Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays From the Organized Librarian

      I would like to wish you and your families  the best of Holidays as we wind down 2012!  Enjoy each other and renew yourselves for another round of education  and books in our buildings and libraries.
     I will return late next week after the bustle of the Holiday is over and hopefully will bring you ideas that you can use and share with  your co- workers.  I am almost done with the book and it will be an ebook. I am hoping to make it available soon., just seems I have been getting holiday things done and have not done all that I wanted this month.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Technology Tools- Wired Wednesday

        ReadWorks is another great site for librarians and teachers.  Your teachers will love love this site.   Read works  provides FREE lesson  plans  for educators in grades K-6.  Their goal is to help improve reading comprehension.  The site also gives state by state standards and aligns them with the Common Core- so they are keeping right up to date.
      Some inside items:
     Over 1,000 non-fiction reading passages with associated text-dependent question sets, leveled using the Lexile framework and  easy to use lesson plans that help you explicitly teach comprehension to K-6 students.
       There are Student Handouts, Graphic Organizers and Teacher Materials that can be easily downloaded and printed for your use. There is a Save  to my Binder where you can save lessons, and also a training center that  gives hints and tips on teaching lessons.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Information Expert

        As the information expert  and the  librarian in your school/ building, you have an obligation to your students and patrons.  The first thing that comes to mind is that students and patrons need  to be taught search strategies for collecting and evaluating  the information that they need.   The  Strategies for finding information using headings, types of scanning reading, using parts of the text and also additional items like labels, captions, charts,  and graphs  will always need to be taught.  Also strategies for deciding on what  and where to look can also be practiced and taught to  patrons.
    Evaluating information is another skill that can be modeled and then practiced  by students.   Evaluating is a skill that  when practiced comes over time and use .  A student/ patron questions the materiel being read and then decides if it is  needed for his work.

      The librarian / information expert also needs to organize the use of the computer and the web for  information seekers. The information expert can create a blog, a wiki, website or porta portal  to pull together resources to meet the need specific needs of their learning community.  This can be done as a general resource  site,  with link, tabs, or pages of specific  information curriculum needs.  This is why I have always made a Porta Portal to go along with my schools curriculum  with links  to sites needed by the students and teachers.

Friday, December 14, 2012

January Library Bulletin Boards

          I know, I know , you just want to get through to the Holidays. But I am thinking- what bulletin boards will I put up in January. I always try to think ahead and get ready for the next month.  So here are some ideas that I have used or thought of to use in January.
    Let's read til we get snowed under-  snowflakes with book titles in the center. Blue sky in background. Bottom can be a silhouette of the town or school building.

   Sink into winter reading-  student/ teacher in a cozy chair reading, book jackets surrounded the chair.

   Hibernate with a good book- bears reading ( in a cave or in the snow)

  "READBOX"-  a redbox( movie rental)  with titles around that align with popular movies

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tech Tools - Wired Wednesday- one day late

          I am a day late- We spent yesterday finishing our Christmas shopping and also doing some grocery shopping. We got home late - it was a tiring day!
           I found a great site that I have used in preparing my genre studies and  other lessons. . I have adapted some lessons from each one for the grades that I had taught the genres to. For the upper grades I like to highlight a different genre each month  with mini lessons and posters and displays.   I also encourage students to write down the genre on their  reading book list as they also have to do this for their teachers so why not keep track of ALL their reading.
          One of the best sites for almost any subject area and grade level is READWRITETHINK . This site is amazing when you take some time to look at all it has to offer.  There are classroom resources , lesson plans, interactive  tasks ,  activities based on the month, and printouts available. 
          There are professional development links to a great many tips and hints, and articles on teaching the different topics.  There are also  parent and after school resources.
    When you share this with your staff, they will treat like a rock start because they will LOVE it!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Information Expert Part 2

          As the information expert in your school / library , you have the obligation  to provide the most up to date and accurate information for your patrons / students .  You will want a variety of search tools that can be used both in the physical building and also by electronic devices.
          Your online card catalog should be up to date and hopefully easy for your patrons/ students to use.  Provide classes of course for students and instruction for pantos in the use of this resource.  You might also put up posters or other printed / labeled material that will show patrons how to use and then find the books they need.
         Other search tools may also be reference books  and nonfiction books in your physical library. There are many times in your patrons/ students quest that looking in a book for an answer will be quick and easy.
          I am a firm believer that students should still learn about the Encyclopedias, Almanacs, and  Atlases and how to use them. Even adults will find that they can  look  up something quickly  in a print resource.
         On to the electronic resources- hopefully in your library you will have a bank of computers for patron/student use.  These computers provide a great equalizer for many who still do not have and cannot afford a computer with internet in the home.   These computers can provide online data bases and online encyclopedias for finding needed information.

         Another discussion for another day will be types of electronic sources  and other search tools you might to provide for your students/ patrons.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Author Studies- Library Sparks

        This is a good time of year- actually any time is a good time for an Author study!   When you work with  teachers when they are doing an author study  the students really get soaked in  the authors works and writing style.  
        Author studies are great for  librarians whether you collaborate with a classroom teacher or not.  Books of the author you are doing  fly off the shelves when you present the author and some of  their works. 
         Always provide some back round on your author besides reading  excerpts  / books of the author selected.   A great site for getting back ground and  lesson plans is TeachingBooks.Net.  If you are  able to use this resource you will find a great many ideas for your author study.   
        Another way to find great ideas is to look at the authors website if they have one. Prolific authors usually do and they most always  provide information on the author. Some have additional acclivities s that go along with the books that they have written.
         Make sure you take the time to discuss the authors life, and their works with students. Reading complete books, or excerpts of the authors work of course is crucial.  Make displays of the authors work. Have students do a poster , pod cast, blog, or wordle /tagxedo of the  one of the authors book is also a great idea to have students really get into the project.


    If you haven't seen it yet - the current issue ( Dec) of Library Sparks has my article  about Non-fiction books passes and how to use them to teach many library skills. I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Technology Tools- Wired Wednesday

        A new tool is  Tagxedo.  This is very similar to Wordle  , users produce word clouds on a specific subject.  However with  Tagxedo , word clouds are formed into a specific shape selected by the creator.  Words are sized according to the frequency of how often they are used.

     This tool is more fun and users can be more creative, but they also need to be more focused in their creation.  One can chose from standard fonts to use custom fonts. Also there is the capability to change fonts, themes, colors and shape.

     On  the site there are  many assists. One  is  101 ways to use Tagxedo which show many ways to use with with students.   Turning words into art work will appeal to many users.

     Look over the site and see how you might use it with  your students.  Although I have not used it yet I can see using  Tagxedo as a culminating project for research  and  a way to share author studies. another idea would be to have students pair up and do  Dewey clouds  for each of the categories,  and then display each one by each section of the library.


