Every year the 6th grade students come in to learn about the Golden Sowers (our state award books). For these days/activities, I always want to find something besides book-talking that I can do to showcase the books and have students become familiar with the general summaries of the books and the AR information, if applicable. In our building, we have students in grades 6-8, so I have 20 books total to feature. The Chapter Book list is geared towards 4-6 and the Novels list is geared towards 6-8.
Last year I created a slideshow in Google Slides linking book trailers I found on YouTube for all of the Chapter Books. Each slide also had the genre, the AR info, and a picture of the cover. Students were in groups of 2-3 and watched the videos together. The Novel Books each had a handout with my review, the AR info, and a picture of the cover. The students viewed these as a gallery walk.
This year, I wanted to find a way to showcase the books that did not involve YouTube since it is blocked at our building. In order for students to view the videos, I had to override the filter multiple times. To combat that, I created a ThingLink image for both book lists. These images have links to my Goodreads review of each book, along with a video if applicable. For the Novels list, in addition to the ThingLink, I also created a matching game where students have to match the summary of each book with a picture of the cover. This was actually pretty easy to do since I already had summaries written for each book. I used Google Draw to put the cards together. The hardest part was getting them to print LINED UP front to back. My amazingly awesome building secretary helped me with that part.
On the day of the activity, students will be divided into two groups-one starting with the computers and the ThingLink for the Chapter Books, and the other at the tables with the matching game. The first group will go through the images and links for each Chapter Book and fill out the handout to put in their Reading folder. The second group will have a couple of minutes to scan the Golden Sower page on this website (found HERE) before beginning the matching game.
I have included the Google Folder I made that has all of my handouts for this activity in case anyone is interested.
We are back in the swing of things here at ACMS and I am so excited to share some of what I have been reading lately. I have had the opportunity to read a mix of some upcoming titles as well as some that have been on my list for awhile, so let's get to it!
Deep Water by Watt Key
I was so excited to read this one. I have been thinking about picking it up for awhile, especially since his books are pretty popular with my middle school readers. Adventure books aren't my go-to, but I always end up enjoying his. This one was a fast-paced story about a scuba diving excursion gone wrong. The boat leaves the divers behind and they have to try to survive in the Gulf waters. Highly recommend.
Here are the books I am hoping to get to this week:
Resistance by Jennifer Nielsen
This is one that I have had on my radar for awhile and Scholastic sent me a copy in my Book Fair Preview Pack. All of her books are INCREDIBLY popular with my students, and they also love historical fiction, so I'm sure this will be a big hit. Looking forward to reading it, as soon as I can get it back from my husband. He saw it on the counter and snatched it up late Sunday night. Sigh.
Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes
I got a copy of this on EdelweissPlus and am excited to read it. I am hoping for a good mystery/thriller. At this time, I'm only a chapter in, so I don't know fully what to expect.
What about you? What have you been reading lately? Leave me a comment to let me know what to pick up or add to my list. I'm excited to get back into the groove this school year. Happy Monday!
Full disclosure-I did NOT come up with this idea on my own. There were a few people who had mentioned it on the Future Ready Librarians Facebook page, and from there I did some good ol' Google searching. I found THIS incredibly helpful blog post by Ashley Bible that was a good starting off point for me. I have done this activity twice, once with a 6th grade group, and once with an 8th grade group. The 8th graders did MUCH better with it-I'm not sure if that was due to their age, their comfort level with poetry, or the timing.
I have done Blackout Poetry in the past, but it is sometimes hard for the kids because they have to COMMIT to making that dark line on the page knowing that it can't be undone. With this in mind, and in an effort to get the students and teachers in my building more comfortable with the iPad cart, I decided to offer Digital Blackout Poetry. One additional benefit of using the iPads was that the class session could be managed and monitored using Apple Classroom. With this app, the teacher iPad is able to view all student screens and "lock" kids into specific apps if necessary. This way, the English teacher and I could be sure that the students were using the correct apps and making poems, NOT playing the Civil War game we have on the iPads for Social Studies.
To make using Apple Classroom easier, I have each iPad already in the class session for the day and they are labeled with their number. Then, the students didn't have to worry about finding the class and joining with a different code each hour. This worked well for the day when we had classes in here almost every period. With this management software, the amount of selfies, games, and random clicking on the devices was SIGNIFICANTLY decreased and the student engagement and final products were much better because they were forced into focusing.
