Posts Tagged With: libraries

Powtoon Genre Intros

Several fifth grade classes at my school are doing mystery and science fiction genre studies this quarter. When asked to do book talks earlier this week for two of these classes I wanted to incorporate some sort of introduction to show some of the different types of books found in these two genres. PowToon came to mind as a tool to use. I’d used PowToon for a short clip for the library website before, but I wanted to see what else I could make.

Powtoon allows for the creation of short cartoon-style videos that can be exported to Youtube or embedded. There are a small number of different styles that can be selected. There are backgrounds, props, and characters. Music can be added to PowToon creations, which gave me the opportunity to try out Soundzabound as well (In Wisconsin, Soundzabound is part of Badgerlink).

The free version of Powtoon allows for 20 videos to be exported to Youtube. Eventually free videos will be limited to 45 seconds, but right now there is not a limit.

Click on the pictures below to see the genre intro movies.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

A New Library Adventure

Tomorrow is the first day with students at my new school. This year I will be the LMTC director at an intermediate school with just over 550 fifth and 6th graders. Fifth grade is run more like an elementary school, so I will see those classes for bimonthly library lessons. Sixth grade operates more like a middle school. I’m excited for all the great middle grade literature I’ll get to share and to try out different resources for the staff and students. This district started some integrated research projects between the library and the classroom a few years ago in fourth grade. Last year fifth grade started this process and it will be new to sixth grade this year. This will be a good challenge to work out with the classroom teachers and the technology integrator in my building.

August was a whirlwind getting started at my new building, moving, and family health issues. On a positive note, I was able to join in on the district Tech Academy. There were two sessions with Naomi Harms and I was able to get the skeleton of my library website created. New teacher training brought in a flood of information, but most importantly it brought in names to contact when needed. Orders have been followed up on and created. I cannot wait for the first batch of books to come, many of which I learned of through my Nerdy Book Club friends. I have trials for Trueflix and a demo of FreedomFlix out to staff. A rep from Mackin came in to talk about VIA and how it works.

One of the amazing things about new teacher training is that the district has the new staff at each building meet with their building librarian to go over the resources available at the library. What an amazing opportunity to share what’s available and build connections. I hope this trend continues next year.

I commissioned my friend Anna Landin to create a library mascot that I could use for my library’s website and wayfinding signs. I love how it turned out and now the little robot is scattered all over the space. She does excellent work and is pretty reasonable if you ever need artwork! Origami Yoda’s poster had to go up as well as the Lost Hero one. That made the library more homey for me. A theater type curtain was already up on a wall from a previous display. A little rearranging made that a great border for a buzzboard of upcoming books for the library.

I condensed the reference section so the audiobooks got a little more breathing room. That let me move the graphic novels and comics to a new spot where they will have plenty of room to grow. I’m looking forward to expanding our collection on that front! A long term goal is to slide the the rest of the nonfiction over to fill the gap where the graphic novels used to be. That should leave a few shelves to use either as a new book display or maybe a staff/student picks section.

Take a virtual tour of the library.

Here’s a smore page about the library and its purpose.

This is a PowToon video about check out at the library.

I’ll admit I’m nervous about tomorrow, but I’m looking ahead to Dot Day connections, learning, sharing books with students and more. When things get harried, I’ll have to take a page from Pete the Cat and remember “It’s all good.”

P.S. School has a spotlight display for different students each week. I was very excited to see Son of Poseidon on some of the spotlight shelves this week.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags:

2011-2012 Top Nonfiction Checkouts

These were the top Nonfiction books for the school year. My students are fond of books chock full of weird and interesting facts. They especially love those fact books when they are big and filled with outrageous pictures. Another thing they love are animal books.

14. Winter’s Tail

13. Weird But True 2

12. Weird But True

11. Scholastic Book of World Records 2011

10. Saving Animals from Hurricanes

9. Saving Audie a Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance

8. The World Almanac for Kids 2011

7. Spyology: The Complete Book of Spycraft

6. Ripley’s Believe it Or Not: Seeing is Believing

5. 1001 Wacky Things to Do

4. Cats vs. Dogs

3. Scholastic Book of World Records 2002 (Yes, that does say 2002).

2. Guiness World Records 2011

1. Ultimate Dinopedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

2011-2012 Top Picture Book Checkouts

These were our top checkouts this year at my school library. The fourth grade Battle of the Books titles played a big role here, but those picture books were also in Wisconsin’s Golden Archer Award that all of our grades helped vote on.

10. Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

9. Poor Puppy by Nick Bruel

8. Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin

7. Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems*

6. I Spy Spooky Night by Jean Marzollo

5. I Spy Mystery by Jean Marzollo

4. I Spy Gold Challenger by Jean Marzollo

3. Art and Max by David Wiesner*

2. Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny by Jan Thomas*

1. Your Favorite Seuss 13 Stories by Dr. Seuss

*a fourth grade battle of the books title

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

2011-2012 Top 15 Checkouts: Fiction

2011-2012 Top Checkouts


Fourth Grade Battle of the Books titles are denoted with a *

15. The Maze of Bones

14. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

13.  Swindle

12. Darth Paper Strikes Back

11.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever

10.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

9.  Mockingbird*

8.  The Popularity Papers

7.  Junie B., First Grader Jingle Bells, Batman Smells

6.  Heat*

5.  Turtle in Paradise*

4.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth

3.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

2.  Framed*

1.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s Journal

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

2011-2012 Top 10 Checkouts: Graphic Novels

2011-2012 Top 10 Checkouts

Graphic Novels

This year I moved the graphic novels to a place just for them. Previously, they were interspersed in the nonfiction, fiction and picture books. The graphic novels area was a popular section of the library and it really seemed to boost their circulation–at least for most of them. I need to think of a better way to promote the TOON Book titles and similar easy graphic novels.

I couldn’t limit myself just to ten this year. There were three titles/series that really took off this year that I wanted to mention as most of them were new to my school.

Honorable Mentions:  Stone Rabbit, Zita the Space Girl and Dragonbreath.

10.Babymouse Monster Mash

9. Super Diaper Baby 2 The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers

8. Squish Brave New Pond

7. Meanwhile

6. Smile

5. Sidekicks

4. Bake Sale

3. Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco

2. Flying Beaver Brothers and the Fishy Business

1. Squish, Super Amoeba

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

March Book Madness Begins!

Click the image above to play the GoAnimate announcement.

On Thursday we kicked off March Reading Madness at my school, but preparations started Monday morning. Each classroom received a reading mascot for the month. Brown Bear went down to kindergarten, Clifford to first grade, Pete the Cat to second grade, Fox in Socks to third grade, Mrs. Frizzle to fourth grade, and the Grouchy Ladybug to Montessori to name a few.

Our library mascot, kindly drawn by a friend, gained a Cat-in-the-Hat style hat for the month. He now appears throughout the hallway and our front door with posters advertising a handful of our events this month. With the aide of dry-erase crayons and window markers, truffula trees started going up. (Window markers are such fun. For the first time I can understand the urges of graffiti artists…).

Posters and paper trees have gone up in the school. Little announcements with a pseudo-Seuss rhyme for the start of the month went out as well. Kindergarteners tell me new titles for Pigeon books at lunch.

Making clips for the morning announcement wiki at school has been fun. Besides encouraging me to finally use GoAnimate as seen at the start of this post, I also used Blabberize for the first time.

With the start of March came the start of March reading list poster for the month. I hope I can fill the paper up! This is in the 3rd/4th grade hallway. One title that will go on the list is Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs as I am rereading the book with a group of 8 students.

On Monday, we are starting to collect books for our book exchange on March 13. We are also starting our school wide reading graph for the month. It’s going to be made out of colored feet in tribute to Dr. Seuss’s the Foot Book.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

March is a Great Month for Books

Books are great all year round no matter the season or the weather. No one month owns books. March, however, is one of my favorite times to celebrate books. That’s all thanks to my professor for one of my core literacy instruction classes and middle school instructional strategies when I was an undergraduate. He was the first one who ever mentioned Read Across America to me. He took a number of us down to the Milwaukee middle school where he had taught until the previous school year to do some readers’ theater. One of the things read was the riddle game from the Hobbit when Bilbo first meets Gollum and encounters The Ring. Guess who got to read Gollum? It was fantastic fun though eighth graders do eye you a bit oddly for hissing out ‘My Precious’. (I’m not one to equate standing in front of large groups of people with fantastic fun).

I ran into Read Across America again at my first school where I worked in several first grade classrooms. Read Across America was creating word families on Cat-in-the-Hat Hats. It was lists of the kids’ favorite books posted all around the school. It was teachers switching rooms at the start of the morning to be guest readers. It was opening the walls between two of the first grade rooms and running Seuss themed literacy centers. It was the first graders making the principal read with my stuffed Lorax next to him because The Lorax was his favorite Seuss book. It was also creating different wockets with a class. I made a quick sample for them and my ‘hocket’ is still up on a wall. It’s a hockey playing wocket.

Last year I had classes sign up to come up to the library to be read to for Read Across America. I loved getting to see other grade levels as I predominantly work with third and fourth grade. It was also a fun time to share some of my favorite newer books. This year we’re going to do things a little bit differently. We are expanding our reading celebrations throughout the month.

On March 2, I will be one of three guest readers available to read to different classrooms throughout the day. I’m planning on reading from the Bippolo Seed. On March 5 we will be starting a school wide graph of feet (in honor of the Foot Book) for the books that we read throughout the month. They’ll start going up by the office and I’m hoping they’ll get to wrap around the school by the time we are done.

For my monthly newsletter to the elementary staff I looked for some great resources about Dr. Seuss for Read Across America. Here are some of them:

Seussville – Home to video clips about the books, author information, games, activities and more. The biography includes an interactive timeline. There is a teacher’s section too. (Subscription. In WI, your public library provides this for you if you have a library card)

Read Across America – You can see the cast of the Lorax rhyming about reading.