Monday, December 3, 2012

The Information Expert

     In your building there is at least one ( hopefully) information expert.  Yes it's you - the librarian. You have been trained to be an expert in the information field . You are the person who knows where to find information needed and how to find it as quickly as possible. 
     Searching for facts in print and non print resources  is a skill that also needs to be taught to both staff and  patrons /students to assist them in their quest to be 21st century learners and workers.  Students need to know this to become life long learners and  also to keep up with the most current information  .
     To be a good information expert , you will need the best information sources that you can afford .  A library with old outdated resources  is not the way to education today patrons. 
       Keeping up with the best resources is a full time job.  It is best to have several reliable reviewing sources   that are user friendly to help you with your task. My favorites are School Library Journal, Library Sparks,  Library Media Connection, Titlewave , Perma Bound, and Junior Literary Guild.  These are a combination of journals and jobbers but  they can help me keep up to date on the latest  and best books and resources ( print and electronic)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Library Vocabulary Words- Part 3

            Are you using your Library Vocabulary / Signage in your library?  I use mine as a word wall on one of the bulletin boards in the library. This makes it easy to add to and change. On the top I just have  the words  LIBRARY WORD WALL.     The students are used to having many word walls in the classroom.
           Another thing I do is keep a listing of library vocabulary words with each of the library curriculum by grade level.    So I know which words go with each grade, but I do not limit the students or myself when talking about the  vocabulary.
             A fun thing to do with some of the words is to make flash cards with photos. The photos can be either placed on the same side as the term or on the opposite side ( if you do this then you can use the cards also for a concentration game.
           Some other options for the vocabulary are:

 1. Vocabulary Bingo- make up  bingo sheets with the terms on the bingo chart.   Make the center with the free spot. You can get creative  with  the letters up top or you can just use Bingo letters. Call out the defination and students need to mark the correct term.   Younger students can work in pairs if you wish. You might want to offer small prizes like a book mark or pencil .

2.  I have Who Has?-  make up cards with definations and terms. The game goes I like this:  On each card you will put I have  and Who Has. The first person reads the Who Has.  (Example  Who has :  the person who writes the words in a book?    The student who has the Term Author  will read  : I have Author- and then go on to read what their    card says for the question (Who  Has : The person who makes the pictures?)
The student who has Illustrator will read  and say I have Illustrator- then who has - with the next question.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Technology Tools- Wired Wednesday

         This site Writing Fix is amazing and very useful for librarians and especially teachers.  This is a free source  from Northern  Nevada and has been in existence for 10 years.  There are hundreds of  writing lessons with many have links to children books that have inspired the lessons.  These lessons can be use by teachers and librarians in the quest to help students love to write and be better writers.
         Also there are daily writing prompts, lessons of the month and  techniques for teaching writing. The other items  are curriculum area books:  science, , math writing about reading, history. This site is useful for students in grades K-12. 
         An additional link on this  site to check out  Writing Lesson Ning.  The link  to get to this is on the right . Instructions are given where you can join the site to receive lessons each month.
          Both of these sites are very interesting and helpful. I think you and your staff will love them and find them to be very useful.

 Writing Fix

Writing Lesson Ning

Monday, November 26, 2012

Organization of library work day

       Planning - how much do you do?  Do you plan what you will do each day or do you just go into work and then wing it?    For many years ( more than I like to admitt)  I just  did lesson planning and the rest of the time I just sort of "winged" it.   That worked out fine for a long time becasue I had great support library assistants and when a big job came around we got it done.
     When I  lost my full time assistant was when I really took the time to plan out what I needed to do and how in the world was I going to get it all done.  To add fuel to that idea was the fact that I did have people coming into to help but  they would be with me for  a period or at most maybe two periods .
     So I really took stock to determine what I would have them do when they arrive at the door.  Now, some of those  aides really jumped in and did what ever they thought  was the best for the library. But some of the aides had never been in the library before so I had to  train them  in various jobs. Which was not always easy because most of the time I had many many classes  and I had to teach them at the same time I was instructing the students.
      Anyway my point is that whether you have help or not. Or whether you have a full time or part time person, you will accomplish more and feel better if you at least plan out part of your day.  If you know you have a certain task to complete , and it is a big one , break it down into segments and begin to work on it when you have a block of time during your day.
     Look at your schedule - with classes and special programs and decide  what you will do to further you jobs completed. 
    Watch soon for the ebook- The Organized Librarian. This details how my days went from  'winging it'  to more organized and efficient.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Technology Tools- Wired Wednesday

  Hi All,
     To those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, I send best wishes and rest to your homes this season. Enjoy  your friends and family!
     A great site that I have discovered is Read Kiddo Read. James Patterson posted this site to encourage boys ( as well as girls ) to read.  If you haven't read  Middle School The Worst Years of my Life , read it and you will be reminded of  your middle school years and you will laugh- kids love this book.

     He believes that  it is the mainly the parents job to encourage and interest their children to read more . 

The hard part is finding books that your children will love.  So this site is sort of like a book finder for parents and kids.   There are also some articles for parents . But for educators it is a gold mind-  featured books and lessons to go with it!  There are author interviews, lessons, newsletters,  and more! Definitely check this out  over your break! You will be impressed!

Monday, November 19, 2012

December Library Bulletin Boards

   December is almost around the corner so it is time to start thinking of new bulletin boards. I like to plan ahead so I start now to figure out what I will put up.  I usually keep my bulletin boards from year to year, So many times I can just pull on out  and put it up. I do not put the same one up each year- I alternate.

  December Bulletin Boards Slogans

 Seasons Readings - Put a wreath in the middle with students favorites all around. I use scanned covers.

 LOL- Place large letters in the center, Place names or covers of books jokes and riddles.

 Mittens-  make large mittens out of construction paper, Have students write their favorite books on the mitten. Slogan: Keep Warm With Great Books

 Battle of the Books: Place  photos of teams on the board with Team names and date of competition.

Books Are Gifts You Give Yourselves.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday!- Straighten Your Desk

  Its Friday . ( or it could be any day for that matter)  What does your desk look like?   Is it totally out of control?  Take  15 minutes and straighten it up. 
     First , take a stack of  empty file folders and your favorite  pencil. ( I'll tell you why a pencil in a moment)  Begin with picking up the first pile of materials. If there is anything that is essential to your library or your classes, decide what to do with it.
     If there are several items that belong together, take a file folder and label what it  you are placing in it.  Move these folders to a spot where they can be organized and filed.  Anything you  do not need , throw out or place in recycling.

