- Encourage students to use biodegradable, vegetarian or vegan food products (something that grows)
- Ask students to create displays on biodegradable plates or platters so the whole thing can be thrown away (you can’t imagine having to scrap it off in the compost and then wash those glass platters, yuck!)
- If you are making it a competition, have the school vote on their favorite
- Set up a long table outside of your library, cover it with a tablecloth, and encourage classes (and parents) to come check out the work
- Do this in the colder months so it doesn’t get smelly so fast
- Do this as part of an all-school celebration or library-themed week (Homecoming, School Library Month, ect)
- Have creations be depictions of favorite books
My fourth grade students do a huge Westward Expansion and Lewis and Clark unit with their general studies teacher. In an effort to support what is happening in the classroom, I created this bulletin board:
Do you remember studying the layers of the earth when you were in elementary school? Yep, me neither. If I had made a clay model of the earth that was later cut open to expose the layers, that might be a different story…
This project came about after talking to the third grade classroom teacher and the art teacher, we all worked together to incorporate our areas of expertise into one cool experience for our kiddos. The students have been learning about the earth for a few weeks now so the kids have a great deal of background knowledge.
Before this project even began, I bought (lots) of Crayola Model Magic, this stuff is great to work with, dries over time and comes in lots of fun colors. I bought six colors, one for each of the layers of the earth the students were asked to represent:
I then divided the clay into individual bags, one for each student. I also included handouts for all of the tables and made my sample earth model:
I am a huge fan of cross-curricular collaborations to make learning more meaningful. My second graders are reading The One and Only Ivan in class so I recently constructed a bulletin board to feature the book and share with the community what is happening in one of the classrooms. Check out the bulletin board post here. Needless to say, the bulletin board worked. Everyone loved it, faculty, students and visitors asked second graders about the book and were encouraged to read it themselves.
When I found out the second grade kiddos were studying character and setting, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for another collaborative project. I contacted our amazing art teacher and she showed me a 3-D diorama that her daughter created for a book and we knew it was perfect for this project. I created my example using a different book so the students could be free to create without a per-conceived piece of art in their mind:
I wish I could figure out the official name of this process, I know there are other educators out there doing this and I would love to give them credit. If you have seen this process done before, or if you’re doing it yourself, please contact me in the comments section.
The students received three pieces of thick card stock, each piece is slightly smaller than the one behind it. For example, the back piece of paper is 8.5″ x 11″, the middle sheet is 8.5″ x 10″ and the front sheet is 8.5″ x 9.” This makes it so the final product curves inward and makes the diorama stand up on its own.
- The back page (the largest piece) is to show the setting. Where did Ivan live? What did his cage look like? What was on the walls?
- The middle page (the medium-sized piece) is to show the character(s). What did Ivan look like? How large was Ivan compared to his cage? Were there other important characters in the story?
- The front page (the smallest piece, already cut into a frame) is to tell others what book you’re sharing. What is the title of the book? Who is the author? Who created this diorama?
After passing my very last math exam needed for licensing (yaaaaay!) today, I am now thinking I better get started on planning for the year. Now, one might ask why I feel the need to do curriculum planning at 11:30 at night on the 23 of July? Ummm, well… Your guess is as good as mine. Like I said to a teacher friend the other day, “And to think, people say we have summers ‘off.’ Ha!”
In my late night crazy brain, I have decided to organize my primary lessons a little differently this year. Last year I tried to plan my lessons thematically, based on what was happening in the school, as a whole, and what was being taught in the classroom. While I still plan to continue on that path, I would also like to attempt to incorporate regular author studies into my kindergarten, first and second grade library lessons. There are various authors and illustrators that I think all young readers should be exposed to and I thought this would be a great opportunity to create that exposure. But, therein lies my conundrum… There are too, too, too many to choose from.
This is only after one session of brainstorming:
Ezra Jack Keats
Audrey & Don Wood
Margaret Wise Brown
Jan & Stan Berenstain
Chris Van Allsburg
Vera B. Williams
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Mary Pope Osborne
Sigh. Too many books, too little time.
And just because they’re too wonderful not to share:
This week some of my older kiddos made Mother’s Day gifts during library and they are enough to just melt your heart!! I discovered the idea through Pinterest (where else?) where Sandy and her second graders made beautiful “I Love You Because…” cards with their iPads. By the way, if you haven’t discovered Soaring Through Second Grade, it’s a must, must, must!
I am absolutely loving library centers in kindergarten and first grade, the kids are so engaged! I have been scouring Pinterest for new center ideas and I recently came across MaryLea’s Rainbow Rice Eye Spy Bottles on Pink and Green Mama. Not only are they so much fun, they’re also crazy easy to make. I’ve been meaning to make colored rice for a long time, but I have always put it off because I thought it was super labor-intensive… Not with MaryLea’s recipe! It was so easy that I almost couldn’t believe it!
I was so inspired by the rockstars of The Centered School Library (Cari at Library Learners, Caroline at Risking Failure and Jessica at Mrs. Lodge’s Library) that I have been working hard to put a library center program into place with my first graders. My hope is to expand the program to multiple grades, but for now, this is a good starting point.
Tonight I used my new laminating machine (which I’m in love with!!) to make rotation charts. I am obsessed with Velcro and this was just another excuse to pull out my endless roll (if you’re like me, check out iTapeStore for your Velcro needs. They sell it for a reasonable price and you can buy the hook and loop sides separately, good for all those felt board projects).
Following our Eric Carle author study lesson (check out the Feeling a Little Hermit Crabby, Part 1 post), our brilliant art teacher, Mrs. London took over our beautiful hermit crab shells. We were very involved in one another’s lessons throughout this unit and we were thrilled to be collaborating on such a fun project. It was so exciting to be able to tie one topic into the general classroom, the library and the art room. The kids were so engaged throughout the entire process.