Spine poetry – take one

I had fun last week with one of the sixth grade classes – spine poetry!

Here are three that I made for examples:


Move! /

Herbie Hancock /

School’s out!

It seems more like a command than a poem.


I was a rat! /

Breaking Stalin’s nose /

Among the imposters

That sounds like a title of a memoir.


Where I’d like to be /

After the war/

The house on the gulf

That sounds like . . . daydreaming.  

But the students seemed to get spine poetry better than I did.  Here are some of their work:

photo (13)

Maybe that sounds like a command too, but a funny one.  “No talking, melonhead boy!”  

ImageManiac Magee /

Run if you dare /

Predator drones.

That’s ominous!  

photo (16)

This is my favorite, partly because the student started with about four of the books and I loved it then, but she wasn’t content and went back and found more to make it perfect.  The lighting wasn’t great (and spine labels get in the way) so it says:

A taste for read /

Underneath /

The magician’s elephant — /

Terror at the zoo /

Because of Anya /

Acting out — /

Out of order.

Well, I’m not sure what Anya did at the zoo, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t pretty.

I’m doing inventory and cleaning shelves for spring break – I’m not sure if I have it in me to do spine poetry again!  It made a mess of the shelves.  Oh, it was so much fun, we will – we’ll just have students put any books they get out on a cart.

Elementary Math Night

The thing I love about being a teacher librarian is that just about every curricular area fits into it.  Exhibit A, Math Night!

Elementary Math Night

A month ago or so, a third grade teacher and I were talking and she said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a Math Night, sort of like we had Literacy Night?” It was like she was reading my mind!  I’ve been involved in the Governor’s STEM initiative, but it’s hard for kids to get excited about STEM at high school, junior high, upper elementary – whenever we decide that it’s super important – if we haven’t laid the foundation at all levels.  Math Night seemed like just the ticket.

Several teachers, our principal – plus my husband and daughters! – participated by leading children in fun math games.  My contribution was a QR Code  Scavenger Hunt which I shouldn’t have procrastinated . . . The steps for that were:

  1. Take pictures of 35 items around the school – either in the library or visible from a hallway
  2. List the pictures with descriptive names in alphabetical order in a numbered list
  3. Post those pictures online – I ended up putting them on this blog because WordPress allowed me to upload all of them at once, which my LIS website wouldn’t do
  4. Grab the URL for an individual picture, then create a QR code for it in a QR website
  5. Most important step – immediately save the name of that QR code, indicating what was in the picture!
  6. Put the QR code in a desktop publishing document with the number from the text list so I knew what the QR code was for
  7. Print out that document
  8. Cut out the QR codes with the assigned numbers
  9. Write the number on the back of the QR code
  10. Trim the QR code so only the code itself was showing
  11. Take my list and create four different scavenger hunts with it – so #1 goes to #3 goes to #5 goes to #18 etc.  Ten locales for each
  12. This was the hard part – Take #3 to #1, #5 to #3, etc.  It was confusing!
  13. Print out a form for families to write out the things they found at each QR code

Whew!  I’m sure there’s an easier way, just not sure what it is.  Any ideas?

Plus, when I was in the midst of #12, I found that two pictures that I had taken now were taken down.  Ruh-roh!  So when people started doing it, I told them there might be a gap in the hunt and to just look for other QR codes.  I also said that people who didn’t have a smart phone could participate that way, and as much as possible, I showed them on my phone what the QR fuss was all about.  It seemed like it was faster to just look around for the QR codes – my reader was really pokey!


The most fun – and yummiest – time I had was manning the Hershey Bar fractions table.  Here’s my oldest daughter taking a turn:


Sadly, it looks like the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Fractions Book is out of print.  You can still get it from used sellers on Amazon, however.  (I’d wait for the price to go down – $29.95??)

There she goes, all grown up

Wow – lost this one in my drafts.  I’ll put it up anyway . . .

It was first a 2-hour late start, then an all out snow day (or ice day would be more apropos), so I’ve been lounging in bed, tweeting, and I saw a tweet called “there she goes, all grown up.”  I thought that’d be a great name for a blog post.  (That’s the long way of saying I filched this title from something I saw on Twitter . . . )

Here’s my “she” who is all grown up:


It was my oldest daughter’s 22nd birthday this weekend – I’m inured to having adults for (some of my) children now.  All those stereotypical things they say that boil down to the Kenny Chesney line, “Don’t blink, life goes faster than you think,” are true.

With that said, I couldn’t be prouder of my daughter.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?


I talked about what we did in my school library for World Read Aloud Day, but didn’t mention what I read to the fifth and sixth graders:



Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker (yes, that Sara Pennypacker) is a remarkable picture book.  It’s a fictionalized account of Mao’s war on sparrows that eventually killed millions and millions of birds – and people.  I plan to use it this spring with a high school Biology class to discuss the inter-relatedness of things.