   Keep going until your desk is cleared. You should end up with file folders to file and  items to recycle.  This afternoon or when you have another 15  minute slot, file the  folders in the proper place in your file cabinet.  
    If you already have a file that is marked for that item, place the items in the file in your cabinet. Then you can erase the tab and use if for something else. Permanent files should be marked with a . Now you have a clean desk and will be able to figure out what to do with the rest of your day.
  My book The Organized Librarian has a chapter on how I organize my files , and how I avoid duplicate files. Watch for the ebook to be coming  out soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Technology tools- Wired Wednesday

      Since talking about promoting reading on Monday, I was looking for  some other sites that could help students get excited about reading. They love to use the computers!
       One way  for students to use the computers and be reading is Magic Keys.  This site has free children's books  ( from pre-school  age  to young adult).   Some of the books have an audio component so the story can be read to them. This is nice for students who are struggling readers,   Also included on this site are games, riddles, quizzes,  and coloring pages.

     Another  great site is  Reading Rockets.  A good way to promote reading is to  do Author Studies. When doing the, have students watch author interviews. One place to do that is Reading Rockets. Here you will find 100 video interviews with top children's  book authors and illustrators.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Promoting Reading- Reading Displays!

     What are the ways that you promote reading?  Do you have reading contests and challenges? Holding Battle of the Books, and Caldecott Challenge are two ways , but there are lots of other ways.  Book displays,  posters are simple ways.
      Have student create displays  and posters for their favorite books. They can work individually or in small groups. I usually like to put two or three friends together and ask them to create a book display. They also make a small poster to tell what their display is about .  I find that when friends work together they can agree on what are their favorites and come up with great displays..
       I also hold this display as a contest and at the end of the specified time  have students vote on their favorite display. Winners are awarded prizes.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Announcing October Giveaway!

   Drum roll please!!!  The October Giveaway is the  book Library Life Savers by Pamela & Tamora Bacon.
And the winner is Natalie!  Natalie please email me with  the address where you would like me to send the book! Congrats and Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Technology Tools- Wired Wednesday

     Another great tool for teachers and librarians is Biblionasium.  This is a great site for students, teachers, parents, and librarians to use to help students fall in love with reading.  It is a safe social network for kids.
    Biblionasium allows students to build an independent reading porgram tailored to individual interests and reading levels. 
    Lists and recommendations can be built by class or individual.  The site uses mostly lexlie levels, The program tracks the progress of the students reading.

   Kids are encouragte to share books and recommend books to their peers.
   A grownup is needed for the student to be signed up. After that the student can run with it and enjoy the site.

  There are tools for teachers to monitor and assess reading progress.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Library Signage / Library Vocabulary

      The Storm is over- we did not get that much rain  but it was very windy! The wind knocked down a large pine tree right next to our house. Thankfully it fell away from the house , other wise we would have a tree throught the rooof of our living room.

   We did lose  electric, phone, heat, and internet  . We just got it back last night around dinner time on Sunday night..  I hope everyone is safe and has their electric .

      Now that you have your library vocabulary started- keep it going.  Do you have your signs up with definitions? Have you 'played ' some vocab games? What else can  you do with the signs and the vocabulary?    Make some games using the same words once you have  most of your vocabulary done.

     Try this: For the youngest set , you could make flash cards or make a concentration game. For intermediate and a little older ( middle  school) make several bingo boards with the words on the cards in several location and then  make cards to call  out with definitions.

    Try this: Take down the definitions  ( have them laminated). Have Students match  the definitions with the words.  Or swap and put up definitions and have students match up the vocabulary.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Bulletin Boards November Tips/Sandy on Monday?

           We are expecting Sandy , I guess some time today with winds and rain. I am hoping that we do not loose electricity but it looks like we may. So if you do not hear from me the rest of the week , you will know  why. No school today in our county.

           November  Bulletin Board Ideas:

   Elect to read! 
   Children's Book Week,
   Don't be a turkey, Read!
   Be Thankful for great books.
   What are you Thankful for?
   Gobble up these  great books - turkey with book covers of book chosen by you or students
   Pick a winner- football theme

Friday, October 26, 2012

School Library Signage & Library Vocabulary

           At the school level, especially the elementary , signage is important.   If you have library vocabulary  for each grade level ( I do- and they are overlapping) then it is a good idea after introducing each term to make the word into some kind of signage.  
           After I introduce a term  by the following week, I like to make a sign for it. Depending on the word I may also place it where the items are ( example- Fiction and its defination  by the fiction section)
I make a sign for the word and a separate sign for the definition. This way I will occasionally take the definition down and see if the students knows what the word means.
          Other times I will move them around  to different spots in each section, or put them completely in a wrong section. Then we play a game - " What library words/ vocabulary are in the right place?"  This  helps student be more observant of the signs  and gets them to read them.
          How does this help? For starters, students see the term and the definition each time they are in the library.  If there is question about the word they can quickly look and see the definition.   I can review  with students by having them notice how many  library vocabulary we have learned each  month and year.

          This also helps to make the library a bright and colorful place to be. I use bright construction paper or colors on black. Sometimes I save the signs from year to year.  Sometimes I make new ones.  The signs also show the staff and administration that in our  learning library  there is always something new to learn and remember.

         I will continue this thread with more ideas on signage and vocabulary.  What do you do about library signs and library vocabulary?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Technology Tools- Glogster!

                  Another  cool tool to use with co- workers and students is Glogster.  There is a special glogster just for educational use .  Glogster is an online learning tool where students and teachers can make interactive posters .  What can be placed on a Glogster?  So many different items: videos, audio, text,  graphics.drawings,  and other data.

                Sign up is free. You will see on the gloster site some great examples of glogs done by students and teachers.   Drag and drop items to create the interactive poster.  Once completed , teacher and students can share the work by embedding it in a  blog,  a wiki, or webpage.

                There are many uses for Glogster: book reports, research projects, announcements, newsletters, class projects, presentations, lesson presentation,  assignments, tours,


Don't forget to sign up for the October Giveaway! ( Library Lifesavers) Leave a comment or join THE ORGANIZED LIBRARIAN!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Processing

        During October  you still may be processing all of your new books. And you may be getting tired of doing it and wish it were done. How can you get it done and still do something / anything else to have your library in good shape ?    In "The Organized Librarian" I give some ideas   on getting everything done or at least not feeling so very overwhelmed at all there is to do.
        But I still get the feeling that the books will Never  get all done and then a new shipment comes in with more books. Now I love love new books but I want them to be all ready for the staff and students , and not have them staring me in the face.   So what I do is this , depending on the number of classes I have , I set a daily goal of the number of books  to do each day.  
         The rest I 'hide"- no I really do not hide them , I just place them on a cart facing toward the wall or in a closet  so I do not see them 24/7.  Then I get the book goal done as soon as I can - coming in early, staying late, making sure that the other activities I need to have completed  are finished. If I am having a good day- I sneak out the next days goal and do them. 
        If there is a great day of only a few classes or a meeting that I do not have to attend then I sometimes do a marathon day of stamping, date due slips,  and  putting on genre stickers.  Then I really feel great about getting all the books ready.

