Quality Resource: Cursive Logic

Cursive handwriting is something that is in and out of the news due to people’s conflicting opinions on its usefulness. I was able to attend a seminar at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2015. It was there I learned about CursiveLogic. CursiveLogic is a simple, fun, and intelligent new way to teach cursive handwriting. First of all, the letters are grouped by shape in order for the entire lowercase alphabet to be learned. Expanding upon these shapes create letter strings to capture the flow of cursive handwriting. There are also visual and auditory cues using theme colors and verbal task analysis. If you’re asking yourself why cursive, what’s the method, and/or what does the workbook look like? Simply use the links and learn more at CursiveLogic!  

Quality Resource: National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is the home of Ranger Rick and Ranger Rick Jr. Not only are subscriptions of these fun to give as gifts but these magazines are popular reading choices for elementary students (they even have a reduced rate for educators). I would highly recommend getting a subscription for your home, classroom, and/or library! More than the magazines though, the NWF provides some great lesson plans, activities, and printouts! I’m always a proponent of having materials ready for students who want to learn about things outside of school (or have a few extra minutes of free time). Therefore, there was always a stack of printouts near the circulation desk of something or another for students to bring home. This was never advertised but most students eventually found their way and took one if that week’s item interested them. Each week there was something new and I kept all the leftovers in a three ring binder behind the desk with a post-it of what week it was available. Examples of printouts from the NWF include Backyard Birds and Toasty Robin. I would always print front and back in order to cater to more students. As you will notice from these two […]

ReadyGen PBA Resources for Grade 4

I’ve been working with a great colleague from my last position as a school librarian / media specialist to develop materials to assist in implementing the ReadyGen curriculum in her classroom. She teaches fourth grade; therefore, the materials linked below are to be used with ReadyGen4Unit1ModuleA in connection with the first performance-based assessment. This PBA requires students to create a biographical spotlight. The reason I decided to create these materials is because the handouts and other materials directly from the curriculum are not as student-focused as I would like. As a teacher, I want to provide my students with some excitement and drive to complete projects, assignments, and other happenings. Because of this, I find it extremely important for any paper handouts and/or projected images to connect with students in some way. I find the use of fonts, icons, and the organization of the page to be essential with this. I also want every activity related to research to include the act of citing sources. This is an essential component that is all-too-often left out yet a necessary element of being a responsible citizen. ReadyGen4Unit1ModuleA Biographical Spotlight (scientist or researcher) ReadyGen4Unit1ModuleA Biographical Spotlight (on a famous person who has made a difference) ReadyGen4Unit1ModuleA Rubric and […]

ReadyGen Support Materials

I was fortunate enough to be part of the team that assessed our options for new english language arts curriculums. ReadyGen, through Pearson, was the curriculum the team (and our administrators) decided to implement. This decision meant our classroom teachers were in for a leap from what they had become accustomed to. As with anything new, there was a great deal of work to be done within training and supporting our staff. While everyone is still working hard to make the necessary changes and find areas that need a few more resources, major strides have occurred. I wanted to share a few resources that support the learning of our 1st grade students: Arbor Day Cognate Memory Arbor Day Family Tree Bingo Please contact me if you’re interested in the creation of particular materials related to your curriculum(s) and/or grade levels. I enjoy creating fun, focused materials to support student learning. Your librarian, Katelyn

Anchor Charts and Graphic Organizers

Anchor charts and graphic organizers are commonly used items in most classrooms. Anchor charts are great ways to make thinking visible to record strategies, processes, cues, guidelines, and other aspects of the learning process. Graphic organizers are visual displays to depict the relationships between facts, terms, or ideas within a learning task. I’ve used a variety of resources to create charts and organizers for the educators I worked with. Several teachers also wanted 1/4 sheets for students to receive and paste into their notebooks. Is this something you prefer? All of them I’ve created are welcome for download and use from the following folder: Anchor Charts and Graphic Organizers What have you used and/or what are in you search of? Your librarian, Katelyn

