Sunday, April 16, 2017

"Bee" Smart about Call Numbers

Happy Spring!

Help students break down call numbers in the library and celebrate spring! 

Using this worksheet, students will write down the call number, write what section the book belongs in, and what letter or number shelf to look for to find the book. 

Try it out on TPT! 

If you would like one made personalized for your school library, please email me at:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Read Across America Week - Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

It's Read Across America Week and on Thursday is Dr. Seuss' birthday! We are celebrating with books, decorations, and clothes!

I had to get in on the action! I wore it for the first 10 minutes of each period and then put it on the SMARTboard! Form and function!

My SMARTboard is Seuss-ified! The display books are all the Dr. Seuss books we have available, it is slowly emptying! 

We had 2 activities that connected to Library Skills:

Help students recognize and read a call number with this activity: 

This is a quick activity I made to help us learn a little bit more about Dr. Seuss and practice finding informational text features - headings, captions, illustrations, and photographs (and bonus: interesting facts). Try it out!

I also made a Reading Response sheet for a read aloud of And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss.  Have students share their creativity, and write and illustrate their own creative writing! Add your own street, for a personalized touch!

Then, I couldn't help it, I used my Silhouette Cameo 
to make a onesie for my daughter and a tank top for me! 

Can't wait for Thursday to wear our adorable outfits!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Techie Thursdays: Learn the Keyboard!

My students always have a hard time learning where the keys are on the keyboard. This week, our 1st graders are practicing their letters by finding their name on the keyboard! I am calling it color your letters and made this:

There are also directions and reminders to play Keyboard Zoo at home, to give students more practice with typing. The next step would be to use a typng program - one I like is Enjoy! 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Techie Thursdays: Smithsonian Learning Lab

Want to bring the Smithsonian Museum to you and your students?

In my 2nd grade classes they are doing a matter unit. With my co-teaching group, we read a nonfiction book about glass. An add-on to try, could be this video (from the Smithsonian archives!) on Glass Blowing. There are thousands of resources, and it would be a great opportunity to teach: is it a browser, search engine, or source, about primary and secondary sources, along with how to review sources for authority, currency, point of view, purpose, and reliability. 

To help with your search, check out the Getting Started guide

Hope it builds inquiry and inspiration in your classes!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A PSA on Diverse Books

A current trend in children's books is highlighting and embracing diversity, and a book I recently reviewed, The Color Machine, gives a different lilt to that trend, echoing years past when "we treat everyone the same". I think when students are exposed to a variety of backgrounds, it is important to realize that deep down, we are all the same, we are simply human and should learn and grow with each other. 

Recently I read The Black and White Factory by Eric Telchin (Diego Funck, Illustrator) and I thought The Color Machine would be similar. It is not, The Black and White Factory was a slightly silly and very fun story about colors finding there way into a "black and white factory" that makes things like barcodes and can't have colors on them!

Clearly The Color Machine is about the diversity of the world and how it would be better if we all just got along, but in real life, we can't just take away color, how do we teach students empathy and how to embrace diversity to help them become a better generation that accepts all differences, not just race, but disabilities, gender, sexual orientation, etc.? For older students (mature 4th graders +), I think that is a heavy question, but one can start with some of these books: #booksfighthate. I also think it's important to simply learn about the world as well, starting with geography, you could do some of these promoting geography awareness activities and help students learn that the world is not as big as we think, and that all of us are interconnected. 

As I read this book, I thought more and more about the recent election, and not to get too political, but kids are smart, and they are paying attention. We need to give students a place for conversations. Some students are scared and anxious as to what this election means for them. Other students are boastful and mean. For all students, these conversations are important, and we must do so in a safe space. As you prepare to have these conversations, prepare yourself to teach diversity. Along with that, I also liked this video as a discussion starter (review before showing to students, you know your students the best). I also think it's important to truly delve into the deeper issues, not just "have diverse books." This article/book review reminds us that just because the mirror is there (diverse characters), the window may be small (the perspective and stereotypes we are sharing). Of course, when we have these conversations, we must be ready to talk about race and racism, use this book list to help you find the right words and give everyone in your classroom a mirror and a window! 

Other resources: this Delightful Children's Books blog post
10 Children's Books that Teach Diversity, I especially like Little Blue and Little Yellow, similar concept to The Color Machine, but in a slightly different way. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday Book Review: The Color Machine by A. H. Taylor

Over Facebook, the author/illustrator reached out to me with a lovely message: "I wanted to personally give you a copy of the book to review and allow the message to spread to all. Please let me know how I can get you a copy. And above all...know that you are appreciated!"

With such kindness, I should have expected a kind book! 

In "The Color Machine" we enter the town of Colormazoo, where color is very important... 

The Color Machine gives the people color, but is broken and no one can tell who is which color. 

The book alludes to the fact that there are different colored people, white, black, brown, and tan:

As the mayor "itches" to find a cure, the different people help each other, not knowing who is which color. This is turn makes everyone happier. 

While I like the premise of the book, the writing is a little awkward. It does not quite rhyme, nor does it have a pattern or pentameter, which makes it a difficult book to read out loud to children. It is a little vague as to what exactly The Color Machine does, as well as how the people of Colormazoo normally interact. It seems that a little more back story may have helped develop this story and give children empathy for the characters, as well as building connections to children to times they may have felt left out (something like, the blacks and tans were playing but wouldn't let the browns or whites in, etc.). The Color Machine is geared toward younger students, and can be a great starting point, but teachers should be prepared for deep questions and potentially uncomfortable conversations. View the book's website here: