What’s New This Week: Differentiation

This was the first week that I have finally been able to really differentiate what each grade level is working on in the library.  The first week we had a tour and read a book about empathy, and the second week was a scavenger hunt review of where materials are located and a discussion of expected behavior in the library specifically.  Last week the students all celebrated International Dot Day and made their physical mark on the library by decorating a coffee filter dot that will be hung in a garland around the Learning Commons.

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Finally, this week, all of our initial procedures are in place, and it’s time to get these kids excited about reading!

4th and 5th graders are encouraged to read Dorothy Canfield Fisher award-nominated books, and I saved the funniest to read aloud as a class, The Terrible Two. We started it this week and the kids are dying to hear more! They wrote in their journals about how other people view them in the school, and who they’d like to be, in comparison to the main character, Miles, who is moving to a new school and has a chance to recreate himself (or not). The text-to-self connections the kids are drawing are really thoughtful!

I am introducing 2nd and 3rd graders this week to our awesome collection of early chapter books for those confident readers who are ready for something new.  We reviewed parts of a book using Magic Tree House books and then I introduced them to a good friend of mine, Geronimo Stilton.

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At first I wasn’t sure if they liked it, but judging by the fact that every single Geronimo Stilton book in the library has been checked out, I think it’s clear they did!

Kindergarten and first grade parents will either love me or hate me for this week’s book selection! The students certainly loved them! While they are now familiar with the term, “Boo Boo Butt,” they hopefully also learned a thing or two about parts of a book and book care.  It was great to hear their squeals of laughter, but even better to use hilarious books to illustrate how books work!

Last but not least, it was lovely to have pre-K finally part of the library routine.  I am going to rotate through all the different topics which divide up the picture book section; this week I started with the Growing Up section, which consists of books on family, relationships, growing up, and friendship.  The kids loved this brand-new picture book about two dear friends who can always count on each other.

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The students were engaged, we all had a lot of fun, and I know they learned a thing or two as well, whether they realized it or not!  I can’t wait to give the older kids another taste of their chapter books, and to keep the younger grades interested and laughing!

Week One for K-2: Getting Creative!

During their first class in the library this year, I asked the school’s youngest students to be willing to have fun, be creative, and be brave enough to use their imagination as we tell stories this year.  We began by reading this lovely book, This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary.

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Then I challenged the students and asked them, Even though you’re SMALL, do you have a BIG IMAGINATION?

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Most students said, “Yes!” although some admitted they prefer facts to stories (I thought that was insightful).  Then, if the students were feeling very brave, I offered them the chance to use a large cardboard box, a plastic tub, and a bag full of masks and costume accessories to tell a story, just like Sadie.  The kids were definitely up for the challenge!

I’m glad the kids were able to be silly and have some fun in the library, and that they know how much fun good stories can be.  I’m looking forward to immersing them in more engaging literature as the year moves on!

Week One: Introducing Empathy

The library is the perfect place to introduce meaningful books to students, especially since the classroom is so packed with texts that teachers are required to read; the library can be the place where we ensure that students are exposed to books that they really should read.  The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig is just such a book, one all students should read, especially at the beginning of the year.

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The students and I had a discussion about feeling invisible, and the word empathy.  I hope that through the reading of good literature, the students will become accustomed to putting themselves in other people’s shoes, and in turn become more empathetic to those around them.  It paid off with a 4th grader telling me that at recess she saw a new student playing basketball by himself, and that she introduced herself and asked if she could play, too.  She was so proud of how she had recognized that the new student was feeling invisible, and that she could do something to help.

We’ll start journals this week and hopefully keep these text-to-self connections going!

Welcome To The New Library!

Now that the second week of school has begun, your students have probably gotten used to some BIG changes in the way the library is set up.  In fact, they should have aced their scavenger hunts this week!  Be sure to come by and see all the changes for yourself!

BEFORE:

 

AFTER:

The library now has sections that hopefully feel intuitive to the students.  There is a brand new picture book section, which is organized by topic.  The younger students are finding this easier to navigate and streamlines the book selection process.

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The hardcover and paperbook Fiction books are housed together now, and the Popular Series and Graphic Novels have been separated so the older students can find them as soon as they are reshelved.

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The Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Biography section are now housed in the new Learning Commons, an area for research, group work, and collaboration.

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And the rug has been moved toward the center windows for a cozy reading nook.  The students have really enjoyed it!

We have had a wonderful first two weeks in the new library!  Looking forward to what week three will bring!