      Most of the time when I place orders I get them mostly pre-processed- For many years I did not do this, but I find that the time I save by doing this, I can be making a difference by working with students and teachers. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Technology tools and October Giveaway

         Another fun technology tool for students is Blabberize. Students can actually make a picture or photo talk. It could be an original picture that the student creates, or a  photo of a person, an animal, a place , or an an object.   When a public domain photo is chosen , don't forget to cite the source of the photo. ( this is a great place to teach about  citing  source of photos.)

        The account set up is free, quick , and easy. Teachers and librarians can create account for their class. Multiple students can be logged in under on account.   A blabber photo must be completed before saving. You can embedd the blabber on your web page - go to Share it.
         Monitor students as they work. When you are done  you may want to change the passwords.
How can you use this?  In many ways- but the most obvious are  having students tell digital stories from original art work. Also they could do reports on animals  or famous people.  When you check out the website  you may get even more ideas.

     Don't forget my October Giveaway-  Library Life Savers- Leave a comment or join the Organized librarian to be edible to win!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Battle of the Books-2012-2013

        The students have started reading for this years Battle of the Books. If you have never done one , this might be the year you decide to do one. They are fun and they students love them!  You can find the book list for this year at the Americans Battle of the Books ( see link below) . 
        Depending on the number of students and number of teams will determine how many copies of each title you will need.  We have about 300 4-6 graders ( not all participate) and we usually have about 4-5 copies of each title. 
         You can order books at the site , but I usually just get copies from Follett  (Titlewave) or Perma Bound.    I hope you try a Battle - let me know if you are doing it  this year!

Battle of the Books

Title Wave
 Perma Bound

Thursday, October 11, 2012


       Another fun and useful tool for educators and students is  This is a great tool for teachers to use to create graphic organizers to  organize student  thinking, writing, and research, . It is very easy to use and if you make a  mistake then you just delete and start over.
      Graphic organizers can be saved or printed out.  Students will also enjoy making their own organizers for many things.  There is a step by step home page that shows just exactly how to brainstrom to create your own organizers. Check it out and see how else you could use this great free tool.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October Give Away

           I am giving away Library Lifesavers by the Bacon sisters ( Pamela and Tamora) This easy to read book gives many ideas and suggestions for librarians that are stressed out. Chapters in this great book offer tips on getting organized making a weekly action plan, a mail tacking form for voice, snail, and email. The funniest section is on how to avoid interruptions.

         They also discuss energy drains, and what's working, what's not working chart. All in all a great source of ideas for school librarians to get their work lives back in order and to get more done without a feeling of being hit by a train wreck.
A great purchase for any librarian who needs to be more in control of his/her work life and after school life. (Amazon Review)

       Okay- here's the deal for the Give Away. Leave a comment here about how you would like to be more organized or also just sign up to follow me on my blog and you will be entered into the October Giveaway.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Technology Tools-Starfall for young learners

       One of the best computer tools for young students is Star Fall.  If you haven't heard about Star Fall , I would be greatly surprised.  Librarians, computer teachers, and classroom teachers can all use Star Fall to help students learn reading, math and much more. It is a fun site for students .  All the times I have used this, students think they are playing' but they are also learning a lot.
      They listen and read stories.They  learn  letters, reading,  and phonics. They also learn about using the computers , learning to select and move items.Stories and letters are read to the students so they can listen and learn letters and word sounds.
     There are math skills also  on the site. It is an all-around wonderful site for students to use , possibly during lab time, in the library as part of their e books, and in the classroom as a center during reading or ELA time.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Technology tools- What we need for our students

      Another great tool for librarians and teachers is the Bookemon site. Although you can purchase hard cover books that are written at the site - you do not have to.   It is a great site where students can create and make their own books and stories.
       Classmates can also work together on projects.  Books are made in a 'bcloud' so students working in pairs( or more) can add text and photos and edit their work.  There is a special spot for educators ( Edcenter) to have their students do and view their work and other  students work. check out this site to see how use full it would be for  your classes.
     This would be a great place for teachers to promote their student writing.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Library Sparks- Next Article

          Watch in December for my  next article  in Library Sparks!!  This is my third  article  in Library Sparks. This  will be on the  non-fiction book pass and how to use it for several lessons on  non-fiction book parts and beginning research  projects.   If you had seen my last article on Fiction book passes- you may want to check this out. I have used these lessons to showcase my new nonfiction and also teach the research process to younger students.
            Library Sparks is one of my favorite resources . There are so many great ideas in that magazine!  What is your favorite library journal?  Watch for my October Giveaway - coming soon!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Technology Tools & Websites

       I spent the morning at the dentist with my husband. He had to have two teeth taken out - Ouch!!  Now that's that is done his mouth should feel better.  Check out  my new page- Technology tools/ Websites. I will update it several times a month. Right now I am putting links on  that I discussed in the summer blogs.  I hope this is helpful to the techies - instead of pulling up old blogs you can just go right there and see the  links and  go straight to them.   Let me know what you think.
    Good day to be off- the sun is shining and it is pleasantly warm out. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Technology Tools- What we need for our students

                 So far  most of these tools are interactive sites that we use with our students to provide a e  more engaging , compelling, interesting, and competitive education for our 21st century learners.  Porta Portal is one way to organize them all.  A Porta Portal is a site that you design and organize specific sites for students to use  in their day to day work for you. The sites are already there and ready. The student does not have to search for them and they are easily accessible. There is no cause to get on a questionable site when looking for something else. So this is a safe place for  you to  collect the sites you want  students to use.
              Once you design your site and add you desired  addresses, you are pretty much done until you want to add more , change the arrangement , or color.  The one thing I try to do each year is make sure that all the sites are still linking, My example needs to be gone over and fixed / removed becasue there are soem sites that are no longer working,

               If your class does a lot of  web work, always point  the students to your portal portal- for  an easy way  to get students to find out what they need to know.

              Here is the link to the portal portal that I designed many years ago. There are a couple of links that no longer work and need to be removed.

            Here is the link that will bring you to where you can sign up and design your own porta portal. Follow the prompts on the left hand side to create your own portal.  When  you are logged in you can begin to organize  and add your sites. Create categories that make sense for your students. It is pretty easy to get this up and running.  Have fun!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Guest Post - Darcy Pattison- Author

Why would you devote a website just to books for 2nd graders or 3rd graders?
First, books change lives. We know that the right book for the right child at the right time can do wonders. It can create a lifelong reader, it can encourage, it can comfort, it can—well, in short, change a life. That means each student’s needs are important.
Second, with the education reform bringing in the Common Core, teachers and parents are looking more closely at the grade level of books. As librarians and teachers, we are also looking for teaching materials that fit the bill for the Common Core. Our staff screens every book for its reading level and suitability for the second or third grade. We know that these books are a great read for students.
Third, we believe that kids should be reading contemporary literature. What does your child or student watch on TV?
  • Reruns of “I Love Lucy”?
  • Reruns of “Gomer Pyle”?
  • Reruns of “Lassie”?
There’s nothing wrong with classics, but if your student ONLY watches reruns, something is out of whack. Today’s students need today’s literature. Not reruns.

