Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Library Without the Library, Part Two

Okay, so you know that old saying about the best laid plans...?

Getting hand, foot and mouth disease (ew) was not in my Planner!  How did that happen?  So the last week and most of this week has been taken up with a hodgepodge of substitute plans and half days and basically phoning it in.  Not how I like to wrap up the school year.

So, I guess you call this post Library Without the Library AND the Librarian!

Here's how I dealt with the I was...and not in any particular order.

Pale Male:  Citizen Hawk of New York

My firsties were working hard on their animal research projects, so I called in the book Pale Male:  Citizen Hawk of New York by Janet Shulman and illustrated by Meilo So for my substitute and then had her show them the Pale Male website.  Of course I didn't realize that the You Tube clips would be blocked at school so I guess you could call it a Pale Male Fail.  OH!  That's a good one.

For one of my other classes I took the sage advice of one of my Tweeps, @ontheshelf4kids , aka Ellen, who suggested that I have my substitute read any one of Willems' pigeon books and then use this handy cheat sheet to have them draw the pigeon.  Thank you, Ellen!  I can't wait to see how they came out.

And finally my second graders practiced their skills of estimation by using 600 Black Spots, a pop-up book by David A. Carter.  I cannot take credit for this excellent connection to the math curriculum.  That goes to one of my wonderful colleagues in my county.  You slowly open the book to each page and ask the students to estimate how black spots are on each page.

I also had my substitute just read some Really Good Books to my kids and, I must admit, I cancelled a couple of classes as well.  With state testing in the library, library in the classrooms and the librarian at home, we're just going to chalk this week up to experience!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Library in the Classroom - Week One

Image of Here Come the Girl Scouts cover
Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey Illustrated by Hadley Hooper

This week begins the challenge of Library without the Library.  Our state testing has taken over THE WORLD {ehem}, so I get out to the classrooms for a change of scenery.  {<---positive spin}.

In Kindergarten, we will continue to collaborate on telling time to the hour.  Last week I did a pre-test of sorts by showing the students 8:00 am and 10:00 pm on a clock and asking them to write down the time.  Then they had to draw a picture of what they would be doing at each of those times.   We'll repeat the pre-test as a post-test after we've read a few new books in the Library that focus on time.

We are so fortunate to have author Monica Brown visiting our school in June.  I always seem to run out of time when preparing for these visits, so I'd better get cracking.  First grade and Multiage (1/2) will visit Monica Brown's website with me.  Before we do so, we'll write down things we'd like to know about Ms. Brown and then see if her website answers any of our questions.

I have been waiting several weeks to share Shana Corey's Here Come the Girl Scouts with my second graders.  I took some of Juliette Gordon Low's quotes from the books and put them onto strips of paper.  After handing them out to the students, I will ask them who they think said these quotes.  I am dying to hear their ideas.  After the big reveal, I will read Corey's book to them.

Third grade will most likely be sapped from taking their first SOL ever, so I'm sure a nice rousing game of Book-Tionary will fit the bill quite nicely.  Here will be my first five illustrations:  Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (warm up), The Name of this Book is Secret (don't ask me how I'll draw THAT!), Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and Scaredy Squirrel.  I'd better get practicing.

Fourth grade has come right off their spectacular Voki project (I'm a little behind in posting the finished products, eh hem) so I wanted them to get a look at an ebook called The Artifacts.  Truth be told, I know nothing about it but Ms. Reid wrote up such an intriguing post about it, that I have to investigate further. Thanks again, Ms. Reid, for another great lesson plan!

I'm not sure I will get a chance to see my fifth graders this week due to state testing.  : (

What do you do when there's library without the library?

Have a great week!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

In the Classroom: Book-tionary

This is the time of year where planning for my library classes becomes a little bit of a sticky wicket.

With our state Standards of Learning (SOLs) testing (three weeks!), field trips, field day, a visiting author, school-wide assemblies, (you get the idea) our schedule is an ever-changing serendipitous discovery of...We Can't Come To Library!

You'd think this would make planning easier, but it does not.  You'd think I could say, "Hey, I'll just plan the rest of the year out, and if they don't show, my lesson is planned for the next week."  But I don't like library like that (most of the time).  I like to time my lessons with the seasons or what's going on in the classroom, or how close we are to hosting our visiting author or prepping my students for the visit from our public librarians.  If I'm going to the classroom (SOLs are given and taken in the Library - did I mention, three weeks!) I need to plan for a full half hour. I actually like this opportunity to spend a little extra time with my students without the pressure of fitting in book checkout (I do have longer chunks of time with my students but it feels different when I'm in the classroom without an "agenda").

Here is one activity that my students LOVE.  In fact, they might love it a little too much.  I call it  "Book-Tionary".  Creative, eh? : ) 

I use the whiteboard/dry erase board in the classroom and begin to draw a character or scene from a book.  The students have to guess the book I am drawing.  I usually begin with the pigeon from Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  Once they catch on, it's mayhem.  My one rule is that they cannot call out - so when I look out over my little guys I see about 25 students turning red just trying not to blurt out the answer while their little arms are waving around like crazy. 

Allow for plenty of hang time to differentiate.  I also tell them that I probably will NOT call on the FIRST person who raises their hand.  Helps to take the pressure of those who need a little more time to think.  Come ready with a list of books (it's harder than you think to think on the fly).  With older students, I let them write down the title of a book they'd like me to draw; they love it when their book comes up and they get a good chuckle (okay, hearty laugh) at my artistic ability.

What do you do when you're blessed with a little extra time with your students?
Imagination Designs