Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Bookmarks

No? Then snag yours from my TpT store.

There is a free sample pack of 4 which includes 2 color and 2 black and white bookmarks as well as a pack of 20 including 16 color and 4 black and white bookmarks.

Click HERE or on the picture above to download the 4 free Christmas sample bookmark pack on my TpT store.

Want more?

Click HERE or on the picture above to download the 20 Christmas bookmarks for $2.50 on my TpT store.

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, December 6, 2013

How Santa Got His Job Freebie

This week I read a fun Christmas story to my kindergarten and first grade classes.

After reading the story, we discussed the characters in the story and talked about all the jobs that Santa had, before he became "Santa."  

Then we completed this activity sheet.  You can get a copy HERE or by clicking on the picture above.

What are some of your favorite Christmas stories to share 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.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Centers!

It has been such a busy year that I haven't had a chance to change my centers much, but a few weekends ago I got busy and finished up a couple of new centers that I have been trying to put together since the beginning of the year.  I only put them out every other week because I need the tables for 2nd-5th grade lessons every other week, so maybe it wasn't noticed as much as it might have been if I had permanent weekly centers.  I was able to put out the new centers this week and the kids seem to really be enjoying them.

I was inspired by this pin I found on Pinterest to make my own library version of Connect 4.

And so I created a 4 in a Row library game.  

I found this game on Amazon over the summer. When I found it, it was only around $8.  The price is more now, but it was a good deal then so I grabbed it.

Last week I was able to get some cute book pieces made to hot glue on top to make the pieces look "library-ish."  It has been a big hit. I've had to make sure that the students know it is a 2 player only game.  I might have to invest in a second game so that more can play at one time.  You can get a copy of the game pieces to glue on to the plastic pieces here or click on the picture above.

I have been wanting to make these Find-It Shaker bottles like the ones on Sunny Days in Second Grade for the longest time.

I finally got around to typing up some library vocabulary words, printed them on card stock, laminated them and cut them out.  Then I put them into my I Spy bottles with some colored rice.  I dyed the rice at the end of the summer to have ready to put this center together. Can't believe it's taken me this long to finish it, but at least it's done.  And the kids think it's fun.  I made a little answer sheet to go with the center.  You can snag a copy of it and the vocabulary words here.

And finally, I put together my library Jenga game that I purchased from Mrs. Lodge on Teachers Pay Teachers.  As of the writing of this post, she was having a sale in her store, so you could get this pack for only $4.00.  Woot! Woot!  You can read about how she uses it in her library here.

I had to change a few questions to fit what I've been teaching in the Media Center, but the kids are having a blast with it, so it was worth the extra effort.

I have kept the puzzle center and the create your own bookmark center the same because they are so popular.  I have some free signs for the puzzle and bookmark center in my center pack which you can find here and on my freebies page.  So far I haven't heard any complaints that 2 centers are the same.  So I guess I am good on centers for another 9 weeks.  LOL

Do you have library centers? What are some of your favorites?

*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.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Skypeing in the Media Center...Finally!

You might remember from this post that I had a goal to try to do some Skype lessons.  Well, as it so happens, I got my ducks in a row early in the year and was able to sign up for some Skype library time with Jenny Levinson, a SLMS in Florida.  We have Skyped a couple of times now and the kids really enjoy it.  I think it's fun for them to not only get to have storytime from someone different and new, but also for them to get to experience that technology.

The first Skype session was with a smaller class because I was a bit nervous about how it would go.  There were a few minor sound issues, and one student lost a tooth during one of the books, but other than that it went well.  The kids seemed to enjoy it so I decided I would try my hand at it again with a larger class.

The next class was a very active Kindergarten class so I was super nervous again. But they did very well, especially considering that we were having sound issues again.  The kids were so cute reading along and they got a kick out of Ms. Jennifer talking about the things she could see them doing.

After this second lesson, I began doing a little technical search to find out about the sound issues and found it has to do with our bandwidth. Unfortunately, the only way I found to fix this problem is to increase the bandwidth and I don't think my county is going to pay for that just so that I can do Skype lessons. So I either try it with an iPad and Apple TV or the app Reflector to see if that will work, or just live with the cutting in and out.  I definitely want to try Skypeing again.  However, I want to fix the sound issue first.

