Mock Newbery Club Returns

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:

  1. Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin
  2. Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
  3. I Love You Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
  4. Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
  5. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
  6. 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!

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Summer Reading Challenge Ends

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!

Welcome 2017-2018

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.

Guest Readers during TJ Connor Reads

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!

Summer Reading Challenge

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!

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Robot Petting Zoo

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!

Student Organized Book Clubs

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.