A recent study of books read by kids revealed that Dr. Seuss was the most popular author for K-3rd grades. The classics are great, we love them. But it appears that classics are 75-80% of what kids are reading in school. Something is out of whack.
Instead, 2ndGradeReading wants to encourage kids to read contemporary literature, nonfiction and fiction. Publishers are turning out exciting, engaging, contemporary work in every genre. Kids are missing out on books meant for their generation.
Finally, we understand that teachers, librarians, students and parents are all busy. Even if you agree that kids should be reading the best of today’s literature, who has time to read through the stacks of books to find the gems?
We do. We screen through the mass of books looking for the best. And we make sure you hear about it. Our newsletter goes out three times a week, each time featuring a brand new book. Do we expect that you will love every book we review. Of course, not. But we hope you will find unexpected gems. We hope you will find the right book for the right kid—and change a life.

2ndGradeReading.NET and 3rdGradeReading.NET offer reviews of contemporary, grade-appropriate books for kids.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What we need for our students- Part 6

    Another program to engage and encourage our students is Voice Threads.  This is a subscription based online tool where students can share their voice and their work.
   We have used it  the final part of a project . Students in grades 1-2 were beginning a unit on nonfiction and research. I worked closely with the teachers and students  preparing them for research  and having them do research with books and  a specific database.
     Then students did illustrations ( posters) of their animal and wrote a report on their animal. . I took photos of the illustration . Then the students read/ told about their animal. Both of the these were placed on Voice Thread ( which lives on our website so it can be viewed from home)  A couple of rules we follow, students never mention their last name.  Last names are also NOT put on the web.
     Older students use voice threads to write and illustrate book commercials. They love to do this!

Check out the site on Voice Threads and see if you think it would for your students.

 Free to Help you get started and see if you like!

Educator Voice Thread

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A new site for book reviews!

             I recently started doing book reviews for a really interesting site  (
This site has been developed by Darcy Pattison. This author believes that Reading Changes Lives. Yes, I totally agree with her. What librarian, and teacher would believe otherwise?  She  also , like myself, had a family that love to read.
           This site would be great to share with your  first, second and third grade teachers. It highlights some of the newest and best books. Coming soon will be a 3rd grade site.

           Find it here:

            Darcy's Website for her books can be found at  .   .   She also is dedicated to the common core so that is a site to become familiar with.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What we need for our students.

     There are many free available web tools that we can use with our students to help them with reading and writing.  One I have found is at Kids.Com and  gives the younger students an opportunity to work on line writing and creating story's.. This site provides writing prompts and characters. It is a fun site and students will enjoy using it and working with it.
     The students will find  they can vote on this week's stories and read last week's stories.  There is a writing challenge . There are games that students can play.
  Check it out and see if  this will be beneficial  for you and your students.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A New School Year!

     A new school year! Time for new schedules, meetings, Common core standards, and library information skills and library literacy!  But the most important are the students! We need to instill a love of literature, learning, and reading. 
    I am reading The Book Whisperer  Awaking the reader in every Child. ( Donalyn Miller)  This is an excellent book that all teachers should be required to read.   This reading teacher shows how  she instilled the love of reading by allowing readers to read what they choose . I hope to write a review here or on Amazon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What Administrators Want from their Librarians

     What do administrators want from their librarians?  Librarians are asked and need to do many things as we have seen in the past blogs.   Most of us love to learn about new ideas, strategies, resources and books. We love working with students, teachers , and parents.  As part of our jobs, we need to learn about  new  ideas and we need to model that love of learning to our students and teachers.
    Most of all ,the Librarian does not work alone. For a school to have a successful library program it takes everyone (  librarians, , teachers  , and administrators) working together for the students to be successful in their education and in their lives.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

What we need for our Students- Part 5

     As  librarians we are in a profession focused on preparing students for the future. So we need to keep learning the new technology so we teach them how to use these tools safely and effectively.     Most of these tools  allow students to  create and build knowledge.
   A tool that I have used  with students is Wordle.   Wordle is a toy where students create visual displays ( clouds) of words in multicolor  and multi-sized graphics. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the text. You can  change your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. These images can be shared by link or printed out.
   What I have done is used this tool as a culmination of a resource project. We have done research on women , presidents, and  science topics. Then students make a Wordle either for a final project or as center to a poster about their topic. Students love to see how theirs and their classmates Wordle comes out.

. Check out this site and see what you think. Has anyone else used Wordle-How did you use it with your classes?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What Administrators want from their Librarians

      For those of you who have been school librarians for a while can attest that our jobs and responsibilities  have changed quite a bit over the years.   When I first started ,  the emphasis was only on print resources . At the time , that was all there was.
      But over the years, the profession and the collections have changed.  Now we are the keepers and teachers of technology. We are called to help teachers integrate technology into their curriculum.  We need to teach students to use the online card catalog , and data bases. We need to update and teach students and teachers on Web 2.0 tools and integrate these into the curriculum and the common core standards.
    Yes- now we are technology integrators! So we need to keep up to date on the latest  technology- e-books,  book apps, date bases, web 2.0 tools and more.

Friday, August 24, 2012

What we need for our students- Part 4

        In the 21st century  students will  need  many technology  skills. Students  and staff can use WallWisher to  provide comments and thoughts on books being read,  questions about topics and subject areas of study, and  new ideas and new knowledge learned and shared..  Students love to use wall wisher. Once you show them how it works,  some will go on and make their own wall to share  thoughts and knowledge with their classmates and friends.
       On our library website we use Wallwisher to get students to comment about books read, ask questions about books, and recommend books they have read.
      There is so much you can do with Wallwisher- you just need to poke around the main page and you will see just some  of the possibilities.  Once you have taught the students and staff how you use Wall Wisher then- just get ready to create. Students and teachers can make notices ( for classroom- assignments, sports, ect), post messages, hold discussions, brainstorm ideas,  collect feedback, bookmark favorite sites , and teach concepts and have students complete assignments.
     Does any one use WallWisher? What do you use it for? Any new ideas that you can share? Please comment here and share your ideas.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What Administrators want from their Librarian- Part 4