Anyone having this same issue and have any suggestions (besides increasing the bandwidth)?

P.S.  You can find me on Skype @MESMediaCenter.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Updated Bulletin Board Sets

I've been working on updating my No Lost or Overdue Books bulletin board sets to include posters for the week as well as the month. I've made the signs and awards to include no lost or overdue books "this week," "last week," "this month," and "last month."  I've also tried to include more "mature" clipart in some of the sets for the upper grades.  Hopefully that will cover everyone's needs.  =)

These Homerooms Rock set is available here.
Wild About These Homerooms set is available here.
Super Homeroom set is available here.

Because I've added a few more pages, the price is now $3.00, but that's still a great price for all you get.

If you've already purchased these packs, you can download the updated version for free on your TpT account.

And I've created a brand new set, by request.  It's a sports themed pack.  You can check it out by clicking here or by clicking on the picture above.

All of these packs are included in the TpT sale which ends today.  Just enter promo code CYBER at checkout and save 28%.

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, December 2, 2013


While I was on my way to visit family over Thanksgiving break, I received an email from Teacher Certification Degrees letting me know that The Book Bug was listed on their Top 50 School Library Blogs. What an honor to be included among some of the best out there.

And this year, they have developed a new system for how blogs appear on the list.  It's based on some algorithm showing searches and activity on each blog as well as Twitter, so the list is always changing.  Kind of cool.

You can check out all the blogs here.  I bet you will even find some new blogs to follow.

I guess it is fitting that this post falls when it does. This is my 200th post.  I can't believe I've written that many!  LOL Thanks for sticking with me through them all.  =)

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's a Merry Little Sale!

Hope you are enjoying your holiday. I know I sure have and  have some great news.  Teachers Pay Teachers is gearing up for their annual Cyber Sale on Monday, December 2 and Tuesday, December 3 and my store will be participating!

Just enter promo code CYBER at check out and you will get 28% off the regular price of any of my products.  Lots of other stores will be participating as well.  It's a great time to stock up on those products you have been wanting to purchase.  The site can get really busy on those two days, so start loading up your wish list now to make it easy on the day of.  =)

Enjoy and happy shopping!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Online Research

Some of my favorite information literacy skills lessons to teach are about online research.  It's an important skill to develop and it's never too early to start.  I cover online research with third, fourth and fifth graders beginning in October because October is Cyber Safety month and it fits nicely in that arena. This year, I broke it up into three different lessons:  1) Surfing the 'Net for Information 2) Evaluating and Citing Your Sources and 3) Note Taking.

 Here are some of the PowerPoints I used for those lessons:

You can get a copy of these PowerPoints by clicking here or on the picture above.

I also handout an information sheet that contains website address and information on evaluating websites to go along with our lessons.  I encourage students to keep these at home near their computer to refer to.  This is included in the research pack above with the PowerPoints.  You can get a copy of the pack by clicking here.  If you just want a copy of the handout, click here or on the picture above.

To help students practice evaluating websites, we take a look at a couple of different hoax websites and go through the process of evaluating the AUTHOR, AUDIENCE, CONTENT, and CURRENCY.  There are tons of hoax websites out there; some are really hilarious and some are very realistic.  Here are some of my favorites:

All About Explorers
Help Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie
Dihydrogen Monoxide

To review what we've learned, I made a quick puzzle game that students could work on in teams. The team that completed putting their puzzles together first won a prize.  Another variation would be to give each team only the answer side of each puzzle and call out the question.  Have teams race to be the first to match it with the question puzzle piece...maybe project that piece on an interactive whiteboard.  You can get a copy of that review puzzle game here or by clicking on the picture above. The game is also included in the research pack with the 2 PowerPoints and the research handout.  You can get that pack by clicking here.

I am working on creating a note taking lesson to use during the first week of December. I've found some good stuff out there, but nothing that fits my needs exactly, so I will be putting something together over the next few days.  I hope to have it finished before the break so that I can actually enjoy the break.

Do you have any fun ideas for teaching online research to elementary students?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thankful for Thanksgiving

I don't know about you, but I am soooooo ready for a long break.  I love my job, but I do find I need time to refresh so that I can be lively and ready for all the smiling faces that walk through the Media Center doors.  That's why I am so thankful for our week long Thanksgiving break.

