Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Looking back at 2011-2012

We are starting to come to the end of our third year here at Caleb's Creek. Time has really gone by quickly! As we are passing out yearbooks and finishing off testing, I thought it might be fun to look back at some statistics from the year!

In the past year, we have:

Taught approximately 715 classes (fixed and flexible schedule)

Assisted approximately 770 classes that came just for check-out

Attended 1 state library conference

Held 2 book fairs

Created 30 Livebinders

Checked out 33,753 books

Placed 863 holds on books for students (and delivered that many LibraryGrams!)

And Much Much More.

Speaking of checkouts, let's look at the top titles for check-out this year. Here are the Top Ten Everybody, Fiction, Non Fiction, and Overall titles for the past year. I thought it was interesting that the graphic novel series Bone and Wimpy Kid almost completely took the Top 10 Overall. (Bone is a graphic novel so it has GL for Graphic Literature in the call number which is why it didn't show up in the Fiction Top Ten even though it is inter-shelved with it.)

Top 10 Everybody Titles

Top 10 Fiction Titles

Top 10 Non Fiction Titles

Top 10 Overall titles

Friday, May 25, 2012

Free Books for Reading!

Did you know Barnes and Noble has a summer reading program? Just read 8 books and complete the reading journal including title, author, and who you would recommend the book to and then take it to your local store. Then, you can choose a free book from those listed on the log. (I don't know all of them, but I saw a lot of great titles to choose from as the free choices!) The site even has suggested books to get you started. Check it out!

Also, don't forget to check and see if your local public library has a summer reading program - ours in Forsyth County does! You can count the 8 books for Barnes and Noble on your library log too.

Even if you don't participate in a summer reading program, keep reading during all those dog days of summer!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Postcard Maker

I found this postcard maker today and thought about using it to write a postcard from one character to another, to show non-fiction information, or to write as a fictional or actual person in a historical period. Here is a sample I made. 
The postcard maker includes space for the usual mailing address, greeting, body of the message, and closing, but I liked that it also included space to add at the top a title and description along with a citation for a picture on the front of the postcard. This is a great mini-lesson opportunity to have kids cite an image, to talk about describing an image, choosing a picture that fits the assignment, or just adding some authenticity. Give it a whirl - it is very easy and quick!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer Reading

A parent came in today to talk to me about suggestions for books that her fourth grade daughter might like since she got very interested in The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall recently, but hasn't been interested in many others. I suggested books by Betty Ren Wright, the new Titanic series by Gordan Korman (since she was also interested in Titanic and I thought it combined the two), and The Westing Game. Any other title or authors anyone wants to suggest?

I am always happy to help suggest books. I love reading and it is my favorite part of my job to help kids find books that get them excited about reading. Ask anytime!

Speaking of reading, don't forget that our public library (and other public libraries in most places) has a summer reading program you can participate in. Kids, teens, and even adults can participate free of charge. You could win a $25 or $100 Barnes and Noble gift card! Check out your public libraries for information.

Most importantly - KEEP READING! Books can help you have some great summer adventures!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Glass Giant Customized Pictures

I was working on a SMART notebook about Big 6 today and rediscovered a site I found a while back. Glass Giant has several fun ways to take a few words and make some custom pictures with them. There are rockets, cookies, dog tags, tickets, chalkboards, animated lightening, and more. It is a fun way to add some punch to a presentation. Here are some of the examples I came up with playing around with my Big 6 presentation. 

How else could you use Glass Giant pictures?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dog-Gone Fun

We have been working on finishing up the cat and dog projects we started recently. 1st and 2nd graders used the Super 3 to research a breed of cats or dogs and create a project. 2nd graders were making a Lost Dog poster describing their breed and included citations. This was a great way to get them started on taking notes in the form on key words and phrases rather than copying or writing in whole sentences. Here are some of the 2nd grade notes and projects in progress!
From notes... finished poster.


Carol Marsh Skype Session

Fourth graders had the opportunity to skype with Carol Marsh. Ms. Marsh has written many, many books but fourth grade in particular reads The Mystery of the Biltmore House and visits the Biltmore house on a field trip. This was an exciting experience for kids to be able to find out things like what room was Ms. Marsh's favorite room. (Hint - the library!) Here are some pictures from the day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Trailers

As you might have guessed from my last post, I am experimenting with having the kids make books trailers - similar to book reviews but hopefully a little more like a movie trailer! I mentioned Meet Me at the Corner as a source for some book reviews, but another site I came across was Book Trailers for Readers. There are so many good titles to choose from but the class had recently read Charlotte's Web, so we viewed that one. This would also be a great source for trailers just to show kids when they are at a loss of what book to choose.

