Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Library Fun!

Sometimes, I like to play with books and pretend I'm artistic. The "Bookmas" tree is ALL my awesome volunteers and the Book Menorah is all me! Now to think of other neat things to do with books next year...maybe a Diwali candle?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reflector is Amazing!

Finally got my IT person to install Reflector! How cool is this??

I love how I can ACTUALLY show my students how to use the iPads without confusing them using the website on a desktop and then them going to the iPad and not having the same menus/buttons! I highly recommend Reflector!

Monday, September 1, 2014

School Starts Tomorrow... Perfect time to change things....wait, I may have this backwards...

School starts Tuesday, September 2nd!
(By the way, isn’t this font adorbs? It’s called “KG Only*Hope” Get it!)

I have been concentrating on turning the mess back into a library (more in another blog post later...once I've calmed down, perhaps in a year or 2...).

However, I know the students are coming SOON and I need my centers and copies and ideas and books and computers and iPads and pencils (and a billion other things, you get the idea) ready! 

Because the library is a little bit of a disaster, I'm not sure if the computers are (a) going to be there, (b) going to be available, or (c) going to be enough for 12 - 30 students...therefore, I decided to take that center out altogether! So now the centers will be:

PreK and K - 
  • Checkout (practice until October), with PreK checking out books to be kept in their classroom, and Kindergarten allowed one book to take home.
  • Reading Area (practice reading with a partner, since Reading Buddies will also be starting soon), and 
  • Brainpop Jr. on the iPad (I want them to learn how to use the iPads, get used to the size, learn how to use the headphones, and then we'll start making our own videos/pictures, other fun stuff to come, plus easy and less planning for me! (Spoiler alert – fun stuff to come might include Chromville....!)
1st and 2nd - 
  • Checkout starting the 2nd or 3rd week of school (depending on computer/data ready) - planning one book for 1st graders, 2 books for 2nd, and up to 3 for 3rd, up to 4 for 4th, up to 5 for 5th….going to try it out and if it’s a disaster, will scale back, but some of the students’ feedback asked for more to checkout at one time, which I can TOTALLY understand as I often had an entire shelf of public library books at home…ahem…I need to read 3 books at once…doesn't everyone? J
  • Reading Area (practice reading with a partner, since Reading Buddies will also be starting soon), and 
  • Explore SOAR (the online card catalog) on the iPad - we'll start learning how to look up and find books and I like the idea of the iPads, since they can walk around with the iPad (not so easy to do on a desktop). Looking forward to this change, and crossing my fingers that the stars align and the iPads, SOAR, and wifi all work together.
That will be September and October. It takes that long to learn all the centers, get all the routines, rules, and procedures down, and once everything is smooth sailing, I will change everything and use some of the new apps I learned about today! 

Comment and share how you are getting ready for the new year!

Keep reading, 
Mrs. Thakkar

Fonts used:
Calibri (part of MS Word, and most programs)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ms. Dhruv is Now Mrs. Thakkar!

I recently(ish) got married!

Technically, my husband and I got married in January on the 3rd anniversary of our first date!

In January, my amazing students gave me some sweet notes and advice (and a paper airplane, of course…):


Dear Formerly Ms.                           Number 1,
Dhruv  I am                                   Allways live
going to tell                                           happy
you some tips                                    2, Have a
for your                                               good tim -
If that isn't good advice I don't know what is! 

Wedding Invitation

Then for our parents, we had a Hindu wedding ceremony to be married in the eyes of God. 

Reception Invitation (made by me!)

Then we also had an amazing reception in the city for us! =) 

Want to see more pictures and my amazing "Engagement Photos"? 
Please enjoy!

So now you know why my name changed! And soon I will get used to being Mrs. Thakkar, and not wonder who they are calling over and over again...(oh wait, that's me!) =)

Monday, August 4, 2014

New Year, New Supplies! And a Word Wall Idea!

Holy Moly,
School is Almost Back in Session!

(Shameless plug - TPT is having a Back to School sale! Go to my newly named TPT store: Orange Triangle, it's all on sale! Ok, back to our regularly scheduled programming!)

You may remember my supplies from last year. 

Very organized, pretty straight forward. 
What you see: Crayon Drawer - Get the labels! 
Cups for colored pencils - labeled with the color that belongs in it
Construction paper
Sharp and Dull Pencil baskets
Blue cups - pencils
Red cups - colored pencils
Baskets of new crayons!
Marker pack

Around mid - March, for a variety of reasons, I decided to switch over to bins.

