Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tweaking SSR this Year

I'm very happy that, even though our school day schedule was changed dramatically this year, our principal kept an SSR time built into the day. You would think that having the administrator stamp of approval on SSR would protect this time, but alas I must defend it each year. There are some teachers that think it is a waste of time and try to make up tests, make students complete missed homework or just continue class time during these precious moments.
In a faculty meeting before school started we were all given a moment to talk about how our subject area changed this year and how we were addressing the new standards. I took that opportunity to share a few facts about why SSR is important. I also sent out an email with a list of ways SSR benefits students. You can see some of the things I shared here.
After the success of the all boy book club, the principal and one of our ELA teacher leaders wanted to implement something similar for each grade in the classrooms. The boys that came to me showed large gains in benchmark testing for reading after coming to me all year and reading together. This year the teachers are surveying the students and organizing a male and female group that will go to a classroom for a read aloud each day during SSR. Our hopes is that this time will target those that we suspect might just be staring at the page instead of reading. I know read alouds work so I'm looking forward to seeing how this program benefits our students.
To kick start the program the teachers will be using books that I already have on Playaway so that they can connect it to the SmartBoard speakers. From my collection we selected three or four choices for each grade. I put together a playlist of the book or movie trailers to the books so that students could vote on the book they wanted to hear first.

Does your school have SSR? Are you involved with SSR implementation?

Getting the Library Gussied Up

If you're not fortunate enough to live in the South you may not know what it means to "get gussied up". Basically it means to clean up and make yourself pretty. I've been busy getting the library ready for school just like many of you.
I'm always impressed with Mr. Schu's library decorations and appreciate him sharing pictures so I thought it would be worth sharing what I have on display in my library this year.
On my board in the hallway I have the beautiful "50 States of Middle Grade Lit" created by Monique and several book related eCards from Pinterest.
In the library I have a poster size print out of Jennifer LaGarde's Declaration of Students' Rights to School Libraries and My Reading Life poster. This poster is a great way to showcase all the types of reading I do and start conversations with my students.

On the bulletin boards in my library I have three other posters created by Monique: Newberry Buzz, ALA Youth Media Awards and our state Junior Book Award Nominees.

Monique, Kristen and I are working on our middle grade literature trend posters. This is our post from last year. We'll share when the new ones are ready.

I have Loo reviews of our Junior Book Award nominees ready to hang in the bathrooms.

And I have SC JBA fliers in the mousepads. You can find picture mousepads on Amazon and put whatever you want in them.

I'm really excited about my new "How many books have you read?" board inspired by Jillian Heise. I've read 7 novels in the two weeks we've been back and I've already had lots of conversations with students about the board.

I'm working on getting a #bookshelfie from each of my library helpers and I'm going to put them on display soon. Here's mine.

I've had first visits with my 7th and 8th graders. They know the library policies so we go straight to book talks and book trailers. Here is the playlist of trailers I put together. I varied which trailers we watched each class so that the teachers and I wouldn't get bored. The favorites were 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Fifth Wave.

What new bulletin boards and posters do you have on display?