Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Your Readers Can Vote for the Next I Survived Book!!

As a Librarian and mom, I LOVE the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis. Cool, 4th grade(ish) level books that are based on pivotal events in history, these books are a hit with boys, girls, high readers, low readers, 2nd - 5th graders. What's not to love?

While I was checking my I Survived inventory I came across this cool opportunity for readers: also gives Readers a chance to take a Survival Quiz and check their skills against other Readers.

Since I know my kids don't know right away whether they would vote for Valley Forge, The Great Chicago Fire or The Hindenburg Disaster, we took a few minutes and hit YouTube for brief summaries of each disaster.

This video is from the original footage of the Hindenburg Disaster and led to lively discussions around technology, broadcasting, and what WOULD surviving this take?

In just 2 minutes this "Day in Weather" clip gives a great summary of the Great Chicago Fire and includes  photos, illustrations and statistics.

A short, comprehensive video clip about Winter at Valley Forge was more difficult to find on YouTube. This video touches on the weather and conditions but not WHY men were there dying. This topic took a little more introduction.

Voting as a class was a FUN way to introduce this series to my younger readers and a no brainer with my established readers. There is also a Survival Quiz on this page that had all of my 4/5 kids hooked!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Zombie in Love - IDEAL Elementary Valentine Book!!!

When I posted Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch as my FAVORITE Valentine book ever last week, I thought I didn't have enough Valentine books to create a cute collage. What was I thinking? As the week is here I am LOVING our Valentine titles.

This morning I shared Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio with kinders and we all had a great time. I am sure you can not keep your Zombie books on the shelves, whether Fiction, Non Fiction, Audio - and this is one of the most popular of the popular! We almost always have a running hold list for Zombie in Love.

Mortimer's earnestness and struggle is so well illustrated that this story tells itself. A highlight is the Help Wanted ad - even though my kids have NO CLUE about my frame of reference, it is a fun sing aloud. And turns out that the Pina Colada song transitions well into the Zombie want ad - must be a solid tune!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

5th Grade Coding Club with

Of all the concepts I have introduced this year in the Library, none have been as popular as Coding Club. And by that I mean a day does not go that I am not asked (harassed) by a 10 year old WHEN WE WILL START.

SO here we go! Two days ago I knew NOTHING about coding. Today I know nothing about coding. The research tells me this is ok - jumping in with the kids is the way to go. Which works because that's how we roll in Elementary STEM.

The reason my NOTHING shrunk to to a nothing is In 25 minutes I sputtered through a lesson that gave me a delightful bouncing name - I love it! I actually feel like I get the "concept" of java script and am prepared to keep going.

I really felt accomplished when my name bounced like the tutorial. I also love that the lessons are in a time frame I can actually preview and we can do in our lunch club.

We will begin this Wednesday and my biggest challenge/ heartbreak now is limiting the club to 5 kids. We will be in the Library at lunch and I only have 5 computers. My hope is to recruit some Programmers from OtterBox (via our partnership with OtterCares) to come 2 other days a week and host their branch of the club. 31 kids signed up to participate so it will be rough limiting to such a small number.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Best Valentine Book for All Ages!

If I HAD to choose a favorite picture book I will dive in and say it: Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch takes the cake. Run to the shelves and pull this classic for Valentine's Day. It is not shiny or overly heartsy but it is a lovely heart warming story.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Unite for Literacy - Primary Grades Alternative to Overdrive

I AM IN LOOOOVVVVVEEEE with our District's online Library. How can I count the ways? The selection, the ease, the updated titles, I seriously could go on and on.....

This afternoon I hosted 21 Kinders in the Library with the intention of walking them through their first ever Overdrive check out. These Kinders have their own iPads! These Kinders are savvy users of technology! These Kinders are readers - a better fit there never has been.

About 35 minutes before they arrived their teacher mentioned offhand that they all use the generic Kinder login - fghjkl vs a personalized username and password. No problem! The above qualifications mean they will adjust.

About 17 minutes before they came I realized I did not have 21 individual Amazon emails and passwords. No problem, they could all use my generic one for the library.

About 3 minutes after they arrived I realized I was insane. As I crawled around on the rug from kid to kid checking logins and adding 00s their teamwork and enthusiasm impressed me. As I told them I would be in Wednesday morning to split into Centers and load books my tunnel vision overwhelmed me. What was I thinking? As many successful downloads as we have had this month in our small library, these are Kinders!! Savvy and intuitive, yes; 10 years old, no.


This FREE website is filled with over 100 Titles my Kinders can access in one click and be reading instantly. The text is accessible and designed for emerging readers. Just exactly what we need, and a perfect springboard for my adventure in Kinder Overdrive.

Each book can be narrated in a Global choice of language - amazing and just right for our ELA kids and families.

This reminds me of RAZ-Kids minus the subscription fee and testing. Like I said, a one click reading resource.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Love is in the Air (or on the Bulletin Board at least)

I think I have documented my love / hate relationship with Bulletin Boards!! We are in the very center of the school and they are sooooo important to engaging my kids and making the Library a fun place to be. But, oh, do they have to be changed so frequently? There is no faster way to speed up a month than change your Board.

This cutie was relatively easy, I pulled out the Cricut and my favorite Valentine colors. Part of me did not want to use this board because I thought everyone on Pinterest would roll their eyes and think "You can't come up with more original boards?" Ahah! Good thing my K-5 kids are NOT on Pinterest. So up he goes and the very first teacher that walked by lifted dreary late January spirits with giggling.

Another homerun, Pinterest : the magic lives for sure.