Ahoy, Matey! Pirate Day

I missed the boat (ahem, I mean, pirate ship) in September for International Talk Like a Pirate Day and after helping several students locate swashbuckling books in the library, I was inspired to have an impromptu Pirate Day with first grade. Saying they “loved it” would be the overstatement of the century.
How does one host an impromptu Pirate Day, you ask? Well, it’s simple…
 
First, gather together the following:
-Black, long-sleeved shirt
-Black pants or skirt
-Plain white t-shirt that has been “distressed” to look pirate-y
-Several red scraps of fabric to use as a belt (aka-sword holder) and headband
-An eye patch (what librarian DOESN’T have an eye patch?)
-Gold chains
-A menacing look
I also happened to have a pirate chest and gold coins in my office (oh, the things you can find in my office. Seriously).
The choices for pirate-themed books are endless (as are the options for fun accents when reading said books):
Pirates by John Matthews
Pirate: a DK Eyewitness Book by Richard Platt (I love to include non-fiction books for these thematic lessons. I pick small sections of text and the kiddos are always fascinated by what they learn)
Pirates Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
No Pirates Allowed Said Library Lou by Rhonda Gowler Greene and Brian Ajhar
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long and David Shannon
 
We finished up by creating these too-cute pirate decorations using paper plates, black construction paper scraps and red fabric. They were displayed in the hall and were a big hit.
Well, matey, might it be time for your own impromptu Pirate Day? Me thinks so!

Author Study Brainstorming

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
Mercer Mayer
Mo Willems
Lois Ehlert
Jan Thomas
Tedd Arnold
Frank Asch
Marc Brown
Don Freeman
Tomie dePaola
Helen Lester
Rosemary Wells
Maurice Sendak
Margaret Wise Brown
Jonathan London
Laura Numeroff
Cynthia Rylant
Eric Hill
Jan & Stan Berenstain
Jan Brett
Joanna Cole
Barbara Cooney

Leo Lionni
Arnold Lobel
James Marshall
Robert McCloskey
Dr. Seuss
Chris Van Allsburg
Vera B. Williams
Jane Yolen
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Jack Prelutsky
Jon Scieszka
William Steig
Sandra Boynton
Kevin Henkes
Beatrix Potter
Shel Silverstein
Alan Katz
Robert Munsch
E.B. White
Eric Carle
Mary Pope Osborne
Barbara Park
Steven Kellogg

Sigh. Too many books, too little time.

And just because they’re too wonderful not to share:

 
 

Blackout Poetry

Whoa! It’s been an insane month of loosing my mother-in-law, driving cross-country, signing a new contract for the coming school year and welcoming my husband home after being on the road for five weeks. Sigh. Needless to say, I have been neglecting this here blog. So, to get back into it, I thought I would post an overview of the coolest type of poetry I have ever seen!
 
Austin Kleon, the author of Newspaper Blackout (as well as a number of other awesome art-inspiring titles) is the guru of blackout poetry. His Newspaper Blackout site is pure awesomeness. He has the ability to make something surprisingly hard to do, look incredibly easy.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Under the Ocean Genre Bulletin Board

 I meant to put my Reader’s Reef board together a month ago, but then the Seahawks went and got into the Super Bowl (yaaaay!) and I put up a football bulletin board. This meant a change in my bulletin board schedule. Yep, that’s right, I schedule my bulletin boards in advance, sometimes as much as two months. It’s because of Pinterest, really. There are just too many amazing inspirations, I have to devise a plan to bring all of those pins to fruition.

My latest library bulletin board was inspired by Courtney and her stunning Teaching in Paradise blog. When I was looking for genre posters on TPT (and desperately wishing I could do graphic design), I came across this set from Ginger Snaps Treats (you can also find her on Teachers Notebook). I loved the poster set so much that I bought my own home laminator and now they are shiny and eternally beautiful.

I found a fun ocean-themed clip art set from MyClipArtStore on Etsy and the color scheme just popped! I made some coral using construction paper, tempera paint and a crumpled paper towel and voilĂ !

I only wish my camera could do it justice…
 

Another Reason I Love My Job

I was recently visiting the fifth grade class when I discovered a gem… The kids are currently participating in a book challenge, in which they are required to read a set number of books from various genres. I love this idea because it promotes free choice, while still encouraging students to read outside of their comfort zone (this is particularly great for those kids that “only like _______ books.” It helps them to discover books they would otherwise never pick up.

Well, our wonderful fifth grade general studies teacher has the kids record the books they’ve read in a journal, as well as reflections to those titles. Well, let me tell you how ecstatic I was when I stumbled across the following:

And he just keeps reading!!! And asking for more suggestions. He is also open to a wide variety of suggestions. When I first met this voracious reader, I had no idea he was such a bibliophile… What a pleasant surprise it was!!!
 

Who Knew… “Who Was” Works Magic

My 5th through 8th grade students are required to read across a range of genres throughout the year. One genre that always prompts a lot of heel-digging is biographies. Our biography section is… Well, let’s just call it a little “dusty.” It’s not a section that I’m proud of. In an effort to not only help the kids fulfill their requirement, but also get them interested in reading non-fiction, I ordered the complete Who Was series. These short, illustrated biographies are great for my middle grade readers. I found there are a ton of great biographies for children and a ton of great biographies for high schoolers, but the ones in between, fell through the cracks. This series is the perfect supplement.

Best of all, when I delivered them to the 5th grade classroom, they went WILD. Now that’s librarian magic.

Photo credit: Ideas by Jivey
 
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