Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Places Sign

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I made this sign for my library this summer.  It turned out really well and was very cheap.  If you are handy, I highly suggest you try it!  I'm sorry I didn't take step by step pics but I will try to explain it the best I can.  I used old fence boards that someone was throwing out for the pointed sign places.  I downloaded all the fonts I wanted from And typed up all the places in the fonts that coordinated.  I have an artsy friend who did all the lettering for me but really, I was going to use a projector and just trace it on to the boards myself.  Then I painted the words black and sealed it with polyurethane.  That made it darker so I sanded the boards, and repainted the letters.  I bought a $3 sample of black paint at Home Depot and didn't even use half of it for the entire project.  Then I bought a fence post for another $4 at Home Depot and had them cut it for me there so I knew it would be a straight cut.  I painted it black and measured how many boards I had and how wide they were and the spacing between them, etc... I put finishing nails on the post where the boards went and then drilled corresponding holes in the boards so that the sign disassembles and can be moved easily.  Then I made a base like you would put on a Christmas tree to help keep it stable and not fall over.  And there you have it!  This was not a super easy project, but I think anyone with a brain and a drill, and just a bit of artsy skills can get it done. :)

I know it looks really dark in the pic, but it doesn't look that dark in real life.  The places I used are: 100 Acre Wood, Hogwarts, Narnia, Whoville, Camp Halfblood, Mr. McGregor's Garden, Wonderland, and Yellow Brick Road.

No No Never Box Kindergarten Lesson

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One thing I like to use to teach Kindergarten about taking good care of their library books. I made the No No Never Box out of a shoe box and then put the following items in there:

Plastic dog bone
Tiny baby doll
Tiny toy bathtub (or a picture of a raindrop)
Toy ice cream cone
Tape dispenser

Each one has a rule to go with it and I have some ruined books that I keep to show examples of what happens when your dog eats your book, when your baby brother or sister gets your book, when your book gets wet and starts growing mold, when food gets on or in a book, and when someone tries to fix a book on their own (the pages inside were taped upside down).

It's great and they totally freak out when they see these books that have been destroyed.  Hopefully it sinks in...

Pete The Cat Pre-K Storytime

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So I know there are a million zillion cutesy ideas out there for Pete The Cat, but this one is easy and fun if you are introducing him to a group of Pre-K kiddos.  I have a big huge Pete that I put on the easel, we read the story, sing his song, and change out his shoes.  Fun!

I Took My Frog To The Library Kindergarten Storytime

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I have done and tried many orientation lessons for Kindergarten but none seems to work as well as the book, I Took My Frog To The Library by Eric A. Kimmel.  It's kind of an oldie, but works perfectly.  I go through and read the story to them.  In the book, a girl brings all these different animals to the library and they all do something wrong.  After the story, we talk about all the animals and I display a picture of them on the easel as we discuss them and their library manners. Here is a list of the animals and what they do and how I relate it to a library rule:

Frog jumps on the checkout desk and scares the librarian (Rule: We walk in the library and leave running and jumping for recess or P.E.)
Hen lays an egg in the library (Rule: Sometimes we might bring something with us to the library-like a jacket-we need to remember to take it with when we leave.)
Snake sheds his skin on the picture books (Rule: Keep your library books clean.  Wash your hands before you pick it up and also cover your sneeze while reading.)
Giraffe reads over everyone's shoulder (Rule: Don't get up from your spot and wander all over the library.)
Hyena laughs too loud during storytime (Rule: Laughing is ok, but we should use a quiet laugh and quiet voices in the library.)
Pelican hides the dictionary in his pouch and no one can find it. (Rule: If you check out a book, bring it back.)
Elephant wrecks the library because he's so big. (Rule: Even though you aren't as big as an elephant, sometimes we knock things over on accident.  It's ok, just remember to pick it up.)

Wheels On The Bus Pre-K Storytime

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The first storytime I do with our PPCD (Pre-K special needs class) is Wheels On the Bus.  It's simple, it's engaging, and it's familiar.  I have a big laminated school bus that I put on the easel.  Then we sing each part of the song while I turn the pages and I let them come up and put the different pieces on the bus (wheels, wipers, driver, people, horn, baby, and parents).  Then once everything is up, we go back to the beginning of the book and sing it all again.

Book Tasting

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I got this super awesome and wonderful idea to do a book tasting in the library with my 3rd and 4th graders from here:
I love love love this lady (Mrs. Lodge's Library) and her blog is FANTASTIC!  She has tons of ideas that I think are brilliant and love to use in my own library.  This is one of them.  I have the class come in and talk about what it means to taste something.  Then I tell them they are going to take a taste of a book...and they look at me weird because they know where those books have been...
But once I explain it, and they get it, it goes really well.  Every time.
With 3rd graders, I picked easy chapter books that don't circulate very often and put them on the tables for them to look through.  My main goal there was to show them that there are other books to check out besides Captain Underpants, Wimpy Kid, and Junie B. Jones.
With 4th graders I assign them to a column of shelves and give them a shelf marker to peruse their assigned spot.  I think it is good for them to concentrate on one specific spot and really look at what is there.
Both grade levels did great with this activity and in every class, there is always someone who either found a book they thought was boring or uninteresting on the cover but after reading the back they liked it, or they found a book with a cool cover that didn't seem very interesting to them once they read the back. This is also a great lesson in not judging a book by the cover.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dr. Seuss Bingo

