Sunday, February 23, 2014

Makerspace Steering Committee

Last summer, the library applied for a grant for a makerspace with our local education foundation. We were awarded the grant, and now have all the items we asked for and are ready to start creating our Curtis Makerspace. Several 6th graders have been asking when we were going to get started with it, so they have been made the "Makerspace Steering Committee" and they met for the first time last Friday. 

This is what the space looked like before we moved the items into it. It was the copy room for several years, and has been a storage space this year. You can see the wonderful peach tint to the walls. ;) It is definitely not an inviting work space right now.

After talking with Nate, Julian and Jett about some ideas for the walls, including a whiteboard wall, a magnetic wall, and a green wall for video opportunities, they were turned loose to brainstorm other components they would like to see in the makerspace.

We are saving all kinds of items for our makerspace, like cardboard boxes and broken electronic equipment. 
It was great to see their thoughts as they brainstormed. We decided to put it on chart paper so everyone could see it and add ideas.

And thanks to some handy 6th graders, our makerspace cart was put together! It was wonderful to see them reading the instructions & working together to assemble the cart.

 The next step is to have a work day to paint the room and get everything organized. The plan is to do that the weekend we get out for Spring Break. 

Friday was a day that the library was functioning just the way I wanted it to. There were classes coming in for checkout, teachers were in there adding Skype to their computers so that they can begin connecting with others, the Digital Bookworms came in to have lunch with me and to help with the WRAD Blogging Challenge post, and the Makerspace Steering Committee was meeting in their future space. It was loud and a little messy, admittedly a little chaotic, but students were making decisions and, as my Twitter friend Shannon Miller has modeled so well, letting their voices be heard. It was a good day! 

If you have a makerspace at your school, please share what types of items are included. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

WRAD14 Week 2 Blogging Challenge

I'm joining Matthew Winner and others in the World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge. It is not too late to join us! And certainly join in Lit World's World Read Aloud Day celebration on March 5th!

Week 2: February 17 - 23

Adult & Child

Answering the following questions with a child. The child can be a student or your own. Age does not matter. Make sure to exchange and enjoy answers with one another before sharing them with us.
I had a lot of fun answering these questions with some of my Digital Bookworm members! They came in during lunch and shared their thoughts.

1. I think everyone in the world should read…

Me: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. Maybe because I taught 4th grade for so long, and this was the book I always started the year with. The students always wanted to read more about Fudge & Peter!

Reagan: Percy Jackson books (she has read ALL of them MULTIPLE times! :))

2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…

Me: my grandmother because she loved to share stories. When she would read a book, she couldn't wait to share parts of it with other readers. 

Alyssa: the author who wrote the book because then you hear his/her voice reading his/her words too.

3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…

Me: a character from the south. I loved reading the voice of Dovey in Dovey Coe by Frances O'Roark Dowell. What an opening paragraph... "My name is Dovey Coe and I reckon it don't matter whether you like me or not.... I hated Parnell Caraway as much as the next person, but I didn't kill him."

Kayla: Gil from The Gollywhopper Games because he is so funny.

4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is…

Me: realistic fiction. I like finding characters to identify with. I am branching out though, so who knows in the future! 

Sierra: Suzanne Collins- her books have a lot of action, and there is always something happening!

5. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is...

Me: getting so involved in the story that no one wants to stop reading. I love when my students beg me not to stop, just one more chapter!

Jeffrey: When someone reads aloud to me it makes understanding the book and story easier because I don't have to figure out the hard words. 

I loved sharing these questions with my Digital Bookworms club! They had some really great answers! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Getting Ready for WRAD14- Blogging Challenge

Last year Curtis Elementary students participated in LitWorld's World Read Aloud Day, (well WEEK actually for us!) and the students had a great time connecting and reading with others!

A great description of the purpose of this event is found on the LitWorld's website:

"World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology."

 We are preparing for this year's event and I have decided to join Matthew Winner in a blog challenge this year. You can read his posts HERE.  

Week 1 writing prompt is: 

What is your earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud to you?

Photo from 
As much as I love to read, I know my mom must have read a lot to me. The older I get, the foggier the memories become, but one memory I clearly have is owning a set of Childcraft encyclopedia, much like these

and I remember my mom reading the different stories from Stories and Fables volume. My favorite was the story about the monkeys swinging in the tree. Mom would change her voice for the different monkeys, and I'm sure I would have her read it multiple times. We held onto the encyclopedia set for many years, and then I took them with me once I had children. The information was outdated, and the books definitely had a musty smell about them, but still I took them. Later, I got rid of all of the volumes except the Stories and Fables one, which I still have. 

Teachers also have the ability to create reading memories for their students.  As a librarian, I soon learned the favorite authors of our teachers because their students would rush to check-out the books by that author once their teacher started a read aloud. Students and adults alike have shared with me their memories of a teacher reading aloud to them, and I also have a similar memory.  The favorite part of the day for me as a 3rd grader was right after lunch when Mrs. Franklin would perch on the top of her desk and read to us. Oftentimes the only light was the sunlight streaming through the dusty metal blinds.

 Charlotte's Web was one of my favorite books that she read to us that year. I remember anxiously awaiting each day's reading to find out what would happen next. I remember it being peaceful, and losing myself in the story. It was a time I looked forward to!

This year, we will celebrate World Read Aloud Day throughout the week of March 3-7. We will connect with students all around our country, and we will connect with authors who are so generous with their time. You can read about what we did last year in this Scholastic article  written by Natalie Lorenzi about Read Across America Day (which is why we celebrate all week!) We are so excited about this week and "celebrating the power of words"! Join us!

What are your plans for WRAD14? 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Fair is Here!

We have had a crazy winter, with several missed days! In fact, it was snowing the day our Scholastic Book Fair was delivered.

The books were unpacked on Thursday, and then a "Snow Day" was called for Friday. We went back to school on Monday, and then a "Ice Day" was called for Tuesday. So, schedule adjustments have been made, Family Night has been moved to next Tuesday night, Breakfast & Books will still be on Friday morning, and we will stay open every day after school! We are ready to get books in readers' hands!

Shopping online is an option for families through February 22nd. Just click on the link below. Books will be shipped to school, free of charge, and delivered to classrooms.

With proceeds from this years' book fairs, we will begin transforming our library into a learning space that encourages collaboration, creativity and connections! We will soon be sending out a survey, seeking input from students, staff and families about things they would like to see in this environment.

If you are a librarian, I would love any thoughts you have about creating a space such as this! Please leave a comment of any ideas you might have! Furniture ideas would be great!