I finally finished the Stephen King book, 11/22/63.  It was remarkable – I’d always been afraid to read King, and then this was entirely NOT what I expected.

Then I started going shopping for books on my Kindle again (I never used to buy new books like I do now), and I see John Grisham has a new title.  I’m disappointed I didn’t see this right away; I always try to read his in the first few weeks of release.


And I got an email from Amazon today about an ebook sale, so I bought two more books that I’ll start soon:


I’ve read several books by Temple Grandin – you should too! – and well, spring is coming and I do, in fact, need to get off my butt and on with my training.  Ahem.

I’m looking for a current book on computer programming, and I cannot wait for this book to come out (June 11th).

And since I link to a children’s librarian blog above, I should state a children’s book I’ll begin reading this week, too:


(Yes, I know I’m a little behind . . . )

So what are you reading?

World Read Aloud Day (Round-up)

It was a fast but fun morning for World Read Aloud Day.  What a great event, knowing that at hundreds – thousands? – of classrooms, schools, and libraries around the world readers are interacting in the same way.


Since we had four classes, about 100 hundred students, in the library at a time, we used a document camera when reading most of the books.

Mr. Wubben is our elementary PE teacher:


Mr. Wubben read Let’s Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile (ironic, no?) to the kindergarten classes:


I read two books but I should have timed it better – I know that those little books go faster than that!  So we had to fit a few in.

Mr. Anderson is the elementary art and TAG teacher (and an outstanding storyteller – I should watch my back!):


then read two books for the first and second graders:

 fox tikki

 Mr. Bleam is the elementary band and music teacher:


Mr. Bleam read a book about music, and even brought some samples of music by “The Piano Prince” like “Take the A Train”:


I did read a few books, too.  (Check out those reading glasses!)


My favorite one is Boing! by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Bruce Ingram:



Mr. Holloway, the principal at the junior-senior high in our district was our guest reader for the 5th-6th grade.  He has served as a basketball coach for some of the girls this year, but I’m glad he came over to read so all the students could see a male role model reading out loud on World Read Aloud Day:


Mr. Holloway read from one of his favorite books about leadership:


He read short pieces about procrastination, “beating the ref,” and finding real role models in life.  (He showed the students a painful – for Cyclone fans – clip from a recent men’s basketball game, but reminded them that this wasn’t the only chance his favorite team had had to win the game.)

I’ve seen a lot of schools and libraries connecting today with people far away, and that is admirable, especially for increasing global awareness.  But I was so glad for this opportunity to share some fun  books with students and for them to see positive role models – female and male – reading aloud.

Happy World Read Aloud Day!  Now, go read something – out loud!

It’s World Read Aloud Day!

It’s World Read Aloud Day!


It’s a half day today for students – professional development in the afternoon – so we’re doing a whirlwind of read alouds in the morning.  The “specials” teachers have graciously let me have all the students today, so we’ll have four classes of kindergarten at once, four classes of 1st and 2nd graders, etc.  We moved the tables:


Put down some rugs:


Picked out books (for kindergarteners):


And first and second graders:


And third and fourth graders:


And fifth and sixth graders:


And that’s just what I’m reading.  Special guest readers for each group.

T minus 35 minutes!  (More pics to come . . . )

(Sorry about the ad below . . . I guess I should pay to get rid of those if it bothers me that much . . . )

Colorful storytime

It’s been awhile since I did story time, but we’re back!  I’m going to do it once a month (which is really 3 times in a week as there are three different preschool classes).  Since it’s gray out, the theme was COLORS!

Of course we started with the welcome/goodbye song, “The More We Get Together” by the Cedarmont Kids:


Then Color Farm by Lois Ehlert.  I love this book because it gives preschoolers the chance to show off – colors, shapes, farm animals, and animal sounds all in one book.  (Although I forgot to switch the titles for 1st grade on Monday and read this, to which one student said, “Why are we reading baby books?”  Fair enough!)


Then we voted on the color of their parents’ cars, and we sang a couple of verses:

1 little, 2 little, 3 little (red) cars, 
4 little, 5 little, 6 little (red) cars,
7 little, 8 little, 9 little (red) cars,
Going down the street.

Then Freight Train by Donald Crews:


Then a song I learned from teaching children at church:

Choo-choo, the big train is coming down the tracks.
Choo-choo the big train is coming down the tracks.
Stop, look, and listen,
Stop, look, and listen,
Choo-choo the big train is coming down the tracks.

Then Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh.  This one is great as kids can show off their color mixing prowess.  The 4-year olds knew those, but 3-year olds didn’t yet.  They’ll learn!


I thought of doing the Hokey Pokey here (like how the mice put their feet into the paint), but I thought that would get too wild and crazy.

The last book I did doesn’t exactly have anything to do with color, other than it being colorful.  I read Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe:


Then we closed with “The More We Get Together.”