Monday, 16 November 2009

Paperless Planning

When moving from the classroom to the library a few years ago, I discovered that lesson planning was much trickier. Once so neat and clean and organized and color-coded as a classroom teacher, all of a sudden I had a completely different kind of schedule that changed everyday. There were a lot of sticky notes, Word documents and way too many pieces of paper.

Enter paperless planning from Planbookedu to bring me a sweet sigh of relief. It is nothing short of brilliant, and I don't think it takes that much longer than traditional planbook planning. The overwhelming benefit is that everything is in one place, stored forever, and with the oh-so-amazing features of linking to websites and attaching documents right to my lesson plan. For example, if you look right there on Friday's lesson, the paperclip shows that all my notes about the lesson focus, youtube links, and everything needed for the lesson is just a click away. Now, if only it could only help me figure out how I am going to be in two places at once on Wednesday...

Monday, 9 November 2009

Many Books, Many Voices

Being a librarian is, for me, the most amazing job. The fact that I am surrounded by books and by kids who are clamoring (yes, some days clamoring!) to get to many of those books is pretty amazing. And I am grateful to the bloggers out there who share so many great titles to add to my collection. I am forever finding amazing literature, and it's all about the sharing.

So, that is why I have started a collaborative blog for ES librarians sharing books that work well with kids or titles we must have in our collections or really anything worthy of library conversation. So far it's just me and my good friend Colleen who works in Vietnam, but even our two-way conversation is stimulating.

If you are an ES librarian, international or not, and would like to join the blog, Many Books, Many Voices, feel free to comment and include your email. I will contact you with details about how to join the conversation.

A peek into my RSS reader for some favorite book blogs.

Mother Reader
A Year of Reading
A Sweet Read
Kids Lit

image taken from verseguru, flikr creative commons

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Changing Things Up a Bit

A while back, I read a great article on Choice Literacy called "A Workshop Model in the Library: Time For More Than Book Checkout" by Franki Sibberson. I will say that the Choice Literacy site is worth every penny of the membership fee, especially for a librarian. (Thanks, Lesley, for finding the public article!)

In a nutshell, she talks about setting up library time like we do the reading workshop. Start with a mini-lesson, have kids choose their books and THEN come back together to share and read a story. I thought it sounded like a great idea, but I was a bit chicken to shake things up now that we have our routine established in the Hub.

But, shake it up I did today. I talked with the kids about doing a flip-flop of what we normally do, with the caveat that if it really flopped, we'd change back to what we normally do.

It was beyond wonderful. Having the mini-lesson first (today we talked about what it is that draws us to a book when we are in the library and how we make our choices) calmed us down and got us on track. After checking out, we all met back on the stairs for our story. This allowed us to end on a great note together instead of the normal routine of me herding kids from all over the place trying to get them in line, which always felt quite chaotic to me. This is also almost exactly the feeling Franki got when she did it. I tried it with kinder, 1st and 2nd grades today, and they were all successful. And that was on a Friday afternoon, so that's saying something.

Just because it was awesome to hear them articulate their reasons for book choice, here is the list from one second grade class:

1. The cover is fab!
2. It's about something you love, like an animal
3. It's a just right book
4. The title looks good
5. You want to try something new that looks good
6. You like the author
7. The character is good
8. Reread a favorite
9. It's something you love to do, like a craft
10. The inside pics look good and funny