Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Make a Date with a Book

I have a secret...I don't do Pinterest. I know, I know. It's shocking and shameful--how can I call myslef a true librarian?! Let me just say that I have enough social media distractions in my life, so I fear I will completely neglect my family if I add another one. I got this GREAT idea for "Make a Date with a Book" from our district's library blog, but I think it's also on Pinterest (or so I'm told).

You can click on the blog link above to read about the original idea, but here is how I made it work for my library.

Since I am at K--6th grade school, I feel like my 6th graders are outgrowing the library, and I know that some think it's kind of lame, so I decided to make this a "6th grade only" activity to help them feel special and boost their excitement for books.

Here is the evolution of the idea:

I pulled lots of chapter books--about 70 to begin with. At first, I thought I was going to wrap all of them so that the students could take them on a "blind date." I used the existing bar code numbers and just made labels with the Dymo so that I could put the bar code on the outside of the package for no-cheat checkout. With the help of my sweet Mom and 10 year-old-daughter, we wrapped about 50 books. I quickly realized that I was a bit ambitious to try to wrap 70. I labeled each of the 50 books with the genre to give students some idea of what they were getting.

I made a "Rate Your Date" card to attach to each book for the students to complete after reading, I mean,  dating the book. If you would like a copy of this, leave a comment, and I will email it to you. After rating their date, the students will write a summary of the book to prove that they read it and then turn the card into the library for a chance to win a FREE BOOK from our upcoming Book Fair! I would love to give away 10-20 free books depending on how many cards are submitted into the drawing.

I sent an email to all of our district librarians to let them know that I was trying out this idea and share my "Rate Your Date" card with them. That's when they started taking the idea and making it even better. One suggested using paper sacks instead of wrapping the books to save time. Genius! Several said that they weren't going to wrap the books but just promote it as "Make a Date with a Book" so that the kids could choose one that they liked and have a better book to reader match. Love it! Many librarians sent pictures of their displays and shared their ideas, and it was wonderful to see how everyone made it their own. I had already started wrapping the books and was committed to the idea, so I decided to combine the two. So I made a sign that said "Make a Date with a Book."

The students could choose to go on a "blind date..."

Or since blind dates make some people nervous, they could choose their date more carefully. I pulled 70 books to include for this, so I incorporated both ideas. I have about 120 6th grade students, so I wanted to have enough choices if all students wanted to participate.

I had three 6th grade classes come to the library on Monday. I told them that since I thought they weren't old enough to go on an actual date, they could date a book instead. They were excited!

And from looking at the shelves, the blind date books were a BIG hit. I might need to wrap some of the other ones for the two classes that are left to participate. I am very curious to see how many students return the "Rate Your Date" card. I'll keep you posted. 

It's time to show some LOVE to your local public and/or school library! I copied this from the Facebook status of Mary Woodard, MISD's fabulous Director of Library Services: 

Texas stands to lose up to $9 million in federal matching funds for libraries if the legislature doesn't approve the appropriations request made by the Texas State Library and Archives commission. This means that our students will not have equitable access to the quality digital information that they need to be successful in the 21st century. Please contact your representative and ask them to fund Texas libraries!

For more information, please click here

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Week 21

And the winner is...

420 3rd--6th graders from Shaw participated in the Bluebonnet voting--that's 100% of our upper grade students! 
Postcards from Camp received the majority of the vote at Shaw, in MISD, and for the state of Texas
Here's the breakdown of our top 3 faves:

1. Postcards from Camp: 224 votes
2. Scarum Fair: 58 votes
3. Thunder Birds: 34 votes

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
Read to Kindergarten
Targeted Skills: Review Genres of Fiction (Fairy Tale, Folk Tale, and Fable) 

Now that the Bluebonnet season is over, it's time to start sharing books from the Mesquite ISD Mockingbird reading list! Each year, MISD librarians choose 20 fabulous picture books to share with Kinder--2nd grade classes. After all 20 books are read, students and teachers will vote for their favorite in May, and the district's winner will be announced after all votes are tallied. It's much like the Texas Bluebonnet books, just on a smaller scale for our district for the primary grades. 

Interrupting Chicken was a perfect book for this week because it has snippets of well-known tales in it so that the students could apply their knowledge and determine if the story was a fairy tale, folk tale, or fable. Plus, it was a good reminder not to be an Interrupting Chicken, something that most Kinder kids struggle with (I know, I live with one).  

Lesson Frame: 

Big Bouffant by Kate Hosford
Read to 1st and 2nd Grade
Targeted Skills: Elements of Poetry, Using Context Clues for Vocabulary; Character Traits and Theme

Big Bouffant is a front-runner for my favorite Mockingbird book this year. It is a joy to read aloud because of the rhyme and rhythm. It was perfect for the curriculum focus of poetry, so the students could easily determine that this was a narrative poem. Most of the students did not know what a bouffant was but could easily guess that it was "big hair" from looking at the picture on the cover. This book is wonderful for discussing theme and character traits. We talked about how Annabelle was a "trend setter" in her class when it came to hair and fashion, but I wanted the students to make the connection to be leaders in their class when it comes to behavior. We also talked about "hair emergencies," and I encouraged the students to write about their own hair catastrophe stories during their writers' workshop time. I will add this one to my other fave books about hair: The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School , Stephanie's Ponytail,  and Crazy Hair Day 
Lesson Frame:

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
Read to 3rd and 4th Grades
Targeted Skills: Differentiate between Realistic and Historical Fiction; Discuss Theme and Symbolism

We started the lesson with a quick review of the difference between realistic and historical fiction. After reading this simple yet thought-provoking story, we talked about how this was and example of historical fiction because the time period in which it is set is very important to the events of the story. The students did a "Turn and Talk" to discuss the symbolism of the fence and how it relates to the theme. 

I reminded the students about Back of the Bus, a book that I read last year when they were 2nd & 3rd  graders, which is a perfect example of historical fiction and a wonderful book to share any time of the year, but especially in February. They were able to connect it to the theme of The Other Side. These books would make a great paired reading lesson for theme and symbolism. 

Lesson Frame: 

I had the privilege of attending the "What's New in Children's Literature" workshop with Dr. Peggy Sharp this week. This is my fourth year to attend, and it is always one of my favorite days of the year. Peggy recommended Jacqueline Woodson's newest book Each Kindness, and I can't wait to order it and read it to my students. It sounds like it will be a perfect companion to Wonder, so I will probably order my own copy and read it this year and then put it on my book order for next year. 

At the Peggy Sharp conference, I got to meet one of librarians who reads this blog, and I was so glad that she introduced herself to me. So here's a shout-out to Carrie--thanks for reading! 

Week 20
6th Grade 
Science Research
Targeted Skills: Access E-books; Distinguish between different search engines; Use Guiding Questions for note-taking

It has been a lean year for laptop research in the library because I have had a maddening time getting them in working order. After several work orders and lots of logging on/off, the laptops were finally ready for a test-run with 6th grade. And they worked well--for the most part.

I followed our district's science curriculum for this lesson and collaborated with my fabulous librarian friend at Austin Elementary, who generously gave me the notes handout and project rubric that her teachers designed (Thanks again, Tracy!). If you would like copies of this, please leave a comment, and I'll email them to you.

We used our district's Science Search E-Books Resources to research nine different energy sources. Students were divided into groups of 3-4 and worked together to answer the guiding questions over their energy source. The students navigated through the e-books easily and used the questions to find the answers. This was a great opportunity to discuss the difference between a physical book and an e-book. The sixth grade teachers helped tremendously and pointed out key concepts in the content while I taught the information-seeking skills. It was co-teaching at it's best!

After the students had some time to sift through the e-books and find the answers to their questions, we then discussed Google. I have preached to them about "Googling at Your Own Risk" since 3rd grade, but of course, they still Google because, let's face it, Google is COOL--it's its own verb--think about it. I showed them a Google search result for one of the topics (over 8 million results--seriously), and we then compared those search results to those we found using Kids Click (three), a kid-friendly search engine available through our district online resources. The kids think that 8 million results are great until they realize that they are the ones who have to sift through them to find the best. I think I convinced them that Kids Click is a great search engine to try first for school research. Hopefully.

This lesson lasted an hour, and the students continued working on their note taking during the week in class and in the computer lab. My goal was to get them started with the resources and then the teachers can continue it in the classroom. Gone are the days when all research takes place in the library. I think that's a good thing.
Lesson Frame: 

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Read to 4th Grade
Targeted Skills: Discuss Genre, Theme, and Character Traits

I have been wanting to share this book with my students ever since I read it over Christmas vacation, and since it won a Caldecott Honor this week, it seemed like the perfect time. Even though the curriculum focus was literary nonfiction, I went a different direction and read this. It is a delightful story and will probably be on my fave read-alouds of 2013 list. This is another way that you can use a non-example to tie into the focus rather than just throwing examples at kids all of the time. We talked about why this is not an example of literary nonfiction but how the character, even though fictional, still shows admirable traits. Annabelle is one of my new literary heroes, and my students loved her, too.

This is a seemingly simple story with so much depth. It is perfect for a discussion on theme and character traits. Most of the 4th grade classes have read Wonder, so it was a great way to bring that fabulous book back into the discussion to tie the themes together.

Lesson Frame: 

3rd Grade Research
Various Topics 
Targeted Skills: Compare online encyclopedia to a real one; Compare Google to Kids Click: Skim and scan encyclopedia article for answers to guiding questions

The district's curriculum continued research for 3rd grade for the second week. Most of the classes decided to research U.S Presidents, so I helped the students continue their research in the library. We looked at our online encyclopedia resources and also discussed the Google vs. Kids Click search engines just like 6th grade did.

One third grade class did a "Diary of a Shark" project in which the teacher used Diary of a Worm as a mentor text and the students researched shark facts in class and wrote their final product like a diary with the facts embedded into it. The students in this picture came to the library to show me their great work, and I took a picture because I was so proud of them.

Pictured below is an example of a foldable that I used to help some of the classes take notes. This is much easier than making a worksheet or booklet. Students folded a piece of colored paper in a tri-fold and then in half and used the six boxes to answer each question.

Lesson Frame: 

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Read to 2nd Grade
Targeted Skills: Characteristics of a myth; Discuss Theme and Character Traits

Since I did not have a good example of a myth to share with 2nd grade, I made Extra Yarn work. Because it is a magical story, the kids thought it was a myth until I reminded them that it was written last year and does not explain why or how something in nature works. The second graders enjoyed this as much as the fourth graders did.

Lesson Frame:

Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Read to 1st Grade 
Targeted Skills: Elements of a Fable

Please see my Week 18 post about this lesson that I first did with 2nd grade.

I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems
Read to Kindergarten
Targeted Skills: Elements of Drama

Please see my Week 17 post about this lesson that I first did with 1st Grade.