Saturday, October 8, 2011

I really need to work on my photo-taking and REMEMBERING to take photo skills. Especially at school I get pretty caught up in the kids and totally forget to snap pics!

So this year my campus has started an about once a month professional learning community planning period ... for the classroom teachers. Those of us that do not fit that traditional role are left to take care of the kids! While I have to say I would like to be able to plan with the teachers (and dealing with an entire grade level at once for two hours in our small library? A little crazy) I understand that hey ... we need to have something for the kids.

In September we did a bit of a station rotation. I had all of the fifth graders. Started with everyone watching the Bluebonnet (state reading award list) video. Kind of funny that one of the first years I've actually shown it is the year AFTER I appeared IN it. But hey. It killed 25 minutes in a relatively useful way. Made me laugh at how the kids actually paid attention to the silly web show format ... they do love their TV shows, don't they? The Scholastic Bookfair DVD kept freezing on my laptop so we didn't end up watching that one.

Then we split up into groups. I'd given the teachers color/animal coded bookmarks to give the kids before they dropped them off (oh, and PS they all brought books). Half of the kids (about 65) got blue bookmarks and started over on the everybody picture book area rug with silent reading time. They were pretty crowded and sadly I discovered their stamina was not super great. A sad byproduct of testing emphasis ... SSR time has been diminished or forgotten quite often. 35 minutes was hard for them. Some of that would have been the noise from the other end of the library and the crowded conditions. But some of it was just they couldn't sit and read for long. Bummer. Still thinking through how to help this one. They do read. We talk about books. Apparently they just don't read in long spurts.

Then the red bookmarks went to a game table where about 15 kids played Scrabble, Harry Potter Uno, or a Disney-themed Apples to Apples game.

Green bookmark kiddos flocked to a "strange facts" table with several copies of the Guinness Book of World Records, National Geographic for Kids, National Geographics Strange and Unusual Facts books, and a couple others I can't even really remember the titles of. Our kids love those weird fact books. I picked up a bunch more at our recent bookfair. They just loved looking at them ... I'd like to come up with some task cards. About 12-15 kids their as well.

Yellow bookmark holders sat at a table full of paper, pencils, and how-to-draw books. About 15 kids there.

Orange bookmarks went to the table for creating monster bookmarks from the corners of colored envelopes. Wow, that one was popular. That one got a bit crowded with about 18-20 kids.

They got to go to two of the "table" rotations and then we swapped. All the kids that had been trying to do SSR then looked at their blue bookmarks for different animals ... and that's how we assigned them to the table rotations. All of the kiddos that had been attempting 35-40 minutes of SSR then went to two table rotations. Library was a mess when it was done. But ... except for the struggles for many of them reading for that long in those conditions the kids really enjoyed it! Myself and the assistants helping me went home exhausted.

This month's is coming up soon. All of the specialists involved in entire grade level activities were a bit overwhelmed. They really wanted to find guest speakers but even that ... it's two hours. Fifth graders would be hard put to sit on a floor listening to someone for that long, let alone kindergartners so I'm not sure if we'll do the same sort of rotation or something different. I think at least in the library we could do something similar for grades three and four. May have to do some tweaking for the younger grades because I know they are still working on their stamina ... kindergarden's up to ten minutes. I need to find out who I have next!

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