Create Your Own Book Cover Bingo Cards

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Happy Read Across America Week!  We have several activities and spirit days planned at my school this week, including something new: Book Cover Bingo!

By using the Bingo Baker website I was able to create custom Bingo cards featuring images of books I know most of my students will recognize. You can search for premade cards, or you can create your own cards from scratch.  You can use words, numbers, or images — or a combination of all three — and choose the size of the grid you want to use (3X3, 4X4, 5X5, 6X6, or 7X7).  You can even play question & answer bingo!  Print your cards out to play in person, or share a link with users to play online.

I made two sets of cards; one featuring picture books for younger readers and another set with chapter books for older readers.  You’re welcome to use them as-is, or edit them to suit your needs.

Note that with a free account you are limited in the number of cards you can print out.  I ended up purchasing a lifetime membership so that I could print enough for each grade level, but I know I’ll be using the site many more times so I feel like it was a good investment.




Mermaid Read Aloud Lesson Plan Resources

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In my last post I shared a collection of mermaid read-aloud books and follow-up activities to use with elementary kids.  In this follow-up post I’m sharing some additional resources and supplies to go with the books.  I’ve researched everything from mermaid costume elements for the reader to craft supplies and reading buddies for the students, along with instructions and printables for all of the activities. Note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links so if you use the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Mermaid Wearables
  • Glitter and Glam Seashell Necklace or Bracelet – requires seashells, white glue and small brushes, glitter and/or gems, and satin cord or elastic cord attached with a low-temp glue gun (for safety).  Students brush the front of a shell with layer of white glue and add some bling, then hot glue a cord to the back for a dazzling necklace or bracelet.  Watch this video for more information, keeping in mind that you’ll need to adjust your cord length for jewelry.  You can also get satin necklace cords with clasps attached as well.

Paper Mermaid Crowns

Mermaid Building Projects
  • Mermaid Castle – requires building supplies of your choice.  This could be cardboard boxes, wooden blocks, playdoh or clay, magnetic blocks, or whatever you choose.  We have access to lots of LEGOs and KEVA planks at my school so that’s what we’ll be using.
  • Mermaid Sand Castle – requires kinetic sand, which you can purchase, or you can make your own by thoroughly mixing together 8 cups of all-purpose flour with 1 cup of oil.  You can use baby oil, or if you are worried about kids tasting it, you can use vegetable oil.  You may want to provide some sand castle molds or various sizes of cups to assist with the creativity, and some small plastic trays to keep any mess contained..  Kids can decorate their castles by pressing colorful shells and pieces of sea glass into the sand.

kinetic sand castle

Mermaid Paper Art
  • Scratch Art – if you’re making it from scratch (ha!) you’ll need white cardstock, oil pastels (or you can use crayons), black acrylic paint, liquid dish soap, foam brushes, and wooden stylus tools.  You’ll cut the cardstock to the desired size and have students color one entire side with oil pastels in an abstract design using several different colors.  Mix 3 parts black paint to 1 part dish soap and paint over the drawing using a form brush.  (If you don’t get complete coverage, you may need to paint a second coat of black paint once the first coat dries.)  Once the paint is completely dry, use a wooden stick to “draw” a picture.
  • Scratch Art Kits – if you want to save time (and mess!) you can provide scratch art cards for the students so they can go straight to “drawing” a picture with the wooden stylus.  This Rainbow Scratch Art kit includes 100 5×7″ cards, four stylus tools, and a set of stencils.  This Holographic Glitter Scratch Art kit includes 400 3.5×3.5″ cards (200 rainbow, 200 silver) and 8 wooden stylus tools.


Other Mermaid Crafts

Turtle made from abandoned fishing net

  • Wooden Spoon Mermaids – requires wooden spoons, yarn in assorted colors, googly eyes, felt in assorted colors, markers, scissors, and glue.  Glue on the yarn for the hair, wrap and tie off the yarn for the bikini top and upper portion of the tail.  Finish the tail with felt cut in the shape of mermaid fins glued to the bottom of the stick.  Draw a face and add two googly eyes.

Mermaid Craft with Wooden Spoons

Reading Buddies
  • Your students will enjoy reading aloud to their own mermaid buddies!  A pink princess mermaid, a purple cutie mermaid, or a golden princess mermaid will surely entice your girls to sit down and read.

I hope this post has given you some useful ideas and resources for hosting your own mermaid extravaganza!  If you have any favorite mermaid activities, please share them in the comments!


My Edible Book Festival Entry

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The winners have been announced for the Edible Book Festival, sponsored by Zoe at Playing by the Book, so I am now free to share my entry.  (Participants were sworn to anonymity until the judging was complete.)  Presenting……..


