Engineering Center: Makers at Work

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Check out how I set up my Engineering Center here. The kids were SO excited to be able to make and create in the library! I found it amazing to see what they were creating. Here are just a few examples of what kindergarteners and first graders built our first few weeks using this center: Hexisnaps Flower:  Robot (after we read Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman!): A satellite:  A crane:  Kids are amazingly creative when we let them be! Up next will be our maker gallery.   *grab this center on TPT

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Engineering Center: Making in the Library

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Hi all! I’ve finally had a little time to spend back here. I’ve been wanting to share one of my favorite centers I introduced last year: my maker-inspired Engineering Center. It was a huge hit with students from the get go but took a lot of tweaking to figure out how to manage on my end. I’ll be sharing the center, our maker gallery, and some of the benefits I found from this center over a few posts I had spent a good deal of the summer looking for different types of building materials at thrift stores, yard sales, and even my parents’ basement. I found different kinds of blocks such as snap blocks ($3 for a whole set at … Continued

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AASL 2015

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Are you heading to AASL 2015? If so, please check out the Elementary Library Centers concurrent session! I was supposed to be co-presenting with Carolyn and Cari but having twins this summer put a kink in those plans. Instead, Edie Crook is joining Carolyn and I know their presentation will be amazing and full of fantastic ideas to help you develop a library centers program in your library. Be sure you check them out on Friday, November 6th at 4:30!!!

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MSLA Presentation

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Waaaaay back in March, I was lucky enough to present at the MA School Library Association “Fill Up Your Toolbox” conference. I realized I never shared my library centers presentation here. I talked about my experience using centers, benefits and challenges I’ve experienced, and how you might get started using centers. You can view a PDF of the presentation here. It’s a pretty big file and takes a minute to load.

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Found Friday: Apps

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Happy August! This week’s Found Friday was inspired by my Twitter friend, Kim Keith, who was asking for centers ideas for her new iPads. I’m fortunate enough to have 10 iPads in my library and I use them as centers as well as for projects. I have found using different apps as centers help the kids get comfortable using the iPads in a school setting (there are usually different rules than at home!) and they can become familiar with apps we will be using for projects. Here are a few of my favorite centers apps: BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. have free apps. If you don’t have a subscription they have a lot of free videos your … Continued

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Zoinks Jr.

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You may have seen this guy pop up on Twitter a few months ago: This is Zoinks Jr.! If you don’t know the original Zoinks, this is him: My regular Zoinks/Question of the Week Center is for 3rd-5th graders but the younger kids were getting increasingly interested in him throughout the year. The reason I use Zoinks with 3rd-5th grades is because of the level of questions he asks. The older students need to use a variety of resources to find the answers to the questions. They may have to look up a topic in Destiny, locate the book on the shelves, and use the tools they have to find the answer in the text. The might also need to … Continued

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Found Friday: Writing Centers

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Happy Friday! In my end-of-year survey, some of my students requested writing centers where they could work on a writing project while they were in library. I’ve been keeping an eye out for ways to incorporate writing into centers. Here are a few things I’ve come across: Graphic Novel Writing Centers: I accidentally came across this when I was looking up something about the Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. I think it would be so much fun to see how different kids end the story! The graphic novel aspect might even attract some kids who aren’t in to writing in the traditional sense. After stumbling upon that Lunch Lady finish-the-story, I looked at a few other graphic novels … Continued

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Found Friday

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I’ve been in a crafty mood so I found some crafty center ideas this week. The first is actually from a reader! Beth was wondering if I had tried monster corner bookmarks. I have not tried them out in the library but I’ve seen them on Pinterest. So fun! I’m definitely going to add this into the rotation. The original instructions from that pin are from Tally’s Treasures. I have tons of scrap paper from various projects and can think of so many fun add-ons like googly eyes or foam stickers. Another cool bookmark craft I found are these braided bookmarks: The last center I found are toilet paper roll characters from Dollar Store Crafts: I think I would have … Continued

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Found Friday Library Centers

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As I went to write this post, I realized my last one was still marked as “draft”. Even though I had scheduled it to publish, I didn’t actually click publish. I’m going to blame that on being on vacation last week! So, you get two Found Fridays this Friday! This past school year, I was new to my school. My library program was quite different for the kids and I focused a lot on routines and being independent in the library. This year, I’d really like to focus on community and kindness in the library. I’ve been looking for ways to help all students feel like they are responsible for and part of OUR library as well as ways for … Continued

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Found Friday!

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Just realized I scheduled but never never clicked PUBLISH for my last Found Friday post! AHHH. Happy 4th of July! And happy first Found Friday! Cari at Library Learners, Carolyn at Risking Failure, and I are trying out Found Fridays this summer. Each Friday, we’ll share a few center ideas we’ve tried, read about, or seen and would like to try. We are all hoping this will not only motivate us to blog a bit more over the summer but also share new ideas with you and each other! I’m on vacation in Chicago this week and happened upon the Target Family Fun Festival in Millennium Park. There was music, games, and activities for a variety of ages and when … Continued

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Origami Library Center, Part 2

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As I mentioned in my Origami Library Center, Part 1 post, my students were obsessed with the Origami Center I set up this spring.  I loved this center as well, not only because it was very engaging and allowed kids to be creative, but it also allowed students to help each other and be leaders.  There were several second graders who turned out to be origami ninjas and took on leadership roles.  They were go-to people in class when someone needed help.  This was especially nice for me to see because they weren’t always the students who shine academically. This center also inspired students to do writing!  This student asked if he could write his own instructions for an origami … Continued

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Origami Library Center, Part 1

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A few months ago, I asked my Twitter PLN if anyone was doing an origami center. A few people said they had tried it out. I had been thinking about it for a while because my origami books are ALWAYS out. I constantly had kids asking for them and even have an origami book basket in my nonfiction section so they’re easier to find. I decided to test out an origami center to see how it went and it ended up being my most popular center this spring! To set up, I grabbed the few origami books I could get my hands on and put them in a basket. Since most of the books were checked out, I also made … Continued

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ABC LEGO Center

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A center I have been using all year with my youngest students is ABC LEGOs. When I made my LEGO Poetry, I also made a set of ABC LEGOs. I used the smaller Duplo bricks and mod-podged a letter on each. I have a set of uppercase and a set of lowercase. \ The object I intended was for students to put the LEGO bricks in ABC order or to make words with the LEGO bricks. It’s so interesting to see how the kids will line up their letters. I’ve had them go back in forth in rows, around in squares, and in tall towers. It just shows all the different ways people think! A few weeks ago, I noticed … Continued

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Presentations

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Library Center Presentation

I’m doing my first solo presentation on centers this weekend at the Simmons GSLIS conference!   I’m very excited to share my experience using library centers with future library teachers but I’m also nervous because I’ve only ever presented at AASL with Cari and Carolyn and that was during IDEAxCHANGE so it wasn’t a formal presentation.  Hopefully it will go well! What would you like to see or learn if you were at a presentation on centers?

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Boggle Library Center

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I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this center before! It’s one of the most popular centers in my library. It’s very easy to set up and the kids love it, week after week. I use one of my oil drip trays to display this center. I added magnets to the letters and change them up each week (check for bad words!). The words paper is where kids write words they find using the letters in the 3×3 grid. The paper is in the top half of one of my acrylic sign holders. This makes it possible to use dry erase markers to write the words. The objective is for students to find as many words as possible. Some classes like … Continued

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