Friday, September 1, 2017

Resources: Arkansas State Capitol

You know how you go places and pick up stuff you think is fantastic with every intention of sharing said stuff? Happens to me all the time. As I was cleaning off some shelves, I found some pamphlets I picked up at the ARA Conference about the Arkansas State Capitol Building.

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The Secretary of State offices offer a ton of teaching materials and resources. I didn’t know that they would send someone to your school to do a presentation for your classroom! Programs that they offer include: State Symbols, a hands-on activity program; Virtual Tour program; and a Young Voter’s Program that discusses the Civil Rights Movement, the process and importance of voting, and voter’s registration.

The Secretary of State’s website also has some great information. I spent some time “playing” on the kids’ website.  There you can find virtual tours, information on the history of the capitol building, games, and links to videos. The videos are linked through YouTube. I always give a mini-talk about clicking around in YouTube or on websites. Students should stay focused on the current video. 

On the teacher’s page, there are lesson plans, virtual tours, PowerPoint presentations, and information on ordering materials for your classroom. All materials are FREE! If it’s for free, it’s for me! 

I’ve ordered some just to have on--hand in the library in our Arkansas Resources section. And don’t forget that their staff will travel to our school to speak to your classroom upon request! Guest speakers are always fun.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sit. Stay. Good, Student.

I am all for giving students rewards. Correction...I am all for giving students awards. I was corrected by the ADE staff once upon a time. An award is earned or given as merit; a reward is offered for doing something that is noble or good.

Over the weekend, a very heated discussion was being had among some friends and myself. Is it good to give students rewards? 

In the article My Biggest Regret as a Teacher: Extrinsic Rewards by David Ginsburg (from edweek’s blog) stated that he regrets ever having started a reward system in his classroom. Why? 
“It sets them (students) up for future failure. That’s because success is about delayed gratification, not instant gratification.” 
Think of Pavlov’s conditioning training. If I do what I’m supposed to do, I get a treat. 

Image result for pavlov dog

Following the rules and working hard are rewarded with prizes, stickers, a smiley face. Some students respond well to that, but are we hurting the masses or helping them to become successful?

People who are successful in life have learned to self-discipline and self-motivate. They do what they do because they enjoy it! 

How can students become successful if we constantly give rewards for just doing what they are supposed to do? They can’t. And they won’t. 

Many struggling students think they’re incapable of succeeding; slacking off or sabotaging classroom activities become a means of self-preservation. David states, “These kids need confidence, not candy.”

Image result for success

The way to elicit students’ cooperation is to empower them, not control them. We should be making students feel successful by giving them knowledge and power! Think of this: are you helping “students feel[ing] fulfilled because of that they were learning, not because of what they were earning”?

Read the entire article here or subscribe to edweek’s blog for free.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Furry Friends

In an article I read recently, Ron Claiborne and Wendy Brundige stated, “For young kids, one of the big challenges in learning to read is the embarrassment of making mistakes.” I totally agree with them! When listening to students converse over text in the library, I’ve noticed that the closer someone gets to a child reading aloud, the softer their voice becomes until they are no longer reading aloud.

I have received several responses when asking students to read aloud to me that are along the lines of “I don’t know how” or “I can’t do it”.

The article, Study: Reading to Dogs Helps Children Learn to Read, highlights a study from East Norwalk Library in East Norwalk, Conneticut. Children participated in a “D2R2” program where students read to dogs. During the course of the 10 week program, student participants read aloud to dogs. Those students participating in the program who read to dogs improved their reading skills by 12 percent. Students participating but not reading aloud to dogs showed no improvement.
One student participant stated, “I have somebody that listens when I read. If I make a mistake, there’s no one around me to laugh.”

After reading the article and pondering how I could have a litter of dogs in the library? I realize I already had the solution. Stuffed animals! I’ve collected several of Brandt’s and Rhianna’s that we no longer use at home, along with stuffed characters from our favorite books. Kohl's often has stuffed characters for only $5. In the library now, we have a Book Buddy Bucket full of reading buddies for anyone who needs someone to listen without judging.

My Book Buddy Basket is not nearly as cute as these I found on Pinterest, but the kiddos love it just the same!

For the full article, click here.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Charlie May Simon Nominees 2017-2018

I usually put this off until the start of the school year, but I wanted to allow time for students (or teacher-librarian friends) to create book trailers.

Each year, I create a presentation for the Charlie May Simon books. In the presentation, I include some information about who Charlie May Simon was and how to vote. The presentation also includes each book cover, blurb, and a book trailer if it's available. The books without a trailer have a note under the cover image.

I give students the opportunity to create a trailer for those books. This is typically a presentation we do within the first couple of weeks. We post the presentation in Google Classroom and have students work through it independently. I also create a YouTube playlist for the book trailers that students can access any time.

Feel free to use the presentation (with credit to the author, of course) or the playlist!

