Thursday, May 5, 2016

Reading Minutes

I asked teachers how much time students have to read books of their own choosing during the literacy block each day.   I averaged the responses that I got and here are the results:

Media Academy - Making Space & Makerspace

4/19 - Last Media Academy this year.  This session really got me thinking about the two different library spaces that I work in. We started off with a presentation on Library as Space.

We looked at the Best and worst features of local school libraries.  I love the natural light and comfy seating for readers at both Central and Jefferson.  I'm really re-thinking about where things are at CMS!   Lots to think about in designing libraries for the future.  Canada is thinking ahead in planning school libraries for the future: Library to Learning Commons video.

I'm also gearing up for a Makerspace place in the CMS Library.  I'm kicking off small with Legos and coloring pages and so far, so good. The kids have enjoyed it.

Book Battles and Bowls

After spring break, I hosted a book battle at Central and a book bowl at Jefferson.  At Central 86 students and 12 staff members read at least 4 books each.  The book battle scoreboard shows over 331 books were read!  It was an epic event: full of fun and challenge.

At Jefferson the 4th and 5th grade teams played Kahoot for an intense and exciting bowl.  There were 18 students who participated.  The 3rd grade bowl will take place soon.  These students read a lot of books and found out it takes teamwork and dedication to do well in these tournaments!

Check out pictures of the CMS Book Battle here.

School Library Survey Submitted

This spring, in addition to the big events of Iowa Award book program voting and Iowa Association of School Librarians conference, I filed the State of Iowa School Library Survey for both buildings. Study data is not available for this year yet but past years can be accessed on the site.  The survey tracks many aspects of school libraries such as collections, budgets, staffing, collaboration, and more.

The big change this year is that the amount of time that I am in the CMS Library has been reduced because I am teaching both a section of Digital Literacy and at Jefferson.  Circulation and collaboration rates at CMS are down this year.

CMS Library Circulation
2014-15 (red)
2015-16 (blue)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

IASL Conference Recap

Learning Librarian - I'm a Work In Progress

Iowa Association of School Librarians Conference | Schedule
Des Moines, IA
April 3 & 4, 2016

Sunday Evening Spectacular: Mr. Shu Reads Follow his blog
Mr Shu loves books, kids, & Kate DiCamillo.  Don't we all!  I really do.  I mean it.  I was Flora of Flora & Ulysses for Halloween after all.

Backto the conference, Mr. Shu gave away a lot of books and I got Snappsy The Alligator! Sidenote here:  Like Kate DiCamillo, I am from Florida and I love alligators so when Mr. Shu offered Snappsy I might have let out a little excited squeal because I really wanted that book.  I already shared it with Kindergarten kids today. They loved it and hope for more.

Takeaways - keep sharing the learning, the love, the passion.  Make your library a place kids have fond memories of years down the road.  Also, ask kids to be metacognitive about the library.
The job of the librarian to get the reader back.

Keynote -  Transforming Libraries in Transitional Times, Michelle Luhtala
Amazing, awesome, inspirational!
Document - phone alarm every 40 mins or so and take a photo
Online world - online tools - kids & handhelds - Makerspace & more

Vendors - Got lots of goodies including Perma-Bound: forever guarantee on their books, series tracker, and I got a Duck & Goose Let's Dance Party Kit! 

10:20 Session
Michelle Luhtala - Libraries Without Walls: Moving Your Library Online
What I didn't get to hear:
11:30 Session
Chrome Extensions: Hidden Gems to Transform Your Teaching and Learning, Beth Swantz
Really cool and useful tools!

What I didn't get to hear:
Iowa Author Jill Esbaum 

Statewide Iowa Award Winners -
  • Goldfinch: Day the Crayons Quit
  • Children's Choice: Duke by Kirby Larson
  • Teen Awards: Skinny by Donna Cooner
2:20 Session
Let's Capitalize on the I in Interactive, Sarah Staudt
Lunch and learn. Snapchat. 1 day a week. Use power of social media! Google docs, forms.  I really need to go where the kids are and figure out Snapchat.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Our Votes Are In

Students at both Jefferson Elementary School and Central Middle School recently voted for their favorite books on the 2015-2016 Iowa Award Lists.

I read many of the Iowa Goldfinch books aloud with students in grades K, 1, & 2.   Those 161 students in 9 classes chose these books:

  • 1st place - Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett
  • 2nd place - Crankenstein by Samantha Berger
  • 3rd place - The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizolli

    Over 365 books were read by 125 participants in the Iowa Children's Choice and Iowa Teen Award categories!

    In the Iowa Children's Choice books 56 students in grades 3, 4, 5, & 6 read over a total of 163 books and selected these books as their favorites:

    • 1st place - Duke by Kirby Larson
    • 2nd place - The Blood Guard by Carter Roy
    • 3rd place - Doll Bones by Holly Black

    In the Iowa Teen Award category 69 students in grades 6, 7, & 8 read over 202 books and selected these as their favorites:

    • 1st place - Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
    • 2nd place - The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen
    • 3rd place - Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan

    Thanks to everyone who participated. Statewide winners will be announced in April at the Iowa Association of School Librarians Conference!

    Friday, February 19, 2016

    1 Tech Tool at a Time

    In 2 Minutes or Less

    Do you use Google Classroom?  I do!  I use it for my book clubs and for my Digital Literacy class.

    Yesterday at a training I learned about Share to Classroom - a Chrome extension that hangs out as a tiny little icon on top of the Chrome window.

    It is simple to get.  Click on this link to get Share to Classroom in the Chrome store and click add to Chrome.

    Share to Classroom simple to use.  It makes it easy to add things like Docs and links to Google Classroom without actually opening classroom.  Read the post at Shake it Up Learning  or Richard Byrne's Free Tech for Teachers to find out more.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    6 Weeks After Winter Break

    It's been almost 6 weeks since we came back to school after winter break.  In that time, Central has circulated over 2,075 books and Jefferson has circulated over 3,674 books!  At Central we had 723 students walk in for books and 75 whole classes come in.

    In Mackin Via students get a wide variety of instant access books from fiction to non-fiction. Students and staff have definitely been using these e-resources.  At Central there have been 3,131 logins from Jan. 5th to Feb. 9th.  There were 4,608 book views and 132 checkouts.  At Jefferson there were 208 logins, 378 book views, and 12 check outs.

    2nd graders love to relax and read in the Jefferson library:


    Library lessons during this time have focused at on author's purpose and story structure through the use of the Iowa Goldfinch books for 2nd grade.  Students compared texts and voted for their favorites in 1st and 2nd grade. Grades 3-8 focused on using Destiny, narrowing book searches by subject and level, and discussed books in the adventure genre.  There were plenty of meetings at the CMS library for book club and book battle lunches.

    Book Battle and Book Bowl students are feeling the push!  Middle school stats: The 19 - 8th graders have read 55 books, the 34 -7th graders have read 76 books, and the 30- 6th graders have read 78 books.  The total books read for battle so far = 219 and we have many weeks to go until the battle.

    Some strong readers are participating at Jefferson with 3 - 5th grade teams finishing 36 books total. 3rd and 4th graders are rounding out the scoreboard with 39 books.

    Digital Literacy classes started 2nd semester and students are getting into the habit of using the home row keys for keyboarding.  Other topics covered include strong passwords, use of Google Drive and folders, how to edit letter templates, and how to make charts using Google Sheets.  See a few samples below:
    4th, 5th, and 6th graders are eagerly looking forward to our visit with Delia Ray, author of Finding Fortune, Here Lies Linc and more on Feb. 22nd.  Other coming events include Jefferson's March Book Fair.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016

    Yeah for Delia Ray!

    We are excited to host local author Delia Ray on Feb 22 for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students.  Her latest release, Finding Fortune, was researched here in Muscatine.

    We will be offering a pre-sale of her books at a discount price.  Orders are due Feb 3.  Checks should be made out to The Book House.  Books will be signed by the author.  

    The book order form is here:​

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

    The One and Only Crenshaw

    Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

    I loved The One and Only Ivan, the 2013 Newbery Medal winner by Katherine Applegate so I eagerly anticipated reading Crenshaw.  This 2015 release is a moving, sometimes funny, and ultimately memorable book.

    The story is about Jackson, a 4th grader who has had some hard times in the past, so hard in fact that his family lived in their minivan for 14 months.  Now, Jackson is afraid that the hard times are coming back.  His family has a yard sale and gets rid of almost everything extra.  He hears his parents say, “It isn’t enough,” with the money from the sale.

    With all the worries about the hard times, the yard sale, the overdue notices, and more, Jackson gets stressed.  When he sees a giant 6-foot tall cat, he thinks he really is losing it!  That giant cat is Crenshaw and Crenshaw is Jackson’s imaginary friend. 

    Crenshaw does some crazy things for a cat – he takes showers and likes to play in the bubbles for instance.  He won’t go away and leave Jackson alone because as an imaginary friend, he has an important job to do.

    Read this wonderful story to see how Jackson deals with all his troubles and worries aided of course by the one and only Crenshaw.