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I know Dr. Seuss' birthday was a month ago, but I thought I'd post this anyways.  For his b-day, we played Dr. Seuss Bingo.  I created a powerpoint with some of his characters and well known quotes from their books.  Then I made bingo cards with those same character pictures.  The quote came up first and I read it out loud to them to see if anyone knew which book it was and then had the picture come up. Since the picture on the powerpoint was the same as the picture on the bingo card, it was easy for the kiddos to see which one it was.  And since the bingo cards only had 9 squares on them, we did blackout (where they have to have all the spots filled in on their card to say bingo).  It was super fun and the kids really enjoyed it.  I did it with kindergarten and 1st grade. 

Click here for the Seuss Bingo Powerpoint

Click here for the Seuss Bingo Cards

Have fun!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dinosaurs Love Underpants Pre-K Storytime

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A few weeks ago for Pre-K and PPCD storytime, we read Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort.  This is a fun book about how dinosaurs became extinct and you would never guess, but it is ALL because of cavemen wearing underpants and dinosaurs wanting them.  So the dinos fight each other for them and then they all die.  The best part about this story are the colorful underpants everyone wears.  So I printed out a black and white underwear pic from google (shhhh...don't tell) and then colored them to match the patterns of the ones in the story.  You should have seen the look on my principal's face when she walked by and saw me coloring underwear.  Priceless!  Anyways, I pass out the undie pics before we start the story and as we are reading, if they see the one that matches in the story, they come up and tape it to the board.  Fun! :)

One Duck Stuck Pre K and Kinder Storytime

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Last week for Pre K storytime, we read One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root.  I have done this with Kindergarten in the past and it has worked really well with them so I thought I'd give it a try with Pre-K.  It went...ok.  Not bad, just ok.  I made pictures of the animals in the story that try to help duck get unstuck from the muck and put them on popsicle sticks.  Then I make a "mud puddle" out of brown butcher paper to lay on the floor.  As I read, the kid with the duck stays up front on the mud puddle and each animal that tries to help comes up and pretend pulls on the duck to get him unstuck.  It is REALLY important that you tell them to pretend pull on them.  Otherwise you'll have broken arms and bloody noses and ducks that aren't stuck in the muck and your storytime will be an epic fail.  J/K.  But for reals, you do have to tell them to pretend pull or the duck gets unstuck every time and that is counter-productive.  My favorite part of this story is the chant on each page where duck says, "Help! Help! Who can help?" And I have the students say it with me.  If there is one thing I have learned about little kids, they love a good fun chant.  Anyways, this is just a really good read aloud even if you don't have all the props to go with it. 

Who Took The Cookies From the Cookie Jar Pre-K Storytime

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This week for Pre-K, I have no idea what their theme is, so I just came up with something on my own.  We are going to read Who Took the Cookies From the Cookie Jar by Bonnie Lass & Philemon Sturges.  Normally I would do some sort of story sequence and students would come up with pictures of the animals and just tape them to the board.  But I am really kind of tired of that and also of the kids that whine that they don't get a turn.  I like to be fair and I can't remember who I chose last time or the time before and so on and so forth, so this time, everyone gets to participate.  In the story, skunk goes around to about 9 different animals to see who took the cookies and in the end discovers it was the ants and they left a trail to a picnic.  I went into clipart and printed off pictures of all the animals and then a bunch of ants.  So if they don't get an animal, they get an ant.  Then I'll draw a T chart on the easel with "yes" on one side, and "no" on the other side.  As we read the story, when it gets to their animal, they will come up and put it under "yes" or "no" if that animal did or didn't take the cookies.  Ta-da!  Easy, fun, and EVERYONE gets a turn.

Marvin Redpost Kidnapped At Birth

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One thing I love to do with 2nd grade is introduce them to chapter books.  Some of them are already at that reading level by the time I get around to this lesson, but it is still fun and they enjoy it.  Also, I feel this intrinsic need to introduce students to beginning chapter books other than Junie B. Jones, Captain Underpants, and Wimpy Kid.  Each time they come to library, I read two chapters out loud to them and then we have a little discussion.  And this is also awesome because it is 5 weeks of lesson plans that I don't have to worry about... :) Here are the chapters and the discussion questions I ask:

Chapters 1 & 2 - Do you think Marvin is Prince Robert?  Why or why not?
Chapters 3 & 4 - If you were a prince or a princess, what would you have your servants do for you?
Chapters 5 & 6 - If you thought you were royalty, how and when would you tell your parents?  What do you think they would say?
Chapters 7 & 8 - What are some things you would not be able to do anymore if you were a prince or a princess?
Chapters 9 & 10 - What do you think now?  Could Marvin still be Prince Robert?  Why or why not?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pre-K and Kinder Storytime Knuffle Bunny

