Love Your Library Month

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February was Love Your Library Month at our library. I know…it’s not February anymore and I admit I’m pretty late in posting anything about Valentine’s Day. Yet, we had such a great time, that I just had to share. I got all of my ideas from Pinterest

The Date with a book was almost too much of a success. I could hardly keep up with wrapping books for kids who wanted to try a book date! Each book  had a rating sheet inside that students could return and be eligible for a prize. The candy guessing jar was very popular. About 80% of our students made a guess. Their guesses made me smile as they  ranged from 1 to 1 million. I had small prizes for the top three students who came the closest to guessing how many candies were in the jar without going over. The students found it fun to mix math and reading in the library.

I’d like to give a big shout out to Jamie Camp,  librarian  (@connect2jamie) at Benfer Elementary School in Klein, Texas. We partnered again this year and our second grade students made bookmarks for each other.

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Here’s a Sway illustrating our activities.

The Dream Continues

Books to Africa: Year Three

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In  September 2012 when my students and I began our Books to Africa project,  their dream was to help other kids. They wanted to matter and make a difference by sharing books. They love to read and wanted to make sure that other kids had the chance to be readers just like them, no matter where they live in the world.

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That was the dream. We didn’t know exactly how things would work out, but we hoped they would. That’s where our partner schools came in. They made the magic happen in ways we couldn’t imagine.

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Who can believe that it’s been three years since we began our Books to Africa program? From the first Dream Team crew to now, each year the program has grown and evolved in different ways. We now have all the K-5 students participating, raising more money, sending more books and ultimately helping our partners in Ghana, Lesotho and South Africa! The first year our goal was to raise $1,000. The second year we totaled about $1800.  I am excited to announce that this year we have raised over…

$2,000

With this money, we will be able to send about 24 boxes of books overseas. I am so proud of the efforts of our students! I know there are some excited children waiting for the boxes to arrive too!

A couple years ago, I was listening to a book on tape and the speaker was talking about planting seeds, except she wasn’t referring to plants, but rather the seeds of ideas. She asked her audience, “What seeds did you plant today?” She explained that often we have no idea how the seeds we have planted have affected others. Her point reminded me of our literacy project and the reading seeds we have planted in different parts of the world.

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When our original team brainstormed the slogan: “Every Child Deserves a Book”  they believed that where you live shouldn’t determine what resources are available to you. Kids here are just like kids in other parts of the world. Books open up a world. They plant a garden of knowledge. They can change the educational course of a child’s life. Here is a video clip from Pula Madibogo Primary School in Sovenga, South Africa. The children wrote a song and recorded it for our students. It’s a great reminder that the actions we take do matter to other people, even when they live on the other side of the world.

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We have had numerous fundraisers since January including Friday Fun Night, Multicultural Night and Lollygrams. Many other people donated money for postage, including a very special group of my friends who don’t even have children at our school. A special shout out to my “Girls Club” friends for your belief that all children should not only have the right to read, but also have the materials they need.

 

A Must Read – The Honest Truth

 

coverOh wow! You know when you read a book and you get goosebumps because it’s so great? When you stay up WAY later than you should because you can’t put it down? The Honest Truth is that kind of book! It has star power. This book has that elusive it quality. From page one, I knew deep inside that this book was something truly special. 

I felt this way when I read The One and Only Ivan. I felt it again when I read Wonder and again when I read The Fault in Our Stars (YA novel). This book was a gift that came to me one ordinary afternoon. Judy brought it to me and said, “You have to read it Julie. Josa and I loved it. We think you will too.” So, I took it home and put it to the top of my book pile.

As soon as I had a chance I picked it up and started in. It was love on page one. Mark, the main character, lives in Wenatchee, Washington. He is 12 and has been fighting cancer for a large part of his life. When he finds out that his cancer is back which will most likely mean he will die, he makes the decision to take life into his own hands. He packs a backpack, gets his dog Beau, and runs away to Seattle. This begins a life or death journey for Mark to climb Mt. Rainier with his dog….alone. It’s a quest filled with danger and problems at every turn. I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely had to know what was going to happen to Mark and his dog Beau.

This book spoke to me and pulled me back into the book trailer creative mode. My husband and I even took a drive to Mt. Rainier to take some photos and footage of the mountain. Here is the trailer, made with iMovie.

 

Earlier today, I shared the trailer link with Dan, crossing my fingers that he would like it. I was pretty thrilled when I read that he does! Whew!

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If you love realistic middle grade novels with a heavy dose of action and adventure, then this is a good match for you. Pick it up at your local school/public library or at your favorite bookstore. Dan Gemeinhart, the author, is a teacher-librarian who lives in Wenatchee, Washington. This is his first novel. I sure hope it’s not his last!

 

Love Your Library Month

 

Who says February in Seattle is cold, rainy, and dreary. Not in our library!

We are celebrating Love Your Library Month with a little fun!

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Go on a Blind Date with a Book – Everyday I put out 5-8 Blind Date books for students to check out. Each book is wrapped and has hints on the outside. Inside, there is a rating sheet where students can read the book and then rate their reading date. They make comments on the cover and how they liked or didn’t like the book. Return rating sheets are eligible for a daily prize.

Candy Guessing Jar – How many candies are in the jar? Combine the library and math and you get a fun guessing contest. Each day I pull a random guess slip from the container and that student wins one of the daily prizes. The Big Prize goes to the student who has the closest guess, without going over. The prize winner will be announced on March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’ birthday!

Why I love My Library – We also have a comment sheet where students can share why they love our library. Again, students who participate may win one of the daily prizes.

Love Your Library Bookmarks – We partnered with Mrs. Camp, the librarian at Benfer Elementary School in Klein, Texas for this activity. Her second grade classes made our students bookmarks and we did the same. Now they are in the mail and traveling to their new homes. This is the second time we have partnered with Mrs. Camp’s classes. Last year we shared poems during Poetry Month. Check out the acrostic poems on their blog.

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Lollygrams - The Books to Africa club is also selling lollygrams next week. All proceeds will go to purchase postage to send books to our partner schools in Africa.

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If you are looking for ideas you can use in your library check out the dozens of ideas on Pinterest. Nearly every student who has come to the library to participate in one of our contests has also left with a book! It’s a win-win Reading Month!

 

Fundraising for Friends

Start the new year by helping our friends in Africa!

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January is the month when the Books to Africa club kicks into fundraising high gear. This is our 3rd year of raising funds to use for postage to send boxes of books to four schools in Ghana, Lesotho, and South Africa. Last year we earned $1665.00 and our goal is to raise $1700.00 this year.  Every penny…every dollar…we raise is important and will go to help some very needy children. There are four ways you can help!

 

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At the Multicultural Night we will be selling “stamps” at our Books to Africa booth. Every person who donates will have their name written on a stamp which will be displayed on our Books to Africa bulletin board near the library. We hope you will stop by our booth, see photos of the children we are helping and buy a stamp.

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We are also hosting a Friday Fun Night on January 30th from 7-9pm at NW Aerials. The cost is $15.00 per child and the proceeds from this fundraiser will also benefit the Books to Africa program. A purple flyer went home last week with the permission form. We had 60 children participate last year. Who knew jumping in a foam block pit could help raise money for reading?

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we will sell Lollygrams again! For $1.00 students and staff will get a 2″ swirl heart shaped lollypop and a Valentine’s card to be delivered to anyone they choose (at school). It’s a sweet way to support our program and help those in need.

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If you still want to help, but can’t make it to any events, you can always donate at school in our Books to Africa box in the library. Hopefully we will have enough money to send 20 boxes of books overseas. That will be about 1700 books we will be able to send.

If you would like to read more about the Books to Africa club, you are welcome to read older posts here, here, here, and here. The tab at the top of the page, also has a link to our older pages that has lots of information and photos.

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On behalf of our Books to Africa club and our friends in Africa, we thank you for your support! It takes a village to make a difference in a child’s life.

 

Every child deserves a book!

Showcasing Creativity

 

I’d like to end the 2014 school year on a super high note by showcasing three students who have been doing some incredibly creative activities at home. It’s one thing to learn how to use a tool. It’s another to take that skill and push the boundaries to make something new and different. These students show creativity, innovation and dedication to their craft.
Meet Kayla

Kayla began coding two weeks ago with the Hour of Code week. She worked through the ice-skating with Anna and Elsa activities on code.org  first.

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Next she figured out how to create these drawings. Talk about incredible! What impresses me about these pieces is the colorful patterning. They are works of art!

