International Dot Week: Day 1

Tomorrow, September 15th(ish) is International Dot Day. Inspired by Peter H. Reynold’s lovely The Dot, students all over the world create some dot(ish) artwork. I borrowed some lesson plan ideas from Mr. Winner @ The Busy Librarian and so far… It’s been awesome!

I only have one class on Mondays, but I have faith that if the K3s can do this well, my bigger kids can, too! They had a lot of fun coloring and swapping their quarters to make new art together.

Last year, students created dots with a template I found online. Every student, from pre-pre-school to fifth grade, designed and colored their own dot, which I cut out and pasted all over the entire library.

This year, I wanted to shake things up a bit… and not just because I couldn’t bear the thought of tearing down all of those lovely dots. (That was the original plan: I would have students make new dots to decorate the library every year.)

Dot Day 2014So my youngest kids (pre-pre-K/pre-K) will be coloring in some dots, while older students do some dot fractions to share with their classmates and create artwork together. This year, I photographed each student with their dot and sent them home.

Our library periods are short (40 minutes a week) and I have to fit story time and book choice in, plus the art project, but today it was very doable and not too rushed. I just hope my older students can remember their library rules as well as my kindergarteners!

Last year, I wanted to connect students to their school. This year, their art connects them to each other. Next year, I hope I can find a way to connect our school with others. … connect the dots!

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Back to School: Day 1

Back to School 2015Hi, 久しぶり! Long time, no see.

We’re back to school today, and the weather was miserable. It’s hot and rainy, and by the time I made it to school, my shoes and socks were completely soaked through. My good slacks are  a little too long and dragged through puddles, so my pants were wet, too. I won’t even tell you what this humidity does to my hair.

But as I was crossing campus for the welcome assembly, one of my students – now a second grader – gestured for me to come share her umbrella so I wouldn’t get wet, and I remembered why I love my job.

Between the end of 2014-2015 and the beginning of 2015-2016, I’ve been alone in the library for seven weeks with no students, except a few stragglers who came in to borrow or return books for the summer. I accomplished a lot, and the library is much tidier, but honestly? I wasn’t really feeling it.

Back to School 2015Then a student called me over to crouch under her umbrella, and I was so happy. Our big yearly book order came  in at the beginning of the month, so I’ve been waiting for weeks to show my students all of the exciting new things we have in the library. I channeled that excitement into making displays and reorganizing the library to create a writing center and a graphic novel/comic book corner. (Unfortunately, those shelves haven’t arrived.)

I started off straightaway with a kindergarten class after lunch. I only have one class scheduled on Mondays, but I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids. I really admire their teacher’s classroom management, and her classes are always wonderfully polite. Even on the very first day, the only mishaps we had were from new students who just didn’t know the rules.

Well, and I chose a read-aloud book I really don’t like. Whoops. This is the last year I’m reading The Shelf Elf. I’ve asked on Storytime Underground for some other school library read-aloud suggestions so I don’t have to put myself through The Shelf Elf ever again. All of our other “library” books are about visiting a public library with a parent or caregiver: Lola at the LibraryDelilah D. at the Library, Curious George Visits the LibraryAmelia Bedelia’s First Library Card, and so on. (Except for Lola, none of these books really speak to me, either.)

Except for that, I’m excited about the lesson plans I’ve laid out for this year. I mean, how can you not be totally psyched about reading Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” out loud to your fourth and fifth graders? Or Mary Walker Wears the Pants to your second and third graders? What about When the Beat Was Born?

Maybe you didn’t know this, but I became a librarian almost by accident – and yet, I had never wanted anything in my life more than I wanted this job. I lucked out. I love my work, I love my coworkers. I love books, of course. Most of all, I love my students, and I’m so happy to have them back.

Back to School 2015

“Our School Community” was a project lead by the elementary art teacher with first grade students in 2013-2014. She kindly donated the completed artwork to the library.