Monday, October 23, 2017

Research - Who Knew They Felt This Way!

Research - how do they really feel?

I literally started this lesson with how do you feel about research?  What comes to mind when I say research?  I thought they might sugar coat it a little but they didn't.

-lot of reading
-learning new stuff
-takes a long time
-a poster (this one had me do a little eyebrow raise)
-bunch of grades
-takes too long
I also heard some sighs and saw some looks being passed.

I then asked them to think back to their last research project.  I said you found an article in and encyclopedia and you checked out a book (teacher requirements not mine.)  Raise your hand if you read the book and article from start to finish?  About 2 per class.  I then showed them the basic research form (I made this form for another lesson) and asked them if they just read the book/article to find the answers that the teacher put on the form.  EVERYBODY else raised their hand, including me.

 I told them that is just what I use to do too. Why? Why is research still the same way it was 40 years ago?  When I said to the kids why did they think they do that one brave soul say "Why do you give us the exact questions to answer if you want us to learn more?"  Well good question buddy - why do we do that.  The lesson took a turn and I let them talk.  I did explain sometimes teachers are told what to teach and when just like they are but lets make this research business better!

The lesson was suppose to be about note taking and how important that was, we finally got around to that.  I asked how many of them write their report with their source put away,  with just their notes in front of them.  Again about 2 raised their hands. I think explained how taking notes is the most important part and that is what we were going to work on.  So here is my new plan.  It might take a month because I only see them once a week.

New plan
*They are each going to pick a person of interest and look them up in Worldbook.
*They are going to decide what to find out about that person. (does it matter when and where they were born - really?)
*They are going to take notes on a blank piece of notebook paper.  No boxes, No suggestions, No hints.
*They are going to find a second source,  might be a book online, might be a magazine article might be an interview.  I'm not going to tell them it has to be one book and one encyclopedia article.

So stay tuned to see what we get.  I have a feeling some will need the guidance or suggestions of things to look for but most won't.  I refuse to lock them into a box form where they only look for that information.  

Happy Researching!!!!! 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Welcome Back and Getting Started with Kindergarten

Welcome back was an understatement this year.  We had to pack up for new floors so that meant unpacking when we got back.  That was a huge task let me tell you but it is done and the library looks great.  If I hear anything about new floors, paint, AC or a refresh, I'm running.   Just kidding it is all worth it in the end.

Half Carpet Half Tile

Looks so new and clean

We started off this school year hitting the ground hard.  This is the start of year 5 so we feel like we have a grasp on things (well that is until I have some bright idea in the middle of the night and change things.)  Anyway Kinder is where we really saw things happening fast.  The Kindergarten teachers loved that we let the kids come down alone last year to check out any time they needed to so they were ready to start that as soon as we would allow.  Well we don't usually teach the Kindergartners to self check out until Christmas and we don't teach them to use a shelf marker until Spring.  We didn't let that stop us we jumped in and started them sooner.  We use long slips of poster board that we cut and put their barcode at the top and teach them to put it in the front of their book,scan it, flip the book over and scan the school barcode then scan the reset block.  So week 3 we started.  Oh week 3 was painful to watch them and let them figure it out.  It took 45 minutes easily per class but we had to let them do it before we could let them come alone.  So last week we let them start coming.  We do make them drop their library card slip in a box while they look for a new book.  We have a cart full of books that they can pick from.  We are not teaching shelf markers yet and we make sure the cart has a selection of picture and non-fiction books.

Where they store cards and see directions for what to do next

You can see him doing each step!

After they check out they can go back to class or stay for a Cozy Corner or Skill tub.  We are working on one thing at a time so for now they go back to class but in the coming weeks they will stay in the library for 20 minutes.

Stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ugh Oh

How is that you look up one day and it's April and you are counting down the days until school is out?  Well that is what has happened here.  I thought I had blogged some stuff that is happening but I log in and low and behold The Elf on the Shelf is the last time.  So Ugh oh.  There goes my promise to myself to blog more often.  In my defense I have written new blogs at least once a week (in my head while trying to go to sleep) we all know that feeling.

I feel like a lot has changed in the library since December.  So let's see.  We started skill tubs for Kinder and 1st to use when they come to the library for "free time."  I hate to call it free time but each teacher does things differently so for some it is Daily 5 time and some it is Center time and some it might just be free time.  We noticed the little ones were kinda lost with too many choices when they came alone so we came up with that schedule that I talked about in a previous post about Flex Scheduling.

That has gone so well with the kids kinda of having a daily schedule and the skill tubs were a hit.  I still kinda of think of them as a "table tub" or "morning work tub" from the classroom.  We started with a few for Kinder and 1st and we dreamed them up based on what they were learning in the classroom.  They have now tripled and we keep adding more and taking some away.

The kids quickly figured out what they liked the best.  Cup stacking and Legos are always a hit.  We have cup stacking with sight words and contractions and Lego's with math problems that are well used.

