South Carolina Association of School Librarians Conference 2018 Recap

  I’m still reflecting on everything I learned and experienced at this year’s South Carolina Association of School Librarians Conference, which featured wonderful speakers and fascinating authors and illustrators.  My thanks to the conference steering committee, our SCASL officers, and the local arrangements committee for a fantastic conference!

Hearing Matt de la Pena read his Caldecott award-winning book LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET and talk about engaging reluctant readers was a highlight of the conference for me!

Later on I’ll be sharing more details about what I learned, and some of the new ideas I’m implementing in my library, but for now I’ll just post a copy of the report I created for my principal.  I wanted to give her a quick overview of the sessions I attended and my top take-away’s from each, so I created a google slideshow for my recap.

If you have published notes or a reflection on the SCASL 18 conference somewhere online, please share a link in the comments or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune.  You can also search twitter for #scasl18 to see what attendees have been tweeting about!


Shopping at The Monstore on Read Across America Day

One of the best activities we did on Read Across America Day was our Book Switcheroo!  Each teacher selected a book to read aloud to a small group of students and prepared a follow up activity for them.  Students were sent a google form with pictures of all the book covers so they could choose the one they wanted to hear, and during the last hour of the day they switched to the classroom where that book was being read.  Teachers weren’t limited to only reading Dr. Seuss books, although many of them did.

  I chose the book The Monstore by Tara Lazar.  I thought it had a bit of a Dr. Seuss feel to it, since he was known for his imaginary creatures, it works with multiple ages, and I had a great idea for a follow-up activity that I knew the students would enjoy.  After all, who can resist designing and creating their own monster!

As the kids came into the library, they were each given three tickets to save for later.  Before sharing the book with them I asked who had younger brothers or sisters (most did) and we discussed how pesky they can be.  After the story – which they thoroughly enjoyed – the kids all sat down at a table while I explained that I had a Monstore set up for them to visit.  At my Monstore they could use one ticket for a piece of colored card stock, and with the remaining two tickets they could purchase “monster parts” for an original creation.

Choices included googly eyes, pipe cleaners, yarn, glitter, fancy-edged scissors, etc.  Each table was also given a caddy with regular scissors, markers, and glue.

As I expected, the students were wildly inventive with their monster ideas, and by limiting the number of add-on’s they could purchase we avoided copycat creations.  I realized afterwards that this would also be a great Makerspace or Learning Center activity for students.

Library bulletin board featuring our Monstore monsters. Click to enlarge.

If you’d like to use The Monstore in your library or classroom, visit the book’s official homepage for a free teacher’s guide, as well as additional ideas and links.  If you have other suggestions for sharing this book, please leave a comment!


Read Across America Student Bulletin Boards and Door Decorations

  Our school held a bulletin board or door decorating contest for all teachers and students in honor or Read Across America Day last Friday.  We were given 3 hours that morning to create and put up our best Dr. Seuss idea featuring student work.

I shared the book Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss with my morning classes, and we discussed how books can take you to different places, time periods, or situations that you might not be able to experience in real life.  Then the students used construction paper, markers, and yarn to create a hot air balloon that included the name of a favorite book and a sentence explaining why.

Here are pictures of what some of the other classes did:



Please share your Dr. Seuss door and bulletin board ideas with me on Twitter @LibraryLoriJune


Flip Flop Book Swap for Read Across America Day

  We have lots of activities planned for Read Across America Day on March 2, but my personal favorite is the Flip Flop Book Swap I’m hosting in the library!  Students are bringing books from home that they no longer read so they can swap them for books that other kids are bring in.  Students must have their parents permission of course, and their books should be in good condition.  Students receive one ticket for each book they bring in, and on Friday they can trade their tickets for books.  We also have some extra books that have been donated to the swap so that everyone has a good selection from which to choose.

Updated to add a photo and some statistics:

Students traded 95 books during our Seuss Swap! We also had an additional 15 books donated to the swap to provide more choice for students.

Has your school ever done a book swap?  Please leave a comment and share your experience!


Paws for Books – Another Successful Book Fair!

I just want to give a grateful shout out to my book fair parent volunteers in appreciation for their hard work and their willingness to help get books into the hands of our students!  I couldn’t have had a successful book fair without them.

Thanks also to the parents who support our library with their purchases!  Through this fundraiser I was able to add 62 of the most popular books in the book fair to our library collection!

And thanks to the kids who warm my heart with their excitement every time the book fair comes to our school.  I love to see their enthusiasm for the books and their pride in owning copies of their favorites.

Until next year…..


CS First Coding Club in the Library

  I received an email from Donors Choose offering an exciting incentive for sponsoring a Google CS First Coding Club in my  library: an opportunity to earn Donors Choose gift cards when students complete specific coding projects!

I’ve been providing coding experience for my students for many years, ever since I learned about Scratch at the S.C. EdTech conference in 2009.  Last year I attended training in my district and enrolled my library classes in one of their formal courses, and I sponsored the annual Hour of Code for all of my students.  This year our school is building on those experiences by offering additional mini courses in our computer lab (for all students) and in my library (for those who enjoy coding and want to pursue it more deeply).

  I like the approach CS First takes by providing a structured learning environment yet still allowing kids to have some creative control over their projects.  I’m especially excited about the Google Doodle activity, which has kids designing their own Google Logo, since that was one of the Genius Hour themes in my library a couple of years ago.

We’re kicking off our next learning adventure on Thursday, so watch for updates in a couple of weeks!  Are you using CS First in your school or library?  Leave a comment and tell us about it!


Regional Librarians Workshop 2018

  I was fortunate to be able to attend the South Carolina Regional Librarians Workshop this week, sponsored by the University of South Carolina, The S.C.Department of Education, and the S.C. Association of School Librarians.  The schedule featured a general session in the morning with information about our state’s Read to Succeed program, upcoming events for librarians, and most importantly our new library standards developed by the American Association of School Librarians.


  There were five librarians from my district in attendance, and we were all taking furious notes to bring back to our colleagues at our March librarians meeting.  Some of the things I found most interesting:

  • The S.C. Education Oversight Committee has partnered with to create the Palmetto Digital Literacy Program, paid for by the S.C. General Assembly, to assist students in improving basic computer skills
  • 40% of schools in S.C. have 1:1 learning programs
  • Lottery money provides $29,288,000.00 for S.C. schools
  • Because of the shortage of certified librarians in our state, Charleston has organized a cohort for those who are interested in pursuing their masters degree in Library and Information Science which includes tuition assistance and mentoring from librarians in their district.  (This is something we feel our district should pursue as well to accommodate the needs in our own schools.)

After lunch we received a tour of the Richland Two Institute of Innovation, which hosts advanced technology classes for high school students, public concerts in its stateWe also-of-the-art auditorium, and meeting spaces for community groups.  It also houses a public children’s library that is completely user-friendly, from the reconfigurable furniture to the well-lit makerspace area to the invitingly curvy bookshelves to the outdoor reading area.


Workshop attendees also had a choice of several break-out sessions, so we decided to divide and conquer so that we could get information from each presenter.  I’ll do another post after gathering info and links from my fellow librarians to share what we all learned and how we can use it to improve our services to students and teachers.

If you were at the Regional Workshop please leave a comment and tell us about your experience!