Our fourth Mock Newbery has come to a close. The students, read all six books, discussed them online using Schoology, and voted. We gathered together today for the grand finale. Students met each other in person, shared snacks (including cake and Tang!) and learned which book they voted to win. And the winner is…. I Love You Michael Collins with 19 votes. Hello Universe (the ALA Newbery award winner) garnered 17 votes. It was a very close race until the final vote was tallied.
The students enjoyed everything about the Mock Newbery. Well almost everything. Some students had strong feelings against a few books. And that is what the Mock Newbery is all about- reading books you might not have chosen on your own. Some students found new genres to read. Other students found new friends at the celebration. All students had a great time throughout. We are already thinking and planning how to continue the inspiration for reading this year and which books we might consider for next year.
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).
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.
We had two special days last week at TJ Connor Elementary. Last Wednesday, we had retired teachers from our school visit classes and read stories to the students. We chose to have only retired teachers this year rather than all community members because of the book we are reading: The Contract by Derek Jeter. Since Derek Jeter retired from baseball, we thought it fitting that this year we have only retired teachers visit and read. Each teacher who visited had a retired paper jersey hung in their honor that students signed. The guest readers then took the jerseys home. Everyone, teachers, students, and all other staff enjoyed seeing their old teachers/friends visit during the day.
The other special day we had was on Friday. We asked some of our high school students who play baseball or softball to come to our school to read to classes. While students knew ahead of time about the retired teachers, the guest student readers were a surprise. Winners were first chosen from our Get Caught Reading campaign. The classes with the most tickets were selected first for guest readers. Fortunately for us, all of the classes were able to have these extraordianry students visit. It was so much fun listening to the high schools students read to the students. Even better was hearing students asked questions about playing sports, being on a team, and what high school is like. It was a great week at TJ Connor! Stay tuned for more events during our TJ Conor Reads event!
We have begun our seventh Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge! This year’s theme is so exciting and perfect for those long hot summer days and nights: Happy Camper. Our goal is to be the top school in New York State. Last year our students read 172, 643 minutes; this year’s goal is 200,000 minutes. Students are asked to log their minutes online through Scholastic’s website. Students may choose to keep track of their reading minutes on a paper calendar for the summer instead. Reading over the summer helps students make the “Summer Leap”, keeping their reading skills strong and improving vocabulary, too!
To encourage our students to read at least 15-20 minutes each day and reach our school goal of 200,000 minutes, our principal, Margaret Wright, will temporarily dye her hair rainbow colors if we reach our goal. Our fifth grade student council came up with several ideas for our principal’s stunt, and Mrs. Wright chose to dye her hair. We are all excited!
Students can also reach a personal goal as added incentive to read this summer. Students who read 1,500 minutes this summer will be invited to a special celebration with their parents to honor those readers when we return to school in September. Happy Reading!