We watched the Charlotte's Web review and talked about how they describe the book, story, and characters, but don't give anything away about what will happen. Starting with a question and ending with a cliffhanger are also key elements. The Book Chook also has a post about writing a review for kids that has helpful steps and suggestions. There is also a section there with suggested questions to help guide kids in writing their review. This site is meant more for written reviews I believe, but would still be helpful in writing the script for a taped book trailer.

I am excited to see what the kids come up with!

What are your favorite books you would like to see a book trailer about? 

Meet Me at the Corner

Meet Me At The Corner is a wonderful resource I just came across yesterday. I came across it looking for student book reviews as examples for a class I have making book trailers, and they have a great section of these in their Big Apple Book Club, along with some short videos on creating podcasts. If kids submit a book review that they use on the site (there is a video explaining what to do), they earn a $25 Amazon gift card also! I showed an example review from the site of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and the copy I had was checked out immediately and about five more kids put it on hold! I already think I may show each class a review of a book I have in our collection to get kids interested in books they might not usually pick up.

Back on the main page are links with videos of interviews with different people in various careers (such as park rangers, perfume makers, animal behaviorists, a cowboy, a fashion designer, and a Tuskegee Airmen), informational videos for kids about everything from ferrets to pop up books to harpsichord music! This is definitely a source I will be spending some more time digging through to see what else I can find!

What do you like best about Meet Me At The Corner?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week...

I came across this infographic today on Twitter thanks to Learn NC. It is not easy to teach and stay motivated, but we have a wonderful staff here at Caleb's Creek that is very dedicated. Please be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them!

Teachers are Heroes Infographic
Brought to you by USC Rossier Online Master's in Teaching

It's Nice to Be Recognized!

 library science degree
Thank you to the people over at TeacherCertificationDegrees who named our little blog home one of their Top 50 School Library Blogs! I am honored to be in the company of some of the other blogs listed that are some wonderful library blogs. Check out some of the links there to find some real gems such as Busy Librarian, The Unquiet Librarian, The Eliterate Librarian, and the AASL Blog. It is always nice to find out that someone actually reads your blog! What are your favorite blogs?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Solar System Stories

I promised an update on our solar system stories and here it is! About half of my 3rd grade classes have finished narrating their stories, the other half will be over the rest of this week, but here are a couple examples of what I have been talking about!

Didn't they do a great job? Here are some photos from the recording session. I would definitely do this project again, but try to get the kids to use more of the information they researched in the story itself. I have to give credit to Jessica Moore and Winter Park Elementary School for the idea. I went to a session at NCSLMA about her digital story and that is what inspired me to give this a try! Thanks for sharing with us Winter Park!

Mrs. Hentz filling in for absent students

Finished Product!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Solar System update

I talked about our ongoing solar system project before, but we are getting back to it in the media center now to create the photostories this week. In a nutshell, they started with research about the planets with me, moved on to write the stories in character education (incorporating bullies, character ed topics, etc), illustrated the stories in art, and performed SchoolHouse Rock including Interplanet Janet in music class. Now, it has come back to me and we will be narrating the stories this week using Photostory, though there are tons of other programs you could also use. Today I was photographing their illustrations to start the photostory project so they are ready for them to narrate and was so excited about some of the pictures! I have not read the stories yet, I wanted to hear the students tell them for the first time, but if the pictures are any indication, I think they will be great! We are so excited about this project. I will post again on the results when they are finished, but here is some of the artwork I got today.

I love the french beret by the Eiffel Tower

'News' About the Smokies

Researching with the livebinder
 A 4th grade class is reading The Egypt Game, set in the Smoky Mountains, so we did a quick project on the Smokies with them. They used my livebinder to locate a topic that interested them and researched that topic. After research, they had to create a newscast script and practice it with a partner. The kids taped each other and came up with their newscast on different aspects of the Smokies. They love taping each other and having an end project like this made them have to really understand their topic so they could talk about it. I love projects that give kids some understanding of real life possible applications for learning how to do things!
Planning out a script
Taping the newscast

 What fun projects do you use to get students interested in learning?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012