Wednesday, March 27, 2013

4th Grade Readers Theater

This is the fourth year that a gifted 4th grade language arts teacher and I have collaborated on a readers theater class for the year. We meet once a week for an hour. We have changed it up throughout the years, but the main focus has stayed the same, use readers theater as a way for students to enhance not only their reading skills, but also their confidence in reading aloud, their "stage" presence when they present their readers theater and their writing skills by writing blog posts and other reflections pieces.

 Check out their most recent blog posts on their class blog.

 We Skyped a few weeks ago with author Melissa Stewart and Melissa found our kids blog posts about her visit quite comical and she blogged about it here.

The students are in the middle of writing their own readers theater scripts using Patricia Polacco books, I can't wait to see how these turn out!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

World Read Aloud Day 2013

Full Image

My students and I had SO much fun connecting with other schools last week for World Read Aloud Day.  We had classes performing Readers Theater (4th grade), we had teachers read to us a Georgia picture book nominee (Same Same but Different) and we read/ sang Pete the Cat, Elephant and Piggie and Punk Farm. We connected with schools in Athens, GA, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut (my kids were so jealous of all the snow most of our Skyping friends had or were getting). And even though my district does not allow us to use Skype, we were able to connect using a cloud program called BlueJeans (where we use a program called Polycom to connect and the person on the other end uses Skype or another video conferencing program).

I can't wait to connect with some of these same schools (and others) for Poem in Your Pocket Day in April!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Georgia Children's Lit Conference Presentation

Welcome to new followers if you are getting here because you attended my presentation on Kindles, Nooks and eBooks at the Georgia Children's Literature conference on March 8 at UGA.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Winter Time in the South

Here outside of Atlanta snow is an abstract thing most years (watch, I bet I just jinxed us) and while most of our kids have seen snow before, it is not a thing we live with on a regular basis. So each January I try and introduce some snow to my lessons.

For story time this week (Grades K-2) and next we will be reading one of my favorite picture book biographies, Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  This book  is also on Scholastic BookFlix if you happen to have a subscription to this (we do!).

After the story, we are making coffee filter snowflakes (a find on Pintrest and it just so happened I cleaned out my pantry and found 300 coffee filters I no longer need - gotta love the Keurig!!)

For my older grades we are making snowflakes online. I love this online snowflake maker, and it even gives you the option to print the snowflakes. I talk with the kids about the science of snow and snowflakes (I am showing them the BookFlix Snowflake Bentley book mentioned above) and also about symmetry as they make their snowflakes. BrainPop has a great winter and snow spotlight page that I am using with the students too. BrainPop is a subscription site, but has a free movie everyday, watch their twitter account (@brainpop) to see what the free movie of the day is if you do not subscribe (but I highly suggest looking into subscribing, my teachers love this site!)

Next story time I do will be a favorite here, we make Steve Spangler Science's Insta Snow!!  Hopefully that will be the closet my students come to actual snow fall this year - as a southern transplant, I have grown to love non snowy winters!

Happy winter everyone, hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday FUN

It always seems like a race from Thanksgiving break (which for us is a whole week) and Christmas Break (which starts December 20th for us this year).  BUT this year since Thanksgiving was so early, it seems like I was given a few extra days to celebrate in the media center.  I am lucky to work in a district that allows holiday celebrations and decorations.

My "Grinch" book character tree

My story time this season is The Mitten and The Hat by Jan Brett.  Even though our Library looks very Christmas festive, I like to use non-specific holiday books for my story time.  The students are decorating white mittens (like the ones in the Mitten) and I am using them to decorate the library!

The Mitten bulletin board

I am also (as Mr. Schu says) "paying it forward" and having a book give away.  I am calling it The Twelve Days of Books and I am giving 4 books away everyday.  To enter, the students must leave me an entry form in the boxes I have in the media center - and they must include the name of a book they recently read and a short review of it.  I am planning on reading many of these reviews on our morning announcement show.

And finally, this year I attempted to do something I saw last year on Twitter and Pintrest - a book tree.  I am pretty proud of how ours turned out - now I am hoping that it STAYS this way until Winter Break!  I think my next task is a book menorah for the library!

Happy Holidays!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dot Day 2012

I look at this blog and the fact that I have not posted ANYTHING since January and it makes me sad, but also makes me realize how crazy my life has been. I would promise to update more, but as they say, life gets in the way!

BUT, I wanted to share the video from our two weeks of Dot Day celebrations in the Rock Springs Media Center.  My kindergarten, first and second grade students had a great time watching the book The Dot on our BookFlix subscription, then I read to them Peter Reynolds companion book Ish.  The students then created their own Dots using paint, markers or crayons.  We put the dots up all over the media center - it is a palace of DOTS  in here right now- and it looks FABULOUS!

Check out the Animoto video of our Dots.

Thursday, January 26, 2012



We have been blessed this year with a VERY mild winter, even for Georgia (knock on wood) so this year my unit on SNOW is even more exciting since I don't think we will see much of the real stuff this year.

My books this year are  Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart - these books go GREAT together and I love when I can read some great picture book non-ficiton to the students.

For our story time activity we make SNOW.  I purchased Insta snow from Steve Spangler Science (I love this guy!) and this is where the fun begins.  I talk to the kids about what real snow is made of and then I tell them that since we can't make real snow in the library that we are going to use insta snow. I talk to them about how insta snow is a chemical (sodium polyacrylate) and that it is called a polymer. We talk about how when I add liquid to this it will have a chemical reaction and change into snow (I get more in depth the older the class is). Then we experiment - I add insta snow to two clear cups - I add milk to one - which results in what I like to call Massachusetts snow - it is sticky (it is stuck in the cup) and yellow. I then add water to the other and you can see it instantly puff up into white fluffy snow (Colorado snow). The reaction of the kids is awesome!  Then I tell the kids they are going to experience a chemical reaction in their hands - each student comes up to my "lab" table and I make snow in their hand (see the video above). 

This is by FAR my most popular story time - I have done it with my usual story time classes (grades K-2) but also with all of 5th grade (they are studying chemical and physical changes), all of our special ed self contained classes (they love it for sensory lesson) and some 3rd and 4th grade classes.  I'm exhausted, but it is such fun seeing the reaction of the students - when you can get 5th graders excited about ANYTHING, I call that a good day!

bucket of snow
I'm still crossing my fingers that this is the most "snow" I see all winter!!