Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Fiction Fashion

I wrote a while back about the Fiction Fashion show we were putting on for the Love of Reading week. Turns out it was a smashing success, and I'm so glad I decided to go that route. We had tons of teachers volunteer to be characters, and they were so awesome in having great costumes and working it on the runway! Characters ranged from Olivia the pig to the beloved Arthur (picture shown) to our grand finale of Captain Underpants. Kids were literally jumping up and down for most of the show, which was exactly the kind of enthusiasm we were looking for! I'll have to be on the lookout now for something equally as dynamic to do next. I'd love any ideas.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Organizing Ideas

I was turned on to Journler the other day during a technology session at our school, and I love it. The basic premise of Journler is that it is a place to write down ideas to have them stored all in one place. Instead of what I tend to do with information, which is writing down websites on random pieces of paper or forgetting which great idea I found on which blog, you can quickly enter them into your Journler account and categorize the information as well. It's free, fairly easy to use, and I love having different folders for keeping ideas and memories organized. Even better, you can add pictures and even use audio . My husband is a musician and is loving the fact that he can quickly record a riff or a verse to a song and have it catalogued before he forgets it. I see it as being a potential tool for student reflection.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Another Means of Connecting

View my page on Classroom 2.0

Just the other day, I heard a colleague say, "Where do you even start with doing things like reading blogs?" and I thought it was a fantastic question. How on earth does one dive into the web 2.0 forum when all of it is new? My feeling at times is that the educational world is expecting teachers and librarians to already be well on their way to integrating technology when truthfully there are many who are still on the starting blocks and not sure what to do when the whistle blows. Recently, I've found a relatively easy way to connect with other teachers around the world at Classroom 2.0 website. Any question you might have or any collaborating you might want to join or start yourself is right there for the taking. Even a question like, "Where do you even start with reading blogs?" could be posted there, and I imagine the results would be great. Actually, I'm going to do that myself and see what kinds of answers I get from others. I'll post them here at a later date.

For the record, the tech blogs on my RSS feed that I somewhat faithfully read at the moment are
Cool Cat Teacher
Always Learning
The Fischbowl
Utech Tips

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Love of Reading Assembly Idea

As a new librarian, I wanted to do something really fun for our Love of Reading assembly that happens as a kickoff to our Visiting Author week in March. However, when I went online, I couldn't find much out there, so I thought I would post our fun idea on this blog in case someone else is searching for ideas. Our VP did this cool thing when she worked in Brazil-- we are going to have a book character fashion show called Fiction Fashion Week. Teachers will dress up as various book characters and walk the runway to clues being given by our host and kids will shout out (yes, this will be a crazy loud assembly!) the character's name. It's great for teachers because they don't have to act, just strut their stuff, and I know the kids are going to love it. To top if off, we have an incredibly vivacious art teacher who is a perfect MC.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Two Million Minutes

Fascinating trailer of a documentary called Two Million Minutes. That is the estimated amount of time spent in a 4-year high school. Tracing the lives of 6 students from 3 countries--United States, India and China--it highlights the differences and how the U.S. values about education are radically different from India and China, the two biggest competitors on the world market. Living in Shanghai, the attitudes towards education are intense, even in the elementary grades. What a great documentary to show students living in any country to get conversations started.

A Bit of Funkiness

I love a library that has a personality to it. To me, it makes the space inviting and warm. We are lucky to have an amazing floor-to-ceiling mural on our main wall, but the story corner is tucked away and feels a bit lonely to me. I'm thinking of adding one of these wall decals I've found online. They are inexpensive and removable (but not reusable) so there isn't the fear of it being permanent, but I think they are simply fantastic.

The decal shown is only $35.oo and is found at EllyNelly

Other sites for decals are blik and WinkWall.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Reading Incentive Programs

I've been looking into ideas for reading incentive programs because I want to do something more interactive and meaningful for kids. This year, I did a 100 Days of Reading, which was nice for the kids because they got a prize for reading for 100 days, but it had little connection between the library, classroom and kids--or the world for that matter. One of my favorite charity organizations, Heifer International, has a program called Read to Feed. In a nutshell, the idea behind Heifer is that one buys an animal as a donation, anything from ducks to a water buffalo, and that animal is then donated to a needy family somewhere around the world. The family that receives the animal then passes on that animal's offspring to another family in the community, thus creating a "pay it forward" concept. The Read to Feed program is geared toward upper grades with its videos and lesson plans, but it could easily be modified as a fundraiser for all elementary grades. I have the coolest vision in my head of a kindergarten class discussing how they will use their money raised--do they buy 3 flocks of geese or 2 pigs? Pro and con writing in a completely authentic setting, and kids making real-life decisions that affect the world.