Library Centers Freebie

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As you know, Carolyn, Cari, and I are presenting at AASL13 today! We are all so excited to talk with other library teachers about library centers, share ideas, and hear what other library teachers are doing in their libraries. If you are just getting started with centers, or even if you are using them already, you will want to check out our Library Centers Startup Kit freebie on TPT. We put together center signs and materials for 15 relatively low-prep centers to help you get started. You can also get our AASL13 library centers handout here. Remember to keep the conversation going on Twitter with #LibraryCenters!

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#LibraryCenters at AASL13

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Are you going to AASL13 in Hartford next week? If you are, be sure to stop by IDEAxCHANGE on Thursday to see me, Cari, and Carolyn! We will be sharing all about library centers. We’ll have centers from our libraries for you to try, lots of great pictures, handouts, and center freebies so you can get started or expand centers in your library. I’m so excited to be able to share what we love about using centers in our library, connect with blog and twitter friends in real life, and learn from the many amazing library teachers that will be there sharing what they do in their libraries. Oh and I’m also VERY excited to wear my new shirt Carolyn … Continued

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Center Management Update

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A new year, a new library, a new center management system! So far, this is my favorite and seems to be working the best. A few years ago, I posted signs on top of a low book shelf: Last year, I didn’t have any shelf space so I used my SMARTBoard: Each of these worked fine but my new system is even better although it took a little extra work: In this library, I have a magnetic white board with a SMART projector. My board is a little wider than the image projected so I used the space on the side to create a center choices and must do area: The must do area has anything that MUST be done: … Continued

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Letters Center

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I’ve been doing a lot with letters to start the year with my younger kiddos. The ABC Table Art Center gives us a letter to focus on each week and I also started the year reading a few alphabet books like LMNOPeas and Miss Bindergarten. This Letters Center is a fairly simple center I have been using with K-1 (although I have let the older kids use it if they ask!). The objective is for students to put the letters in ABC order or make simple words with them. After I saw some fabric letters on Pinterest, my incredibly crafty mother in law made me a set of my own! She even went above and beyond and used fabric that … Continued

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ABC Table Art Center

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ABC Table Art is one of my new favorite centers for my littlest kiddos! I’m lucky enough to have one day of all Ks and 1st graders so I can easily set up centers just for them. For this center, I cover a table with paper (like Table Top Poetry) and the kids write words or draw pictures of things that start with the letter of the day. I change the letter each week, going in order of the alphabet. I have seen a huge difference in the variety of words the kids have come up with in just a few weeks. From A to C, they have gotten more and more creative. We went from apples (and little else) … Continued

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Shelve-it

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I am so excited to finally share this project! Last year, I blogged about the old University of Texas Order in the Library game and like many of you, I was super sad to see it taken down.  I’ve tried using the Wayback Machine Internet Archive but the game is finicky and unreliable since it’s not a real website anymore.   This is where Mr. Lodge comes in.Mr. Lodge has been making a career change to web development. He was looking for ways to build his skill set and I couldn’t help pointing out he might as well help me out by building something fun and interactive for the library.  He’s been working hard to develop Shelve-it, a game for … Continued

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Did You Know? Center

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We recently got 6 iPads for the library.  4th graders have spent the last few weeks exploring some of the informational apps I’ve bought.  They have practiced finding information in them and have been thinking about the pros and cons of each app. Some favorites so far are Barefoot World Atlas and Bobo Explores Light.  I also have a few Britannica Kids encyclopedias.  If you have any informational app suggestions, I’d love to hear them!The kids LOVE exploring the apps during center time but I wanted them to be tracking their learning somehow.  A few weeks ago, as one class was walking in the door, I grabbed some scraps of bright colored card stock and added it to the iPad … Continued

