I don't share many of my kindergarten lessons, mostly because this is the area where I feel the weakest as a media specialist new to elementary. I never feel like my kindergarten lessons ever really turn out all that special. However, this week I hit GOLD when a kindergarten teacher shared with me that students were studying community helpers. I thought about sharing a little lesson on the community helper that I know best....the librarian, of course!
I set to work pulling any books on libraries or librarians in my collection. Keep in mind that 60% plus of my collection is out-dated (I'm weeding y'all...just takes time), so there wasn't much to pull from. But I did find a few things. The best was a cute Cloverleaf book titled "Meet the Librarian". It is a cute and fairly modern take on what the job of a school librarian truly is. So, that was my read-aloud.
At the beginning of the lesson, I asked students to share which community helpers they were learning about and they did a great job. They were very eager. Then, I told them I would be sharing my favorite of all community helpers....the librarian! I was wearing my professional badge on a lanyard as usual, so I told them to think about my "uniform" and guess which thing I wore every single day. They guessed and then I told them they would be librarians for the day and proceeded to give them lanyards to wear. They absolutely LOVED this!!! And these weren't anything special I made for the lesson, but are the very same lanyards I use for my library workers each morning! Easy peasy!
I did my read aloud and we reviewed the many jobs of a librarian. I then took the students on a little tour of librarian-ish things in the library....like the book cart.....which is unbelievably exciting to kindergarteners! It was so cute! Then, if time allowed, we had an activity sheet that was called "What belongs in the library?" and they had to color items that belonged and circle items that did not. It was so fun to see them identify the cute librarian, sitting at her circulation desk surrounded by books! (Although we all know that we rarely get to just sit at the circulation desk!) The coloring is always a big favorite of kinders.
And that's all folks. It was that simple. Not flashy, but effective. And the teachers seemed pretty happy that I was able to tie the library lesson in to what they are working on in class. It doesn't always happen that way, but when it does, it is pretty sweet.
As I begin to think about what types of things will be placed in our new makerspace area, I have really started paying attention to what other media specialists have done with making. My first source of inspiration tends to be Pinterest, but eventually I seek out those who are close to me. The librarians that I work with in my local RESA are usually the BEST source of great ideas!
Several of those librarians have used origami in their own makerspaces with success, so I thought I would give it a try. As I prepared stations for my "maker week" lesson of the month, I included a winter animals book mark activity. I used only materials I already had on-hand so there was no cost involved.
The origami station was set up with a sign, directions, materials, and also a laptop. I created a Padlet where students could see the real-life image of the animals to choose from. I have shared my Padlet below, so feel free to use it for your own makerspace. I also linked to four YouTube tutorial videos on how to make the book mark for each animal type. The fact that I was limited to only one computer meant that students at the center all had to work on the same creation. This was only a problem in one class. All of the others came to a quick consensus and were fine creating the same animal.
I took a minute to get the kids at this station started because they had to begin with a "perfect square" piece of paper. I didn't have origami squares, so I taught them how to fold and cut the existing paper in order to get the square. This step is included in the videos, but it worked best with me helping them get started. After that, it was all smooth sailing! The snowy owl and polar bear involved a lot of small piece cutting, so it was harder for the 3rd graders, but 5th graders had no issue with these. The snowshoe hare was by far the simplest to make and really was the perfect choice for the 3rd graders. The 4th graders gravitated toward polar bear making and although challenging, they were able to do it!
I think the kids were inspired by this activity! They were amazed that they could create such cute creatures and then when they saw that they could be used as corner book marks, they were beside themselves! They wanted to pose for pictures and everything! I even had one student ask to make a spin-off UNICORN and I said, of course!
I do believe that more origami is in our future. I think students in other centers (like coding and puzzle solving) were wishing they had chosen origami! It was fun, required them to follow directions and work together, and they walked away with a little inspiration to keep reading.
Don't you just love it when things go right?! That is exactly how I felt about today's library activities! I had such fun with students today and one of the best parts of the day was the Wall of Wonder. If you don't remember, I posted at the beginning of 2018 that I was choosing "wonder" as my one word of the year for all things library. I started by creating my Wall of Wonder and was so excited to get going with the questions when...the snow and ice hit Georgia. Needless to say, we haven't had many days of school this month and I've not been on any regular schedule with classes, so I just didn't even start with the wall. It has been sitting blank. And bugging me.
So today, I chose to write #welovethelibrarywednesday and prompted the first class of the day by telling them it was okay to write on the board as they were lining up. One student asked, "what do we write?" Before I could answer, another student said "Write why you love the library on a Wednesday!" Well, that is all it took...the kids were pumped and quickly wrote their responses. As did each class that followed throughout the day.
At the end of a long day, I stepped back to read some of their responses. It was both touching and bit funny! I saw a lot of thoughts about loving books and reading and a few about loving centers. But the best surprise was seeing that they love the librarian too. It was so moving...
So many things happen that cause us to doubt ourselves. I struggle with comparing myself to others on social media or Pinterest. I sometimes forget, until I'm gently reminded, that it isn't about all of that other stuff. What we do in the library is really, quite simply, about the kids. And today I was able to give them a voice. A simple way to express their thoughts and feelings. And I feel pretty darn good about that.
The snow and ice have hit Georgia! Who would have thought that I would have missed almost the entire month due to weather-related school cancellations?! Teachers returned last Friday for an icy work day and I took full advantage. I must admit that it was hard to get going after being lazy at home all week and realizing that it was Friday and I was about to have another two lazy days, but I eventually moved into action.