Read Across America resources from Apple4theteacher

The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot

Scholastic Read Across America article and resources –

BrainPOP Jr – (Subscription site) Celebrate authors Jon Scieszka and Cynthia Ryland with their BrainPOP Jr. movies as well

What are some of your favorite Dr. Suess/Read Across America Resources?

Read Across America isn’t the only reason March is a great month for books. There’s also World Read Aloud Day.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

The Ballots Are In: Golden Archer Results

The Golden Archer Awards are student choice book awards in Wisconsin. There are three divisions for the award and my school submitted its votes today for the Primary and Intermediate levels of the award. This was my first time participating. Here are our winners and runners up from my school:

Golden Archer Primary

Winner: Here Comes The Big, Mean Dust Bunny by Jan Thomas







Runner Up: Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems







Golden Archer Intermediate

Winner: Framed by Gordon Korman








Runner Up:   Last Olympian by Rick Riordan









I’m looking forward to the end of March when we’ll find out the Golden Archer winners at the state level.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Digital Learning Fair

Tomorrow is the inaugural Digital Learning Day and over 1.7 million students are participating across the United States. My school is celebrating by hosting a Digital Learning Fair all day in the library and computer lab. Students, teachers, distract staff and parents are all invited to attend the fair tomorrow to explore the projects we’ve created and test out the different devices we have available at school. 12 stations were created to provide our fair guests with plenty of options to choose from. Our youngest classes will have the opportunity to visit three different stations during their time at the fair.

I meet with small technology enrichment groups throughout the week. I started the year assessing the incoming technology skills of third and fourth grade students. Since then, fourteen different fourth grade students have participated in two different enrichment projects, one using Flip cameras to create Animoto tours of our school and one creating future episodes of Inanimate Alice using Power Point. Students wrote their stories and then copied them onto slides, keeping pacing in mind. They then were able to add in pictures using this Creative Commons Flickr search. One student was able to work on adding music from Soundzabound, which we have a subscription to through Badgerlink.

How will the skills from these projects be demonstrated at our digital learning fair? Two fourth grade students will be running a station coaching students on how to film with our Flip cameras while two other students will be demonstrating how to add and work with layers on Power Point.

Third grade enrichment projects have included creating original stories based on Chris Van Allsburg’s Mysteries of Harris Burdick. Participating students had the option to hand write their stories or compose directly in Word. Once students had a working draft of their stories we began working on creating e-books with Little Bird Tales. Students drew their pictures, typed their story and added narration to these stories. A more recent addition to our choices of available activities during third grade enrichment is Voki, which we have used to create book advertisements, summaries and student announcements. Some of our Voki creations have been used on our new school announcement wiki.

Two third graders will be running a Voki station while two other third grade students will be leading a digital voice recorder station. We used these recorders for a third grade library project during Picture Book Month. We used the devices to record our blurbs about different books made by Wisconsin Picture Book creators.

I am thankful and impressed with all the work that has gone into creating my school’s Digital Learning Fair. Classroom teachers and special area teachers have created a variety of tools, posters, schedules and more for the event. Our staff committee met multiple times throughout the month and our student helpers came in to learn about the fair and practice their presentations for one another as well as for the principal and me. One third class learned how to use Glogster to create their final planet projects in order to be able to present at the fair.

My second grade and Montessori enrichment group started back in the fall. This group has created a variety of Little Bird Tales projects for me. Our first project was to take the book Gingerbread Man Loose in the School and create the Gingerbread Cougar Loose in the School instead. We also created animal fact books using the same site. Another project we enjoyed was creating animals for the site Night Zookeeper. Night Zookeeper is a site from the UK that features a multi-chapter story about the Night Zookeeper at a most unusual zoo. We enjoyed listening to the narrated chapters on our first day with the project. We then created facts about our animals, stories about what happened when the Night Zookeeper tried feeding these animals and artwork. All our projects were brought together in a zoo map for us to explore. The Night Zookeeper staff helped us troubleshoot some problems we encountered while working on our project. I recommend this site for an integrated writing and arts project.

Three students will be sharing our Night Zookeeper creations while Two students will be sharing Little Bird Tales stories with interested groups. Two of the students involved in our Gingerbread Cougar Loose in the School books will also be helping to teach the use of digital cameras. Two Montessori students will also be demonstrating a collaborative storytelling app called Storywheel.

This afternoon we transformed the library into our digital learning space. We moved furniture to make sure there is plenty of room for our stations to run smoothly. Posters were hung, signs posted and student helper name tags created. Now all that’s needed is to turn on the technology, login to our sites and wait for our classes to arrive. I’m super excited to hear the conversations tomorrow and see peer teaching in action. I’m also looking forward to sharing how the digital learning fair turns out.

Thinking of running a Digital Learning Day in the future? A variety of resources and toolkits are available from the official Digital Learning Day site. I also found the Digital Learning Day page on the Wisconsin DPI site helpful in seeing how people around my state were celebrating this day. More about my school’s digital learning fair can be found at WI Digital Learning.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: