Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Breakout EDU Library Orientation

After hearing about Breakout Edu at ISTE this summer I knew I had found my library orientation. I am opening a new STEAM middle school in my district this year and the library is set up by genre, which is very different than the libraries at the school my students would be coming from. My goals for the orientation breakout edu were:
1.      I wanted the students to explore the catalog (Destiny)
2.      I wanted the students to explore the genre fiction section and the non-fiction section
3.      It had to take under 20 minutes to crack the locks

I had not ordered a Breakout Edu kit from the website so I had to gather the materials myself. I found luck at Home Depot for most of the locks, the Dollar Tree store for the box and puzzle and Amazon for the rest.
I started by searching the breakouts on the BreakoutEDU website and I found one called Locked In The Library by Melanie Thompson (@22MThompson). She had some great clues for books, but I needed my breakout to be more specific to my library.   I took a few of her clues (she has a gift for rhyming!) and I then created my own path to the clues.

I had 4 teams (to open 4 locks) and I gave each team an envelope with the first clue in it. I set the game up by reading a letter left to me by the Ghosts of Duluth Schools past.  At the opening of our school, the namesake of our school made a big deal about how our school sits on a site where there has been a school since the early 1900’s so I took this idea and ran with it.
See the Letter here
I then told the students that had 20 minutes to figure out the clues – and that the first clue would be found by going on the Destiny catalog.
Here is the link to my set up page – how I set up each clue. Many of the book clues came from Melanie Thompson’s breakout so use the link above to get to those.

What I learned
I wish I had done five locks instead of four, it would have made my groups much smaller since I have some large classes in some grades.
Most of the groups finished in 15 minutes but there were a few groups that I had to give hints to in order for them to finish.
I had to put a DO NOT CHECK OUT sign onto the books that I  was using as clues – we lost one book when someone checked it out (I hunted it down quickly) I originally thought about checking the books out to myself but then in the catalog it shows the book as OUT and the students would not think to look for a book that was checked out.
A cheap puzzle from the dollar store does not last having 9 different classes come through to put it together and take it apart (but 24 pieces was the PERFECT size!)
Students celebrating when they opened a lock!
Students excited that they solved the clues!
All in all my goals of having the students use the catalog and explore their new media center was a success. The students loved this new way to orient them to the library and I have already had some teachers ask me how they can set up something like this for their class for other learning targets. Can’t wait to do this again!

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.