This week my kindergarten and first graders had a lot of fun creating traps for Santa. We started by reading How To Catch a Santa by Jean Reagan last week (a personal favorite because the story has such great voice!). Students talked about what they would ask, tell, and give Santa just like in the book. Then this week students got busy making their own creations.
Students had some choices:
- work with a partner or alone
- what supplies to use (among those provided)
- What the trap would look like
Some things students did not have choice on. All students were given the same set of supplies- mostly donated recyclable items and leftover craft supplies. A quick trip to the dollar store yielded the cute Santa paper cups and more chenille stems.
- 1 tube
- 1 paper cup
- 1 egg carton
- 18 inches of aluminum foil
- 1 yard of curling ribbon
- 3 sheets of construction paper
- 5 pipe chenille stems
- 3 yards of masking tape
Students could trade me for additional supplies needed. A frequent request was more masking tape. Some would give up a chenille stem, others a curling ribbon for more tape. Students were also given only 15 minutes and most students finished before that time.
Then came the sharing, and that was the most enjoyable part for me. Listening to these young children talk about how they would catch Santa was so fun. Many ideas involved catching Santa’s hand or foot in a trap that includes a pipe cleaner. And, of course, cookies figured into a lot of traps!
Students learned how to barter or trade when they wanted additional supplies. They collaborated with others while sharing supplies. They created their own idea and had a great time. Students were so proud of their Santa traps.
This holiday season I thought I would try something new to generate excitement about reading. I chose 50 new library books and wrapped them up and put barcodes on them. I also added two labels to help students remember to save the unwrapping for home and to return the book. I put them in boxes identified for grades kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade. Then, at the beginning of each class I explained the box of books to students.
- Students may choose to take a wrapped book as one of their checkout items
- The student has to wait until they get home to unwrap the book (to add to the anticipation)
- The book must be returned after Christmas
The response has been overwhelming! I have already replenished the K-2 box after only two days. (We have had half days for the last few days for parent/teacher conferences so the older students have not been in for class). Students’ responses ranged from hoping they did not get a princess book (from a boy) to they can’t wait to get home to unwrap the book. My hope is that the wrapped book with start a conversation with the child’s parents about the joy of reading and the joy of gift giving (and receiving).
We just completed our first book fairs today. What an exciting time the students had previewing books and shopping all week long! We held two very successful family events as well. One was last Thursday evening, and the other was today to coincide with the PTA Science Fair. Our families, faculty and staff, and community purchased over 930 books from our book fair which translates into over 178,000 minutes that students will read. We are so grateful for our generous community that recognizes the value of books in the home and classroom. Thank you to everyone who supported our fair. Here are a few pictures from the week.
We have dogs from Therapy Dogs International (TDI) visiting our library again this year, and we are so excited! TDI has a reading program called Tail Waggin’ Tutors. The first visit with the dogs was on Thursday, September 28, and the second was just last Thursday. These dogs listen to some of our students read books to them. This program encourages student reading confidence, generates positive feelings about reading, and is just so awesome! Students visit dogs individually so they have one on one time with the dog and bring their own book that they are reading with them. The students are so excited about reading to the dogs and the dogs are excellent listeners. Students have been selected to read to dogs every fourth Thursday of the month. We look forward to more visits from our dog friends this year and thank the dog owners for volunteering their time to be with us.
Fifth grade students at TJ Connor are participating in our 4th Mock Newbery Club. Students were invited to join the club early in October, and I am so pleased that 30 students have decided to join! We are working with three other schools this year: Hill Elementary in Brockport, Terry Taylor in Spencerport, and we welcome Village Elementary in Hilton this year. The other three librarians and I have been working since early this year choosing the books we think have Newbery criteria.
The books we chose for this year are Undefeated:
- Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin
- Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
- I Love You Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
- Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
- Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
- First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez
Students will read the six books from now until the end of January. They will discuss their thoughts on the book with the other three schools using Schoology, an online course management tool and vote on which book they thought was best in early February. We will have a celebration where all the students will be able to come together to find out which book they chose as well as which book the ALA Newbery Committee chose. It is a very exciting time for all of us. Stay tuned as we read the books and check back for the winners!
As the summer draws to a close, so does our Summer Reading Challenge. As mentioned in an earlier post about Summer Reading our students were challenged to read 200,000 minutes this summer. We read 179,969 minutes! While we did not meet our goal, and Mrs. Wright, our principal, did not have to dye her hair rainbow colors, we still have reasons to celebrate. Our students read a lot this summer!
We also had 35 students read over 1,500 minutes each, which earned them a special celebration. Today we recognized those 1500 minute readers with their parents. We gathered together to celebrate their achievement and have cake! Each student also received a special certificate recognizing their minutes read. Perhaps most exciting of all: these 1500 minute readers received a certificate for a free book from our upcoming book fair in November. I can’t think of a better way to congratulate our readers than get more books into their hands! Look at these smiling readers!
Another new school year is underway and it is going to be a great one! Seeing students return (and new faces joining us) is so exciting. After five days of welcoming all my classes, I am now eager to start digging into the year. Students have all found new books to read (including choosing from 142 new titles added this summer). Many were eager to get their hands on our playaways (which were all checked out by day 4!). Students asked when we will have our book fair and other students wanted to know if we would work with the Dash Robots this year. It is fun to see students excited about library.
We have great lessons for the year, including getting our students more independent about finding books by using our Destiny Catalog. We will also be working with Dash for grades K-3. Fourth and fifth grade will be doing some blogging, and everyone will learn about our amazing selection of databases. Below are just a few pictures from the first days. I need to get better about taking pictures in the library this year. It will be a goal to work toward.