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!
The third grade students wrapped up their coding unit by putting on a petting zoo. The students had been learning about the Dash robot using the Blockly app. After learning some basics of coding from that, students researched the behavior of an animal of their choice and programmed Dash to behave like the animal. Students also created costumes for their robots. The excitement was palpable as each pair of students shared their work. Some programs had bugs and others worked perfectly. This was a great opportunity for students to work on problem solving, critical thinking and have fun! A great job by all our third graders!
A few weeks ago two fourth graders, Emma and Anna, approached me about starting a scary book club. We created a flyer together. Then they talked to both fourth grade classes to invite them to joint the club if interested.
Then two days after the scary book club got organized two more fourth graders, Christopher and Dillon, approached me about a fantasy reading club. And so the fourth grade book clubs were born. I had two different groups of excited students in the library today during recess talking about the books they are reading in their favorite genre, looking at the shelves to find new book, and making lists for future reading. The enthusiasm of these kids reminds me of why I am a school librarian. 🙂
The students will continue to meet periodically from March to May to share their favorite books and find new ones to read. I am so impressed with the initiative of these students to organize these clubs.
The third and fourth graders that are participating in the book budget crew met with Linda Startup from Perma-Bound last Thursday and with Jim Hopper from Gumdrop books on last Tuesday. Linda brought in a selection of books for students to look at. She also made two lists in my Perma-Bound account based on the topics we shared with her. Students perused the books and catalogs, making lists and circling titles in the catalogs. Some even used the laptops to go online to search for specific topics to add to the list started by Linda. One student commented to Linda that she wants all of the books for herself, but she needs to think about the other students in the school, too! It is so enjoyable to see the students ensuring that all students are represented as they shop for books.
Jim Hopper from Gumdrop Books also shared a wide selection of books for the students. The students had a lot of fun looking at all the books laid out on tables. Students looked at sample books to get an idea of what the series is like. Then they put check marks next to titles in the series they thought would be a good addition to the library. Some of the books have an online interactive website with the book, and students enjoyed checking out these additional resources.
We are excited to finalize our order and cannot wait until the book comes in!
The fifth grade Mock Newbery Club has wrapped up their third year. Readers from Hill Elementary in Brockport and Terry Taylor Elementary in Spencerport joined our school in reading five books published in 2016. See the previous blog post HERE Students have spent the past two months reading the five books, sharing their thoughts online using Edmodo, and finally this past week voting on which book they think is the best. We gathered together to reveal and celebrate our winner. We also shared with students which book the American Library Association chose as the winner.
Our students chose Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart as our Mock Newbery winner. This book received 22 of the 57 votes. The runner up is The Wild Robot by Peter Brown which earned 12 votes. Students were very excited to find out which book won and to visit with the students from the other two schools.
I am eager to start reading this year’s published books to find the next selections for our Mock Newbery next year. I have already shared with Cathy Mangan and Linda Paul, the other two librarians working with me, the first title I think we should consider: The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli. Happy Reading!