While the post above used Google Slides, we used Keynote. I am trying to find ways to incorporate Apple Products with the teachers and students so they have an idea of their functionality and so they can see the difference in the apps version as opposed to the desktop versions. After the students were given a brief introduction to the idea of Blackout Poetry, they were given this page of directions and allowed time to work.
During the activity, these were some of the things we overheard from the students:
You need to pick out the words first guys!
This is so fun!
Read mine. It's a little darker than I thought it would be.
I'm looking for the page where he dies. (we had kids using their AR books or favorite books-this was in regards to a Harry Potter book)
Clearly the kids were engaged and excited, which is not something we usually get with poetry activities.
A live shot of the kids' screens as they were working on their poetry. I am loving the insight that Apple Classroom gives the teacher.
How is it already another Monday? And the last day of April? I actually started writing out plans for summer staff development emails and scheduling today. AAGGHH!
So, with that in mind, I did get some reading done, but I am also in the midst of trying to wrap up things here and prepare for our first "end of year" in this library. So many things to consider: checkouts, overdues, summer hours (a first for our staff), staff book bags, prep for the summer PD, prep for the new teacher days, inventory . . . you get the idea. But, I did read some good ones and have some May reads that I am VERY excited about.
OK-I read Wish because it is a Golden Sower Nominee for next year. Overall, it was a sweet, somewhat predictable early Middle Grade book about a girl who is forced to live with extended family while her parents deal with their struggles. She wants to have a family desperately, and tries to find her place in this backward town with hillbillies. While there she catches a stray dog and learns what it means to be a friend.
I read Little Fires Everywhere for my adult book club. It was also "JUST OK." I had heard so many people raving about it that I had some pretty high expectations. In the end, the story was good, but the plot pace and the sense that it was more of a "thinker" than a story with twists and turns, left me wanting more.
But the absolute BEST thing about my week was the fact that my library's copy of Ghost Boys came in. I grabbed it off the "to be processed" cart and squirreled it away to read that night. Folks, let me tell you, it was EVERYTHING I wanted it to be. It more than met my expectations. Read it and then hand it to everyone you know.
Coming Up Next:
I am just starting Time Bomb right now. I love the premise, but am a bit worried; when I first put it on my TBR list, I saw a review that mentioned the reader didn't like how the Muslim character was portrayed (the book is about a bomb that goes off at a school). Other reviews put it as a great thriller for teens. I'll be sure to post my review when I get done. The other two are ones that have been on my radar for awhile: An American Marriage is my next read for book club and Nyxia Unleashed is my most recent eARC for review.
What about you? Read anything great lately? I am getting ready to submit my final order for the year-any "must reads" I need to be sure to add?
This week was busy here in the library! We had multiple students in for checkouts, received a shipment of books from Follett, hosted our friends from the Gretna Public Library for board games, worked with 7th grade math classes on data displays using Google Sheets, and had the 8th grade Social Studies classes in here for stations about the Civil War. It was a great week and the weather seems to have finally turned around! Happy Friday!
Students researching battles and recreating them with various materials. They LOVED this station!
Recently I did a staff development about the benefits of teachers reading with their students and showcasing how the ACMS media center can help them in this journey.
To begin the session, I asked teachers to respond to two questions using PollEverywhere.com. The first question asked teachers how many books, on average, they expected their students to read each year. This included both books they had to read as all-class novels AND their independent reading. Their responses are below:
Then, I presented the staff with the second question: How many books did you read last year?
I had quite a few staff members lament the fact that there wasn't a "0" option, and I told them that I thought for sure they could count their textbook as at least 1. After I reassured them that this was not meant to be snarky, but actually more illuminating, we talked about the importance of not only modeling independent reading, but reading books that would appeal to our students.
We then discussed my book cover wall. I keep track of the books I read and post pictures of the covers. Here is my wall so far:
Recently, my para asked why she didn't have a book wall. I told her she was more than welcome to have one and then she wanted it to be a competition. After much discussion, we decided to involve even more staff members and make it a competition between all of the teams. So, next year, there will be a space for the 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, and Specials area teachers to post, track, and promote the books they are reading. I had a ton of excitement from the teachers and I even had two book checkouts during the Specials team staff development.
