Pocket Poems & Journeys

Every month there are celebrations both large and small in the Flower Hill media center. We celebrate learning, connecting, collaborating, creating – and reading!

April is not only School Library Month:

school library month

…but also National Poetry Month, and April 30th was Poem in Your Pocket Day.   poem in your pocket day

If you visited our school during the month of April you would have noticed our large bulletin board inviting all to pick a poem or two from the pockets, and share them with others.   Throughout the month (and into May) we have been exploring different types of poems – Haiku, List, and Book Spine Poetry, to name a few. Book spine poetry is a bit eclectic, and it’s created and read by stacking books so that the title of each book is one of the lines in the poem. Below are a few examples of book spine poetry that my fourth grade students created:WP_20150414_14_12_47_Pro[1]



We read Guyku (haiku poetry for boys) by Bob Raczka and Peter H. Reynolds and my 4th grade students created some fantastic Guyku and Galku (haiku for girls) –

Diego Guyku

Ryan Guyku


During the week of April 27th – May 1st, many of my classes connected with students in other states via Google Hangout. We collaborated together to create some wonderful list poems with our new friends in New York and South Carolina.  We read a few selections from Falling Down the Page –  A Book List Poems, edited by Georgia Heard. and then, using Google Docs in real time, we created poems together, alternating lines, and color coding the poem to help!  If you’d like to read some of them, please click here.                               

The month of May was filled with industrious students finishing book trailer videos, researching and creating online newsletters, learning about effort and persistence, taking care of the earth, and much, much more!

I will be preparing my 2015-16 library book order soon, and have asked all the students to give me input. I have several book catalogs available for them to peruse, and they can add their suggestions to the wish list.


The Black-Eyed Susan Book awardees were announced on Saturday, May 2nd. I attended the event, and knew my students would be thrilled to find that The Day the Crayons Quit (educator guide), and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (website) were this year’s KidLit winners!  All three have been very popular titles in our Flower Hill ES library, and rarely stay on the shelves – if they make it back on them at all!  WP_20150504_07_37_53_Pro[1]

On June 16th, I was thrilled to be a guest reader in the Story Time Tent at the 6th annual Gaithersburg Book Festival.  I read two great books by Patrick McDonnell – Wag! and The Monsters’ Monster. WP_20150516_10_38_52_Pro[1] Both have wonderful messages of friendship, kindness, and love, and both have downloadable activities from the publisher’s website.  I also volunteered in the Edgar Allan Poe Pavilion, and there was able to listen to many authors of adult literature.  At one point during the day when I wasn’t volunteering, I had the opportunity to listen to Michelle Knudsen and Matt Phelan discuss Marilyn’s Monster, a delightful book about a little girl who has been found by her monster yet, so she decides to go out and decides to go out in search for him herself, and the adventure that ensues.  (Michelle reads her book to us)

 (Matt gives writing tips)


Another book I like to finish my year out with is The North Star  by Peter H. Reynolds – a quiet book about a little boy who learns to follow his guiding star.  I love sharing this book with my 4th and 5th graders and getting them to think about their own strengths and following their own paths to greatness.

WP_20150512_19_29_41_Pro[1]Reading is my super power, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share my love of books and learning with my students.  I have spent many enjoyable hours this weekend listening to The Busy Librarian’s podcasts, and have been so thrilled to learn more about authors and illustrators (and everyone in between) and their amazing books and hope that I’ll be able to stretch my media center budget to include the purchase of all of the books I have heard about on the Let’s Get Busy Podcast.  If you haven’t discovered Matthew Winner’s fantastic website or podcast series, you need to do so quickly by clicking here!

Celebrating in the Library – November Edition

Happy holidays!  The winter months are full of many different holidays – Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Day, to name a few.  Did you know that December 4th was National Cookie Day?  Or that December 10th was Dewey Decimal System Day?   My students do!  We celebrate lots of things here in the library.

In November, we not only celebrated Veterans Day, a very important holiday in honor of our armed service members, but also Picture Book Month, World Kindness Day, International Games Day, and Thanksgiving.   Throughout the month, in addition to reading a variety of them in media lessons, all students were encouraged to check out both non-fiction and fiction picture books in honor of the celebration. Students also added their favorite picture book titles to my interactive bulletin board.picture book month If you would like to read more, please visit Picture Book Month.

International Games Day, sponsored by the American Library Association, celebrated its 7th year of gaming in libraries.  I registered for the event early, and was able to request donated games from a variety of the ALA partners — my students and I were thrilled to receive all of these games just in time for our gaming week celebration!

WP_20141111_002Flower Hill ES media center, along with over 2000 libraries around the world, enjoyed games of all sorts.   Playing games with others is not only enjoyable, but also helps builds community, strengthen critical thinking skills, and teaches sharing, collaboration, and good sportsmanship.  The picture below is of the interactive bulletin board I created, asking the students to sign their names under the pictures of the games they most like to play (Minecraft was the clear winner!)



During media time, we incorporated the playing of many games into our lessons – board games, building games, online games (click to visit my Brainteasers & Logic Games website) –  even simple Tic-Tac-Toe on a piece of recycled poster paper was a favorite!  Click for  and website, which includes lots of great information in support of gaming for education.


For World Kindness Day, I asked my students to do something kind for someone else … and left blank note cards for them to complete and deliver to friends, family, and staff members.  Hopefully, there were many recipients of one of these notes!  More information and resources about teaching kindness can be found in my Choose Kindness Scoop.it.

thankful bulletin boardLastly, in celebration of Thanksgiving, I asked staff and students to share what they are thankful for on my bulletin board. I created  Tagxedo word cloud poster with lots of words related to being thankful.   Many students were thankful for their friends, family, their teachers, and Minecraft!  Staff were thankful for their own families, their students, and for working here at Flower Hill Elementary School!

thanksgiving tagxedo

Our media center was the recipient of a $500.00 grant from the wonderful literacy organization FirstBook, and our students received a book for their home libraries in time for winter break.  FirstBook also donated approximately 150 books to our school library, including books from kid author favorites Mo Willems and Rick Riordan. WP_20141106_006 WP_20141106_14_39_39_Pro

Thank you FirstBook for your outstanding work to give all children – especially those in financial need – access to books! To support the organization,and to say thank you for supporting our students here at Flower Hill ES, my daughter and I participated in  FirstBook – Montgomery County Run to Read on November 8th. WP_20141108_002  For more information about FirstBook, please visit their website.

Thanks for reading, a watch for my next post very soon!