      What do administrators expect from their Librarians?  Many administrators do not have a clear idea of what to expect but as librarians and leaders we need to promote ourselves and our programs, and how we can assist students in becoming better learners. One way to do all of these items is to become part of our school s professional development team.  When we do that we can teach the staff about all of our resources.
      So what do we teach?  Just a few examples : How to use our website , how to use the online card catalog, how to find resources, how to integrate library materials into the current curriculum, how to use the data bases  for school state wide support ( In NY we have Vtial New York, along with several others- Engage NY , and CommonCoreCurriculum. )
     When do we teach ? In the summer, at the beginning of the school year where there are various meetings, during conference days,  hold  mini workshops before and after school, during teacher prep.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What we need for our students - Part 3

        There are many tools a student needs to know to continue working in the 21st century. These are helpful when doing research  actually assist in keeping information and ideas in order. Using the computer for research is the way to go. Students think it is pretty neat keeping all of the information on a laptop / computer.  All of the work can be done and not a pencil or paper needs to be used.
      Students need to know the correct forms for citing sources for their collaborative and individual research work. There are many sites that can be used for this task. Noodle Tools  and Easy Bib are two of the easiest to use.
       With Easy Bib there are many great uses and it is really helpful for citing sources and also organizing your research. 
      Check out Easy Bib - There is a free one for MLA forms.. There is also a school and library edition.. Teach your students to use this and they will have another tool to use for their updated education.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Administrators want from their Librarian

What Administrators want from their Librarian- continued from Saturday

      As librarians  we are leaders in our schools. Although we are leading from the middle, we need to be active in many aspects of the school community.  Many administrators do no see us as leaders but we need to start being more involved with student learning. With the emphasis on the Common Core, this is the perfect time for us to stand up and begin  to show our presence and importance . Get active on school committees  and building initiatives.   Think of this and let me know what you do to be a visable force in your school.     
    How can Librarians lead from the middle? Librarians can be leaders in many ways. By  maintaining their collections and bringing new resources to teachers we are support people. But by assisting with lessons and helping develop  units and lessons to revolve around the common core ( or whatever latest buzz words in the educational scene) we begin to offer ourselves as  leaders in the educational scene of the school.
    Also by infusing new technology  and web 2.0 tools into our lessons , and teaching teachers to use these new tools we also begin to show how  librarians change the school community. Start with your classes , and then branch out - try something with just one or two other willing teachers. Their success will provide you with either others asking you to do the same, and word will get out that you are a collaborator. 
   Plan a short  speech about what you have done for your next faculty meeting, and offer to help with others. Showcase your website or one of your databases at another meeting.  Keep it going- Be visible, be vocal about what you can do to help teachers and students.  Be a leader!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What Administrators want from their Librarian

      As librarians  we are leaders in our schools. Although we are leading from the middle, we need to be active in many aspects of the school community.  Many administrators do no see us as leaders but we need to start being more involved with student learning. With the emphasis on the Common Core, this is the perfect time for us to stand up and begin  to show our presence and importance . Get active on the school committees  and building initiatives.   Think of this and let me know what you do to be a visable force in your school.
      Discussion on this thread to be continued on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What we need for our students - Part 1 & 2

 How do you use Blogs or Wiki's in your school and in your library?  How do you and your teachers  use these tools to get students more engaged and interested in learning?  Blogging , I think , is more appropriate for students in the younger grades because  the teacher/ librarian is in control  and has to  approve the comments. This works very well for book discussions, comments and questions about specific events in history,  student writing in response to a prompt / book/ poem.   Please share any ways that you and your staff use blogs with your students.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What we need for our students - Part 2

     As  librarians we are in a profession focused on preparing students for the future. So we need to keep learning the new technology so we teach them how to use these tools safely and effectively.     Most of these tools  allow students to   create and build knowledge.
     A  Wiki is a tool that students  turn to when they are looking up facts . First we need to teach them that Wiki's are not the most reliable source of accurate information.
      However  use Wikis  as a tool when you want several students  to work together to create / provide accurate information at the same  time . Students can work together to create and discuss. The Wiki format is more interactive than a blog, and students really can get involved with their learning and building knowledge.

    There are tutorials on

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What Does An Adminstrator Want from a Librarian ( Part 2)

     What does an administrator want and expect from a librarian?  A librarian traditionally is a resource specialists. They are trained to assist and teach the location of resources for both staff and student  needs. Whether there is a large project or just a quick question, librarians keep at their fingertips a wealth of print and electronic resources that can get their patrons answers and information they need.
     There is an old saying " You know everything" but librarians do not know everything. But we should know where to find out  any kind of question.
    As a resource specialist , the librarian  helps support the schools/ patrons needs. This  help involves supporting instruction. This information will assist patrons make informed decisions.
    To this task  of being a resource specialist, administrators need to remember that allowing for an adequate budget . This will be necessary for the librarian to complete that mission.  Librarians cannot provide resources that they do not have. If we want our students to be literate then we need to provide substantial resources .  This is an item which can be discussed with the administrator.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What we need for our students - Part 1

     Our last discussion was about the  students of today and how we can help  students become learners in the 21st century. One of the Web 2.0 tools are blogs.  I have written about blogs before since I have been doing this blog since 2009.    Blogs are wonderful tools to use with kids. We can get the students to discuss many different topics  by blogging.
     The most common way , especially for librarians are to have book discussions, and comments about what books students are reading. But if we can expand our horizons and get the teachers more involved, there can be blogs about other topics that students are learning about. Let's get creative- how can students use blogs  to enhance and engage in their learning.
     In our district we have a library blog and also a book club blog on our library website. How do your students use Blogs?  Lets share some ideas about what we can do with blogs.

   Blogs are the refections of one person on which others may comment. Teachers can have  blogs that students can add thought and ideas. Blog comments have to be accepted by "owner" before being published

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What we need for our students !( And teachers!)

        Think about our students today- they have grown up with computers and  have always had cell phones. For the most part they are online everyday - whether phone, table, cell phone. They create and participate online every day.  Students are Digital Natives
         As educators we need to prepare students ( and teachers)  in  the Digital Revolution  and teach students how to use technology safely and effectively. As librarians we are the leaders in our school who can do that. We are the ones that have been trained  in the Web 2.0 tools .
   With Web 2.0 tools there are many free sites that allow the user to interact with technology to create information products that can be shared with classmate and the world at large.  Starting next week I will begin to  highlight some of the easiest ones ( and free)  to use with students . These tools help student make learning come alive. They engage the student and make learning fun and exciting. Most  students love to work with technology.  Sign up and follow so you don't miss one of the free tools.!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Website for Elementary Librarians

     I stumbled upon this  great new site for elementary librarians and wanted to share . Although I have not been through everything on this site , it seems to be chock full of interesting and helpful new ideas  for elementary librarians.  It is called  Elementary Librarian  and has library lesson plans that incorporate common core standards. There are many links to activities and resources. This librarian has really done her home work and  has very nicely shared her information. 
     Every Tuesday is Tech Tuesday ( Today she was discussing Wordle - which I love). There are also  links to Library News, and Ed. Tech News! Check it out!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Finally Back up to Speed

 Well  last week the computer got fried by a thunder storm and we finally got it fixed. Now this week , our router died and so we went out and got a new one and set it up yesterday.  Hopefully I will get back in the grove and be up with some more ideas and cool websites and technology. The summer is going fast- it has been very hot and muggy in NE PA. We ate our first tiny tomatoes. This moring I woke  up to find a Mama deer eating one of our big tomates- Boy did I yell.
  Is any one getting ready for school yet??