In addition, I shared news about the ACMS Library summer hours and told teachers they were more than welcome to come in and check out books over the summer. They were assured that their summer titles would count for the challenge in the fall. :)
I'm excited to see how this goes and love the fact that so many teachers were interested in reading. In order to keep the momentum going over the summer I am starting a Google Classroom for us to share books and recommendations and will also be doing summer PD sessions via the blog. Literacy is something that I am SUPER PASSIONATE about and I can't wait to see how this student engagement and literacy next year.
Do any of you or your schools do any sort of reading challenges for staff? Do you have any ideas for reading promotion with your teachers? I'd love to hear them!
I feel like I've been in a bit of a reading rut, but I'm sure that some of that is due to the fact that I have been reading things that I HAD to read (for book club, for the state awards next year, etc) instead of just picking up the next book in my #TBR stack. So, goal for myself this week and in the month of May: read what I want to read! (again, this is something that I preach for the students in my building and my own kids at home because of all the resources out there, but it's a good reminder for myself as well)
So, without further ado, my #IMWAYR stats:
I read Slacker and Garvey's Choice because they are nominees for our state award list for 2018-19. They are in the Chapter Book category (aimed at 3rd-6th grades) and, in my opinion, were just OK. Full disclosure, those grade level books don't always appeal to me. BUT, that being said, Slacker's main character was just NOT likeable. For more info, check out my reviews on Goodreads.
Spill Zone on the other hand was one I just picked up for myself on a whim. And man am I glad that I did. It was really good. My only complaint: book 2 isn't out yet. Highly recommend if you like graphic novels or are a fan of dystopian literature/Science Fiction. Very good.
Coming Up Next
I am in the midst of Little Fires Everywhere since it is my book club's pick this week (have to finish by Thursday!). Then I'm going to dive in to these two new eARCs I have waiting for me. Contagion and The Second Life of Ava Rivers. I'm very excited to get into them! I'll try to update you next week. :)
What are you all reading? Anything good that I should add to my list?
Raise your hand if you agree that one of our goals is to make kids readers:
Right? Most of us readily agree that we want kids to be readers. The research is out there that says that when kids read, and read well, they do better in pretty much everything.
BUT . . . it takes more than just saying we want to develop readers. As most of us who work with students can attest, just wanting them to be something isn't enough. It takes WORK to get them to grow. And that includes as readers.
So, what can you do? One of the best things is to read with them. That includes during class reading time AND reading things that they enjoy so you can share ideas, give recommendations, and just talk in general about books that you have in common.
Now, some of you might be saying, "But, I'm really more of a Chandler here." Meaning, you have a book or books in your classrooms, but you aren't reading them. Or you haven't read any NEW ones. Well, if so, you are in LUCK. The library is here to help!
How so? Summer hours for checkout, display tables during staff development TODAY, and recommendations from Ms. Tasich. In addition, the library always has links available to help you (and the kiddos) find your next read!
Take a TBR Summer Stack handout, choose some titles, and let's talk BOOKS!
Summer Hours: June 14th, 28th, July 12th, 26th from 4-6 pm. Books can be returned any weekday from 7-3 to the front office.
It has been a LONG time since I posted one of these, but thought that this would be a good week to get back in the swing of things.
One of the big things we had going on this week was the ice cream party/voting for our State Book Award, the Golden Sowers. Students who had read at least 4 of the titles were able to come in with their lunches, grab ice cream, vote, and watch a movie in the library. We sent our votes in to be counted with the rest of the state and can't wait to see who the winners are!
We also did staff development with all staff members on using their teacher iPad and utilizing the iPad cart. The staff had lots of good questions about iPad functionality and our tech coordinator was also able to explain the process for requesting and adding specific apps. More to come on the iPads as we begin the tech cohort for next year.
We also had Band students come in to do research in preparation for the upcoming 5th grade tours. The band teacher is changing up the format for the 5th grade tours and wanted the current students to give presentations/demonstrations on their instruments along with background information. The research went well and it was fun to work with a teacher who has never utilized the library before.
Finally, I've been doing some reading and with the snow forecast (yes, SNOW) for the weekend, I have some books stacked up. Hoping to get to these this weekend:
Today's staff development is going to focus on some of the basics of the iPad and the iPad cart. Below are the slides we will go over today, as well as some links to helpful information.