Skip to main content

Summer Ends, School Begins

This summer was full of family and school.  I was able to read a couple of professional books to help improve my library program and my teaching.  I attended the Model Schools Conference in Atlanta and was so proud to teach at Lewis & Clark as I listened to Dr. Palmer and Mrs. Lawson share our very own Model School story.  I learned from other educators in our district at our Liberty Leads PD sessions and shared my MakerSpace/Genius Hour experiences with a few other area library media specialists (even one that I met in Atlanta!)  My family took a short vacation to Chicago, I (mentally and financially) prepared to send my first kiddo off to college in another state, and sadly we said goodbye to my father-in-law.

For the last few weeks, I have been really focused on what the 2015-2016 school year will look like in our library.  Last April I began jotting down a list of things to remember or do for this year.  I have slowly been working to cross things off of that that list.  Some are a result of things that needed improvement from last year and some are a result of what I have learned this summer.  Even after 27 years of teaching, I am always looking for how to grow and learn.

A welcome surprise came this summer when I happened to be working at school in late June when the tech guys were picking up the last of the staff desktops around the school (all staff now have a MacBook Air).  I made a quick decision to remove 18 desktop computers from our library. As of this year, every student in our district will have a device, so I didn't feel that I still needed all the desktops. WOW...there is so much more room in our library with those 8 tables of computers gone (I also took the 12 laptops off tables and moved them to a charging station to use as needed). All of the sudden I had extra tables and space!  So I changed up the tables in my "teaching" area with more narrow tables and was able to set up a few more work stations for kids to move to as they worked.  I have some really low tables for kids who like to work on the floor,  some tables with stools, and some comfy chairs grouped together for collaboration.

Of course I added a few Pinterest projects to the space as well.  I spend so much time at school that it is really important to me to have a pleasant space to come to each morning and the kids always comment on the atmosphere in the library.

I have also spent some time mapping out my year with each grade level.  I am sure I will not be able to fit everything in that I want to do, but I will try my very best!  I also created a template for planning that helped me focus on what objectives I want to teach in each "unit" and an outline for each day of learning.  I am really looking forward to our second year with our MakerSpace and the continuation of Genius Hour mixed in with some new, exciting learning I have planned.

Today I am officially back to school.  I love that even after teaching for so long, I am still excited and thrilled to try new things and put into action what I have imagined!

So...here is to an amazing year in the Lewis and Clark Library Maker Center!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Kindergarten Builders and Problem-Solvers

Mission:  Using the supplies provided, build a contraption to help the Little Red Hen carry flour. Supplies:  TinkerToys, Yarn, Bucket, 5 lb Bag of Flour Focus:  Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Fun



The Power of A Book

I recently finished the book, Appleblossom The Possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan (the author of Counting by 7's)  Let me start by saying I will read anything that H. G. Sloan writes.  What an amazing author!  Appleblossom is the sweetest little possum you ever did read about and she totally changed my feelings about possums.  They just don't seem quite so nasty anymore:).  Just look at that cute little possum waving to you on the cover below.  She was drawn by Holly Goldberg Sloan's husband, Gary A. Rosen.

I started reading this book on Monday and found myself headed back to school tonight (Wednesday) after dinner so I could find out what happened to sweet little Appleblossom in the "monster's house."  I have always thought that I didn't enjoy fictional animal books.  I may be the only person in the world who doesn't like Charlotte's Web.  I am beginning to wonder if it is because of the sadness I felt as a little girl when I read about Charlotte…

Fourth Grade Makers: Catapults

For the past couple of years, my 4th graders have started the year with a catapult inquiry project. Each time we work through this unit, I learn something new to improve my students learning.  This year we focused more on planning our ideas and building prototypes (they really just want to go in the MakerSpace and begin making) but we really talked about the benefit of planning.  Using the Launch Cycle Design Model, we are working through the steps to help us build a successful catapult.
We looked at the plans for our newest school addition to reinforce why the planning process is so important and the details that are required for a successful project.



The planning and design process was taken very seriously!

Working in the MakerSpace during the planning process to see what materials are available for their builds.  

A prototype and the plan!

This year I am being a stickler about requiring the kids to build from their plan and not veer off course.  Some tweaks may be necessary but they nee…