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Neat Site

Here is another site that I came upon in my browsing and I think it will be useful for librarians and teachers. It offers  examples of Reading Trifolds0- which are a near way for students to track and share their reading. There are blank  trufolds that can be printed out and used.   These would also be great to use with guided reading groups, and would also help with assessment of the student reading. I am thinking of ways to use them in library class for the students in grades 3-4.  Let me know what you this about this site and also the trifold idea,

Reading Trifolds

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fabulous site! - The Centered School Library

        I  found the site  to go along with Cari Young's book The Centered School Library!  Actually I had looked at when I first got her book. It is great ! I should do a review for this book.
       Anyway , now that we are past July 4th , I can begin my summer learning! Cari has started a  Summer Tech Camp and she starts out with  creating a power point with your learning as you go along which is a great idea!  The first  idea  is Wildself- which the students would absolutely love!!
  Check this out!!  Go to June  5, 2012 to begin at the beginning!! Have fun.

  The Centered School Library

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What does an Administrator want from a Librarian? - Collaborator

        What else does an Administrator want from a librarian?     How does the librarian effect the whole school?  By collaborating with faculty and students , the librarian can  help establish  new ways to provide student learning and excellence.
         A library media specialist is collaborator who works with students and teachers.  For the best results in educating students ( and also increase/maintain test scores), librarians work with teacher in planing, instructing, and evaluating learning.
          In collaborating with teachers, librarians integrate information skills and literacy skills into classroom learning. This is by far the most efficient way for students to learn them. With time  and  consistency , the students will see connections to using library resources  and find out how helpful these skills are to  learning and finding out new facts and ideas.
        Being a collaborative partner with the staff  helps both the teacher and the student. The librarian is the extra pair of hands , eyes, and ears. The teacher is not working alone.  Whether lessons are done in whole groups or divided up in smaller groups, students have more individualized  learning . Problems  and questions are more likely to be caught and corrected. Attention given to students will be more concentrated .
         A collaborative lesson is  designed by both teacher and librarian  provides more opportunity  for successful learning and achievement .

Monday, June 25, 2012

What does an Admisitrator Want from a Librarian?

      I have been thinking lately about what administrators want and expect from a School Library Media Specialist. I've also been thinking that many administrators  really do not have any idea about how valuable a school librarian can be.
      Do they have classes when they are taking courses to be a Principal  about the value of a school librarian?  I think not, but I do think they should.
      Number one item on my list is a Library media Specialist is a TEACHER. They work with students in the library, the computer lab, and in the classroom! What do they teach?
     They teach the love of reading and literature. Think  about interactive read aloud' s and author studies.  Think introducing students to genres, and  series, chapter books, and graphic novels, award winning books.
    School librarian also teach students how to be information literate . They teach how to use the resources of books, references, data bases, and the internet. to find the information they need. They show students how to use the latest web based programs to   produce information pieces  to share with there their learning.
     Later in the week or next week  week I have some addoitioanl  items to add to this list of what an adminsotrator wants from their librarians. Keep reading for more.
    Any additional items the librarian does as a teacher?  Please add your comments.
What should you do with this information? Share this in some way with your p;principals and school board and teachers,. Let them know what you can do to assist the students in the quest for 21st century learners.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Last Week of School

It is the last week of school and everything is winding down.!  Hard to believe that another year has gone by.
Inventory done and print outs printed. We did not do to bad- but it is surprising that so many of our professional books have disappeared / I wonder who could have taken them?  Any guesses? So this week I have a few classes and I have to clean up and taken everything down for cleaning. -and bring my plants home. That's about it. I will be writing this summer occasionally  ( probably  twice a week) in preparation  for the new school year.
  I hope to spend time working on my book and hopefully will have it out soon.( it all depends on my editor- my husband)- when he can fit it working on it with me.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Yes we have actually started- scanning. It took a little bit to the scanners sycned  but now we are going strong. Stopped a bit yesterday to have a great Caldecot challenge party. It was fun. Tomorrow our break will be the second round of the Battle of the Books.  Still getting books back and in.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Beginning Inventory

 I am getting ready to begin inventory tomorrow, so today I am printing over dues. ( Yes , there are students who still have books out even though the due date was May 31st.)  Then there are the pre- inventory printouts that must be done before we even start scanning. Of course books are still coming in and classes are in here researching and typing!
 Also this week we are doing the Caldecott Pizza party- which is given to the class that reads the most Caldecott's. And we have the second round of the Battle of the Books! Busy Week~

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Steps to Inventory

 We are still working towards doing inventory. The books are due but not all in yet. Teachers still have books out that they are using. So besides shelving and reading, the next thing I will do is overdue notices to teachers for student books. I will also send an email to staff asking that all books they are not using be returned to the library so they can be inventoried when we are scanning.
  I also just "ordered"  from our tech person, our two carts with laptops or computers and speakers. We are lucky enough to have wireless and can use the system right at the shelf. It 'beeps'  if there is a problem with the item scanned and the screen tells what the problem is.  This is a long way from what inventory used to be - even when  the first technology came along- we had to upload our scans to the main computer, and print out and them check for problems. Hurray for updated Technology!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Inventory- on going

      We are continuing on in our inventory process. As of right now , students have the last week to keep reading . All of our books are due on May31st.   So as we get back the books , we are shelving , shifting, and reading the shelves. 
      Many of the shelves have to be shifted because we have a lot of books . During the year, we shift many times to accommodate the collection.  Certain shelves need to be read- those are the shelves that see the most use. Some shelves only need a quick glance to make sure they are okay.
     What is a great help is that since we are an elementary school, we only go to one or two digits behind the decimal for the non-fiction section.( My predecessor did this and It actually works out very well, both in the keeping of the shelves in order and also the shelving and finding of the books.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's Inventory Time Again!

