the Media Center
from the front of the Media Center.

I have a little hang down above the center of the table area and I always like to put something special around it, so I added some "Rock Star" danglies on two sides and some silver fringe on the other two sides.  You can kind of see the fringe and danglies in the first picture, too.  I purchased the fringe (which is actually a table skirt) and the danglies through Amazon. Click here for the link to the fringe and here for the link to the danglies if you'd like to check them out.

I added more danglies in the book section. 
There were 25 in a pack, so I might as well use them, right?

I added a bit more decoration to the door on the right side of the entrance to the MC.  It was just a little too bare on that side so I used some book jackets
and guitar cut outs to jazz it up a bit.

Here's a close up of it.

I decorated the inside doors, too.

The left side is a "Twitter" board for students to tweet about the books they are reading. Students can write on laminated sentence strips and then they will be able to attach their "tweet" to the door with velcro. My son and I did a few as examples.  I got the idea from this Pinterest pin.

This is a door off the MC that leads to a conference room. 

This is another door to that same conference room.  I added a foil curtain to it. Maybe it will make going to a parent/teacher conference more fun.  ;)  Click here for the Amazon link to the foil curtain, if you'd like to check it out.

I divided my bulletin board into three spaces.
I did this last year and it worked well, so I just did it again this year. 
You can get some free signs that I used to decorate this bulletin board here.

I use the first section to display the current Readers of the Month.  I determine the Readers of the Month through a report I can access on Accelerated Reader, the online version. The student in each grade (2nd-5th) who has read the most words in AR books for that month is the Reader of the Month for their grade level. I take their picture and they get a certificate.  I am thinking about giving a little prize this year, too.

 This is the Spotlight on Reading board.  Last year I highlighted a grade level each month and took pictures of teachers with their favorite books. This year I will be highlighting a different author every month, just to change it up a bit.  It reads "Look Who's In the Reading Spotlight!" The first author in the spotlight is Gary Paulsen.  You can get a copy of the poster I made about him by clicking here.

 The last section is the Genre of the Month section.  I choose a different genre to highlight each month and then I hide secret symbols in books that fall into that genre.  If a student finds a secret symbol, after they read the book, they can bring it back to the Media Center and if they can answer three questions about the book, I let them choose a prize from my treasure box.  

I have found that this program helps get kids to read different types of books that they might not otherwise read and hopefully find that they enjoy a genre they've never tried before.  You can read more about the Genre of the Month program here and if you're interested, I have made a Genre Mega Pack that includes genre signs, bookmarks, as well as the secret symbols for 19 genres. You can get that pack here on TpT for $5.00. I also have a Genre Detective activity available for $3.00 here on TpT.

And wohoo! TpT is having a Back to School Sale today and tomorrow, August 12-13, so you can get the products mentioned before for 20% off in my store. And for an additional 10% off enter the coupon code BTS12.  Yippee!

 I made new call number and AR label signs to help students be able to locate books more easily.  I have these hung in several different places around the MC. If you'd like a copy, you can get one here for free. (Note: I may have some call numbers listed on the poster that you don't use in your library/MC.)

I updated my bell sign to go with the "Rock Star" theme. 

I put my new shelf markers in their bucket.

I made new "Rock Star" due date reminder signs, too.  Put these babies in a dollar store frame and use a dry erase marker to change the date. Easy peasy!  You can get a free copy of this sign and the larger one seen in the picture below by clicking here.

These are reminder signs I hang in the window in between the exit doors. One is just a larger version of the due date reminder in the last picture and the other is a reminder to be sure students have picked up their Media Center pass. Many times students lay down their passes even though they should be wearing them, so this sign is just a friendly reminder for them to check for their passes on the way out.

 I made some reference book posters for the Reference section.  I used pictures of real books so that students would recognize and make the real world connection to the books we have in our Media Center.  I used our poster machine to enlarge them and then attached them with the last of my Velcro dots to the wall.  I use Velcro dots to hang the posters because the top part of the walls are a type of carpeted wall paper. It's too thin to use staples, so I use Velcro dots.  If you'd like a copy of the posters, you can get them here for free.  =)  (Note:  The freebie only includes 5 of the 6 posters.  Sadly the last poster was on the thumb drive that was lost forever.  You can read about that tragedy here, if you're curious.)

This is the AR Wall of Fame in the hallway where I display the pictures of the Readers of the Month for the entire year.