YouTube CMS Playlist
Charlie May Simon Google Slides

Don't forget about the Lesson Plan Format post to help get you started for the school year!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Arkansas Diamond Books 2016-2017

Earlier this year, I shared my complete presentation of the 2016-2017 Arkansas Diamond Children's Book Award nominees. Each year, not only do we read the nominees aloud in the library, but we also record them! This allows students the opportunity to go back and listen to read alouds they may have missed. Often, teachers in other areas of the school help to read these books in their classes.

To view the presentation, please visit my Google Slides Link.

The YouTube playlist is linked below.

Please, be kind and give credit to the authors, illustrators, and readers when sharing. And, don't forget to COMMENT if you enjoyed the videos (especially those recorded by friends).

Friday, February 24, 2017

Lesson Plan: My Teacher is a Monster

I typically begin teaching with our state award nominee books after the Winter Break holiday. I want the books to be fresh in the students' minds when they vote. I also typically have various classes read the books to reinforce the fact that ALL subjects can incorporate literacy and reading. Plus, sometimes it's just nice to sit down and read aloud to students with no expectation of a lesson being learned other than enjoying a good book.

Our state award is the Arkansas Diamond Children's Book Award. The criteria for voting is that the voter must be an Arkansas student in grades K-3 and have read or listened to at least three books on the list. We easily do this each year. There is often one or two books that I am unable to read because of Snowpocalypse or Icemageddon; however, I record books and add them to my YouTube Channel for students to listen to at their leisure! This allows students to make-up books that they missed due to absences, special events, ect.

So, to this lesson...
Mrs. Denise, our computer lab instructor reads at least one book from the list each year and incorporates a technology lesson. This year, she read My Teacher is a Monster (No! I'm Not) by Peter Brown.

After students listened to the story, they when to Paint on their computers. You could also use Google Drawings if it is available. Students used their mouse skills and creativity to create their teacher if he/she was a monster! They were so creative. During the lesson, Mrs. Denise also reviewed the terms of some of the tools within the program. She built on each grade's knowledge of computer skills: flipping objects, resizing images and tool selection, changing colors, etc.

Check out some of their awesome monsters!!!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

File Cabinet: 10 Things We've Done This Year (2016 edition)

Again, what a busy year!? I've tried to update as much as possible, but with moving the lab into the library media area, writing more for various educational companies, I just haven't had the time to update here nearly as much as I should.

For almost daily tidbits of my ramblings and library happenings, follow me on Twitter @AshleyCooksey2.

1. First Day Frog
First day of school. First class. Kindergarten.

The enter from an outside door. I keep hearing a student repeat "frog" over and over and over. I assume it's some form of kindergarten kid thing and ignore it. I then realize that the teacher is blocking the door so that the kiddos can't enter...because there was a frog sitting in the floor. She said she didn't want the mass chaos she knew would ensue if she let them into the room with the frog. Poor guy was fine and release safely out another door.

2. ArASL Summer Conference Fun!

I was fortunate enough to be appointed into the position of ArASL Conference Chair. I planned the summer conference to include a tour of Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library and keynote dinner at the Little Rock Zoo! Not to mention, our fabulous keynote Nikki D. Robertson! Super fun and informative conference, even if I only got to peek into a few sessions.

3. I met a mermaid!

No caption necessary! 

4. I petted a wallaby!

So, I was following some people at the Mountaintop Zoo in Colorado Springs. They went through a gate. I went through the gate. I then assumed I went the wrong way because there were several wallaby hopping around. As I turned to leave, I heard one of the zookeepers say, "you can pet them, just don't touch their face or neck, they will kick you." Fun times. Super cute!

5. I've added to my toy collection.

Last year, I was attacked by a triceratops and a G.I. Joe. This year, I've added more #LibraryFinds to my collection. It's amazing what you find when you clean shelves BEHIND the books!

Last year....

 This year....     Displaying 20170216_153114.jpg

6. We started self check-in!!!

This has been a total life saver! I'm so glad we ventured out of the mail/drop box and are having students check in their own books. Not only is it teaching them responsibility in returning their library books, but books are circulating much better!


7. Hour of Code T-shirts

My administer allowed me to purchase a Silhouette for our library! I was stoked. I've cut so much vinyl and decor for our teachers! This year, we participated in Hour of Code and designed a t-shirt for each day of the week.



8. e-books

Second graders learned to use our e-book collection this year. They loved being able to share books with their family and read on their devices at home and on the go!

9. Newspaper Features

Our program and team were blessed to be featured a few times in our local newspaper. The first story printed was about our BreakoutEDU sessions and speaking to the School Board. The second story I wrote. Each campus in Batesville has the opportunity to write an article for publication highlighting a department, event, or special aspect of their campus. My administrator asked that I write about our technology department and integration here at West! I love being able to share and advocate for all that we do here in the Library and how it impacts students.


10. Collaboration with Local Public Library

Our school librarians were also fortunate enough to collaborate with the local public library, Independence County Library, on a community-wide event. The event was also featured in an article published in American Libraries!!!

This is only a sampling of what has happened this year for A Ginger Librarian! Stay tuned for more!