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!


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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…..


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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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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 Learning.com 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!

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Text Dependent Analysis in the School Library

  Last year our school implemented a targeted writing program based on the concept of Text Dependent Analysis (TDA) to encourage our students to become stronger writers and more careful readers.  I’m happy to play a role in supporting the curriculum, especially when I can offer students an opportunity to analyze and answer questions about some award-winning picture books, and to incorporate some media literacy instruction as well.

  I always do an author/illustrator study on Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, so I knew this year that I wanted to use the book Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by this extremely talented duo.  I typed up the text of the book on a one-page handout and made copies for each student, and wrote three simple TDA questions (since this is their first time doing TDA with me) for them to answer.

Students are shown the questions before being given the typed copy of the story so they have some guidance on what to look for as they read.  We answer a sample question on the board together, emphasizing the need to restate the question as part of the answer and write in complete sentences.  We also discuss the fact the students sometimes must read carefully and study the clues in the writing so they can infer the answers if the author doesn’t state the information directly.

The beauty of using Sam and Dave Dig a Hole is that the story is ultimately incomplete without the illustrations.  Barnett’s text does tell a complete story, but the punchlines (and impact) are all dependent on Klassen’s illustrations.  Students are able to answer the TDA questions, but they usually have a slight feeling of letdown because the events seem rather mundane and the ending is quite anticlimactic.  That sets the stage for part 2 of the lesson when I share the book as a read-aloud and show them the illustrations.

It literally gives me goosebumps to hear the shouts of amazement and the groans of frustration when the kids see the pictures and realize what is actually going on in the story!  And it’s the perfect opening to discuss the concept of media literacy with them, and to emphasize how – in good picture books – the text and illustrations work together to tell the whole story.

We conclude with some information about Barnett and Klassen, and the promise that I’ll share more of their books with the students later in the year.

What other picture books do you think would make good TDA texts?  Please leave a comment and share your suggestions!


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Snow Days!

As you might imagine, snow days are a huge treat for us students and teachers in South Carolina, and the timing of our wintry weather this month gave us an extended Christmas break.  I spent part of that time researching some snowy read-aloud books, and here’s what I came up with:

  The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
This is the classic story of a young boy’s day in the snow, and it’s just been made even more relevant by the new book…..

  A Poem For Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney
The story behind the book The Snowy Day, and a tribute to Ezra Jack Keats and his groundbreaking picture books.

  Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant
Who doesn’t love penguins, and this simple story is illustrated with cut-paper collages, which always (as regular readers of this blog know) hold a special place in my heart.  A great choice to inspire a torn-paper art project.

  Snow! by Cynthia Rylant
Not only are the snowy illustrations somehow almost cozy, but Rylant has filled this text with figurative language to discuss with your listeners.

  Blizzard by John Rocco
This Caldecott honor book is not only the author’s account of his own experience during the Blizzard of 1978 (if you’re looking for memoirs for an ELA unit), but also a tale of courage as John is sent to the store wearing tennis rackets strapped to his feet to buy groceries for his family.

And these new choices are in addition to two of my old favorites:

  Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The true – yet lyrical – story of the first man to take magnified photos of snowflakes to share their beauty with the world.  Informative and inspiring, reminding listeners to follow their passion in life.

  Snowflakes Fall by Patricia MacLachlan
A beautiful story about how snow fits into the cycle of the seasons, with an underlying message of hope following the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Which “snow” books will you be sharing with your students?  Leave a comment and tell us about them!


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Donors Choose Makerspace STEAM Book Grant Funded!

 *Update on my Reading + Doing = Learning project:  It’s been fully funded!  (Thanks in part to our eligibility for matching funds from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, an organization that supports schools serving military communities.)  If you were one of my donors, thank you very much!!!

Do you need more books for your library?  (Don’t we all?!?)  Donors Choose is helping us fill our shelves by matching all donations made Oct 18-19 to book projects.  Get the details from this Donors Choose blog post.

I’m creating a project to get more STEAM books for my collection.  Many of the activities we have going on the the makerspaces each week elicit requests for library books on those same topics, and currently I can’t keep up with the demand.  Click to view (and donate to!) my project: Reading + Doing = Learning

Have you had a Donors Choose book project funded?  Tell us about it in the comments or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune!


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