I was inspired by one of my favorite picture books, Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski, illustrated by Lee Harper.  He created Woolbur with paint, but my version had to be entirely edible, so I used marshmallows (jumbo for the body, regular for the head, mini peppermint for the muzzle), white frosting, coconut flakes, thin pretzel sticks, dried black beans for the eyes and hooves, and a little red food coloring on the ears.

In hindsight, I wish I had taken some process photos, but my hands were SO sticky from beginning to end that it’s probably best I didn’t!  I’m wondering if there would be any interest from students if I sponsored an Edible Book Contest at my school as part of Children’s Book Week?  I’d love to see what they might come up with!

You can go here to see all the other entries.  So much creativity – I’m glad I didn’t have to judge!

Edited 4/9/13:  Just had to share a follow-up to my Edible Book Festival entry.  On Easter Sunday the kids in the family used my leftover Woolbur ingredients to create their own lamb faces!  They had a ball smearing frosting, sprinkling coconut, and placing M&Ms just so.  Many thanks to Zoe for inspiring this new family tradition!

Using Leftover Ingredients to Create…

Little Woolburs!

…Little Woolburs!



(Shelf) Challenge Accepted!

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Matthew Winner (The Busy Librarian) has issued a challenge:

Select a section of your library collection to read throughout the month of April. Try to read every book in that section over the course of the month. Share selected gems (and cringes) through a favorite social media outlet.

Okay, I’m in.  Now, which section should I choose?  Hmmmm, the Q shelf in the Everybody section looks doable….

Q Shelf







Ha, ha, just kidding!  Seriously, how about the L shelves in the Everybody section?  Looks like a nice mix of old and new titles, with a manageable number of books to read.  Plus, “L” for Library and “L” for Lori, right?  Sold!


Want to join us?  Head on over to Matthew’s Shelf Challenge blog post to get all the details and sign up.  Then start reading!  (Well, don’t start reading yet; you need to wait until April 1, although I won’t tell Matthew if you don’t.)

I’ll be sharing my “gems and cringes” here, and on Twitter (@LibraryLoriJune) using #ShelfChallenge, throughout the month of April.  My Spring Break starts Friday (whooo hooo!) so I’ll take a few armloads home today to get ready for the Big Read!


Library Card Sign-Up Month

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Library Card Sign-Up 


September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, and as always ALA is providing some free resources to promote the event, including a customizable poster featuring Cal Ripken Jr., some audio PSAs, press releases, and clip art.  While you’re there, take a look at the “52 Ways to Use Your Library Card.”  (Word document)

 I always take some time during my library classes each September to pull up the Sumter County Library website on the Promethean board.  We discuss what the public library has to offer, what special events are planned for the month, and how to search their OPAC.  I close by reminding students that it doesn’t cost anything to get a library card, and then I seal the deal by promising a trip to my Treasure Basket to any student who brings in a library card to show me!

This year I am going to add an extra twist by taking a photo of each student proudly holding up his or her library card, and create some sort of Animoto video or Photo Story project for our school website.  (I’ll post a link once I set up the page.) 

“A library card is the most important school supply of all.”library card




Summer Reading Celebration

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At the end of each school year I make a promise to my students:  Anyone who brings in a reading log (signed by a parent) or a reading certificate, showing that they participated in some sort of summer reading, will be invited to an Ice Cream Sundae Party when school starts back in August! 

Once students are back in school, we allow two to three weeks for students to bring in their “proof” of summer reading, and then we hold the party in the Library Media Center.  I provide reminders on the library web page, on the morning announcements, via emails to the teachers, and in person during Library classes.  And finally, the big day arrives!

This year’s party was held last Friday (Sept. 2) with 41 excited participants crowding around the check-out counter chattering loudly.  We had three flavors of ice cream, two flavors of syrup, whipped cream, and five different candy/cookie/nut toppings for students to choose from.  Two of our other related arts teachers helped me serve and my assistant took pictures. 

(Normally I would have a couple of faithful parents involved, but this year our newly unified school district is requiring SLED background checks on anyone wishing to volunteer in our schools.  To date only two of my regulars have filled out applications, and neither has received the results of the investigation yet.)

Now, maybe 41 students isn’t a large number, compared to our total enrollment of 762 students.  But I’m encouraged that since I started doing this in 2008, the number of participants has approximately doubled each year.  If this trend continues, we’ll have outgrown the library by next year, and we’ll need to move our celebration into the cafeteria!  Hooray!

Here’s the Animoto video I posted on my Library page: