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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2016 – 2017 Weeks 3 – 5

Hello readers!

What a crazy few weeks it has been! So, RIGHT NOW, we are just about finished celebrating DOT WEEK! I love to celebrate International Dot Day each year with my Art Teacher. She is amazing and does Dot inspired art with our students to display in the Learning Commons every year during our festivities. In addition to displaying student art this week, I have a few activities set up in the Learning Commons for students to explore after they check out their library books. They can play Dots & Company on an iPad; they can scan Dots that 1st graders colored last week using the Quiver App on an iPad; and they can collaborate to create a classroom Dot picture with Bingo markers. I’ve been sharing pictures each day on our Learning Commons’ Facebook page…check it out!

Also this week I have been visiting 5th grade classrooms talking about the Global Cardboard Challenge. We have been participating in the challenge for a few years now and every year, I think we get a little bit better. This year, I am visiting classrooms and introducing the challenge to students and then giving them time to plan what they want to build. In the past, they had a little bit of planning time and would move right into building in the same lesson, but this year, they aren’t even starting to build until the NEXT lesson. That gives them time to sketch their game, write their directions, and gather materials. Next week, we will give them solid blocks of time to build in the Learning Commons (and some have already been coming in during recess). We are going to host a Cardboard Carnival on September 30 and then the next day is the actual Global Cardboard Challenge that they can participate in, if they want to. I look forward to this event each year. It’s crazy, noisy, and messy, but so fun.

Last week, we continued to talk about book care with Kindergarten students and reviewed the Self Checkout station with all other classes.

The week before THAT was supposed to be our first Lion Cub Story Time for this school year, but it was cancelled due to inclement weather (students were dismissed early that day), so the next story time will be in October.

Upcoming events include Star Wars READS Day and BOOK FAIR!

What’s been going on in your library???


PS – Along with all the FUN and ENGAGING stuff that has been going on in my library, talk of levels has come up again. So, sharing the link for a blog post I wrote this summer – just FYI. #bummer

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2016 – 2017 WEEK 2!

Week 2 is under our belts!

  • All of our 1st – 5th grade classes have now come in for library book checkout.
  • Kindergarten came to the library for an introduction lesson, but no check out…that comes this week. I read my favorite first read aloud, Wild About Books,  to them.
  • 2 – 5th graders reviewed how to search for a book using Destiny (check out a video I made).
  • K – 5th grade classes reviewed iPad safety (each classroom/grade level has iPads for student use…before we issue the iPads each year, we do a review for classrooms on how to take care of the iPad)
  • I spoke at our Kindergarten Parent Orientation. This is something new I tried this year and I would love to make it an annual event, if my Kindergarten teachers will let me! They went through the ABCs of Kindergarten (what the students learn, how “grades” are given, etc.). I shared a little presentation about what happens when their kiddos come to the library and some tips for making sure reading at home becomes a habit. I also brought my laptop and a basket of books so that they could checkout library books. I felt like it was successful! Our 1st – 5th grade curriculum night has not happened yet and since I obviously cannot attend all of their presentations, I’m thinking about sending a handout to my teachers that they can give to parents that night and maybe making a video of some sort to just have on our YouTube page that parents can watch. We’ll see…

Right now, we are in the middle of planning LOTS of upcoming events – National Library Card Sign Up Month, Dot Day, Global Read Aloud activities, Cardboard Challenge, Makerspace Moments, Star Wars READS Day, BOOK FAIR, and more! The next couple of months are going to be super busy! Whew!

What special events are you planning?


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To all of my friends who have started school, WELCOME BACK!

We are back in action in my district in South Carolina. I shared this “pep talk” from my favorite guy, Kid President, on our school social media…LOVE HIM!

Last week, we were busy getting our teachers ready. This week, students are back and we are checking out and acting like we never left! I am doing orientation all week to 1st – 5th grade – I’m really just reviewing and making it quick and simple. One thing I added this year (and I am embarrassed that it wasn’t in there in other years) was our “reading life.” I talked about how each person in the Learning Commons is a reader and what we are into. It’s good, because we all have a wide range of things we like to read. We admit that we don’t read as much as we would like and some of our reading might be Facebook and blogs and not even books! I am able to share that that’s okay! A reader is a reader is a reader.

Something new I am doing this year is reading a book aloud (or doing a book talk) to our faculty at our monthly meetings. For the first one, I chose Teachers Rock! by Todd Parr. I love his bright and colorful illustrations! The purpose of doing this is not to make the meetings longer (ha!), but to introduce books and authors to our teachers and hopefully get them excited about reading. I feel like we have many teachers who have a true love of reading, but that they can’t find time to express it, if that makes sense? I want to share new books and authors with them and encourage them to do the same in their classroom. We cannot encourage our students to become readers if we are not readers. But, I can soapbox this forever. I hope it will work🙂

First newsletter went out this week – check it out! I love using Smore for our monthly newsletters. I pay $59 a year for an educator account and I love it.

Happy New Year!



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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal – Book Review!

A couple of months ago, I read on Facebook that Amy Krouse Rosenthal had a new book coming out and that she was looking for “awesome people” to help promote it. You had to answer a few questions and then wait to see if you were awesome. Guess what?! I was chosen as an awesome person! This made me happy. Awesome people got an ARC (advance reader copy) of her new book, Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and the promise of a signed, hardcover copy when the book is actually released (August 9, 2016). This makes me even more happy! I read my ARC and here’s what I think…

I loved it.

First off, it’s a quick read. Now that I have a toddler, I’m still reading a bunch…but, it’s a bunch of board books and picture books (considering I am a children’s librarian, that’s not terrible, but I do love to read a book not for kids from time to time). This book is for grown ups and I was able to read a good bit of it even with the toddler around. It’s not a novel and it’s not exactly a memoir or anything like that. It’s just little snippets of thoughts, ideas, and creative sharing. Split into school subjects like Social Studies, Romance Language, and Math (because it’s a textbook…get it?). What I loved most about it was that it is interactive (but doesn’t have to be) – there is a phone number that you text throughout the book (when Amy tells you to). You can share pictures of rainbows, a piece of art (self-portrait), a tattoo idea and other things. You can listen to her daughter read spelling words and hear wine glass music…just cool stuff that makes you feel like you are not only reading a great book, but you are somehow a part of it. If you aren’t into texting or don’t want to do that, you don’t have to do that to enjoy the book. You can visit the website that goes along with the book to see what others have shared, or you can just ignore that part all together and still enjoy reading the book (however, you’ll get so much more out of it if you do get to texting…just sayin’).

It’s a must for those who are already fans of Amy Krouse Rosenthal…you’ll love the wit and the creativity. If you’ve never read a book by AKR, this is a good one to start with!

Comes out August 9! You can pre-order here.

Maybe you even live nearby one of these events?! You should go!


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