Monday, September 30, 2013

Read for the Record

Are you celebrating Jump Start's Read for the Record this year?  Every year kids all over the United States try to break the record for the most children reading the same book on the same day.

This year's book is Otis by Loren Long.

In conjunction with Read for the Record, our county teams up with the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy. We have a coin drive competition between each of the schools and the winning school gets $100. The local Ferst Foundation also works with the high schools to send guest readers to elementary schools to help read the Read for the Record book.  It is usually up to the Media Specialist to assign those readers to classrooms who want to participate.   This year, I was also able to recruit our former principal who retired last year to come back and read, too. The kids are going to be so surprised!

The local Ferst Foundation also donates 10 copies of the Read for the Record book to be given to the classrooms who participate.  It's a fun way to celebrate reading. This year, we were also given a hardback copy of the book to add to the library collection.  It's a great partnership and although it does take some coordinating, it worth it.

This year I am also going to give every student a book during Read for the Record week, just to celebrate reading even more.  Over the summer I applied for and was awarded a book grant from the First Book company.

I was able to get 3 different books in different quantities, 480 books in all, and only paid .65 per book to cover shipping.  We have 487 students, so I will have to come up with 7 more books, but I have plenty of books that I ordered from Scholastic that I could use.

I added a special label inside each of the books so that they would not get mixed up with classroom books and I am encouraging teachers or students to put names inside since the books will all look alike.

It is my hope that these books will get the students "Wild About Reading!" The funny thing is when I ordered these books, I didn't realize they were all some type of animal book...which goes perfect with the "Get Wild About Reading!" theme of the year. I love it when that kind of thing happens!

So are you planning on participating in Read for the Record this year?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dictionary Skills

This year I am trying to cover a different information literacy skill each month for second through fifth grade.   September's Media lessons focused on dictionary skills.

There are tons of lesson ideas for teaching dictionary skills, but I wanted something fun and new so I did some searching and found this cute idea for younger grades.  It would be a bit time consuming for my second and third grade classes to cut out all of the pieces, so I created a one page sheet and called it a Dictionary Dude.

I made two different versions, one for second grade that didn't have as much on it and one for third grade that was a little more involved.

Both grade levels seemed to enjoy it. I also made a third version in case I ever want to use it with fourth and fifth grade.  It might be a bit juvenile for them, but I might could use it with the gifted second and third graders.

With fourth and fifth grades, I knew I would have to come up with something more fun than just a worksheet, so after talking with my husband who is a former fifth grade teacher, I decided to do a "Dictionary Relay."

I broke classes up into 5 teams and each team had to answer 10 questions about a word from the dictionary. They all had the same word, but I didn't tell the teams that.

I had the teams all line up at one end of the table and the question/answer sheet and dictionary was at the other end of the table.  When I said "GO!"  the first team member walked to the end of the table where the dictionary and question/answer sheet was and answered the first question. When finished, they walked back to the other end of the table and tagged the next person to answer the next question.

I gave the teams 10 minutes max to answer all the questions and when they were finished, they had to hand me their completed answer sheet.  The first team to hand in their sheet with ALL the correct answers, won a prize. If they had any incorrect answers, they could work as a team to correct them, but they would receive a 30 second time penalty when they turned in their answer sheet.  If any other team turned in their answer sheet before that time penalty was up and had all the correct answers, they would win.  I also let teams know there would be a 30 second time penalty if they got loud.  We were in the library after all.  It was amazingly quiet after that, but they were still having so much fun...looking up information in the dictionary!  One student even exclaimed "You're the best Media Specialist ever!"  That really made my day.  =)

I am going to try this relay with third grade next week since fourth and fifth grade enjoyed it so much, but I will only give them 5 questions since they are still learning to be proficient with a dictionary.

If you'd like a copy of the "Dictionary Dude" or "Dictionary Relay" you can get them HERE or by clicking on the picture above.

Do you have any fun lessons about dictionary skills?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Where, Oh, Where is the Book Bug?

So much for trying to post regularly. This year is just flying by and I can't seem to find the time to get posts up like I want.  Sorry about that, but thanks for hanging in there with me.  I had planned to post some lesson ideas this week, but on Monday we had a gas leak at school, on Tuesday, there was a wild snake that came into the school, on Wednesday, just as the kids were dismissed, a pipe burst and flooded the hallway right in front of the Media Center...

All the teachers really showed teamwork, grabbing brooms and mops and moved the water as fast as possible to get it out the door and away from classroom doorways.

Our new principal who was our AP last year grabbed a machine and started drying up the water...all with a smile on her face.  She is a true leader and I am very thankful that she is in charge.

...yesterday the fire alarm went off unexpectantly (probably due to water from Wednesday's flood shorting out wires), and today we're under a code yellow because there was a "perceived threat" in the community. I am telling has been some week!  I have tons of posts started and hope to get them complete and scheduled out soon, as long as I survive till the end of the day.  LOL

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Parts of a Book, Good Fit Books, and Shelf Order

Now that I am caught up on what lessons took place in August, I am ready to move on to this month's lessons.

Last week, I went over the parts of a book with Kindergarten and first grade classes.

We read this book first.

Then we completed this worksheet to review the parts of a book.

I also taught a simple lesson to 2nd grade about how to use the visual search tool on Destiny to find Good Fit Books and then they completed this worksheet to practice filling out a Destiny Search slip.  Next week I will introduce shelf order to second grade.

I reviewed call numbers with third grade and introduced ABC shelf order to them. Then they completed this worksheet.  It was a good segway into our lessons for next week...dictionary skills.

I moved on to the non-fiction section with fourth and fifth grade because they were pretty proficient in using Destiny to find fiction books.  I did my iPad Dewey scavenger hunt with them.  You can read about what I did last year here.

This year, I jazzed up the clues a bit to make it a bit more visual appealing.  I hope to have a pack ready to post on TpT very soon. I want to make sure it's generic enough to use in any Media Center, so I have to tweak what I made for my Media Center just a bit.  I will be sure to let you know as soon as it's available.

So that's what I've been up to these past few weeks.  Anything exciting going on in your Media Center this week?  Are you participating in International Dot Day?

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Teaching the Fiction Sections in My Media Center

My Media Center has several smaller fiction sections within the fiction section.  Not every Media Center is going to have these sections, so here is an explanation of what you'll find in my Media Center...

I mark this section with a large and small print sticker on each spine so it's easy to know where to shelve these books.  It saved me from having to print and redo a bunch of call number stickers.

The first two years I was in the Media Center I called this section the Easy section, but decided to change it to the Everybody section to make it more friendly for the upper grades.

I may start calling this section the Everybody Chapter Book section, but for now it's still the Easy chapter book section.

You can read more about how and why I created this section here.

I mark books in this section with a paw print sticker to make them easy to shelve.  You can read more about the Wildcat favorite section here.

After reviewing theses sections of the Media Center, I had second grade complete this worksheet as an assessment of whether or not they understood the call numbers of the different fiction areas. You probably won't be able to use it unless you have the same sections in your Media Center, but maybe it will give you a lesson idea.

I also reviewed these sections with third, fourth, and fifth grades, as well as reviewed how to use Destiny to search for a book. Then I had them go on a scavenger hunt to find books on the shelf to see if they could read and use a Destiny search result.  I tried the scavenger hunt with one second grade class, but they weren't quite ready for it yet, so I had to back up a bit.

They really enjoyed the scavenger hunt and it made a lot of them realize how important it was to actually read the signs on the shelves to help them find books quickly and easily.  It also helped me see which students are still struggling with locating books on the shelf based on call numbers.  

Here are the scavenger hunt pages I used.  Again, you might not be able to use these unless you have these exact books in your library, but it may give you another lesson idea.

So those were my August lessons.  Maybe you can find something you can use.  =)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Media Center Orienations

My, oh my, oh my!  I feel like I've been away from bloggyland for so long.  It's time to get disciplined and get back to regularlly posting. But first, I need to catch up on posts I've had in the works for weeks.  So here goes...

Even though you have probably already done all of your orientations, I thought I'd share what I did, in case you'd like ideas for next year. I am always looking for different ideas for orientations.  So, here you go...

I was able to share the following books with PreK, K and 1

I had hoped to be able to share this book

but we didn't have time. I can always read it later.

We also watched these fun videos:

Sammy the Shelfmarker

The Shelfmarker Song

How to Use a Shelfmarker in the Library

How to Take Care of Library Books

To go along with the book care video above, we colored a book care worksheet.

We went over book care for 2 weeks before Kindergarten and first grade classes began checking out.  The first week they checked out, I let them decorate bookmarks to remind them of good book care.  You can get a copy of those bookmarks here.

With second grade, after orientation, we reviewed parts of a book, finding good fit books, and the fiction sections of the Media Center.  Here is a little bookmark I sent home with second grade to remind them of what a Good Fit Book is.

With third, fourth, and fifth grades, reviewed the rules of the Media Center and also how to look up a book using Destiny.

So that's what what I did for orientations this year. I am so exhausted, but I feel like this year has already started off better than in previous years.  I feel much more organized, except for my blog posts (LOL), and it seems like the students are remembering what I have shared with them in previous years. That's always a plus.

I hope your year has started off well, too. How did your orientations go this 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.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Well, the beginning of the year has, once again, been as busy and crazy as ever.  And I, once again, have neglected my little ol' blog, 'cause like the movie title "Something's Gotta Give."  But since today was a holiday, I did find a minute for this quick post about a neat website that you might be able to use.

The site is called Recite and it allows you to create and share posters online.

There are 43 different templates to choose from which is great for those who don't have the time or maybe even the eye for design.

All you do is type in your quote or what you'd like the poster to say, hit create, then share your poster.  Easy peasy!

There are several ways to share and you can even download your final product. It's super fast and free.  What could be better?

Do you have any fun web 2.0 tools that you love?