Pitiful books? Bring ’em on!

If you’re in the middle of some lessons about taking care of books, you probably have a few pitiful copies of books that you pull out to show students, books that have sustained all kinds of mistreatment at the hands of former students.  Toni Buzzeo wants to see your photos of pitiful books!

If your photo is chosen by Toni as being one of the best/worst books you’ll win an autographed copy of her new book Penelope Popper, Book Doctor.  Email Toni* your photo and a brief message about what caused the damage.  And don’t forget to include your name, job title, school and address, and email address.

Good luck!



First 6 weeks: Dare to inspire!

As a group we teacher librarians model lifelong learning and continually share what we’ve learned, provide professional development, etc.  This can be challenging in an already hectic schedule and overloaded curriculum.  But this year, if you can entice your teachers to let you show them just ONE new thing, maybe it could be Ideas to Inspire.  

I learned about this site from this post by Kelly Tenkely at her blog I Learn Technology.  According to Kelly’s post, the creator of the site–Mark Warner–“invites teachers from around the world to share their inspiring ideas for using technology in the classroom.  These are pulled together as a presentation that teachers everywhere can benefit from.  Ideas to Inspire has a handy new filter tool that let’s you find the exact resources and ideas you are looking for easily.” 

The home page is a collection of well-labeled thumbnails with a ton of topics of interest to teachers.  Clicking on these brings you to a presentation that Mark put together with ideas from teacher contributors.  (Double click on the presentation to expand the image once you open it up.)

I took a look at quite a few of the embedded presentations and found some useful ideas.  Here’s a list of some I’m planning to share with my staff:

Techy Tips for Non-Techy Teachers

Ideas for Class Blog Posts

(Ways to) Encourage Pupils and Families to visit your Blog

Make your class a Sparkly Place to Learn

Interesting Images to use in the Classroom (visual literacy)

Google Earth and Google Maps

Ways to present (Internet) Research  (end-products ideas!)

Show this to your teachers during this first six weeks.  You’ll be a hero!

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.

Minding their P’s and Q’s

Call me old-fashioned, but…I think it’s important during the first few weeks of school to give direct instruction in the use of manners.  I prioritize it right up there with caring for books and choosing books.  It’s very much a part of my “Library Expectations” lessons.  We talk a lot about “respect” in schools, but so often I’m not sure students understand how that plays out in their daily interactions with others.  It can be as simple as a “please” or “thank you” delivered with sincerity at just the right time.  And fortunately there are some fun books to help deliver the message and get the conversation started.  Here are some of my favorites:

Mo Willems’s Time to Say Please

Laurie Keller’s Do Unto Otters

Judy Sierra’s Mind your Manners, B.B. Wolf

The payoff of course is the pleasure of working with students who’ve been taught to be civil.  I don’t know about you, but I’m a whole lot more responsive to anyone who is polite with me!

The first 6 weeks of school: Part 1

I like to begin each new school year with read-alouds related to living the readerly life (Mr. Katapat’s Incredible Adventures, Wild About Books, The Library) and with great books that speak to the wonderful places that we know libraries can be.  By the time they are third graders, my students don’t need as many lessons about book care and strategies for choosing books so I can have some fun reading things like Margaret Ruurs’ s My Librarian is a Camel (Think about how lucky you are, kids!) and the McKissacks’ Goin’ Someplace Special.

The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter is a marvelous one for talking about one woman’s efforts in Iraq to save the books in her war-torn city.  I recently read a review in SLJ of another book I’ll be adding to this list–Biblioburro:  a True Story from Colombia (also by J. Winter) about one teacher’s efforts to bring  books via burro to children in the high mountains where there are no libriaries.

A few other personal favorites you might consider:

Book! Book! Book! (Bruss)

Winston the Book Wolf (McGee)

The Best Time to Read,  The Best Place to Read (Bertram and Bloom)

Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook  (Garland)

Down Cut Shin Creek (Appelt) which pairs nicely with  That Book Woman (Henson)

What are some of the books you like to read at this time of year?