And because I am in a thankful mood, I thought I'd share some of my Thanksgiving freebies with you.

This week, I've been reading 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey. This is one of my favorites.  I read it every year. This year I decided to use it to reinforce the story elements of characters and setting.

I made up this fun little worksheet for the kiddos to complete while they wait their turn for checkout. You can get a copy of it here or by clicking on the picture above.

Kindergarten kiddos love this fun Turkey Trot alphabet practice sheet, too.  You can get HERE free in my TpT store or by clicking on the picture above.

If you are doing any creative writing with your students, you might enjoy these freebies.  One is a story starter about Thanksgiving.  You can get it here on my TpT store or by clicking on the picture above.

And this one a fun writing paper to use to write a persuasive essay about why you shouldn't eat turkey on Thanksgiving.  You can get it here in my TpT store or by clicking on the picture above.

And of course, you know I have made some Thanksgiving bookmarks.  You can get a set of 4 free bookmarks (2 color, 2 b/w) from my TpT store by clicking HERE or on the picture above.

If you prefer a larger set, you can get a set of 16 for $2.00 in my TpT store by clicking HERE or on the picture above.

I also have a fun Happy Thanksgiving banner in my TpT for $2.00.  You can get it by clicking HERE or on the picture above.

I hope you have a wonderful, restful holiday. Happy Turkey 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.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Encyclopedia Skills for 3rd-5th

Back in October, I did some encyclopedia lessons with 3rd-5th grades, but because I was busy with Book Fair planning I didn't get a chance to post about it.'s what I did... 

I used part of my reference PowerPoint to cover how to use an encyclopedia.  You can find a copy of that PowerPoint here and on my freebies page.

This is a research sheet that I send home as we are talking about searching for information in various places, like in book and on the Internet.  You can download a copy of it here or click on the picture above. It is also on my freebies page.

Then I sent groups of 4-6 students on a hunt to find specific information.  They could work together in the group to find the answer, but each person in the group had to answer at least one question and write their name next to the question they answered so that I could see that everyone participated.

I did not have access to enough computers and mobile devices for everyone, so we used good old fashioned bound encyclopedias.  Chances are they will be asked on state tests how to look up information in a print encyclopedia as well as an online encyclopedia, so it was good for them to practice this way.  You can get a copy of those practice sheets here or by clicking on the picture above.  I will also put a link on my freebies page.

So far this year I've covered dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias and online searching.  Next up is note taking skills and then after Christmas we move into atlas and almanac skills. What information literacy skills are you teaching right now?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Fair Time!

The Book Fair arrived last week and I spent most of the day and evening last Thursday (yes, on Halloween) setting up so that we could have preview day on Friday.  Here's what the students saw when they came through...

These are the doors on the outside of the Media Center.

These are the doors on the inside of the Media Center.

Here are some close ups of those door signs:

The students love the Hump Day camel.  =)

Since our Book Tweet board is so popular, I decided to make a Book Fair Tweet board.  The kids quickly filled it up with all the things they love about the Book Fair.

This is the  "Doodad" board I make to display the little junky items.  I number everything and keep it behind the cashier table so it doesn't disappear.  Customers tell the cashier what the item number is when they get ready to purchase.  It takes a while to put together, but it is very worth the time.  I got the idea from Mrs. Readerpants.  You can read more of her Book Fair tips here.

Here's the cashier table.

This is the Teacher Wish List board.

This are doors inside of the Media Center leading to outside.

And this is a door leading to a conference room.  I always like to decorate it because it is behind the cashier table and can be seen.

I purchased the Book Fair decorating kit with Scholastic Dollars through the resource catalog.  Some of the decorations can be seen in the pictures above, but most the posters of the Egyptians and mummies I made myself.

I also made these signs to put on the front of each bookcase.  It really helped parents as well as students locate books that were age appropriate.  So many times first and second graders want to head to the 4th-6th grade books that aren't ideal for their age or reading level.  These signs helped curb some of that.

There is still one more day to go and tonight is our special family night event. We are doing a STEM night to highlight our Robotics team and some of our teachers are also going to have some Science experiments that families can do.  I am so tired, but so very grateful to all the families who have participated and volunteered to help make our fall Book Fair a success.

Are you having or have you had your fall Boo Fair yet? Any tips or tricks to share?