     Yes it is inventory time again- well almost. Today was the last day for students to check out books. All our books are due by May 31st.  This gives us time to print our over dues and get them to the Students. There are students that have VERY VERY overdue books.  These students are not allowed to take out any more books- even this week.
    We have begun reading shelves. In my book  ( The Organized Librarian)there is a whole chapter on organizing  the reading and inventory process. We read shelvess while we are shelving books or when we come to a shelf that needs it.
     Many of the shelves are pretty good, many are really out of order. It just depends how much the shelf is used by the students.  What really takes the most time is shifting the books so that all the books fit on the shelves.  We really need more shelving in both libraries , but I know that is not going to happen anytime soon.
   While I am reading shelves, and shelving books,  I look for books that are obviously out of date, falling apart, and ugly. Then I usually check the stats on the circulation system to see : how old the item is( if nonfiction - is it accurate?,  how many times it has been checked out- do we need to replace with the same item or an up to date book)  These questions help me decide if I should pull the book and discard it, or write down the title/subject to order for next year.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Free E book site

Here is another free ( Mostly)  e book site. So far in my searching this looks like fun. You get up to 5  free books every month. There is a fee if you want more than that- but in my book 5 books  a month seems okay because  of the other sites out there- which I continue to search  out and explore. So  check it out and see if you like it also.

They seem to have a lot of variety of books . I could explore this site and find some great reads. The youth section has mostly classics but it would be nice for vacation to read some of the books I haven't read in years.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Great Free E reader site!

 I have just discovered a new site for my tablet where I can download books and excerpts of books for free! I can even do the downloading and reading on my PC.  It looks like it will be a great resource for free books! it also links up with FaceBook so you can see what your 'friends ' are reading.
 I have already been on the Project Gutenberg site and that of course is great also. Does any one have another favorite?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Conference Report NYLA/SLL

 All I can say is WOW!  This was an amazing conference and I really learned a lot . Now I have to figure out which to do first.
  The highlight of course was Joyce Valenza- 10 Critical Literacies you should teach! How can you do that? I have decided to look over my notes and try to learn just one for now. I am not sure which one it will be yet.

If  you look at the left hand side , check out Digital tools, and Digital storytelling. She mentioned some of these, and we had our heads spinning.  She talked of Curation, digital citizenship, and knowledge building. Check out this site - there is so much on it!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Conference Time

 I am off this afternoon to the 2012 NYLA/SSL Conference in Binghamton, NY! Can't wait!  The  theme this year is Expand your Influence- Create, cCultivate, Collaborate , Communicate.
  This year there are some great speakers and workshops: Joyce Valenza, David Wiesner, Margie Preus, and Emily Arnold McCully!!  Also there will be great workshops : ebooks, digital resources, advocacy, and Common Core.

  Some great authors will also be there: Suzanne Bloom, Clara Gillow Clark, Jason Edwards. and Liz Rosenberg and others.

 I am getting ready to be recharged and re- energized!  Coming Back to school with great ideas, activities, and book titles!

Are there any other New York People going to be there?
How about  the other states - What do you like about your  regional/ state conference?  Send us your thoughts!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Great News for NY and All!

NY Board of Regents Supports School Librarians in All Elementary Schools 

This link arrived on my Face book from School Library Journal. It seems that the NY state regents board is finally getting on board that elementary schools need to have full time librarians to help support and maintain great ELA test scores.   My only question is this - they want schools to have a full time librarian by 2020. What,in the meantime, will happen to all those students that DO NOT have the services of a certified librarian? It seems a long time to wait to make sure the students are  college and career ready! What are your thoughts? What does your state do? How else can we convince them we need this sooner?

Friday, April 27, 2012

On to the Caldecott Challenge rewards

              The Caldecott reading challenge is at the end. Now we begin the quest to prepare for the rewards and the parties.  The first step is checking what the kids have read and how many they have read. That to me is the hardest part- next year I am going to devise a way to make the checking easier! I am not sure how- but there has to be a better way
               Then we will set the date for the popcorn and pizza parties  for the classes who  earned them by reading. I also have to figure out  who gets the prizes and what exactly they will. I will be looking in my goodie bags of prizes to see what else I need.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Beginning Chapter- The Organized Librarian

  Begin to Organize


 As   Librarians we have great jobs, working with patrons (adults or students) to help them find books to read for pleasure ,or information.  With today’s technology, we also need to be able to help patrons with current electronic resources to complete work projects or finish assignments.

Librarians  have a lot to do to maintain their libraries and the resources in them. We want patrons to get the books that they want or the information they need.  Getting everything done seems almost impossible.  Organizing each day and week will help librarians accomplish what needs to be done to sustain the library programs and resources

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Battle of the Books- on to round two

  Our first round of the Battle of the Books was held in the beginning of April. Now I am planning the second round.  I have to check with my Administration to see what would be appropriate date and time. Usually we have an assembly with grades 3-6 attending.   My vice principal and I have to discuss if we want to do that again this year.  Then it finalizing the prizes- One of my teams wanted to know if the first place team could pick their prize- something to think about!  The kids are still reading and re- reading the list of books.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A great website for 4th & 5th Grades

 Here is a link to a website designed for students in 4th and 5th grade who are learning about plants. Students read and look for clues, do experiments, and solve problems while learning about plants. It is a fun learning experience! Have your students check this out!

Great Plant Escape

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Borrowing Books on my Tablet!

It our Easter / Spring break ! Back in November I got a Pandigital Tablet which is really cool !  It can do a bunch of things- surf the web, buy and read books/ samples from Barnes & Noble, games, photos, facebook.
But just this week I finally figured out how to borrow books from my one local library!  That is really Cool!!
Anyway  first I had to download Adobe reader. Then I downloaded the Freading app.  The books are listed there and I have three weeks to read them and then they disappear. You can renew them if need be.
  Now all I have to do is figure out how to borrow from my other local Library- ( That is the advantage of living on the border close to two states)I think it is the same deal but for some reason I can't log in.  I am actually reading Adult books over this break. Not to worry - I 'll be back to my favorite- children and tweens come next week when we go back to school.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Round 1 - Battle of the Books!

 Yesterday ( April 4th) we held our first round of the Battle of the Books! The students had fun- you should have heard the yeah's  and hurray's each time the teams got the answer right! Now on to the second round! Students had team posters that some of them spent a lot of time on. Here is a photo from the 6th grade team who came in first in their round.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Caldecott Challenge

 Our Third graders are  doing  a Caldecott Reading Challenge. This is voluntary reading challenge.  If  all students participate  in a class  and read at least 12 Caldecotts  over  5 weeks,their class receives a popcorn party. The Class that reads the most  Caldecotts gets a Pizza party.   The student in each class that reads the most  books also get a prize.  The student that has read the most of all  gets the biggest prize. So there are lots of opportunities for parties and prizes. We have a great time at the Pizza party- that is where we hand out the prizes and dance and sometimes have games.  The kids love the challenge and love reading the Caldecotts!