It was a busy week in The Happy Library! Monday started out with the long-awaited solar eclipse and it did not disappoint. Our young students were not allowed to view the eclipse outside, but did get to watch via Discovery Education's live stream. I gave certified glasses to all of our staff and they were able to sneak out of class to take a peek at the eclipse. It was as much fun watching them act like kids as it was to watch the eclipse! Even my principal (in the pink jacket) was giddy as she tried to take selfies with the sun.
We finished up our last week of the solar eclipse centers that I shared with you in the last post. The kids still enjoyed them, but I could tell that the excitement of it all had worn off a bit. Two weeks of rotation was just enough to make this a successful activity. My third graders begged to read instead of visiting centers, which made my heart melt, so many of them chose to just sit in our quiet area or at the tables and read....it was awesome. Notice that they are loving the book buddies to read with, too.
It was also the week of the library volunteer, meaning that when I invited students to come and help in the morning, I was overrun with almost 40 students!!! Lesson learned. I had to create a little application and several teachers have stepped up to help me make selections. The 4th and 5th graders have stepped up as clear leaders. I even have a few 3rd graders who I'm going to let help with dusting, straightening, and such. I'll do a separate post on my library volunteer program once I work out the kinks. The good news in all of this is that the students want to be in the library! They are taking ownership of the space and that means so much to me. It is certainly a step in the right direction for our library program.
And a final note about the collection. If you have been following me on Instagram, you know that I'm struggling with this aged book collection. I completed a collection analysis that revealed the average age of library books in our collection is 20 years old! About 67% of the collection is nonfiction...meaning we have some great nonfiction titles but very little to offer our fiction fans. There are only three sections of fiction books to the six sections of nonfiction.
I'm also at odds with the fact that there is little in the form of quality for our youngest readers. The entirety of offerings for our newest readers can fit onto one cart and most of it is very outdated. I shared all of this with our literacy committee and the principal. As most of you know, people get nervous when you start talking about weeding a collection, but it is necessary. I've placed the first book order and can't wait to see the kids faces when the new books are out. I'm going to make a VERY BIG deal about this. More info to come...
And with the outdated collection comes the cardboard magazine box signage. This way of labeling our shelves looks good when no one is using the library. But...after one or two classes have touched the books, it is a hot mess! These things are not sturdy enough to withstand constant handling and are typically falling down or crushed in by the end of the day. Plus...they don't do much for helping the books stay "in line" on the shelves.
I am on a mission to solve this problem. But, to be honest, I'm really wanting to genrefy. It is becoming evident that students do not know how to find what they are looking for. And with my students, they almost always ask "where are the mysteries?" or "do you have any funny books?"
I would also love to get some feedback on how all of you shelve your series. As you can see, my graphic novels are shelved in with my regular fiction, as are any other series. The signage is confusing for me, so I know that the students must struggle with it. I'd love to put my graphic novels in their own location. What about series? Do you guys use bins? How do handle this in your space? Let me know!
So, that's my recap of this past week. I learned a lot. My To-Do list got longer. But, I wouldn't have it any other way.
I'm not sure about where you live, but here in Georgia, we are getting super excited about the solar eclipse. It turns out that many of our local school systems are holding student release until after the eclipse has occurred. Unfortunately, my school is not allowing the students to go outside for viewing. That has not deterred me from focusing on the eclipse in the library.
Many of you probably have seen me posting pictures of displays and such on Instagram and Twitter, but I wanted to take a minute to share my centers here with you. So...let's get to it!
No rocket science involved here....well, actually there is, but you get it. The kids LOVE the NASA Space Operations Learning Center website! I just bookmarked the site on my school web page and they were off and running!
Solar Scrabble Center
I adapted this idea from Mrs. Lodge's Library page. She does a Boggle center in her library and I thought why not make up my own Scrabble version for the solar eclipse. Students are reading a book in the center and then can use some wooden blocks (if they choose) to unscramble key words from the text. I printed my scrambled words on card stock and then laminated. They use dry erase markers for easy clean-up and less paper consumption.
Solar System Sort
This activity came to me last minute when another idea just didn't work out. The kids do a little "research" using books in the center and then they attempt to put the solar system (paper planets I found in the storage room of the library from a former space theme) in order. They loved spreading out on the floor to do this. The third graders loved it and it was just challenging enough. The fifth graders found this a little too easy, so you might need to adapt.
I bought three different solar system puzzles of varying piece size and "complexity" and asked teachers to help pick the appropriate puzzle for each class. Just dump the pieces out and the kids go to work! They LOVE this!!!
Roll it, Read it, wRite it
I saw this activity on Pinterest somewhere and just randomly made up my own version. The students read a fiction and non-fiction book pair and then use a Dollar Tree die to roll for which number question they will answer first. I thought this center might be a dud, but they like it well enough. And they are really getting some good information on moon phases in this center.
This is an activity I purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers and I simply love it. Click HERE to purchase it for yourself. The great thing here is that it isn't eclipse specific, so this could be used with other lunar/solar lessons in the future. The key here was to have students build their model FIRST and then save the coloring for last. They really like this one because it is both art and science.
There you have it! And I did include a little lesson before we went to our centers and showed a brief video that you can view HERE. It was just short enough to keep their attention and not take up too much of our centers time.
Oh, and all of the clip art I used (the solar viewers, etc.) I bought from TpT as well, but when I tried to link to the same product, it was no longer available. Don't worry, there is a lot of solar eclipse clip art available by other sellers.
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