Friday, April 29, 2016

Students' Right to Vote: Selecting an Award-winning Book


Here in the state of Arkansas each year, students have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. During each school year a set of books that have been nominated for the Arkansas Diamond Children's Book Award and Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award are made available. These books have been selected by a committee through the Arkansas State Library. The criteria for voting is also set by the same organization: be a student in the state of Arkansas and read at least three books from the current list. Students are able to vote each spring. *I'm so glad the committee pushed the voting back last year until May (testing season ruined our voting the previous years.*


This year, during voting season in our library, I decided to add a little ~flare~ to our system. When adults vote, they receive a sticker to wear proudly proclaiming that they, as American citizens, have exercised their right to vote.


 I decided that we, as students in Arkansas, should have that same option! So, I created a simple sticker using an Avery Label template and some printable labels. I really wish I could have printed in color; however, printing 537 labels in color would have used quite a bit of toner. The kids seem to be just as happy with a plain Jane black and white sticker.

They have been so excited to proudly wear their sticker and tell everyone "I voted today"!

Our voting procedure for Arkansas Diamond:

1. We read books in the library, computer lab, and other classes.
Art class read The Blessing Cup and did a project with it. Computer lab read My Lucky Birthday and created invitations; they also read The Day the Crayons Quit and wrote letters to their favorite crayon. Some students even wrote to the crayons in the book to apologize for Duncan's behavior.

2. We vote using Popsicle sticks.
Each student is given a stick. They place their stick inside a cup that has been set in front of each book. I count the sticks each day and tally them at the end of the week.

3. Students get a sticker for voting!

Our voting procedure for Charlie May Simon (4-6 grades):

Students utilize a Google Form to vote.

Monday, April 11, 2016

I Guest Lectured a College Course....and Survived!

We all have our fortes in teaching. Some school library media specialists are fantastic story-tellers. Some are great at teaching research skills. Some are great at giving book talks and encouraging students to step out of their comfort reading zone (this is me). Some are great at teaching the tiny humans in kindergarten and first grade (not particularly me). Some are great with the sarcastic, somewhat strange middle school aged children (this is me).

A colleague of mine teaches an Intro to Education class at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB). One of her lecture periods was intended to be for "Grouping Strategies and Technology in the classroom". She asked if I would be interested in guest lecturing since I am a Library MEDIA Specialist. I agreed, all the while questioning my decision. Why in the world would these new teacher candidates want to hear ME speak about technology in the classroom and grouping strategies? It's a good thing I'd just attended the AAIM Conference!!!

I survived lecturing for over an hour on different websites that teachers can utilize for grouping, creating random name generators, and creating seating charts. I also included some really cool web tools that are just plain fun to utilize in the classroom.

Check out my presentation below.