Library Trivia

Library trivia is something I began mid-year in the library unannounced as a passive activity for students. In the beginning it was a reward for students who read signage. After some time it became a popular activity, especially within 3rd-5th grade students. Every Monday a new question was posted. This question could be answered by using the signage and resources available within the library. All students who stopped by the library had the ability to try and answer the question until the end of the school day on Friday. The level of difficulty of the question varied in order to cater to all students (2nd -6th grade). There were pencils and scrap pieces of paper available for students to submit their: answer name grade level Every Friday after school (or Monday before school) I went through student responses. Every student who wrote a correct answer received a scented, scratch-and-sniff, bookmark. Among the correct answers one student was selected (randomly) to receive a free book. All prizes were delivered on Mondays to the student’s classrooms. The student who won the free book had their choice from at least three options (at least one of these was nonfiction). These books were purchased through Scholastic […]

Quality Resource: Core Knowledge

The last post focused on door displays with proverbs being one of the topics included. This was chosen thanks to Core Knowledge. Core Knowledge is an amazing foundation built on the idea that knowledge builds on knowledge. It was founded in 1986 by E.D. Hirsch and continues to work toward every child receiving a high quality education. Read Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch in order to gain the knowledge of where Core Knowledge (not to be confused with Common Core) is coming from and why it’s organized the way it is. The resources from Core Knowledge are completely free for download or you can order them if you would like printed copies. They have CKLA (Core Knowledge Language Arts) and HGCA (History, Geography, Civics, and the Arts). HGCA is for 3rd – 5th grades and is currently under development. CKLA is completed and available for preschool through 5th grades. Please visit the website if you’re unfamiliar with this foundation and check out what resources are helpful to you! Thanks for reading! Your librarian, Katelyn

Quality Resource: Lego Education

Lego Education is a great resource to satisfy your curricular needs. I have experience working with the Lego StoryStarter curriculum however based on how useful and well organized this kit was I would be inclined to think the others are the same. I would highly recommend to stick with their numbers of how many students per kit. I tried to stretch it and it did not work well. I stuck with smaller groups after that. I’m interested to try out the math curriculum they have available and pretty much anything else I can get supplies for. My favorite part about using legos is that is easily transfers learning to home. So many of my students love legos and love building. Doing activities in school allows them to replicate them at home with their own sets. I’m a proponent of anything that will get self-directed learning to occur with elementary through high school students. Check out Lego Education if you’re looking for new materials for your preschool through middle school students! Thanks for reading! Your librarian, Katelyn

Literacy & Legos: Year 2

During year two of the Literacy & Legos program at Fairmont Elementary I’m happy to report I was able to receive more funding to purchase additional Lego StoryStarter Kits. There were several changes from year 1 to year 2. The biggest included: meeting during school hours using the StoryStarter curriculum lessons having two groups of students What stayed the same? focus on literacy additional opportunities for 3rd-5th grade students who could use an extra opportunity to work on their storytelling and writing skills use of Lego StoryStarter kits I decided to create two different opportunities for year two because there were so few girls nominated for Legos & Literacy during year one. Legos are useful to everyone and I wanted to provide more students the opportunity to participate. Third through fifth grade girls could be nominated and would meet during the month of March. Third through fifth grade boys could be nominated and would meet during the month of April. I had never separated students this way however I’m pleased to report it worked extremely well. Two of my hopes were that more girls would be able to participate and all students would become more confident in working with new peers. Both […]

Literacy & Legos: Year 1

Using the Lego StoryStarter curriculum for an extracurricular program (those I wish was a part of the regular curriculum) has been one of the highlights of my past two years. This post will focus on the first year of this program, the next post will focus on the second year of the program, and the third will compare both while giving suggestions for the future. I was pleased to be invited to present to the school board about this program with several of the students who participated. For an overview and photos, check out our presentation below. It ended with several of the board members asking the students questions about what they had done and their thoughts about the program. If you’re interested in a slightly more detailed account, here you are: After applying for funding, ordering the Lego StoryStarter kits, ordering book sets (which later were put into the library collection), and figuring out a few logistics, teachers were asked to nominate students who they felt had the ability to work cooperatively and independently creativity leadership potential These nominations were able to be done in print or via email. After I had a list of students, permission slips were sent home as this […]