Skill tubs go with the TEKS and have a K for Kinder or a 1st for First Grade or both

Cup Stacking and Duplos to add to the sum of 10 or 20

Sudoku and Cup stacking with contractions using NOT

building CVC words and counters

Since we all have favorites we wanted to find a way to have the kids use them all.  What better way that to use popsicle sticks and have them pull for the tub they will use that day.  We made them red and blue to match the box labels.  They just draw a stick and that is the skill tub they work on that entire time.  This seems to have solved our problem and I'm sorry we didn't do it sooner.  Live and learn right.  
Each tub has a stick and when we remove the tub we take the stick out.

Until next time.  I promise it won't be 4 months and instead of writing this in my head I might actually get it down here.

Happy Reading

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lola the Elf on the Shelf

So my child is almost 21 and I never had the pleasure of having an Elf.  I have had some fun in the past with my nieces Elf and my best friends elf when I have been home at Christmas time.  Now for these 5-7 times I had a blast and was sad that my son didn't have that experience.

Well after 3-4 years of having a library Elf I GET it!!!!  I totally get why parents are all grumpy and nuts messing with this elf.  In the library it sure is fun to see 400+ kids search for her everyday but it is also hard to keep finding places high enough where she can't be touched.  My 2nd year with her she got touched a bunch and spent 10 days, yes I said 10 days in the Elf hospital.  I sure hope I taught those little "touchers" a lesson.  I want to leave and go home at 3:30 like everybody else, but NOOOOO I have to wait and make sure there are no teachers kids or after school club kids or tutoring kids around because sure enough I move him and bam there is a kid.  Ugh.  So she has been in some pretty lame places I must admit.  My favorite place to put her what I call the "Miley Cyrus" She is coming in on a wrecking ball.

Now don't get too excited I haven't done much of anything thrilling with her.  Here are just a few others.

Kindergarten was watching a Puppet show this week so Lola was watching them

Again Lola watching the Puppet Show

Lola peeking out from the Magic Tree House.  You can see Annie in there too.

I guess she didn't think we had enough decorations so she added some garland.

Playing Jenga with The Three Little Pigs, Gerald and Piggie, and Junie B.

Riding the horse from There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly

Trying to catch the Fairy coming out of the Fairy Door.  I wonder if Fairies and Elves know each other?

Lola in a snow globe, she also happens to be holding a clue to a breakout that a 2nd grade class was doing.

Hanging out with the breakout boxes.  Looks like she Broke Out!!!

Now what else will Lola get into?  Let's see I have 6 more days to have her ready.  Oh and did I mention I got up and got to school early this morning because I forgot to move her last night even when I was here late and NO children were here!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Election Day In an Elementary School

As we all know this election, I believe, has brought the worst out in people and I for one surely didn't want to see that happen at school.  I had heard about the book One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote a Cat in the Hat book by Bonnie Worth and published by Penguin Random House.  If you go to you could see the causes that they chose for the children to vote on.  Random House is giving $10,000.00 to the winning organization for the cause.  The website had each cause paired up with a Dr. Seuss book.

The Causes were:

Education you read The Cat in the Hat and the organization is

Ocean Conservation you read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and the organization is

Environment you read The Lorax and the organization is

Fight Hunger you read Green Eggs and Ham and the organization is

Kindness you read Horton Hears a Who and the organization is

I think it was just genius to write this book which does talk about electing a President but to then for them to link them to these causes which is something the kids could really talk about and care about.  Let's face it the children if given the chance will vote exactly how they hear that their parents are voting.  This way gave them a cause that they could relate to better and even care about.

The one bad thing is we won't know for sure who won until after December 1st.  The kids are dying.

We set up voting like a real polling place.  We had an alphabetical list of all the students and they had to come in with their voter registration cards filled out, sign their name and then enter to vote.  When they were done we had paper bracelets that said "I Voted" for them to tape on their wrist.  It was wonderful and I highly suggest doing this for elementary children.

We set up two computers in our Challenge lab for privacy

A 5th grade teacher helping to monitor

Waiting patiently just like in real life with their voter registration cards in hand.

2nd grade had just been talking about it in their class.

Finding names in our Voters book

Back in class with their bracelets and smiles

The kids were getting tired of waiting but that is real life.

Now if anybody were to ask me what I would do different, well I would have some parent volunteers not just myself and my aide, I would have more polling computers and I would put it in another room so that the library could still function.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Story Book Pumpkins

This is one of my favorite things to do every year.  It has gotten bigger and bigger every year, which makes me so happy.  This year we had more than 115 pumpkins and 10 teacher pumpkins.  The students and families were allowed to vote for their favorite teacher pumpkin.  I'll post the winner of that next week.  I surprised the kids and if they did a pumpkin they got a coupon for 20 minutes of free Library Center/Cozy Corner time.   I couldn't just pick a few to show in the blog so here they are all.

We also incorporate Red Ribbon week and Halloween with the pumpkins.  The last day of Red Ribbon week is "We have too much Character to do Drugs!"  The students can dress as a Story Book Character.  They must get the costume approved by their teacher and they give a little oral report in their classes that day about their character.  Many students did their pumpkin and their costume to match.