I am going to use this board to display completed punch cards for those students who read the five books required per month.  This year the punch cards look like iPods, but I call them iReaders.  When they turn in their iReader punch card for a prize, they can put it on this display.  I am hoping that might motivate others to complete their cards, too. If you're wondering about the punch cards, you can read about them here.  You can get your very own iReader punch cards on my TpT store.  I have a sample pack here for $1.00 or the whole pack here for $3.00.  Don't forget, these will be on sale today and tomorrow, August 12-13, for the TpT Back to School Sale. Just enter the coupon code BTS12 to maximize your savings.  =)

When students fill their punch cards, they get to pick a prize from the Rockin' Readers Prize Cart. Here's a pic of it all loaded up and ready to go.

Here's a pic of all the prizes on the cart.  I got them from Oriental Trading.  I've pinned them all, as well as other Read Like a Rock Star ideas, on a Pinterest board so that I can reorder them easily.  If you'd like to check them out, click here.

I added items on my new note board.
You can read a little about how I made it here.

I was able to get most of the AV room cleaned up
and I even labeled the videos and DVDs with their section numbers.

This is my repair shelf.  It is much less full than it was at the beginning of last school year, but I still have a good 50 or so books that I need to get processed and cataloged...eventually.  The problem is that many of them are not in the system so I would have to get out my Sears book of Cataloging to figure out how to classify them.  That's one of those things that if you don't use it, you lose it, so I've been putting that one off hoping that one day they will get cataloged by someone other than myself. And then during pre-planning, another teacher brought in, like, 200 VHSs.  I went through them and about 50 of them I thought I might keep. So I've added those to the pile to process as well, you know, in my free time.  LOL

I also updated the way I cataloged the Wildcat Favorites section.  Initially I put (WF) at the end of the call numbers but I wanted to change it to WF at the beginning of the call numbers so it's not so confusing for the students.  I also have made pictures of some of the most popular titles and hung those on the wall around the Wildcat Favorites sign.  If you'd like to read more about the Wildcat Favorite section, you can go to this post.

So as you can see, the Media Center is all rocked out and ready to go. The kids started back last week, but I won't be doing Media Center orientations until this week. However, they have seen the Media Center because our principal meets with each grade level in the Media Center during the first week of school to go over what she calls the "rights and responsibilities" of being a student at our school.  I think it's a great idea.  It lays out what is expected from the very beginning.  Anyway, my point is that the students saw the Media Center when they came for the R&R discussion and I got to hear and see their reactions to the decor.  Let me tell made my day!  From kindergarten to fifth grade, I heard  "wow"s and "awesome's and my favorite "This place is the coolest ever!"  So I'd have to say, I think they like it and that makes all the hard work worth every second.

What about you?  Are you ready to start the year?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

OH NO!!!!!

I know.  I know.  Where have I been, right?  I have a really good excuse, honest.  My county went back to work on August 1st and I have been super busy not only with work but also because I lost my thumb drive with EVERYTHING on it.  Well, actually my almost three year old lost Walmart....the day before school started back....never to be seen again.

Uh, yeah.  I felt like I had lost a family member.  I literally went through all the stages of grief in one day.  I did leave my number at Walmart in case it is ever turned in to lost and found, but really, I don't ever expect to see it again.

I usually save everything in two places, but our computer at home was getting full so I was only backing up on my work computer when I could.  Luckily I had backed up everything on my school computer only a few weeks before that, so not everything was totally lost. But many of the last minute things I had created for back to school are gone, gone, gone and I needed them, like the very next day.  I was so stressed that I got not one, but three fever blisters.

I have since recreated as much as I could, although I didn't have as much time to create as I did in the summer. And much of what was lost I had already printed so it wasn't as tragic as it could have been.  But I have learned my lesson.  I will make time to back up daily and we are going to invest in a larger hard drive.

I have been working on a post for about 3 weeks for you about last minute touch ups I've made to the Media Center.  Of course this came to a very abrupt halt with the whole lost thumb drive incident.  I am hoping to get it finished in the next few days so that you can see the finished product.

In the meantime, I have some good news for you.  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Back to School Sale tomorrow and Monday and my store will be in the sale!  You can save 28% off of any of my 22 products.  The 17 free items are still free, of course.  So stop by my store tomorrow and do some shopping!

Many other teachers are also having a sale.  You can find out who by going to the Back to School TpT Sale with Blog Hoppin'.  You can even join in on the fun by linking up.  Check it out here and happy shopping!  =)