Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TLA Presentation

I am excited to present "Putting a New Face on Your Library" at the TLA Conference on Wednesday, April 24 at noon. You can find the link to my presentation here. I would love to hear your ideas about how you have transformed your library on a limited budget. Please share in the comments below.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 30

2nd Grade Research over Continents

Targeted Skills: Determining main idea; Skim and scan to answer questions; Review criteria for credible resources

Whew! April has been crazy-busy! It was wonderful to have a "normal" week back in the library without testing or a trip planned. I kicked off the week with 2nd grade research. Much of the prep work was done in the classroom. The teachers broke the kids into groups that each researched a continent. Mrs.LaRue found this AWESOME blog with links to lessons about research (check it out--it's a GREAT resource!) They made handy folders to help organize their research (these were detailed in the district curriculum). So when they came to the library, they understood where they were in the process and were ready to get on the computers to gather their information. When teachers and librarians work together on research, it's a beautiful thing!

We used the World Book Kids online database available through our district online resources page. Students looked up their continent and wrote one fact on a note card and then put it in the envelope that connected with the main idea of that card. This was our first time to use this folder system for note taking, and it ROCKED. It helped the kids organize their information in a very easy way. Each class spent an hour in the library getting started on the research, and then they finished in their classrooms on the laptops. Here are some pictures of the folders and the kids in action:

Front of folder 
Envelopes with specific topic written on each one

Chart that they made in the classroom to determine
background knowledge

Taking notes and putting a note card in the correct

Working hard 

They did a great job staying on-task 

Happy researchers! 

After the students gathered their information in the library, they then worked on a Power Point presentation in the computer lab. All credit goes to Mrs. LaRue for putting together an easy template for them to use. Here are some of the finished products from her class. They did a fabulous job! 

More Bears by Kenn Nesbitt
Read to Kinder, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 
Targeted Skills: Making Inferences; Author's Purpose

The more that I read this book aloud, the more I fall in love with it. I purposely did not make a lesson frame for this because I told the kids that our goal for this book was to just have fun and enjoy it.

I had the kids chant "more bears!" when I pointed to them, but about 5 pages in, they got the pattern and could say it without my prompting. This is when I stopped and let the lesson set in. It went something like this:

Me: How did you know to say "More bears" before I even turned the page?
Them:  Because every time you turn the page, it says that, Mrs. Bailey. We made an inference. (Yes, they really said this.)
Me: Wait. You are making inferences? I thought we were just reading this for fun! I didn't tell you to make inferences!
Them: Well, good readers make inferences all the time. That's just what we do.

Lesson learned. And yes, my librarian heart did sing.

This book is also awesome for author's purpose (Why does the author add random bears? Why does the author talk to the reader? ) It would be excellent to use with a writing lesson for revision on the importance of adding details that matter rather than just adding details for the sake of details. We also touched on problem/solution.

This book is full of lessons and the kids LOVED it. One of my new faves!

Week 28 & 29

These two weeks have been a bit hectic because of STAAR testing during week 28, which closed the library for two days, and I was out during week 29 on Thursday and Friday to attend the Abydos Learning and Literacy Conference for teachers and trainers in Houston. During these two weeks, I repeated the lessons that I did in week 26 for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades in order to meet our goal of reading all 20 Mockingbird books by the beginning of May. You can see the week 26 lessons for Cindy Moo and Betty Bunny here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week 27

I spent most of this week helping 4th grade with revision lessons in preparation for the STAAR writing test (our state assessment). All five classes met in the cafeteria at 8:30 on Monday morning and received the same prompt. They wrote until 9:30 and then came to the library in two different groups (one group of 2 classes and one group of 3 classes) for an hour-long revision lesson. We then repeated the process with a different prompt on Wednesday.

I sat in the cafeteria with the kids and wrote a STAAR essay on both days to use for modeling the revision lessons. Let me just say this: 26 lines is NOT much space--especially for a wordy writer like me. It was painful!

Here are some pics of my process that I shared with the students:

This is the expository prompt that we used on Monday. 
My expository essay.  
Our plan for revision
Ratiocination sheet for Expository 

The narrative prompt that we did on Wednesday.

