FALLing Leaves Library Lesson Plan

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I always look forward to celebrating in my library with read-alouds that celebrate the colorful falling leaves of the season.  Here are some of my favorites:

Fletcher Falling Leaves Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson
It’s autumn, and Fletcher’s favorite tree is slowly changing colors and losing its leaves.  Fletcher is very worried.  He tells the tree he’ll help. But when the very last leaf falls to the ground, Fletcher feels as though he’s let down his friend, until the first day of winter when Fletcher receives a surprise.

Lucky Leaf Lucky Leaf by Kevin O’Malley
Our main character is thoroughly enjoying his video game until mom tells him to go outside and play. Fortunately he finds two of his friends who are in the same situation, and the three begin trying to catch the last leaf on a tree (the lucky leaf).  The twist at the end of this comic book-style book is how our hero uses his good luck

Read Leaf Yellow Leaf Red Leaf Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

Leaf Man Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’m drawn to books that feature collage illustrations, and Ehlert is a master of this art form.  In Red Leaf Yellow Leaf she introduces us to the life cycle of the tree, and in Leaf Man she takes us on a journey with the title character as she imagines where he might travel and what he might see, and she shows us all the flora and fauna that can be created using different combinations of leaves.

Leaf Man spread

Can you find all four mice in this illustration from LEAF MAN by Lois Ehlert? (Click to enlarge)

At the end of the book, Leaf Man settles down happily with a Leaf Woman, which always wins approval from my listeners.  After we examine Ehlert’s clever cut-paper illustrations, students draw (or trace) and cut out their own selection of leaves and use them to design an original leaf collage.  I show them a collage that I created as an example to get them started.

1-Leaf GirlIf you have access to iPads, you may want to incorporate the Labo Leaves app in your lesson as well.  It provides students with digital leaves that they can drag into position to create leaf animals that burst into life when completed.  What a great hands-on introduction to the possibilities of designing with leaves!  See for yourself:

You can purchase Labo Leaves for ios ($1.99) or android ($0.99) and once you download the app you can use it without an internet connection.  You can see other Labo apps here.

What are your favorite fall leaf read-alouds?  Please share in the comments or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune

 

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Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything!

I’m putting my 5th graders on notice this week that it’s time to start thinking about being prepared to move on to middle school next year, so they need to step up their game when it comes to library skills.  I want them to be able to walk into their new library next year and know how to use the OPAC, how to use call numbers and library signage to find what they’re looking for, how to choose appropriate sources for research assignments, and how to choose books for pleasure reading.

  Toni Buzzeo has written a great picture book on this very topic that makes a great read-aloud for older students.  Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything tells the story of Robert, the new kid in Mr. Dickinson’s class, Carmen, the disgruntled classmate assigned to accompany him to the library for the first time who warns Robert that their librarian is NOT helpful, and Mrs. Skorupski, who wants all of her patrons to become Library Success Stories.  She makes the most of every “teachable moment” to meet her students at their point of need and show them how to find the answers themselves, whether it’s selecting a useful online article, choosing a project idea, or locating snake books in the nonfiction section.

The ongoing feud between Robert and Carmen (who are assigned to the same research team) adds humor to the story, and things come full circle at the end of the book when Robert is asked to escort the next new student to the library.

After reading the story aloud, I introduce the students to Toni Buzzeo and the real Mrs. Skorupski.  Finally I have my students complete an exit slip so I can see whether they understand what it means to be a Library Success Story.  Isn’t that what we all want for our students?

Helpful Resources

Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything Exit Slip 

Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything Reader’s Theater Script

 

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Dot Day Resources for School Librarians

  International Dot Day is coming on September 15-ish, so I’m gearing up to celebrate all week with my library classes.  Here are some of the resources that I’ll be using:

  The Dot by Peter Reynolds

  Ish by Peter Reynolds

  DVD version of The Dot and Ish (also Includes the book Art by Patrick McDonnell)

  The Dot Gallery 

  The Dot Day Educator’s Handbook

  The Dot Song by Emily Arrow (video on YouTube)

What resources and activities are you using to celebrate Dot Day?  Please tell us in the comments or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune and share!

 

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Library Book Care with Mo Willems’ Pigeon

  Finding creative ways to teach library book care is always on my mind at this time of year, and what better way to grab students’ attention than to use a favorite book character?  If your students love Mo Willems’ Pigeon as much as mine do, this lesson will be a winner in your library!

I begin the class by sharing the book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems.  (Even though most students have heard the story before, they’ll enjoy hearing it again.)  Then we discuss why the bus driver doesn’t want the pigeon driving his bus, and whether or not the Pigeon is trustworthy.  (Spoiler alert: He’s not!!!)  Next we watch the YouTube video “Don’t Let the Pigeon Touch the Books” twice; once straight through, and then again with me pausing it after each “scene” so we can discuss what the Pigeon is doing wrong.  We conclude the lesson with each student sharing one thing he or she will or won’t do to take care of books this year.

This is the only book care lesson I’ve ever done that has had kids screaming “Again, again!” at the end of it – music to a librarian’s ears!  Take a look at “Don’t Let the Pigeon Touch the Books” and judge for yourself!

Helpful Resources:

 

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Celebrate Poetry Month with Online Magnetic Poetry for Kids

I try to offer a variety of poetry-writing activities in the library in honor of National Poetry Month in April.

Magnetic poetry is always fun, and it can be inexpensive too if you make your own set.  You can buy 9×13 cookie sheets at the Dollar Tree, and sets of adhesive magnetic squares or printable magnetic sheets for less than $10 online or at office supply stores.  Just print out the words you want to include, cut them apart, and (if using the magnetic squares) stick them to the magnets.  Better yet, allow your students to choose, type, and print the words and assemble the kit as a Makerspace activity!

You can also take advantage of some online magnetic poetry sites for kids.  One that I like is the Kids Magnetic Poetry Kit site.

Students can click and drag words from a kid-friendly word bank into their workspace, and then refresh the word bank to get more words without losing the words they’ve already selected.  They can also include type in a title and author name before saving and sharing.  I usually have my students copy their created poems onto their own paper so they can add any missing words since no word bank will have every word they want to use, and illustrate them if they choose to.

  ReadWriteThink provides an instruction sheet for a student-created magnetic poetry activity that focuses on the parts of speech as part of a larger unit on using magnetic poetry in the classroom.  They also offer a free Word Mover app for Apple and Android that not only provides a word bank but allows users to add their own words as well.

Do you use magnetic poetry with students?  Please share your helpful tips and favorite sites in the comments, or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune

Helpful Resources:

      

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Big Plans!

Have you got Big Plans for your students this year?

big-plans-by-bob-shea  I started the school year off sharing the book Big Plans by Bob Shea, illustrated by Lane Smith with my library classes.  It’s a perfect choice for many reasons, not the least of which is because there is so much for kids to notice in the illustrations!

bob-shea-and-lane-smith

Image courtesy of Publishers Weekly.

We begin (as I always do when sharing a picture book) by examining the end papers for clues to the story.  It won’t be until we read about the football game that some observant student will exclaim “It’s the end papers!” upon seeing the “crowd” background, and then the hunt is on for more callbacks to the opening double-page spread showing our protagonist sitting in time-out in his classroom.  (A brief glance at the chalkboard will reveal why!)  Showing no remorse at all, he seizes this opportunity to envision himself conquering the worlds of business, sports, politics, and space travel on his way to world domination.

Layout 1

By the time we get to the last page of the book the kids are falling all over themselves to tell me how all the illustrations fit together, and how the hero of the story has been inspired by all the things around him in his classroom.  The myna bird sidekick adds a “Where’s Waldo” element to the illustrations, and the book ends with one last tidbit of information to share: The book was designed by Molly Leach, who is – wait for it – married to Lane Smith!  This revelation simply BLOWS kids’ minds, and provides a perfect opportunity to discuss a largely unknown (among elementary students) job in the publishing world.

big-plans-spread

Be prepared when reading this book aloud to “go big or go home” because this guy has BIG PLANS!  BIG PLANS I SAY! and you have to read it like you mean it!  Shea’s word choice, repetition, and larger-than-life story line cry out for a no-holds-barred presentation!  And it leads right into a discussion of my enthusiasm for the big plans I have for the students this year, and how I hope that the things they see and do in the library will inspire them to start forming big plans of their own.

Take a look inside BIG PLANS at the Amazon website.

Kudos to Bob, Lane, and Molly for giving us such a fun, wacky, inspirational book!

 

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Labo Leaves App for Leaf Collages

I just found out about Labo Leaves, an app that will fit perfectly into my annual “Fall Leaves” lesson plan!

Fletcher Falling Leaves Lucky Leaf Read Leaf Yellow Leaf Leaf Man

Along with the books Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson and Lucky Leaf by Kevin O’Malley, I always share Red Leaf Yellow Leaf and Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert.  If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’m drawn to books that feature collage illustrations, and Ehlert is a master of this art form.

In Leaf Man she takes us on a journey with the title character and shows us all the flora and fauna that can be created using different combinations of leaves.

Leaf Man spread

Can you find all four mice in this illustration from LEAF MAN by Lois Ehlert?

At the end of the book, Leaf Man settles down happily with a Leaf Woman, which always wins approval from my listeners.  After we examine Ehlert’s clever cut-paper illustrations, students draw (or trace) and cut out their own selection of leaves and use them to design an original leaf collage.  I show them an example that I created:

1-Leaf GirlThere are always a few students, though, that seem unsure how to begin the art project.  Enter Labo Leaves!

Labo LeavesThis app provides students with digital leaves that they can drag into position to create leaf animals that burst into life when completed.  What a great hands-on introduction to the possibilities of designing with leaves!  See for yourself:

You can purchase Labo Leaves for ios ($1.99) or android ($0.99) and once you download the app you can use it without an internet connection.  You can see other Labo apps here.

Too bad autumn is still five months away!

 

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