The blue (pencil) cup and red (colored pencil) cup are in each bin + a crayon bin, all labeled with the table number.

I am debating buying all the same color or a certain color scheme for next year, but in reality, it probably will stay the same until the bins break! 

Let's be honest... The MAIN reason was that I needed something clip the table numbers to.

After re-taping the table numbers more than twice, I was just sick of kids picking at it. I also used to stick a "word wall" to my tables, with a circle for the pencil cup. I wanted to reinstate that idea, and I also wanted them to be able to move and manipulate the "word wall." The word wall is another of my ideas out of desperation. I don't really have any great centralized space for a word wall (someone wouldn't be able to see it or would need to get up all the time). I also wanted the word wall to be an activity for "fast finishers" who needed a challenge. I have some of the words up each quarter in the reading area, but this way they can see them. I'm debating making 4 to clip one to each side (instead of just one like you see here, so each child would have one) and making a new "dictionary" center where they go to the library website, click on the dictionary link, look up a set amount of words, and record them. (This was literally just a thought that popped into my head). 

Want the word wall? Leave a comment with your email and I'll send you the file! 

Keep reading!
Ms. Dhruv

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Learning about Infographics!

Learning about infographics today! To start the visual thinking, made a word cloud with the words from this blog on Tagxedo, with a picture of my own as the "background."
Fun times!

Also made this on Google Draw using real life circulation stats!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Volunteer Gifts!

As we near the end of the year, I wanted to find something to thank my volunteers. This year I had 5 amazing volunteers who not only shelved and helped with check out, but also kept my sanity! I had one amazing volunteer who came in every Tuesday and Thursday for my worst Kindergarten classes (2 "SpEd" classes, one diagnosed, the other not...good times for 100 minutes!). 

Anywhoo...I wanted to thank them and I know that I appreciate the hand written thank you notes, so I had the students write thank you notes and I made them into a little book. I also included this: 


It's a purse hook with an apple! How cute! It came in 4 colors - red, pink, silver, and green. I also added chocolate because, well, who doesn't like chocolate =)

If you like the purse hooks, they come in a set of 4, and are $20.99 right now, I bought them on Amazon and used my Amazon Prime - Purse Hook. =)

First I took pictures of each student (the parent volunteer's child), with a letter from the word THANKS - for example, (I needed one more for the S, as one student was absent for a few days and I may have procrastinated a little too long =)  ) 

This is the S with our fave The Cat in the Hat! 

This is one of the Thank You Note books. I took the photo I took, merged them all together, changed the coloring (made it pale green) and added the text and printed 5 copies! I trimmed them down and used Scrapbook Paper, then folded in half  and stapled the TY notes into it. 

Close Up!

All the bags!

Cuteeee times!

Kept getting the bags confused, so made little name tags!

Close up:

I also found adorable Owl Gift Bags
and put the book, the hook (in it's little pouch),
and the chocolate in there. So cute!

Monday, March 24, 2014

March Madness!

With March upon us, my husband was all about March Madness! 

While we are not going to play basketball in the library! [I had a teacher ask me no...]

However, we ARE going to vote for our favorite author, once we have a list of the top 15 authors, the authors would go head to head in their own brackets and we’d narrow it down to the favorite author of the school! Each week students could vote using a Google Form. The first week, I simply had students enter their favorite author (only one!). Then I looked at the results and built the brackets. Each week I made a new bracket that narrowed down little by little until there was one winner!

To break it down: 
Each week I had the students fill out a Google Form:

1st Week - Who is your favorite author?
I got everyone from Mo Willems to Suzanne Collins, plus we started a great discussion (and real life research project) about the author of the Geronimo Stilton series! 

 2nd Week - Vote for your favorites.

The head to heads:
Vote for your favorite Easy Fiction Author:
Dr. Seuss, Mo Willems, or Tedd Arnold
Vote for your favorite Middle Grades Author:
Mary Pope Osborne, Roald Dahl, or Elisabeth Demi (the ACTUAL Geronimo Stilton author!)
Vote for your favorite Graphic Novel Author:
Jeff Kinney, Lincoln Peirce, Raina Telgemeier
Vote for your favorite Fantasy Author:
Rick Riordan or J.K. Rowling
Vote for your favorite Dystopian Author::
Suzanne Collins or Veronica Roth

3rd Week - Vote for your FAVORITE favorite =) 

At our school, it was down to:
Suzanne Collins, Elisabeth Demi, Jeff Kinney, J.K. Rowling, or Dr. Seuss!

