December Newsletter!

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2016 – 2017 School Year! Weeks 12 – 13!

It’s Thanksgiving break! How’d THAT happen? Since it’s the holiday to share everything you are thankful for…let me start with that. I am thankful that I get to work part time so that I can spend time with my little one. I am thankful that I get to work part time so that I can spend time with my students and continue to do what I love professionally. I am thankful for my people – we have an excellent nanny. I have fantastic support at my school with another part time librarian who is there when I am not and an absolutely outstanding library media assistant, who fills in the gaps for both of us. I have great mommy friends and librarian friends. I am thankful to my husband because he works hard full time so that I can work part time and for all of the love he gives to our little girl. I’m thankful for my dad and my in-laws and I’m thankful to my mom, even though she isn’t here anymore. I’m just a big ball of sappy THANKS. I’m a pretty lucky girl.

Here’s what’s been going on in my library –

We just wrapped up another year of inventor research with 5th grade. They created a Facetalk video about their inventor. This year, we uploaded the videos to Padlet so that they would all be in one spot for sharing. This made it easy to get their videos off of the iPads, but due to some Padlet issue, teachers could not just press play and watch the video, unfortunately. They had to download before they could play them, so that was a bummer. I still feel like it was easier than what we’ve done in the past (which has been to have the kids sign in to Google, upload, sign out…sometimes we’ve had them scan a QR Dropbox…but, sometimes that didn’t work…we’ve done all kinds of things). We are not one-to-one, which complicates things a little bit. You can checkout one of the Padlets with videos here.

I’ve started a Mock Caldecott lesson with my 2nd graders. We are reading 20 books that have Caldecott “buzz” and we are going to try to predict the winner. So far, I’ve done an introduction lesson with each class. I went over the Caldecott Medal and talked about how it is selected each year. Then I said we were going to see if we could predict the winner by reading and rating books and then watching the announcement in January. I’m excited! We are using this list and at some point, we are going to chat with friends from other schools who are also reading the same books. We are playing with FlipGrid to do that. We’ll see how it goes!

In my MakerSpace, I had planned for finger knitting. I have gotten NO customers yet this school year though…so, I need to revisit my plan for this year. Next month, we are doing Spheros, so I think there will be more interest, however, I think the time of day is bad for folks? I work in the afternoons this year, so I moved MakerSpace Moments to 1:30pm (for the past couple of years, MSM has been in the morning right before the day really gets started…our tardy bell rings at 7:40am and the first classes go to Related Arts at 8am…I had it 7:30am – 8am and had lots of customers). I thought the 1:30pm time would be a GREAT time because no one has Related Arts, everyone is done with lunch, etc. But, it clearly is NOT a good time (or, are they just over MakerSpace?)…stay tuned…sometimes you just know something isn’t working and you have to revise. It’s time to revise!

What’s going on in YOUR library?



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2016 – 2017 School Year! Weeks 10 and 11!

Hello readers!

Book Fair is all wrapped up and back at the Warehouse! We had a successful fair…$1,000 more sold than last year’s Fall fair…I think that’s great! Considering that we held our fair earlier in the school year; we did not have an evening event; and we did not have any morning events (in years past, we’ve had a dad event – AllPro Dad– that our Guidance Department does and it seemed to always be the same time as Book Fair, which was nice…dads buy a lot of books!). We did have one lunch event (Pizza & Pirates) and it is hard to say how that went…I feel like we were busy the whole time, but I did not ever feel overwhelmed by the line (which can happen). Anyway, all that to say – I’m happy we made more than last year and hopefully, we can have a successful fair in May too! I pay for my author visit with Book Fair money and I subscribe to BookFlix with my Book Fair money…so, as long as I meet those goals, I’m happy! My book budget has decreased this year, however, so it would be nice to make enough at Book Fair to also order more books for the library. #Goals

We were finally able to host Lion Cub Story Time last week! This was actually supposed to be our third story time of the year, but due to crazy weather here in SC, both the September and October story times were cancelled! The theme was BOXES (instead of planning something new, I went with what I originally had decided for October…Cardboard Challenge month…boxes are good for November too)! Here’s what we did:

Box shaped name tags (black and white clipart)

We did “Open them, Shut them” as our opening fingerplay.

I read Not a Box by Portis

We did this Little Fox flannel board activity (scroll through the blog post to find it)

I read The Color Box by Dodds

We did this animal sounds activity – I “wrapped” a box and had little stuffed animals that I pulled out after kiddos guessed the animal sound.

I read My Book Box by Hillenbrand

We played a bean bag toss where they threw bean bags into a box.

The craft was a simple coloring sheet with a box shape on it…they turned a box into whatever they wanted! We had dogs, robots, boys, girls, monsters – all fun! All cute!

The snack was graham crackers because they remind me of boxes!

Now that I have a kiddo and have been attending public library story times, I am trying something with my Lion Cubs that my local public library does. I am sending home a sheet with the book titles, fingerplays, etc. that we did so that parents can do it at home…I have appreciated getting this as a parent, so I hope they do too!

What is going on in YOUR library?




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November Newsletter

Check out the NPES Learning Commons November Newsletter!

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2016 – 2017 NPES Learning Commons Weeks 7, 8, 9

What a wild few weeks! We hosted our NPES Cardboard Carnival on September 30 (wrote about that in the last blog post) and we were *supposed* to celebrate Star Wars READS Day on Saturday, October 8, HOWEVER…Hurricane Matthew stopped by! We have rescheduled our Star Wars event for May 4, 2017 (May the 4th be with you!). And, because of the crazy weather we have had, I have been unable to host a Lion Cub Story Time this school year! We have one of those scheduled for November…hopefully, it will go as planned! PS – Hurricane Matthew did not make a direct hit in my town, but we were out of school for 3 days because our school busses were needed to get evacuees out of their homes.

We are back in school now, of course and we are moving right along with our October events…we have a few classes participating in the Global Read Aloud. I have two first grade classes learning about Lauren Castillo and sharing what they learn with other classes via Google Hangouts/Skype. I have one 3rd grade class reading The BFG and sharing their thoughts with another class in our school district (mostly via Padlet). I am also reading books by Castillo with my Kindergarten classes. I love participating in the Global Read Aloud every year because it is a great way to create a community among readers.

Our Scholastic Book Fair is happening soon (we set up today!)…we moved it up this year from November to October and I think it will be a good move…we shall see!

What exciting things are going on in your library/classroom???


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NPES Learning Commons October Newsletter

Check it out! 


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2016 – 2017 WEEK 6 – Global Cardboard Challenge

Last week (and this week), we are all about the Global Cardboard Challenge. Each year, our 5th graders get the chance to create arcade games for the rest of our school. Our school district hosts a Global Cardboard Challenge on a Saturday in October (in conjunction with all other Cardboard Challenges happening around the world that day) and because it can be hard to do things on a Saturday, we host our own event on the Friday before (we call it a Cardboard Carnival). This is the 4th year or so that we have done it and I think we now have a good plan in place. Here’s what we do:

*I introduce the project to students in their classroom. I show them the Caine’s Arcade video and talk about the project. After I am done and have answered all of their questions, they sit down (often with a partner) and sketch out what they are going to make. They make a list of materials needed and start a draft of the directions on how to play the game. I suggest that they look around at home and bring in their own boxes, tape, etc. I do collect my own boxes and tape and other items for them to use, but it’s good for them to have their own stuff. I have found that there is a balance of having too much cardboard (making your library feel like a garbage dump) and too little (so that kids don’t have anything to work with). This year has been the best with supplies, I think, and it’s because we’ve asked them to bring in what they can.

*The classroom teacher and I then schedule working times in the library for students to come in and build. They get to come in for 2 hours with their class (one hour for each week leading up to the Cardboard Carnival) and then they can come in for recess everyday leading up to the event. They can also work on it at home….in short, I feel like they get a lot of time to work.

*The day before the Cardboard Carnival, every student who created a game comes to the library to set up. They teach the people next to them how to play their game so that if something happens (they get sick, surprise trip to Disney, whatever), someone is available who knows how to play their game.

*We advertise mostly via email to teachers and ask them to sign up for a time to bring their class in to play. Each student gets a “passport” and as they play games, they get a stamp on their passport. As they leave the library, they show me their passport and they get one piece of candy as a prize. We do this because for the first couple of years, many of our students created games with prizes and students parents felt like they had to spend lots of money on candy or junk or whatever for prizes. So, now kids play the games for points or whatever (no physical prizes), but everyone gets a prize on the way out.

It’s a lot of work, but kids really love it and when they get to 5th grade, they are so excited that they finally have a chance to create something out of cardboard.

Are you participating in the Global Cardboard Challenge? Tell me about it!


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