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]

WP_20150417_14_01_27_Pro[1]

WP_20150414_14_07_50_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

Samanthagalku

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.

WP_20150504_07_36_23_Pro[1]

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)

WP_20150516_12_55_51_Pro[1]WP_20150516_12_45_45_Pro[1]

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!

Level up! Fighting the Zombie Librarian Apocalypse

In October, Maryland Association of School Librarians (MASL) held its annual conference.  As I always do, I left energized and full of new ideas to bring to my school library.  Although I am far from the level of school librarians like Matthew Winner and Jennifer LaGarde, I strive to be a mover and shaker in the field of school librarianship, and I continue to Level UP my library program.  I follow Jennifer LaGarde’s philosophy … I am NOT a Zombie Librarian – I am definitely fighting the Zombie Librarian Apocalypse in my school library media center!    Each year I challenge myself to submit a proposal to MASL, and again was chosen present this year.  You can see my Session 1 presentation on becoming a Common Sense Media certified educator here.

One of the exciting things I was asked by my administration to create was enrichment programs for our 2nd and 4th graders.  This fall I launched “Technology Rocks Information Literacy” to give my students more opportunities to do more in depth research and create projects using technology.  Students were invited based on their MAP-R scores,  and I have twelve 2nd graders and thirty-four 4th graders participating this session.    I meet with the 2nd graders twice a week for 30 minutes, and with each of the 4th grade groups once a week for 30 minutes.  I chose two MASL 2014-2015 Black-Eyed Susan books upon which to base the programs:    Lifetime cover final_0Lifetime by Lola Schaefer andlemoncellos-library-300h Escape from Mr.Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein.   I have asked the 2nd graders to research one of the animals in the book Lifetime, and create a Google presentation based on their research to be shared with their classmates and teachers.  After reading the book (and working through all the riddles within it), my 4th graders will be creating book trailers and a scavenger hunt for all the Flower Hill students.  We will be culminating our fall session with a Google Hangout session with the author (whom I was thrilled to meet in person at MASL conference after having emailed back and forth for some time)!Chris Grabenstein   MCPS launched Google Apps for Education this year, and rolled out Chromebooks to the 3rd and 5th graders; my goal is to prepare not only these 2nd and 4th grade students, but all of my students (and staff!), to the Google products and to build their computer navigation skills for the rigors of PARCC online testing.

In October, my PreKindergarten through 2nd grade students participated in Read for the Record (a partnership between Jumpstart and We Give Books), and we made good use of the activity guides for the book Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells.

Here at Flower Hill ES we also celebrated Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship Week , and continued conversations about staying safe on line.  CSM has created two great videos – one geared towards elementary students “Pause and Think Online” and another (with Flocabulary), for middle and high schoolers “Oversharing:  Think Before You Post”,

I  asked all my students and staff to sign the Digital Citizenship Pledge  and shared with them these THINK bookmarks  created by Technology Rocks seriously blogger Shannon Long.  Digital Citizenship Day Digital Citizenship Day2 It is amazing the engagement when you start talking about being safe online, posting on Facebook, Instagram, etc., and discussing the reasons for minimum ages on social media. Even the youngest of students emphatically shares their personal experiences with online games and social media!

Look for another post soon!  Happy November!