Winter Break Bingo!

Teachers, Librarians, & Administrators (of elementary students), Are you looking for a fun way to promote reading and writing this winter break? Check out: Winter Break Bingo Simply print, discuss, and pass out to your students. There is an optional second page with the prompt of “Draw a picture of yourself reading.” Encourage your students to complete as many boxes as they can and return it after winter break so they can share everything they were up to. If they need an incentive, go for it; and, if you’re looking for personalization, message me! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez Per usual, this resource is also available on TeachersPayTeachers and please let me know how it went over!

Book Reports / Book Projects / PBAs

I’m happy to let you know that I’ve been working through many of the book reports and performance-based assessments / project-based assessments I’ve created since my undergraduate degree in order to update and reformat them. All of the PBAs include student choice as well as a range of activities designed to meet the interests of diverse groups of students. Enough are now revised that I’m ready to share a few with you! All of these projects are aimed at middle school and/or high school students. Please download what you find useful and share with anyone else who may be interested. I’ve provided you with three free below however funds are always appreciated as this work is done on my own time. Please consider purchasing through Teachers Pay Teachers or making a donation via the button provided at the end of this post. Amaryllis by Craig Crist-Evans Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett Sold by Patricia McCormick Finally, many of these projects would be suitable in a public library environment as a reading challenge for youth in middle or high school. If you have a book you’d like projects for or you simply want something reformatted, please email me! I’m happy to contract out my time and efforts. Happy […]

CCBC Choices

CCBC (The Cooperative Children’s Book Center) Choices is a yearly publication featuring the best books of the previous year. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone interested in literature for children and young adults and 2017’s list is now available! You can get your copy of CCBC Choices 2017 by becoming a member of the Friends of the CCBC or visiting the CCBC (located in Madison, WI, USA) after March 4th, 2017. A list is currently available online however you’ll need the book form to see all the accompanying information. The expertise of the librarians at the CCBC shines through brilliantly within Choices. Not only are there books within a variety of topics but they are accompanied by annotations and statistics of the 2016 publication year. This is my go-to source when it comes to collection development, my personal collection, and deciding what books to purchase as gifts. If you’ve been following Circulating Knowledge, you may remember that the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) was featured in the past as a quality resource, this still rings true! They not only publish Choices each year but also provide a variety of services and host amazing events. And, if you happen to be in […]

Reading While White

Reading While White brings together allies for racial diversity and inclusion in books for children and teens online. Though I’m not currently a contributor to the site, I’m a regular follower and greatly appreciate the contributors for the sites existence. Their mission (as of this posting) is: We are White librarians organizing to confront racism in the field of children’s and young adult literature.  We are allies in the ongoing struggle for authenticity and visibility in books; for opportunities for people of color and First/Native Nations people in all aspects of the children’s and young adult book world; and for accountability among publishers, book creators, reviewers, librarians, teachers, and others.  We are learning, and hold ourselves responsible for understanding how our whiteness impacts our perspectives and our behavior. We know that we lack the expertise that non-white have on marginalized racial experiences.  We resolve to listen and learn from people of color and First/Native Nations people willing to speak about those experiences.  We resolve to examine our own White racial experiences without expecting people of color and First/Native Nations people to educate us. As White people, we have the responsibility to change the balance of White privilege. There are some […]

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 […]

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

Door Displays

Doors are a great place for door displays! At the last school I was working, there were three sets of double doors with windows covering half of each door. During my second year there I began door displays. There was an informational sheet about the doors that remained the same for the length of the year while the other side changed every Monday school was in session.All pages were printed double-sided and kept in a three-ring binder. I used sheet protectors so I could keep track of when the sheet was last on display. This was done by simply place a post-it note on each page after it was used with the date(s) it was up. The three topics were: Nobel Peace Prize Laureates (People) The first week of the school year started with the most recent winner. Proverbs This set was in no particular order. U.S. Presidents The first week of the school year started with the 1st U.S. President. I used Core Knowledge for the basis of the proverbs display and plan to create more using their Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. It’s a great resource for background knowledge absent to many students. All images and information is cited and I plan […]

Literacy and Legos: Changes and Future Plans

I’m always interested in trying new things while keeping what’s working. So is the case for Literacy and Legos. Year one and year two both taught me a lot about using the Lego StoryStarter curriculum. I’m very interested in continuing this at the next school I’m at. These lists are in no particular order. What works Groups of 2 or 3 students One StoryStarter kit per group Organizing the fairy tale expansion packs into the regular StoryStarter Kits. These provided much desired character traits. Having a fast warm-up activity to get student’s brains thinking before starting their main activity. The format of year one of working off of a book was a great way to focus on textual evidence and the structure of scenes. I would continue this as the basis for the beginning sessions. Blending students from different grade levels into the same group. Working with 3rd-5th grade students. Requiring a specific type of character, setting, or time period for an original story. This way two groups can focus their discussion and constructively assess one another’s stories. Eighteen students at a time. This allows for six groups of three, a manageable number for one person to be able to visit each of them […]

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 […]

The Fledgling

One of my most rewarding projects of last year was being the editor of The Fledgling. A little background…I was able to spend a significant part of my summer of 2015 in Washington, D.C., thanks to my fiance’s internship there. One of the museums I was fortunate enough to visit was the Newseum (if you haven’t been, it’s amazing). An idea I had while at the museum was getting a student newspaper together at my school. A student newspaper would solve several issues I had noticed at my school. Students needed a creative outlet focused in the writing and visual arts. There were plenty of opportunities within physical education and music but a limited number of free opportunities focused in writing and illustrating. There was a general lack of interest in informational reading. Many students were checking out more fiction than information. Plus, many students weren’t thinking of newspapers or magazines as a good source of reading. We needed more fun. We needed something that everyone would enjoy and would be a uniting project of early childhood through sixth grade. A bit more background…I was working at Fairmont Elementary in Fairmont, MN. It’s a rural town of about 11,000 people with one public elementary. This […]