Friday, October 30, 2009

Favorite Halloween Read Alouds

Best/Worst Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson
Duffy's Jacket a ghost story by Bruce Coville
Mercy Watson, Princess in Disguise by Kate DiCamillo
Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots by Debbie Dadey
Skellig by David Almond
"The Baddest Witch in the World" from Ramona the Pest

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Using Raffle Tickets for More Motivating Games

In our library, we play A LOT of games. I have found over the years, that once my fastest teams finish, the slower teams quickly lose their motivation. I have started using 2 part, perforated raffle tickets (available at toy warehouses or party stores)as motivators to keep all of my teams working hard the whole time. Instead of the fastest team winning the game, for each correct answer the team locates, they receive half of a raffle ticket. The other half of the ticket goes into a raffle basket. Of course, the more correct answers the team gives, the better chance they have of being lucky at the end. However, the slower teams know they still have a good chance of winning, so they stay focused until time is called. Then, at the end of the class, we pull one or two tickets and the students check their numbers to see if they have the matching half. A prize is given to those holding the lucky numbers. They love it. The excitement in the room is palpable as we check the raffle numbers. I have found that they students beg to play the raffle game again the next week!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween "Boogle"

For my 4th graders, I do a similar lesson to the Money, Money, Money lesson, called the Halloween "Boogle." The week before Halloween, I start off by reading a ghost story. We turn off the lights and I use a flashlight to help enhance the mood. The kids love it! While they are on the rug, I "sell" them good ghost story collections and Halloween themed chapter books.
The students then make their way to the tables for their library skills lesson. The lesson consists of Google skills, similar to the economics lesson (see previous post). After reviewing what a search engine does, we look at choosing keywords for Google and using the cached search. The students are then given a laminated page of Halloween trivia questions. They must first underline the keywords using a dry erase marker. They then must use the Google cached search to help them find the answer. The students love this activity, and it is a great way to motivate the kids during a week that makes concentration difficult. If you can't beat them on Halloween, join them!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Great lesson to integrate with Economics

Our third grade teachers teach an Econ unit. I start the library lesson by sharing money themed books like The Lemonade War, Lunch Money, How to Get Fabulously Rich, and The Get Rich Quick Club, as well as some non-fiction titles. I usually read a chapter from TGRQC to the class.

Then, we proceed to the tables for the second part of the lesson. We discuss what a search engine is. Then, I explain that Google has no brain and cannot think. The kids laugh when I tell them Google is stupid. What I am trying to stress is that THEY have to use their brains, because Google doesn't have one. We practice "talking like a caveman" to Google----telling Google what we need by giving it keywords instead of long questions. Then, I give the students 4 money themed questions. An example is "Which president's picture appears on the $100,000 bill?" They must first highlight the most important words to "tell" Google : $100,000 bill president. I then model a Cached search, which color codes their results for them. They can locate their answer by scanning the pages for the correct color combinations.

Once the guided lesson is complete. The students highlight keywords for the other three questions. They then use Google to try to answer the questions. For each correct answer they find, they get to pull a bill out of the money box (a tissue box filled with fake money of every denomination). The team that wins, is the team with the highest amount of money at the end. The kids love that the game combines searching skills with a little bit of luck. They are so excited when they get to reach into the money box! This lesson is always a big hit, and the students really do use the techniques I've modeled to find their answers.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

1st Post

This is exciting. My very first blog post...ever. As an elementary librarian, I knew it was high time that I became a part of the Read/Write web. My goal is to blog about all things library, (and maybe a few that are not). I will blog about great books I am reading, lessons that my students love, research tips, technology info, and anything else that floats my boat. Hopefully, there are a few of you out there who will want to join me on the ride!