Monday, July 29, 2013

First Day Activity Idea

I found a fun activity on Education World last year when I was looking for a way to get one of my more unruly classes to practice listening and following directions. You can pass it off as a game, which automatically will pique the interest of some of your harder-to-engage kids.

Each student receives a slip of paper with an instruction: When they hear/see someone else doing X, that is their cue to follow with Y. For example:
After somebody stands up and does five jumping jacks, then you will clap your hands four times.
Last year, I created a Prezi to introduce myself and go over class rules. I tried to use eye-catching Creative-Commons-licensed photos (the dog and the toilet paper did elicit reactions), but looking at a presentation is only so interactive, even when I'm asking the kids related questions.

So this year, I am going to use the information - as well as some location reminders - as part of the game, and have everyone in grades 3-6 play it on the first day. For example:
After somebody walks to the return cart and says, "This is where you return your books if you miss morning pickup," then you will go to Ms. Moore's desk and hold up the sign-out log.
We'll be practicing listening and following directions (most of them need a LOT of practice in these areas!), as well as working in some physical activity. And perhaps some whole-class discussion in case we need to do "colder / warmer" for the kids who forgot where to find anything in the room. Then we'll recap with an updated Prezi for those kids who need visuals.

It really helps that this is my first year RETURNING to schools rather than starting at new ones, so the kids have already (supposedly) learned my rules and routines. We'll see how many times we need to play the game before everyone has remembered them!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mock Caldecott 2014 Reads - Batch 1

I am already looking forward to second quarter of the school year, because I'll be doing a Mock Caldecott with my second graders again. I have been reading dozens of books that reviewers and other librarians thought might be worthy of the reward. Here are some that I think my kids will enjoy:

Bear and Bee  
Sergio Ruzzier

A sweet demonstration of how our preconceived notions and prejudices are mostly just silly. I will be recommending to my guidance counselors.

You can download activity sheets from Ruzzier's site.

Exclamation Mark
Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld

As a grammar and punctuation nerd, I am excited to have the kids see that such things can be FUN.

What's My Mark? game

Rags to Riches game - easier
Rags to Riches game - harder
Punctuation Paintball game

Lucky Ducklings
Author: Eva Moore
Illustrator: Nancy Carpenter

Based on a true story, this will remind most readers of Make Way for Ducklings.

Evidently, ducklings fall down grates a lot. I was trying to find a video of the Montauk even to show, but will have to settle for this one for now:

The Mighty Lalouche
Author: Matthew Olshan
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall

Put together the post office, boxing, French phrases, and an underdog story, and you have this charmer. J'ADORE the names given to Lalouche's opponents: Ampere, the Piston, the Pointillist, the Misanthrope. And the paper cutout watercolor art is lovely. has samples of old-timey photographs that Blackall used for inspiration.


That Is Not a Good Idea
Mo Willems

Can Mo Willems do no wrong? From the silent movie design to the Greek chorus of baby geese to the twist ending, this is another instant classic. I'm excited to share this with the students, because we read lots of Pigeon and Elephant & Piggie books last year when they were in first grade.

I am a huge Buster Keaton fan and think this is the perfect opportunity to introduce him ... see 10:00 for a scene with dialogue cards.

source: peachtreepub.
Tiger in My Soup 
Author: Kashmira Sheth
Illustrator: Jeffrey Ebbeler

Super bold artwork shows how a boy's imagination works overtime as he begs his older sister to read him a story. Cool perspectives and visual treats (like the T I G E R cascading into his bowl of alphabet treats as she serves him lunch) make for a striking book. has an alphabet soup riddle game.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tweet Tweet

It's my first summer since 1987 where I don't have to show up to a job on a regular basis! Glorious. I'm trying to use the time to reflect, plan, and catch up on lots and lots of reading including getting a start on potential Mock Newbery and Mock Caldecott nominees ... and getting around the that pile of ALA/AASL publications under my desk.

Going through the November/December 2012 issue of Knowledge Quest, which focused on Personal Learning Networks, made me feel guilty for not having checked Twitter in months.

Last year, when I was split between my old office job and a part-time school library position, even though I was putting in at least 50-hour weeks, I still seemed to have time to hop online, follow lots of links, and take place in #titletalk and #levelupbc chats.

This year, however, my first as a full-time librarian, brought 60-hour weeks, and several things fell by the wayside. Including using Twitter as a large component of my PLN. However, I gained a new component: the 16 other librarians in my department. Who are awesome. As Cathy Jo Nelson states in her article "RIF or VIP? Having a PLN Can Help," PLNs are not "limited to just social networks and 2.0 tools." Sometimes I think we forget that.

Kind of how our kids forget that sometimes opening a book will get them a vetted answer to their question much more quickly than a Google search.

That being said, I do love how social networks make the world a smaller place. Recently, the sister of a high school friend tagged me and a bunch of other readers/librarians/teachers in a Facebook post. One of those others was someone I follow on Twitter (Alyson Beecher)! Turns out they went to college together. Amazing. And interacting with authors always gives me a thrill ... I almost fainted when Donelyn Miller, the Book Whisperer, retweeted something of mine last year.

So ... I am off to check out the latest #tlchat posts on Twitter.

And ... I am back.

Here are some of the people I follow who just in the last couple of days posted relevant, helpful information. I suggest you follow them too if you don't already. They'll pretty much keep you up-to-date on the profession.


And you should also check out some of my grad school friends and colleagues:

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This work by Meredith C. Moore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.