I made the worst bulletin board ever: 
Next year, I will actually make brackets!

I was a little bit worried about the kids being able to do it on their own, but after a quick overview, not only could my Kindergartners do it, they taught their older buddies how to get to the site and do it! 

Plus they could not wait to vote again and again! 

A few cute pics of a couple kids on the computers: 

Thanks for reading!
Want more info on the Google Forms? Let me know in the comments! 
I would love to hear how it's going and would love to hear your wonderful ideas also! 

Keep reading!
Ms. Dhruv

Monday, March 3, 2014

Push in for ISAT! What to do in the classroom??

So this week our students are taking the ISAT...which normally means I am in a classroom proctoring with a classroom teacher. This year, many of our teachers complained about losing their prep, so instead all the specials are pushing into the classrooms (meaning we teach in the classroom teacher's room, not in the library/art room/music class/gym, etc...super fun...not!). So I needed to find something to do this week that I could do in the classrooms, I was originally going to show Tumblebooks and let them talk about the stories, but wanted to maybe do something for Dr. Seuss. After looking at many different things, I was having a hard time finding something that a. didn't need technology and b. didn't need a lot of prep work (this is only for one week...don't want to put it a huge amount of effort into something we will only do once). I am going to do this with the 1st and 2nd graders this week, and something different for the Kindergartners (as they can't write as well and don't know as much about story structure to be able to write a book on their own).

Anyhoo, I decided to use the Brainpop Jr. video on Jon Scieszka (you will need a subscription).

Then I let the kids talk to each other for a minute about what they learned. We talked about the book Jon Scieszka wrote called The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. We summarized the "regular" Three Little Pigs.
Then I showed The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (I used a video version to save my voice, as I have to read it up to 6 times in a day, you could also use the book and read it aloud to take time to discuss with the kids how the wolf has changed the story from his point of view).

We discussed the story and how the point of view changed the story.
Then I passed out the activity (right), that goes along with the Brainpop Jr. video to make their own "The ______ Story of the Three Little Pigs" and I let them change the title to make it "The True Story of the Three Little Pokemons" or The Silly Story of the Three Little Pigs," etc. I wanted to see their creativity and we'll finish next week! I'll share some of our finished products!

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear how it's going and would love to hear your wonderful ideas also! Thank you for your support!

Keep reading!
Ms. Dhruv

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Center: iPad Center!



So shinyyyyy

Lol. This is our new center. We are incredibly lucky and have generous parents that donated to our Donor's Choose to help us get 12 new iPads! I am using one as the "home base" and a back up, but the other 11 are out for the students to use. They are set up in one corner of the library, using an old big book shelf (with convenient sliding shelves) to house them.

I labeled each with a number and printed out the exact same thing for the students to choose a number and then know which iPad to use. AND I made 3 sets (only 2 are out right now), so if 2 students pick the same number, guess what?? You are partners (and I could make it up to groups of 3 if we want to do something as a whole class)!

I showed the students where everything was and had one student be my partner and we walked through how to use the center. Then I had 2 students volunteer to be partners. The iPad numbers I used (free!).

-=genius idea=-...I chose by asking 2 questions - 1. What is a call number and why do we have them? 2. What does checkout mean? -=I was being observed this particular day and I got 3 distinguished in managing student behavior and my administrator even told me that they had never given 3 distinguished in this category before so woot!=-

Anyways, I had the 2 students show what to do, including what to do when the chime rings (more about that in a moment...). Basically, I want the students to press the home button and the power button at the end of the center. The home button to stop the app. The power button to put the iPad off and save the battery.

Now, back to the chime...After spending a lot of time training the kids to go to the centers, I wanted to save some time in the transitions. Instead of having them come back to their table, I now have a PowerPoint Presentation that runs and makes a "chime" sound when it changes. The students know to stop, clean up, look at the board and see what the new center is and switch on their own. This frees me up to help students find books, checkout, work on different centers (like the new iPad center where I could physically be there to help them the first few times and actually talk to them!).

If you would like the PPT, please find it here!

This PPT includes the following centers on an 8 minute transition time: iPad Brainpop Jr., Type Rocket Jr. and Checkout.

Once you start it, you press forward once to get to the "Beginning" slide, these are the first 3 centers. Then it will automatically forward every 8 minutes to the "Middle", "End" and "Time's Up" slides.

The clean up slide really helps me, as I don't have to constantly remind kids to put away their materials!

Then I put up the Library Jobs PDF and either have a student assign the jobs or assign them myself (depending on time/need). I also added 2 new jobs - iPad Organizer and Clean up iPad papers. Get the new Library Jobs with iPads PDF for free!

Thanks for reading! Please share how your centers are going in the comments or by email! I would love to hear how it's going and would love to hear your wonderful ideas also! Thank you for your support!

Keep reading!
Ms. Dhruv

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Center: Cite It! (FOR OLDER GRADES!)

New center! 

Try out a bibliography center, using an Encyclopedia Citation PowerPoint that students could watch and practice to learn how to write a bibliography for an encyclopedia article, and another General PowerPoint to practice any citation. I would also have them write a “reading log” in citation form to practice bibliographies.

Thanks for reading! Leave a comment on how you used these! I would love to hear how it's going and would love to hear your wonderful ideas also! Thank you for your support!

Keep reading!
Ms. Dhruv

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

SOAR Center Details! (Online Card Catalog)

Hi everyone!

As I'm going stir crazy with 2 "cold" days, where our school district ACTUALLY closed! Anyways, I thought I'd share details about my "SOAR" center. This could also be your "Destiny" center or "Online Card Catalog" center. Basically, I wanted students to use our online card catalog, called SOAR. After having a LOT of trouble last year with the 2nd graders accomplishing this, I needed a new tactic. I needed less kids at once, I needed more practice, I needed more computers, etc., etc., so I made it a center!

This also covers:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.5 Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.

When the students have to look for their own books, they have to be able to tell if it is nonfiction or fiction. As they find more of their own books, they have started to question some of the designations (why is a book about Bigfoot in nonfiction...then we talk about the designation, fascinating conversations for a 7 year old to feel like the experts =) We are also learning more about the Dewey #s, to reinforce the concept, we read Bob the Alien Discovers the Dewey Decimal System by Sandy Donovan. We also read Bored Bella Learns About Fiction and Nonfiction by Sandy Donovan and Karl and Carolina Uncover the Parts of a Book by Sandy Donovan. I recommend all of these to have great discussions. I may also make some kind of signs based on the Bob the Alien book to reiterate the Dewey Decimal system. 

ANYWAYS! This is the SOAR center sign:

This is the worksheet. For classes where I have limited time, I just print #1 - 5 and cut out the post it reflection activity.

We did this in increments in 2nd as a center. The first week, I just introduced it and had them try it out. Every week, we collected the papers to save paper (our students learn about saving the planet, and so they are used to this). The second week, we reviewed it and they tried it out again. The third week they went with a buddy to try and really look up a book. The fourth week, they did it again. the fifth week, they went by themselves after a review of what call numbers are and how to find things. I also had an extra volunteer to help students find their own books and feel successful. By the sixth week, I combined the Checkout and SOAR center and they now know to go to the computer to look up books if they need to, or to browse and checkout in one center. It has worked a 100 times better than the previous whole class instruction where many kids and myself were frustrated and book-less!

I also tried this out with one 1st grade classroom when there were 20 kids instead of 29. 

I made these partner cards (on TPT, they're free!), and printed out instructions (above) #1 -5 in miniature.

I pasted the instructions on the back, and laminated the whole thing. I also labeled each card with Computer 1, Computer 2, and the matching card with the same. 

So, for example, the  salt and pepper both had Computer # 10 on them. 

I passed out the cards, we read the directions together and did it on the SMARTboard. Then I had the students find their partner and try it out. It was chaos! But FUN chaos, they were really motivated! They really just explored because of time, but then after that we did it as a center with a buddy, etc. as above. Now that first grade class always uses SOAR and I'm going to probably start expanding to the other 5 first grade classes (but, that's a LOT of first graders, and I need to be sure I have volunteers on hand to help out!). It may not realistically happen until next school year. We'll see!

This will also become an eBook center:

We'll go over the instructions and then I'll have them do it with a partner, and then by themselves, just like the SOAR center above week by week. 

Thanks for reading! Please share how your centers are going in the comments or by email! I would love to hear how it's going and would love to hear your wonderful ideas also! Thank you for your support!

Keep reading!
Ms. Dhruv