Monday, March 18, 2019

My Favorite Scholastic Dollars Catalog Purchases

I'm currently in my 8th year of being a Media Specialist at my school. And I've held a few book fairs during that time.  Our school uses Scholastic Book Fairs.  One of the incentives that Scholastic offers for holding book fairs is Scholastic Dollars. These are like bonus points that you can spend like cash either at your fair, at a Scholastic warehouse, or on the Scholastic Dollars catalog.  Depending on how many fairs you host during the year and how much you sell during those fairs, you can earn up to 55%  of your sales in Scholastic Dollars which don't expire. This means you can save up for some really awesome purchases.

One of the first Scholastic Dollar purchases I ever made was right after our first book fair.  I had heard from others that a change sorter might come in handy for those who come in with bags of coins.  I had no idea just how much of a difference that change sorter would make, but I can't imagine holding a book fair without it.

The change sorter is currently  $149.99.  You might be able to find a change sorter for less, but using Scholastic Dollars won't cost you any actual cash. It really is worth the investment.

Another favorite Scholastic Dollars purchase was a bit more costly, but it has just about paid for itself in less than a year.  It's the CoverOne Book Repair Machine and supply kit.  I decided to take our profits all in Scholastic Dollars for our fall fair so that I could purchase this machine.  It is truly worth the investment!

The first time I used it, I saved 9 books- books that would have been trashed otherwise.  I have since repaired about 30 more books this school year and have a stack waiting to be repaired.  I can't say enough good things about this machine!

The CoverOne can be a bit tricky to use at first, but after a few books, you get the hang of it. And the CoverOne tutorial videos on YouTube are a big help!

If Scholastic's price tag is a bit too much for your budget, try checking eBay.  I found a similar machine for much less. I can't vouch for how well the other machine works, but it might be worth trying if you need to save money.  Be sure to check with your system first to make sure that you can purchase from eBay.

A few years ago, I was able to start a MakerSpace in our Media Center.  If you have a MakerSpace, you know that building up our MakerSpace with materials can get expensive. That is why I was so excited to find that Scholastic offered so many MakerSpace items through the Scholastic Dollars catalog.

Because I took all Scholastic Dollars for profit for our fall book fair, I had quite a bit to spend. So I used part of our profits to purchase a Cue Educational Bundle.  This bundle has so much!  It includes the Cue Robot from Wonder Workshop,  a sketch kit and pens, a mat (ships separately), a year subscription to support materials from Wonder Workshop, and a digital teaching guide.    As soon as I took Cue out of the box and turned it on, I knew it would be a hit with our students.  Cue has a spunky personality which makes learning with it super fun!   Note: Scholastic does not offer just the Cue robot by itself, but you can purchase the robot separately directly from Wonder Workshop if you feel that the bundle isn't something you'd use.

One favorite MakerSpace items for fourth and fifth graders is littleBits.  The kits can be quite expensive, but using Scholastic Dollars, I was able to purchase 6 kits to add to our MakerSpace-enough to give students plenty of parts to Make with.

So those are some of my favorite splurges using Scholastic Dollars. Do you have any favorite Scholastic Dollars purchases?  Anything I should add to my wish list?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Possible Solutions for Check Out Dilemmas

The Dilemma:  A student has overdue books or owes a fine for a lost or damaged book and cannot check out due to fine policies, but you don't want to discourage the student from reading.  What to do?

There are several options I offer in our Media Center for these instances.

1)  Students can put books they would like to check out on hold for up to one week.  If they bring in the overdue items or pay the fines, they can quickly pick up the books they put on hold.  At my school, we don't charge for overdue books, but students cannot checkout any more books until the overdue items are returned or renewed.  Offering to hold books for students shows that you trust them to bring back what they owe and the majority of the time, those overdue books will show up the next day.

2)  Students can get a book or two from our Honor Book section.  This is the section of books that have been donated over the years, but aren't sturdy enough to be library books. Students are on their honor to bring these books back-thus the name "Honor Books."  The books are designated with a sticker on the front.  Read more about our Honor Books on THIS blog post.

3)  Students can adopt one book from our Adopt a Book shelf.  These are books that have been weeded due to poor circulation or because the book just can't be repaired any more because it is so well loved.  This book is theirs to keep.  They must sign a pledge that they will take good care of the book they adopt and READ it!  Read more about our Adopt-a-Book program on THIS blog post.

4)  Students can read a book while waiting for their classmates to checkout, but cannot take the book with them.

And for students who are having trouble paying their fines, I offer alternatives for "working off" their fine.

1)  Work off the fine during recess time on Fridays (or whatever day works for you).  15 minutes of work = $5 off the fine  I only offer this option on Fridays, as I do not have classes on Fridays and am able to supervise students.

2)  Read off the fine in the Media Center. Students may come into the media center during their free time to read in one of our reading areas.  15 minutes of reading = $5 off the fine  The reading must be done in the Media Center so that I can document it.

3) Can the Fine- students can bring in non-expired canned goods to be donated to our local food pantry.  3 cans = $5 off the fine

Whichever option the student chooses, they must bring back a signed permission form. This way I know for sure that their parent or guardian knows of the fine.  I have made the permission slips I use available on a Google Doc so that you can edit it to fit your needs.  Click HERE. Note:  You will be asked to Make a Copy.  Once you click the Make a Copy button, you will be able to edit the notes to fit your needs.

I never want a student to hate coming to the Media Center or to hate reading, so I hope by offering these alternatives, students still feel welcome.

What options do you have for your patrons who cannot check out books due to overdue policies or fines?

Monday, March 4, 2019

March is Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month and I have a freebie for you to help you celebrate this month.  It is just a few printable signs that you can use to create an eye catching bulletin board to promote books in your Media Center for Women's History Month.

This is how I used it.  I looked up biographies of famous women and printed off book covers.  I then used those book covers to make a bulletin board.

Monster Wrangler Mike also has some awesome posters available for free on his blog that you could use in place of book covers.  You can download his freebie HERE.

You can download this freebie HERE.  Hope you enjoy'!