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Meet Kaito
Many of our students participated in the PTSA sponsored art contest this year. The theme was “The world would be a better place if….. ” Kaito decided the world would be a better place if we had a clean earth. Using his Legos, iPad and the Lego stop-motion movie making app, he wrote, set up and filmed this movie. He inspired other students at our school to try creating a stop motion movie too.  Here’s a Clean Earth:

Meet Logan
The last student I would like to feature is the Rubics Cube King. Logan can solve a Rubics cube in record time. Hand him one and before you can say, “How did you do that?” – he is finished and the puzzle is solved. I just found out that he helps other people solve these puzzles by making videos. Thanks Logan for making this understandable!

If you know someone at school that I need to feature because they are doing something on their own time that uses technology or literacy (books), please let me know in a comment! Absolutely NO LAST NAMES!
Happy Holidays! See you in 2015!

Poinsettia Zentangles

Have you ever tried to make a Zentangle?

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Yesterday at Makespace Monday, we created Pointsettia Zentangles. What is a Zentangle?

The Zentangle method, created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, is an easy-to-learn, relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.

Traditionally, zentangles are made on squares of paper, but because of the upcoming holidays, I thought it would be fun to Zentangle a pointsettia. I downloaded this free clip art pointsettia template and made copies for the Makerspace Monday.

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Every student got a paper and a black pen. With the younger students, I used pencils with no erasers so they couldn’t change what they made. From our art teacher, I learned the phrase, “There are no mistakes in art.”

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We had a full house at the K-2 lunch recess (30 minute) with forty students jammed in every part of the library. We had a large showing with the 3-5 intermediate students too. I showed the students a couple basic designs and let them create.

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The K-2 students finished in time to also color theirs. I think the flowers would be fabulous in watercolor, but in the library, I am limited to crayons.

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If you are looking for more information about Zentangle, I recommend the Zentangle website (www.zentangle.com) and the Zentangle Blog (www.zentangle.blogspot.com)

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Some good books include Joy of Zentangle by McNeill, Bartholomew and Browning, Zentangle Basics by McNeill, Zentangle for Kidz by Bartholomew and Totally Tangled by Bartholomew.

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Have fun Zentangling!

Celebrate Coding!

 

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This week is computer science education week and for the very first time, the Bulldog Readers are going to participate in the Hour of Code.

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What is Hour of Code? It’s an opportunity for you to try coding for yourself to realize that anyone can learn how to code!

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A lot of people think that coding is something that other people do. They think it’s too hard, but really it’s not. It’s all about problem-solving and logic – really important skills that you can use anywhere. So join in at home!  Go to Hour of Code and try the tutorials. You can also go to the Bulldog Reader Online Catalog and view the coding games there. Earn a certificate and joins the tens of millions of students around the globe who are part of the largest learning event in history!  Here is President Obama kicking off the 2014 event!

Please also remember that we are a finalist in the Best Library Blog category in the Edublog Awards. Voting closes December 15th. Click on this link and give us a thumbs up!

 

Edublog Award Finalist

We have some exciting news!
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The Bulldog Reader Blog is a finalist in the Best Library Blog category!

Voting is now open and we would love your vote!

How to Vote

You vote as follows:

1.  Go to the Awards Category you want to vote on using the links above.

2.  Click on the  Thumbs Up icon on the blog, website or person you want to vote for.

That’s it! If you aren’t already logged in to list.ly, you can do so using a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+ account. (Unfortunately you have to be 13+ to have an account, so students please encourage your family and relatives to vote.)

3. Vote by 11:59pm EST on Monday, December 15th. (Check
in your timezone here
.)

I have linked each picture to the Edublog Voting Category. Click on the picture and it will open a new window for voting. We also hope you will vote for some of our blogging buddies too! The links are below.

Best Library Blog

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Best Class Blog

yollis

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Best Student Blog

miriam

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Thank you for all your support!

Building the Epic Castle

It’s been an engineering creation zone in the library lately.

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3D Magna Tiles

The MagnaTiles are the most popular item in our Makespace area. Sometimes huge castles are built using every tile available.

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Today a group of students documented the process for building one of their MagnaTile castles, using the Lego MovieMaker app on the iPad.  I received the iPad last spring after one of my Donor’s Choose projects was funded. 

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This Lego app simplifies the process for making stop motion movies.  At recess all I had to do was open the app, hand over the iPad to the students and get out of the way.

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They quickly set up the photography station and worked together to build this castle. In about 20 minutes they had their castle built and movie created.

Here is the building of the “Epic Castle.”

Now I’m wondering what other kinds of stop motion movies will be made in the coming weeks!