Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October New Centers - Brainpop Jr. Movie of the Week, Happy Halloween, Explore SOAR!

So starting in October, I start adding new centers. 

I added 2 centers overall and 1 center to 1st and 2nd. 

I added a Brainpop Jr Movie of the Week Center and a Happy Halloween Center.
Brainpop Jr. Movie of the Week - http://www.brainpopjr.com/
This one is super simple. I have the students sit in front of the SMARTboard and play the Movie of the Week (free every week!). I assign one student to be the teacher and they choose the students one at a time to take a turn for the game. I also have 2 tables come to the front to practice in front of the class so that they all see the expectations, etc. As the year goes on, we'll start learning how to go by ourselves, but this is a good introduction and gets them excited about it! 

Happy Halloween Center!
On abcya.com they are allowed to play any of the Halloween games. We go to abcya.com on the SMARTboard and go over what each game is/how to play. Then we discuss and they promise to only play Halloween games and not Christmas or other games. 

For Kindergarten - 
There are 2 games: Make a Pumpkin and Carve a Pumpkin.
For 1st -
There are 3 games: Halloween Word Search, Make a Pumpkin, and Carve a Pumpkin.

For 2nd - 
There are 6 games: Ghost Typing (super fun!), Halloween Word Search, Make a Pumpkin, Carve a Pumpkin, Pumpkin Matching, and Trick or Treat.

For 1st and 2nd, I added an Explore SOAR center, which is a center for our students to start exploring (looking/playing with) our online library card catalog. They go with a buddy and practice going to the website and getting to the catalog itself. I ask them to think about it and ask questions via a post-it. Then they put their post it on their class' poster. 

Watch my students talk it out! Video: "SOAR Wonderings!"
More to come on that!

I had also promised an assessment, but got lost in the beginning of the year madness!

For my Kindergartners, I have been using these 2 assessments: Quarter 1 Kindergarten Tech and Library Assessment (or on Dropbox - Quarter 1 Kindergarten Assessment Tech and Library Skills)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Open House or Parent Nights Coming Up?

Open House and Parent Nights can be scary, overwhelming, or boring, depending on how your school does it. In all these situations, I have used a variety of tactics to advocate for the library, share our resources, and meet the parents!

At one school, Open House was also book fair time, which meant it was overwhelming AND scary as I was meeting parents for the first time, AND was trying to sell books! For this situation, I smiled A LOT, helped parents and students choose books and pay as quickly as possible. Really, it was just a blur!

At one school, at Open House, one grade did a scavenger hunt, and had to get signatures from myself and the library aide, this was ideal to share information with parents as they were coming anyways! For this situation, I handed out cyber safety booklets in English and Spanish and freebie erasers that a random company sent us. Unfortunately, the Cyber Safety booklets were from a government organization, who does not give them out any more! I do post Brainpop and NetSmartz links on my website for parents.

At one school, one year we had a new technology teacher, and it was only my second year, so I made a PPT (run on a loop) of each of us, plus the aide, our roles, what the students will learn in library and technology (with pictures of students) and some stats about the library (how many books are checked out each year, etc). Please take a look at: Open House PPT. Want to change it to work for your situation?? Buy it on TPT!

At one school, Open House was a short presentation by the administration, and then the parents when to their child's classroom and had a long presentation about the expectations of the teacher and our program! This was boring, as I usually got very few parents! Surprisingly, in this situation, I made bookmarks with the library website as a QR code, with info about what students will learn, and handed them out as the parents left (this was by far one of the most popular things I have done...all of my bookmarks were gone!). Please see an example at: QR Code Bookmark PDF or Download it at: QR Code Bookmark Publisher File to Edit (this is a publisher file, so if you do not have Publisher, it will not open). Also, I used: http://www.unitaglive.com/qrcode to make the QR code (Free! Let's you change colors! Yay! =)

Rules. Makes Me the Librarian from the Black Lagoon.

So, after telling kids to walk until I'm blue in the face, I decided I needed a new tactic. Now, when the kids come in, EVERY period, EVERY time, we talk about the rules. I will stop when I do not have to give out strikes (there are a couple classes that already have it down! Yay!)

For days we are doing centers - we talk about the 3 center rules:

1. Walk.
2. Whisper.
3. See 3 before me.

I have the students read each rule. Then we talk about the rule and role play/practice the rule. Examples below:

1. Walk (have a student volunteer to read it).
Then ask the students, who would like to show us how to walk to the easy fiction area (2 birds with one stone! How to walk! AND where is easy fiction!). Watch the student walk to the easy fiction shelves. Praise highly. Have them walk back to their seat again.

Discuss that they are not running, skipping, or jumping, but walking to their destination and back.

2. Whisper. (have a student volunteer to read it).

Then tell the students we are going to practice. Ask them to whisper their favorite (teacher, color, food, sport, etc) to someone at their table. Set the timer for 1 minute to give them time. Redirect as needed.

3. See 3 before me. (have a student volunteer to read it).

Explain that when they have a question, they need to ask a friend first. Tell them that they are now experts and can help each other.

Discuss consequences - 3 strikes and you're out! If I catch you not following the rules, I will give you a strike (verbal). If you get 3 strikes, you lose the center. You may try again for the next center (because I do not want them to sit out for the entire time, I want them to learn the other skills and to get a second chance).

When I taught the older grades (3 - 5), I used a Powerpoint to teach the roles of myself and the aide, and to teach the rules (below). If you would like the PPT, please purchase it on TPT!