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This week for Kindergarten and Pre-K storytime, we are reading one of my faves, Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.  Let me just say, I love Mo Willems and everything he writes.  The man is genius.  Seriously.  Anyways, I like to share Knuffle Bunny with them because it won the Caldecott Award which is an award given to children's books for their illustrations.  The cool thing about these illustrations is that the background is a black and white photo and the people are in cartoon color.  Before we read it, I point out the title and what Knuffle Bunny is (a green stuffed animal rabbit) and tell them that this book won a special award for it's pictures.  Then I tell them to pay close attention to the pictures and let me know at the end of the story if they notice anything different or creative.  We read the story, blah blah blah.  They laugh, blah blah blah.  We talk about the pictures, blah blah blah.  Then I give them each a black and white picture of the story carpet in the library and crayons and they draw themselves in color in the library reading or listening to a story. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

2012-2013 Texas Bluebonnet Award Winner Postcards From Camp

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By now every librarian in Texas has heard that the winner for the 2012-2013 Bluebonnet Award is Postcards From Camp by Simms Taback.  (insert cheers here).  I was quite honestly surprised that this book won because the majority of kids at my school and in my district voted for Zita the Spacegirl.  But I am glad that Postcards won cause it's fun and interactive and quirky and I like that.  Anyways, it doesn't matter what I think because the beauty of the Texas Bluebonnet Award is that students get to vote and choose the winner. 

So, kudos to Taback (who died about a year ago :( ), librarians everywhere for encouraging a love of reading, and the one student at my school that voted for Postcards From Camp!

Each year we have a voting party and I'm always looking for some new ideas to stress out over and try.  In years past we have tried playing pictionary in small groups with the book covers but that didn't go over so well as I have a limited time and my students aren't very Pictionary savy.  I have also done book cover bingo, but that gets old after a few years.  So this year I kept it simple.  I printed up the book covers and cut them into puzzles.  When they came in, there was a puzzle at each table for them to work on while they waited to get some ice cream and vote.  Then I had a backdrop with bluebonnets on it and some of the book covers and they got to take their picture with the book they voted for "in the bluebonnets".  And that was it.  Boom!  30 minutes.  Done.  Obviously very low stress.  Another librarian friend of mine had a hotdog party and did a whole window display that said, "Hot Diggity Dog, you are coming to the Bluebonnet Party!" or something along those lines.  I thought that was pretty genius.  I could've done some other kind of theme to go along with one of the books.  So, I'm going to keep that in mind for next year.  We could do a whole Macy's Parade balloon theme or something.  (Can you tell I only know about one of the books for next year's list?)  Anyone else have ideas that worked well for you?

We All Go Traveling By Pre-K Storytime

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This week for Pre-K and PPCD storytime, I'm going to "read" one of my faves!  We All Go Traveling By by Sheena Roberts.  I love this book because it is one of those song stories and it has a cd that comes with it so all you have to do is play the song, turn the pages, and keep up with the hand motions/vehicle noises.  Here's how this storytime usually goes:

1. We listen to the story song as I show the book and we do some of the noises of the different vehicles as I see fit with each group.
2. I show them all of the vehicles (bus, truck, train, bicycle, airplane, car, shoes, and school house) and let them come up one at a time to put them on the board and we practice the sounds they make (which is part of the story song, so I don't have to make anything up)
3. We listen to the story song again as I show the book and by this time they are singing along and doing the noises and it is great fun!

To prepare for this storytime, I have scanned and printed out in color all of the vehicles from the back of the book and laminated them. 

One of these days I might get a little over-achiever-y and have them stand up in front of the rest of the group with actual items (like a horn for the bus or a steering wheel for the car, etc...) and let them make the noises.  One day...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February Bulletin Board

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For February's library bulletin board, we cut up some book posters, you know the ones you get every year that have the Newberry or Caldecott or whatever award books on them.  We used the books to spell READING! in WE <3 READING!  And of course the <3 is a WE BOOK READING!  Makes perfect sense!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Alphabet Under Construction Pre-K Storytime

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This week in the wonderful world of Pre-K, our little guys are studying construction.  Kind of a weird theme if you ask me, but they didn't so I guess they can do whatever they want and I will go along with it.  And smile...always smile.  Smiling's my favorite! :)

Whenever I see Pre-K or PPCD, I like to read them a story but also have some sort of activity to go along with the book that they can participate in since their attention span is about .000001 seconds long. 

So this week we will be reading Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming and then I have cut out (using the die cut) the letters of the alphabet and laminated them.  Before the story starts, I'll pass out the letters and make sure everyone knows what letter they have.  Then as I'm reading, they can come up and put their letters on the board in order.  We'll probably also do some motions or sounds or something with each letter too.  Fun, fun, fun!


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In my career as a Super Librarian, I have lots and lots of ideas that I want to keep track of and also share with everyone, so I'm starting this blog, Library Heros to do just that!  My first post will be about Captain America...because he is my favorite Avenger guy.  Abdo Publishers had some deal that if you ordered a certain amount from their company, they offered a puppet or a cardboard cut out.  And I chose Captain hero.  *swoon*  And now I make him say things like this: