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 Code.org 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!


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Living Literature Day Book Character Costumes

There’s nothing more heartwarming for a librarian than to see students dressed as their favorite book characters!  Living Literature Day gives students, teachers, staff, and administrators a chance to use their imagination and creativity as they show their reading pride.  I was shocked that several students asked me who I was dressed as today.  I thought it was quite obvious that I was dressed as Hermione Granger, the girl who practically lived in the Hogwarts Library!  (Although I will admit my hair was a little frizzier when I left home this morning; it must have flattened during the day.)

Who are your favorite book characters to dress up as?  Leave us a comment and let us know!

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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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Teen Titans Promote Libraries!

  September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month, and this year the Teen Titans are helping to spread the word!

From the ALA website:

This September, crimefighting DC Super Heroes, the Teen Titans, will team up with the American Library Association (ALA) to promote the value of a library card. As honorary chairs, DC’s Teen Titans will remind parents, caregivers and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.

Do you team up with your local library to encourage students to sign up for a public library card?  Please leave a comment or tweet me @librarylorijune and share your promotional ideas!


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The Magic of the 2017 Solar Eclipse

I was so blessed to be able to enjoy the 2017 solar eclipse with my family.  We spent the weekend camping at Santee State Park and watched Monday’s eclipse from our pontoon boat on Lake Marion.  The weather cooperated beautifully with us, and we couldn’t have asked for a better view.  It honestly was an awesome once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it was over much too quickly.

In spite of being warned that it was more important to remain in the moment rather than trying to get pictures — which wouldn’t turn out well anyway — we did take a few photos.  This one doesn’t come close to doing the eclipse justice, but it’s special to me because it’s my unique personal memento of an event I’ll never forget.

Being a librarian whose thoughts are never far from books, I couldn’t help but compare my eclipse experience with the one described in Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass.  This book has been a favorite of mine since it was nominated for the South Carolina Children’s Book Award in 2011, and I’ve both read it and listened to the audio version which is performed by three different narrators representing the book’s three main characters, and is extremely well-done.

To quote the book’s summary: “At Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. Three lives are about to be changed forever:..Told from three distinct voices and perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers coming together, unlikely friendships, and finding one’s place in the universe.”

From the professional reviews:

“The astronomical details are fascinating and lyrically incorporated into the narrative. Readers who like quietly self-reflective novels like Lynne Rae Perkin’s Criss Cross or Jerry Spinelli’s “Stargirl” books will also enjoy this compelling and thought-provoking story.”
School Library Journal  *starred review*

“Ally, Bree and Jack, three very different souls, converge at the Moon Shadow Campground to witness a solar eclipse. Mass has crafted a beautiful tale of preteen angst and growth under a glorious sky. The planetary research into our universe and the world of eclipse chasers is not only impressive but woven together in a way that makes this book hard to put down.”
Modesto Bee

“Mass succeeds in making the eclipse a truly moving experience for her protagonists and her readers.”
Horn Book

Wendy Mass


I’ve blogged about Wendy Mass before, as she’s quite a favorite at my house and you really can’t go wrong with any of her books.  But as of this week I truly owe her my gratitude for preparing me six years ahead of time for one of the most amazing events of my life!  THANK YOU WENDY!


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Multicultural Children’s Book Day Recommendations

MCCBD 2015

Multicultural Children’s Book Day is January 27!

Spearheaded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom, MCCBD is intended to “raise awareness of kid’s books that celebrate diversity and get more of those books into classrooms and libraries.”  Visit the site to learn more.

I came up with a selection of titles from my school library that are perfect for this project, and I used Thinglink to add links to additional resources for the books and authors.  Just hover over the book covers to see and click the links!

Chapter Books:



Picture Books:


What books would you add to this collection?  Please share in the comments!


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Books for the Last Days of School

Are you looking for some read-alouds for the last few days of school?  Try one of these:

The Last Day of School  The Last Day of School by Louise Borden
This cover illustration (by Adam Gustavson) just says it all, doesn’t it?!?  But despite the exuberance of embracing summer with both arms depicted shown here, this is actually a somewhat sentimental look at the special moments of the year that have brought Matthew to the last day of school, and his determination to find just the right time during the day to give Mrs. Mallory the special gift he has for her.  A realistic look at what goes on during the last day of school.

Lizzie and the Last Day of School  Lizzie and the Last Day of School by Trinka Hakes Noble
Sure, most kids are just relieved to put school behind them and get on with having fun, but for the students who enjoy school this book will speak to their sense of sadness that the year is over.  Her teacher, Miss G, and also feeling a bit blue but the ending allows them both to look forward to the summer cheerfully.  Sharing this read-aloud offers a perfect lead-in to discussing the all special things that happened during the school year, and the activities that everyone is looking forward to during the break.

Last Day Blues Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg
This book acknowledges that while the kids are looking forward to being away from school for the summer, there are things they will miss: being away from their friends, the class pet, and their favorite school lunches.  When their teacher announces she will miss the kids, they begin brainstorming ideas for a gift that will remind her of them during the break.  A colorful look at how a close-knit “classroom family” approaches the looming summer separation.

What Do Teacher Do After You Leave School What Do Teachers Do After You Leave School? by Anne Bowen
Kids who can only imagine their teachers as stern, rule-enforcing party poopers will be surprised and delighted by this boisterous look at how the adults at school behave after the kids leave.  Illustrator Barry Gott perfectly captures the exuberance of teachers roller skating down the halls, sliding and swinging on the playground, engaging in a cafeteria food fight, and more.  I sometimes share this book first without showing the illustrations, and ask kids to draw their own pictures to match the text.  Then we compare what they drew to Gott’s artwork, and brainstorm other things teachers might do when their students aren’t around.

My Teacher's Secret Life  My Teacher’s Secret Life by Stephen Krensky
In the same vein is this fanciful look at what happens when teacher Mrs. Quirk (who surely lives at school) is spotted at the supermarket, the mall, and the park.  Does she really have a life outside the school?  This is not an end-of-the-year book, but the “quirky” artwork by Joann Adinolfi makes it a winner for sharing.

What are your favorite read-alouds for the last week/day of school?  Please share them in the comments!

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