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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Jackpot!

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I have a long list of library projects to do this summer, including this one.  When I saw Duplo projects on Pinterest, I knew it was something I had to incorporate into my library.  I struggle with poetry and thought Duplo poetry would be a great center during poetry month. The blocks can also be used to write sentences or stories.  I also love having hands on activities like this and Library Trivia Jenga (and so do the kids!). This morning when I was out for a run, I noticed some signs for a bunch of tag sales around the corner from  me.  I stopped home for some cash and headed over, hoping I could at least find a cute … Continued

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ABC Books Center

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I love alphabet books.  I still have The Flower Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta, which I got when he visited my elementary school in 2nd or 3rd grade.  He signed J is for Jessica inside the cover I don’t typically have too many of my 2nd-5th graders checking out alphabet books so I decided to make alphabet books a center where students could work on a library alphabet book for our library.  I made up an alphabet book template in word, printed out the pages, and made a folder to hold new and unfinished pages.  I pulled a bunch of my alphabet books to use as inspiration.  I love seeing what they come up with for each letter:      … Continued

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Author Study

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Grace Lin is coming to visit my school next Monday!  Very exciting!  In preparation for her visit, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders have been doing an author study.  We have read many of Grace Lin’s books, such as Lissy’s Friends, Dim Sum for Everyone, Olvina Swims.We have been documenting our learning on a collaborative poster:  After we read books, I asked students what characters we met or if they noticed anything we should add to the poster.  I wrote their ideas on sticky notes and added them to the poster.  Students could add anything they wanted to the poster on their own – questions, comments, characters, drawings, origami, facts we learned.  I think the kids did a great job!  Here … Continued

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Order in the Library

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**Update: the bad news is Order in the Library was taken offline in 2012 but the good news is Mr. Lodge made Shelve-it, a game to practice shelving books.Do you use Order in the Library in your library?  Order in the Library is an online library game provided by the University of Texas.  Students can practice sorting, shelving, and reordering books using the Dewey Decimal System. I often have Order in the Library as a center.  My students love to choose a character, play, and try to get to the next level.  It’s great because they are practicing putting books in order.   They have fun and I know they’re practicing “shelving” –  win-win! game choices example of the shelving game

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Library Trivia Jenga Center

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Who doesn’t love a good game of Jenga?  I saw a few Jenga games on Pinterest – math questions and other school-related trivia.  I thought, why not library trivia?  Luckily, I found a Jenga game at the thrift store for $3! I am also part of an assessment team developing a questionnaire to assess student learning in the library.  There were so many questions ideas from our assessment I was able to tweak for my Library Jenga.  It also helped me gear the questions to what students should be taking away from library class. The best part about Library Trivia Jenga is that students are having a blast playing while reviewing important library terms and ideas. For my Library Trivia … Continued

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Wondrous Words

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Who knew an online dictionary could be so much fun???  My students love using Word Central when we do dictionary and thesaurus work.  Word Central is an easy to use website by Merriam-Webster.  In addition to a dictionary, thesaurus, and rhyming dictionary, there are many other fun things for students to do.  There is a Build Your Own Dictionary to add made up words.  My favorite is bookster – a person who really likes to read books.  There are also some fun spelling games the kids go nuts over.   I have seen paint chips being used all over Pinterest and thought there has to be a great way to use them with Word Central.  As a fun way to practice using … Continued

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"Microblogging" in the library

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I have been blogging with my students and decided to introduce them to the idea of microblogging after seeing a few classroom Twitter walls on Pinterest.  I made a Blurb wall on my library door using laminated sentence strips.  I read somewhere (probably on Pinterest…I’m obsessed!) that you can use laminated paper with dry erase markers and decided to test it out – it works! The pink strips are mine and all of the others are by the kids.  Kids can stop by any time and add a quick blurb, as well as add blurbs during center time.   The neon colors are pretty in-your-face so the blurb wall has been catching everyone’s attention.  Classes wait right outside the door before coming … Continued

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Genre Word Clouds

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At the end of my 3rd grade genre unit, students did some carousel brainstorming to come up with ways to describe each genre. Then, we took all the brainstormed words and made word clouds using ABCYA:  The kids LOVED the word clouds.  I printed them out and put them around my fiction collection.  After the kids learned how to use ABCya, I was able to use it as a center activity.  

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Zoinks!

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This is Zoinks the Answer Alien: Every week, he asks my students a new trivia question.  Students must use library resources to answer the question.  I have links to library resources on my website and they can use the library catalog and books as well.  Some of our online resources are Grolier, Kids InfoBits, Word Central, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Fact Monster.  Once the kids find their answer, they write their name, class, answer, and source on a slip of paper and “feed” it to Zoinks.   At the end of the week, I count up answers and choose winners out of a basket (1 winner for every 10 answers) The winners get to choose a book from my book prize box. … Continued

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Library Crossword Center

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This center is Pinterest-inspired.  If you aren’t using Pinterest, you’re missing out on some really amazing classroom and library ideas!  Pinterest has a really amazing teaching community and it is such a great way for teachers to share ideas about what is going on in their classrooms.  There’s a good deal of school library ideas too.  I also find I can easily take “classroom” ideas and make them work in the library.  Here is my Library Crossword Center:  Set up:  I don’t have any magnetic surfaces in my library so I bought an oil drip pan (pretty cheap for the size  ~$10 at AutoZone).   I cover the Blitz logo, which is raised, with a sign telling the topic of … Continued

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Puzzle Center

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This center was also inspired by The Centered School Library.  Be sure to head over there for many excellent ideas!The Puzzle Center is by far my most popular center!  Even more popular than any computer center I have.  I had expected the kids to think it’s fun but perhaps not nearly as exciting as some of the other centers I have. That is not the case at all!  I have a 5 kid limit due to the space around the table and everyone races to get to the puzzle center!  This has been a really good community/collaborative center.  The kids in each class work together on the puzzle but they are also working together with students at all grade levels to … Continued

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Shelf Talker Center

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Shelf Talkers is one of the first centers I started using regularly during library classes.  I got this idea from The Centered School Library.  I tell the kids these are little advertisements for books they have enjoyed and want to share with other readers.  So far, students at all grade levels have done a great job creating shelf talkers for our library!    In our library, we use 3″x5″ index cards, folded in half.  After students complete their shelf talkers, I laminate them and tape them to the shelves in front of the book they advertise.  I have definitely seen an increase in check-outs for the books that are “advertised”.  Here are some shelf talkers you can see decorating the … Continued

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Library Centers

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I started regularly using centers in my library a few months ago after reading Cari Young’s website (now blog).  I had used centers a few times during Thursday afternoons when the specialist teachers cover common planning time for classroom teachers.  It hadn’t occurred to me to use them all the time but Cari showed it can be done! Why Centers?  My library classes are on a fixed schedule where I see 2nd-4th grade classes once per week for 30 minutes and 5th grade every other week for 45 minutes.  Classes are structured so I teach a lesson for about 15 minutes and students select and checkout books for the remaining 15 minutes.  I was running into issues getting students to use … Continued

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