Tuesday, January 19, 2016

No Limit

Why I've thrown away my circulation limit....

Well, it started last year when an adorable, overly competitive classroom of second graders were vying for the AR Most Words Read Trophy for their classroom. Prior to this event, Kindergarten through third graders were only allowed to circulate one book at a time. Well....one book was NOT enough for these kiddos. I was seeing most of their faces every day, sometimes twice a day. They were reading animals. It opened up a great discussion between me and their classroom teacher.

Did these students truly need to circulate multiple books at a time? Were they responsible enough to keep track of more than one book? And the biggest question, were they actually reading all of the books that they circulated?
The answer was, yes. They were.

The teacher and I decided on a trial run. We chose the most responsible students, who were also the most advanced readers, to check out two books at a time. It was a total success. As word spread of the magical second graders with more than one library book, I began to have the same conversations with other students' teachers.

It was amazing the amount of students that began to circulate more than one library book successfully. Did I still lose a few? Of course. Who doesn't? I want to meet a librarian that doesn't lose a book here and there! I believe she will have some goddess-like name and be cloaked in magical fairy dust that enchants the kids into bringing back their books without question, loss, or damage. (In other words, that person doesn't exist.)

I still use this practice of no limit for students who show the need for accommodations. Isn't that what teaching is all about? Making accommodations and adjusting to student need?

I love having upper elementary students come to me before a long weekend and request to check out 3 or 4 books because they "might get bored". No joke. Happened the Friday before the 3-day MLK weekend, and she joyfully marched into the library Tuesday morning to return two of the books.

I have one class of first grade students this year that are circulating their books at home. This is the first time I have ever had first graders ask to take their library books home!* I was so excited last week (and also very nervous). Again, I discussed the possibility with their classroom teacher, and we decided that there were a handful of students that were not ready for that responsibility. However, it has given those students something to work toward! I love seeing students set their own goals!

What's your circulation limit? Do you have one? Is it hard-fast and set in stone? Why? Think about your students. Are those hard and fast limits really necessary?

*Kindergarten through third grade students utilize guided reading books. Those books go home on a regular basis. As a group, we decided that K-1 should keep library books at school to read while taking home guided readers for practice since they work on the skills with the GR books in small group. Having library books in classroom book boxes adds a little variety during independent reading time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

File Cabinet: 10 Things We've Done This Year

We have had a busy year so far. Working with a new program design within the library and performing arts program at our school has put me behind on posting (typical...I'm also a procrastinator).

Here's a little recap of some of the marvelousness we have done so far this year.

(side note: Google says that "marvelousness" isn't a word, but I say "what does Google know?")

1. Learned how a computer works by tearing stuff up! 
So much fun! Who doesn't love a good deconstruction project?

2. Learned genre identification by playing "I have....who has...?"

3. Began some maker-space time during Lunch in the Library. 
Students loved making necklaces and bracelets with leather strips and beads. Our art teacher even joined in on the fun (thanks Miss Kate). Students also made good use of old CD's and DVDs by creating scratch art. We now have a maker-cart that is full of craft supplies and games. Students utilize the supplies on the cart any time they come in during lunch.


4. Began a hidden treasure hunt. 
Treasure tickets are hidden in approximately 50 books throughout the library. All directions to play are on the ticket. Students have been so excited to cash in their ticket for free books!

5. Learned shelf order with these really cool cards. 
One side is fiction (alphabetical) and the other is Dewey Decimal (numerical). Classroom teachers appreciated that these lessons reinforced classroom learning, such as, place value, alphabetical order, numerical order, etc.

6. Won a Fitbit at the Arkansas Association of School Librarians Conference! 

7. Had visitors! 
Author Maria Hoskins came to speak to Kindergarten through second graders about her published works and the inspiration a writer can find in their everyday life. Also, Santa made a pit-stop on his way to the gym to visit our kiddos.


8. Started a new program design. 
Students in 5th and 6th grades are part of our new program design. Co-teaching technology classes in the computer lab with our *fabulous* computer lab instructor has truly allowed these students to focus and hone their technology skills, preparing them to be valuable members of our society. Check out the cool internet safety poster that was created. This is just ONE of the many, many great projects these students have created.

 9. Said NO to bullying.
We participated in an anti-bully campaign with t-shirts designed by a student in our district.

10. Explored working in a Learning Commons
We have explored the Library Media Center as a Learning Commons area: a place where students and teachers can come to learn together, utilizing the space for large group presentations, small group work, and independent study/research. Students in third grade presented information about Christmas celebrations in other countries. It was so much fun to see the entire third grade sharing with all of their classmates and presenting their information.

 BONUS: I was attacked by a G.I.Joe and a triceratops....or they were found laying in the floor. Whichever you choose to believe.

I promise to elaborate more on some of these fantastic activities and keep you all up-to-date on our new activities and shenanigans in our library.

By the way, today is International Kiss a Ginger Day. So *MWAH* from this ginger librarian!