Students Read, Dogs Listen

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.




Student Book Budget Crew

For the second year, students at TJ Connor Elementary are helping choose books for the library.  Third and fourth grade students were invited to participate this year and many accepted the challenge.  We start by reviewing the survey we used last year and made some changes. Then we surveyed students in grades K-2.  The 3rd through 5th grades completed the survey online during the same week K-2 students were surveyed.  You can see our survey here.

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While we did not get every student in the school surveyed, we have a good representation of grade levels.  We now have survey results and when we return from holiday break, we will begin looking at the results to create lists of books to order.  We plan to meet with two vendors this year:  Gumdrop Books and PermaBound.  Take a look at our students in action and our survey results.

Here are the survey results in full color!  book-budget-crew-survey-results

We are excited to meet with our vendors in January and will post another post when we do.



Australian Animal Research

3rd grade reserach1The third graders are researching Australian animals and learning how to work with a partner.  Collaboration is an important skill for students to learn, but I sometimes wonder if eight-years-old is too early.  Some students work well together; others view the collaboration as a time to have fun rather than work.  This has been a learning tool for me as well.  Last year after taking a class on collaboration in the classroom, I worked on collaborative projects with second, third and fourth grades.  Students are collaborating in the same grades again this year.  Similar projects, different topics. What a difference a year can make!

I am glad to see that the students are engaged in their work.  They are excited about the animals they chose and are finding some exciting things to share. Our final product will a class book on the Australian animals researched with each pair of students creating a two-page spread. This year I added something new to the project. I used Blendspace, a great curation tool, to gather all the resources for students in one place. Here is a link to the resources the students are using:

I like to review the students’ research packets after each class to see what types of notes they are taking and to identify where I can support them.  This is where I am reminded that all students are different and what works to motivate one student might not work with another. Reviewing the packets is also a great way to conference with the students, albeit asynchronously! I don’t always get to visit each student during class, and reviewing their work keeps me informed. I will even write notes back to the students if corrections are needed, (hoping they read them!) and to say “Great job!” when things are going well.

We should be moving on to creating the class book in another week or two. We will use Bookemon to create the book online and then purchase a copy for our library. The students love reading last year’s books.

3rd grade research 2