My narrative essay 
Our plan for narrative revision 
Ratiocination sheet for narrative 

I LOVE to teach writing! I just don't like to grade all those essays, so that is one of the reasons that I left the high school classroom to become a librarian. I was excited about this opportunity to teach writing again to students. I am a writing trainer for Abydos, formerly the New Jersey Writing Project in Texas, so I have the privilege of spending my summers teaching teachers how to teach writing.  The ratiocination strategy is a skill taken from Acts of Teaching by Dr. Joyce Armstrong Carroll and Eddie Wilson, founders of Abydos.

Earrings by Judith Viorst & The House that Crack Built by 
Read to 6th Grade
Targeted Skills: Compare and contrast these 2 books for audience, author's purpose, tone, mood, and theme

These are two books that I learned about in the Abydos Institute and used in the high school classroom for a powerful lesson on persuasion. The 6th graders made a tri-fold, and we read Earrings together and analyzed it for audience, author's purpose, tone, mood, and theme in the first column. We then read The House that Crack Built (yes, this is about THAT kind of crack, not the kind in the sidewalk.) Disclaimer: I would not read this book to a grade level younger than 5th. Even though it is a children's book, I think teachers and parents should use discretion before sharing it with young kids. The 6th graders made me so proud because they took the book seriously, and we had a WONDERFUL discussion about the power of choices in our lives. We filled out the last column for this book and then used the middle column to compare/contrast the two books. POWERFUL lesson! 

Lesson Frame: 

Library Lions

"The Red Reading Chair" is honored to be featured on Library Lions, which highlights libraries from across the nation! Thank you so much to Janet Lee Carey, the creator of this great blog for giving the Shaw Library an opportunity to shine!  Here is the link:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week 26

Cindy Moo by Lori Mortenson
Read to Kinder & 1st Grade
Targeted Skills: Discuss elements of fiction (characters, setting, and plot)

This is another Mockingbird book from our district list, and it's an excellent read aloud for the little ones. We discussed the characters, setting, and summarized the beginning, middle, and end of the plot.

This book offers a great discussion of "creative problem solving" and also some science about reflection and the moon. We also discussed character traits that the kids admired about Cindy Moo, such as the power of perseverance and determination. This is a cute read aloud that the kids enjoyed.

Lesson Frame: 

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael B. Kaplan
Read to 2nd Grade
Targeted Skills: Discuss elements of fiction (character, setting, problem/solution)

Betty Bunny is one of my new favorite characters because she is full of spunk and charm, proving that she truly is a "handful." I love that this book presents a realistic character (even though she is a talking bunny) because I think so many kids can identify with her strong feelings towards chocolate cake (I sure can!). The ending provides an excellent discussion on problem and solution because the students realize that Betty Bunny does not learn her lesson by the story's conclusion (kind of like in life). Even though the book ends, students can infer that Betty will eventually learn how to be patient; it just might take her a little longer. This is one of my new favorite read alouds because it is funny and the kids LOVED it! 
Lesson Frame: 

If You Lived Here: Houses of the World by Giles Laroche
Read to 3rd Grade
Targeted Skills: Discuss elements of Expository; Make inferences; Generate ideas for writing 

This is an excellent nonfiction book that the students truly enjoyed. After showing them the picture of each house, I let them "Turn and Talk" to share their reactions. (I am trying to incorporate more opportunities for students to talk during the read aloud lessons.) We then read the information about the house and the students made connections to their quick conversations. I was unable to share the entire book (it features 15 houses, and I read about 8 of them). The students then determined that the book was nonfiction even though it has illustrations and not real photographs (they are getting good at judging a book based on its content and author's purpose--not the pictures--hallelujah!). There is an excellent map located in the back of the book that shows the location of each house in relation to the world. We then talked about a writer's workshop idea of designing their own dream houses based on what they read in this book. Fabulous!

Lesson Frame: 

Writing Lesson with 4th Grade using Face Time
Targeted Skills: Conferencing with other writers 

Colleen, my amazing librarian colleague from Seabourn Elementary called me up and said, "Some of my 4th grade teachers want to use Face Time to conference about writing. Are you in?" I said, "Yes!" This lesson was all Colleen's idea; I just got two teachers who were interested and scheduled a time for them to come. It was wonderful! The students volunteered to read their writing before they came so that they would be prepared. We then took turns (one from Shaw and one from Seabourn), and everyone wrote a TAG post-it (see Lesson Frame) while listening. Colleen and I swapped the post-its so that the writers could get their feedback. The students LOVED this experience, and we will definitely be using Face Time in the future for book discussions and more lessons. Thanks for the idea, Colleen!