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 […]

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 […]

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 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 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 […]

Book Awards

Since the last post was about book clubs and book discussions, this one features some great awards to give you more resources in selecting and curating the books in your home, classroom, or library. These are also great lists to consider when gifting books to young readers!   State Awards  First of all, make sure to look into whether or not your state has a “student’s choice” book award. Minnesota has the Minnesota Youth Reading Association (MYRA) which is home to the Maud Hart Lovelace and Star of the North Awards. The Maud Hart Lovelace Award is separated into two divisions: Division 1 – For 3rd through 5th grade students Division 2 – For 6th through 8th grade students To vote for their favorite book students must read at least three of the twelve nominees within their division. One thing a few classroom teachers I worked with did was to choose three of the titles and use them as read alouds. This way all their students were able to vote. It’s easy to become a member of the Minnesota Youth Reading Association as it’s only $15/year. Being a member means you have access to more resources and can submit student votes. I […]

Quality Resource: NewseumED

At least twice a month I will be posting about quality resources that I have either used or am interesting in using in the future related to recent posts. This is the first and features resources from the Newseum! It correlates with my previous post on The Fledgling. If you are looking for ways to enhance your instruction in history, media literacy, and civics, check out NewseumED! There are FREE learning tools on media literacy and our First Amendment freedoms for students in grade three through adults. As soon as you complete your free registration, all materials are ready and waiting to assist your instruction within five categories: ED Tools This section allows you to search hundreds of standards-aligned lesson plans, artifacts, case studies and more that bring the Newseum’s content and collection to you. ED Classes & Training This section helps you find information about free standards-aligned workshops for students visiting the Newseum, plus virtual classes, professional development for teachers and adult team building programs. (most of this section requires you to be in or planning to visit Washington, D.C.) ED Collections This section allows you to explore important topics in-depth using primary sources, artifacts from the Newseum’s collection and interactive learning tools. ED Ideas […]

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 […]

Citing Sources K-6

Though all of my documents are living documents (meaning they are edited and revisited as time moves forward) this one is finally ready to be shared! I’ve used aspects of the document with students I previously taught and filled in gaps to create a more well-rounded resource. I’m excited to bring it to you and hear your thoughts. Citing sources is something that has become more and more important as our society has become more inundated with information. The type of source used for a project can make or break its success. Therefore, students need to understand citation basics at an early age in order for the practice to become second nature. This resource assists educators and librarians in teaching students how to cite their sources. It is designed to be used in any state as it fulfills standards from the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner (AASL) and Student Standards (ISTE). The goal of “Citing Sources for K-6” is to support educators and librarians in instructing students on citing their sources. You are also welcome to check out the Citing Sources learning guide to see how a group of 4th grade students were instructed on this topic. Without any further ado, check out: Citing Sources for K-6 (Citing Sources for […]