Virginia Readers Choice 2013-2014 Resources, Part 2

Pumpkin trouble by Jan Thomas  is a fun additional to the fall books for library lessons. Just as in her other books such as Big Mean Dust Bunny, her illustrations are simple, yet hilarious and can lead to interesting discussions about the characters, setting and events.

Here are links to resources to use with this book:

-From Jan Thomas’ website

Printable “What are they saying?” activity sheets (includes pages for mouse, pig and duck) These would be great to use before reading the story, to have students predict or perhaps in the middle of the story for predicting what will happen next (when mouse and pig are running from the pumpkin) or after reading the story to summarize or changing what might have happened in the story.(ie:What if a wolf was in the pumpkin?)

-A video interview of Jan Thomas at the Salt Lake City Public Library (2.5 minutes)

-General pumpkin related activities

Interactive notebooks in library class, part 1

I am finally getting around to trying out interactive notebooks in my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade classes. I was able to get enough donated/free notebooks for close to 200 students. Granted it is a mishmash of types of notebooks—sewn composition books, cheap spiral bound, spiral bound graphing notebooks. I was able to at least have enough of each type so that students in each class have the same type. Last week I started students on setting up their notebooks by completing a cover page, numbering the first 2 pages, starting a table of contents and creating a personal “authority” page.  I introduced the lesson to my students by using smartnotebook. 
page 1:

Interactive Notebook Setup

  • Students will begin to setup Interactive Notebooks to use during library class.
  • Students will number the first few pages of their notebooks.
  • Each student will setup a Table of Contents on the first page of the book.
  • Each student will complete her/his own “authority” page on page 2 of the notebook.

page 2:

Setting Up Your Interactive Notebook

Step 1: On the cover, fill in the boxes with

  • your first name,
  • your last name,
  • your teacher’s name, and
  • your table number.


page 3:

Step 2: Number pages 1 & 2 of the pages in your Notebook. Start with the first page and don’t forget to number both the front and the back of the page.


page 4:

Step 3:

On Page 1 make your Table of Contents. The Table of Contents will be your guide to the entire Notebook.

Each time we add something into our Notebooks, we will need to update our Table of Contents.


page 5:

Activator for making your authority page

Step 4:

Listen to Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein and find 3 things in which Albert was an authority at doing. [NOTE: I embedded a Youtube video of the book onto this page.]


page 6:

Step 5:

Using the resources available to you, make your own “I am an authority” page on page 2 (the back of page 1). Draw a VERY LARGE capital letter “I” which fills almost the whole page. Under your letter I, write the words “am an authority on this!” Inside the capital I, write at least 5 things on which YOU are an authority.

[NOTE: I created my own “I am an authority on this!” page as both an example and as a community builder to let my students get to know me. I read every student’s “authority” page before the next lesson.] 


I combined ideas from 2 teachers/librarians that I located online. Here are links to their pages: (a teacher’s blog about writing and interactive notebooks) I used the “authority” idea from her page.) (a VA librarians’ wiki-it features an interactive notebook UNIT complete with 9 lesson plans for using interactive notebooks in library classes with 4th grade students!)


Other FIRST DAY of school resources


As is often the case when new things come into the district, I find out teachers need resources after the fact. This is what happened again this year. We have a new reading series, which had lesson plans for the 1st day for First Day Jitters. However, the book was not included in the set provided to teachers. I located alternatives (videos and ebooks) for my teachers online. 

Youtube Videos of First Day Jitters

ebook  of First Day Jitters via Tumblebooks
Locally we have access to Tumblebooks through our public library. (see link in sidebar)–>

In my searching I located another librarian’s blog, Risking Failures by Carolyn Vibbert, about “first day” resources online.   🙂

Virginia Readers Choice 2013-2014 Resources, Part 1

I am excited that one of the Virginia Readers Choice books is great for starting out the school year.

Here are links to activities for The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School :


A new PBS online resource

The teachers and librarians in my district are disappointed to be losing funding for Discovery Educations and United Streaming. So when I read Joyce Valenza’s post about the new PBS LearningMedia, I was excited as it may help us fill this gap.  As stated on the PBS LearningMedia website:

PBS LearningMedia™ is the go-to destination for instant access to tens of thousands of classroom-ready, digital resources including videos, games, audio clips, photos, lesson plans, and more! You can search, save, and share with ease. Best of all, PBS LearningMedia is free for educators.

Here is a 30 second video introduction to the service.

March 2 – Read Across America recap and MORE

Here are some resources for READ  ACROSS  AMERICA DAY (from a previous post) plus some additional resources.Enjoy!

Resources specifically about Dr. Seuss or his books:
Green Eggs and Ham Reader’s Theater Script (pdf)
“Teaching with Dr. Seuss” (author study, lesson plans, etc)
A Dr. Seuss Readers’ Theater (grade level 4+)
A video interview with Audrey Geisel, Dr. Seuss’ wife
The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That on PBSKIDS (videos, games, etc.)
Lorax themed family literacy bag
NEA’s Read Across America 2012 Community Reading Chest Classroom          Activity Guide (pdf)
Pre-writing with Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham Family Literacy Guide (pdf)
Books on the Menu for March 2
Dr. Seuss for OLDER students

Resources about other authors, read alouds and books:
RIF read alouds online (including Brown Bear, Brown Bear read by Eric Carle)
Video booktalks
(as well as printed booktalks and discussion guides)
Scholastic Author interviews (videos)
Reading Rockets author videos

For OTHER March resources SEE~~

Please leave comments with other Dr. Seuss or March resources that you have found. Thanks!

Librarian as leader


I follow several blogs dealing with the topic of leadership. The librarian in a school should be a leader, whether in a formal assigned leadership position or as an assumed leader. I believe every good leader is a servant leader. Here is a good post on Michael Hyatt’s blog regarding becoming a leader others want to follow.  Mr. Hyatt is the chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Groundhog day

With modern technology, it appears possible that we can watch PunxsutawneyPhil make his appearance live from Gobbler’s Knob.









I found a few other resources for Groundhog day.

Please add comments if you have found other Groundhog Day resources.  (Here’s hoping for 6 more weeks of winter with LOTS of snow days!)

Some groundhog books I enjoy are:

    • Groundhog Day! by Gail Gibbons
    • Punxsutawney Phyllis  by Susanna Hill
    • Fluffy meets the groundhog by Kate McMullen