You might remember my post about a space that I have reclaimed in our library for a future makerspace. If not, take a minute to jump over and read that post HERE first. I begged for some help from my assistant principal and art teacher (two of only four males in my building) to assist with moving the outdated curriculum materials that were stored here. These materials were picked over by our teachers several times and now it was time to haul them outta there!
Clearing these materials was the biggest part of clearing out the room for our makerspace and it only took about an hour and two truck loads! Wow! Look at how awesome those empty shelves are! I can just imagine all sorts of makerspace goodies to fill them with.
The other component that needed addressing was the old technology stuff. A lot of the surplus technology equipment had been moved by our former technology support person. I had to get our new guy up to speed, but as soon as I did, he swiftly got to work and had it all cleared out! I was so impressed and thanked him profusely. He told me that he didn't like clutter and was happy to help. I think I've met my match in terms of throwing out old stuff....he likes to do the same thing!
Finally, I would be remiss in leaving out the efforts on my wonderful custodian. Mr. Raymond is truly a gem. He helps me in so many ways and keeps our library looking clean and tidy. When I wasn't looking, he came in and took the time to scrape all of the old clothespins that were hot glued to the walls off and hauled off two boxes of remaining trash! WOW! What a blessing.
So, I now have a blank slate. An empty canvas. I plan to remove some of the shelving (the section that is blocking the steps up to the stage floor) and I plan to cut some of the shelving down to a lower height. I've debated about requesting that the big shelving unit (the one pictured above) be moved to the back of the room so that I could put a dry erase board up here at the front, but I'm uncertain about that for now. These shelves are all bolted down to the walls, so they are sturdy and secure.
I'm excited to see the room progressing to this point. I'd like to request permission to PAINT, but am sure this might be a road block. I think I may just get in there, clean really well, hang up some bright decor, and start USING the room! I'm afraid if I let it sit too long with no use, it might be claimed by someone else!
I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions for this space. Or, please share a comment or two about your makerspace area in your library. I hope to feature this transformation in a future conference presentation, so all ideas are welcome and I'll be sure to give credit where credit is due. Until next time...
What a perfect phrase for The Happy Library! Many of us will use January to think about how our personal lives and our libraries can be better in the new year and I am no different. I have a lot of major changes happening in my life in 2018 and it took a conversation with a dear friend to remind me that those things may be amplifying my need to simplify, cut back, and pare down on some things.
I'm not one for making (or sticking with) New Year's Resolutions, so I decided to do what Tina Bietler does....the One Little Word. If you aren't familiar with the One Little Word, you can find more HERE, and I also encourage you to follow Tina on her YouTube channel HERE. Basically, in Tina's recent vlog, she shared her word for 2018 and it really made me think about doing this for myself. Then, I thought....I need to do this for the library program too! If I had one word for the library, then I would have a sort-of compass for each thing I chose to add, take away, or implement. Perfect, right?!
So, what word did I come up with? WONDER. I know this word has been all over the library world in recent months due to the popularity of the novel by the same name and the movie release, but that had absolutely nothing to do with the choice. I have noticed that the students in my Title I school simply do not use much imagination. They have a very hard time thinking beyond the concrete. I want students to stretch their imaginative thinking! What better way to practice "wonder" than in the library?
Step 1. Scour Pinterest
I'm always on Pinterest. It is a great source of inspiration and ideas, but sometimes it can make me feel a little "less than" in the creativity department. I have to be careful not to let myself start comparing my work to that of others. Anyone else end up on this slippery slope sometimes? Anyway, I found a TON of cute ideas for "wonder" in the library. One idea that I fell in love with was a "wall of wonder" and there are so many ways it can be implemented. Here are a few of the ideas I found.
Step 2. Wall of Wonder
I ordered a dry erase board for about $50 and had it mounted by our district's maintenance department. They were very quick to get it up! Then, I printed lettering from a TpT purchase (same as I shared in THIS post) onto bright card stock that I have used throughout the library all year. I did add the hot pink because I just wanted to bring in more color. You can read more about my library color scheme HERE. The final step was to print some question marks and thought/speech bubbles to add a little pop. Very easy.
If my wonder begins to wane during the year, I can always use the space to promote books! I found this cute idea somewhere...I cannot locate the source, but it is awesome....
Step 3. Plan
There are actually TWO things I did to plan for more wonder in the library this school year. The first was to plan how to use the Wall of Wonder. I think I'm going to start with an introduction for the students and I will post a question on the board. Then, students who are exhibiting good library behaviors will be allowed to get an Expo marker and answer/respond/doodle about the question. We will see how this goes.
The second step in my planning process is the bigger picture. As I worked on a few lesson plans over the break, I decided to break my monthly library schedule down by weekly topics. I may need to write about this in a different post (to give the details), but basically each week of the month has a focus that will enable me to cut through the chaos of being a first-time elementary school librarian. I found last semester that I was sort-of "all over the place" with my lessons. They were sometimes a big hit (like the Creepy Pair of Underwear lesson HERE) and sometimes they were total flops with no focus or impact. So, to simplify...I feel like I'm rambling at this point.....week one of every month will be a library skills week, week two of every month we will focus on building a community (think diversity), and so on. I created a little lesson planning sheet to help me map this out a bit. Still tweaking though.
And that's it. That is how I plan to start implementing a little more wonder into The Happy Library this semester! Here's to hoping your library has a little wonder, too!
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