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Valentine’s Day Center

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Here is a quick and easy Valentine center I started using in my library this week.  I put out a sign and paper hearts (some cut with our die-cut machine and some cut by hand because the die-cut ones were pretty small!). The kids write a reason they love our library on one of the hearts. I’ve seen a pretty wide range of reasons the kids love the library and it’s always interesting to decipher first grade spelling The hearts would make a very sweet Valentine’s Day bulletin board, maybe along with books you have about Valentine’s Day.  Sadly, I don’t have any bulletin boards and have VERY limited wall space but this one empty wall is my make shift … Continued

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Book Spine Center

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This center was inspired by an old bulletin board I had last year. Students made book spines, complete with title, author, and call number. I decided to try  this activity out as a center and it’s been working really well!  I use strips of paper with spine label stickers.  There are always tons of scraps in our teacher’s room and I don’t usually even have to cut any myself!  Students can create a book spine for an actual book they enjoy or they can make up a title.  They write the call number on the spine label.  I’ve been laminating the book spines and we will alphabetize them and create a bookshelf on the wall. This spine was made by … Continued

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Library Assistant Center

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This is a center I use with only 4th graders (so far).  My schedule is spread out enough that I have time to swap out centers if needed and this is something the kids love to do and it also helps me out a lot!  A while back, fourth graders started asking me if I needed help with anything (perhaps they noticed my piles of to-be-genre-stickered books, unsharpened pencils, and general giant to-do stack?).  I have had library helpers during recesses in the past but I thought, why not incorporate library helpers into library class with a center? I set out any little projects I have for them, with sticky note instructions since the projects vary. Some things students have done at … Continued

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Updated Oil Drip Pans

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Remember this? This is one of my two, well-loved, well-used oil drip trays.  I use them for my crossword center, my Boggle center (IOU a post on this!), my poetry and story board centers, and I’m sure I will find many more uses for them in the future. When you buy an oil drip tray they are this galvanized looking metal.  (Autozone, $9.99, bring a big garbage bag to put them in because they’re greasy until you clean them).  I thought it would be a nice touch in my new library to paint them to match my green/pink/orange color scheme. I cleaned the trays and primed them with spray paint primer (I believe I used Rustoleum brand).  And added a few coats … Continued

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Lego Poetry Center

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Remember this post?  I finally got around to putting words on the Duplos!  Well, some of them.  I probably have enough to do two sets if this center works as well as I hope.  I think it will be especially fun in April for Poetry Month.  I used a lot of K-2 sight words to make it appropriate for a range of grades and abilities. I also threw in some library words and some fun words.  I can’t find the file with my list of words anywhere or else I would share with you!  If I make a new copy, I will update with the GoogleDoc link.To make the lego poetry, I used a table in Word with cells that would … Continued

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Library Pictionary Center

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 Can you guess what this picture is? It’s a little small on here but those are arrows pointing at a call number!  I thought this student did a great job drawing her topic for Library Pictionary!   Below, you can see the simple set up for this Library Pictionary center: I use a small white board, dry erase markers and eraser, and topic cards (all library related, of course!) for this center.  The kids LOVE it, especially the students who love to draw.  The first person to draw chooses a topic card and draws a picture to represent the topic.  The other people try to guess what the topic is based on the picture. One thing I will be doing … Continued

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Toon Books

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Have you used Toon Books in your library?  I have used the Toon Book Reader as a center activity and have it linked on my website for easy access from home and school.  Toon Books has a free ebook reader for “toon” books, which has a read-aloud feature and is available in multiple languages such as Spanish and Chinese.  I have some of these books in print in my library like Little Mouse and Benny and Penny, which the kids love.  They also love these e-versions!

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Poetry/Story Board

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Happy June!  The school year is winding down has been crazy!  I’ve been weeding, inventorying, and organizing the library.  The kids have been wrapping up projects in all my library classes and we have had librarians from the public library visit to talk about summer reading.  Needless to say, I’ve been busy!This is a center activity I hope to use for multiple activities.  So far, it has been used to write poetry but I think it will also be used to write sentences or stories.   I bought another oil drip tray from Autozone for a magnet board.  I cut out any interesting words I found in my giant stack of to-be-read magazines that have been sitting in my living room … Continued

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