What to do about Dewey?

Yesterday’s post by Van Meter super-librarian Shannon Miller has me thinking.  She’s not the first to blog about making the switch from the DDC system to more of a bookstore model of organization.  But what I appreciate about Shannon’s post is that she not only made a case for the why, but actually walked us through the how.  She made it seem….well….do-able.  There’s no question that it’s a lot of work (much of it  happened in the summer) but now I think I can be more open to the possibility because Shannon laid out what it entails.

I’m in a pre-K to 3 building and I can definitely see the positives;  naturally this would have to be a district librarian decision.  We would want all the kiddos that feed into the 4-5 building and middle school to have a similar experience.  Food for thought, maybe for some of this year’s meetings!

In the meantime, if (like me) you’re not quite ready to take the plunge and want to support your students within the Dewey system, Sonya over at the Library Patch has recently done six great posts  called “Deweying it My Way.”  She has found ways to tweak the system and make improvements which help kids find books more independently . Sonya also shares the how-tos for more attractive and effective signage, etc.  (Everything Sonya does is top-notch quality and she generously shares her templates and sources.)

Wherever you are in this debate, both of these ladies can help.  I highly recommend you check out their posts!

The buzz on bee-havior

I have written in the past about our very intentional efforts at my school to work on civility and behavior.  Things really became simpler for me, though, after spending a half day in a colleague’s school where I saw posted around the building some clear, concise rules.  (Thank you, Judy F.!)  So, inspired by them, for the past couple of years in the library, I’ve had 3 basic rules:

1.  Be safe.   (with self, others, and materials)

2. Be kind.  (to others and library materials)

3. Do your best.  (listen, participate)

Initially when I created posters for our little ones I used a clip-art bee to replace the word “be.”  Couple this with the fact that our local high school teams are the Hornets and this thing has taken on a life of its own!  I now have:

*a ceramic bee I bought at a yard sale that I use in our “Hickety Pickety bumblebee” game with our K’s and 1’s at the beginning of the year;  I also use it as a container from which to draw names when necessary

*”Bee a reader” stickers and bulletin board materials from Upstart

*A rotating “beekeeper” as a helper in every class.  This child wears a special badge and helps keep us all on track.  They “buzz” around near the end of our time together making sure that everyone pitches in to clean up, etc.  They report out to the rest of us as we gather back at the rug before dismissal.  Each class earns a total of 1,2, or 3 bees for the period related to our 3 rules.

*Once a trimester I will have a special plan to acknowledge classes that are doing a great job earning bees for their bee-havior and civility.  (This is new this year–I’m thinking maybe a shortened lesson and some board game time.)  I won’t be making any grandiose announcements because I don’t want to foster competition, but I do think it’s important to let the students know that I appreciate when they work together to follow the rules.

*a beehive cookie cutter which I might use to make the occasional batch of cookies instead of a Game Day

This whole thing with the bees has spread all around the school.  I think people really just like the simplicity of:  Be safe.  Be kind.  Be your best.  It encompasses so many things and is more real to kids than words like “respect” and “responsible” and “accountable.”  This hive is now in one of our hallways and all staff have a supply of paper bees which they can give out to students who are doing their job.  We don’t put names on the bees.  It’s simply an acknowlegement of the work that the school community as a whole is doing with our 3 rules.

What do you do at your school?  Your thoughts?

Fresh out of ideas? Check this out!

'288/365: Winners' photo (c) 2009, PlayfulLibrarian - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/I am very grateful to have found a site recently called  Centered School Libraries.  It’s an amazing resource–lesson plan ideas, bulletin boards, printable bookmarks, suggestions for centers and stations, management techniques, you name it!  It’s all so beautifully done and professional looking.  (I’m jealous!) Cari Young is the librarian behind the site and her new book is apparently available from Upstart.

Just yesterday I was panicking about what to do for a new bulletin board. This site came to the rescue with some excellent  ideas.  Check it out here.

It’s all about the little things…

I know this is a small thing, but it makes something mundane in the life of my students a little bit more fun.  Without fail no matter what time of day it is, someone in the class needs to use the restroom during library time. So…these are our bathroom passes for the trimester:

We’ll change them up before too long and of course we entertain ideas from the kids.  What characters would earn hallway pass status in your library?

First 6 weeks: Dare to differentiate

Last year in this post I told you about a goldmine of a wiki I came across through someone in my PLN.  While perusing it again this summer  I found a link to another goldmine–daretodifferentiate.wikispaces.com.

This wiki has a ton of resources that teachers and teacher librarians can use in their daily practice.  Big topics such as Supportive Learning Environments and Continuous Assessment are explored, and many links to relevant strategies such as scaffolding, flexible grouping, Webquests and centers are included.

Templates and rubrics in PDF form are available including tools for formative assessment (like exit slips).  There is A LOT to explore on this wiki;  I was lost in it for quite a while!

Try some of these out for yourself, then share with people in your building who would be interested.

If this was helpful, please consider subscribing.  It’s free!

Image above: ‘<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40645538@N00/5734284170&quot;

First Six Weeks 2011: Getting Acquainted

'Weird School Bus' photo (c) 2007, Kevin - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Last year I offered some ideas for great books during the first six weeks of school here and here.

This year I’ll begin this series by passing along two resources you and your teachers might find helpful with some getting-to-know-you activities for those critical first few weeks.

Tom Barrett (of the Interesting Ways series) offers this collection of ideas, and the folks at Teachers First have put together this assortment of icebreaker activities.  (Click at the bottom of that site for even more ideas.)

Enjoy!  Please leave a comment and share what you do to get to know your students in the library.

12 Things on My Summer List

School’s out,  and for me that means tackling each room in my house, one at a time, for a thorough annual cleaning, weeding around my outside plantings, serving tea and scones to some of my treasured lady friends, sipping wine on the patio with my husband, and reading lots of books I’ve been meaning to get to.

But it also means getting caught up on some school-related items that have been niggling away at me, AND getting pumped up with new ideas for next year and a fresh look at the way I do things. (All that AFTER a week long trip to San Francisco to see my two oldest kids!  Can’t wait!)  So here are a few things from that list:   (Maybe blogging about them will keep me accountable?)

  • Update and organize my IPDP*: my certification is up in June 2012
  • Go back to all my starred items in Google Reader and act on them!
  • Clean up my livebinders;  many need more subtabs and fewer tabs
  • Add tags and categories to posts I forgot to do that for
  • Meet with a few colleagues in my area to plan some collaborative projects
  • Memorize some stories to tell at the flannelboard
  • Look more closely at a few intriguing web 2.0 tools
  • Plan a sequence of lessons to teach one of my teachers and her students how to blog
  • Plan tasks for mentoring a teacher-turning-librarian at my school
  • Re-read some chapter books and prepare booktalks for next year
  • Re-think kindergarten “library time;” (Changes are afoot!)
  • Keep blogging!

.  I’d love to hear what you’re doing this summer to rejuvenate and reinvigorate.  Please tell me what you’re up to by leaving a  comment!

*Individual Professional Development Plan  (fondly known as ” ippy-dippy” in these parts!)

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