Celebrating Seuss & Read Across America

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Every year, we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss with guest readers reading his words in every classroom in our school.  This year, we had enough readers to send 2 guests to every class.  Many brought their own books, but we also had a big collection to choose from in the library.

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We thank so many members of our Barrow and local community for coming into our school to share stories with kids.  It’s important to see people sharing the power of words at every grade level.  Days like these remind us that you are never too old to enjoy a great picture book, have fun with words, and laugh out loud with friends when you get all tongue-tied.

Some of our readers this year came from UGA’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.  This was the fraternity that Dr. Seuss was a member of at Dartmouth.

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In addition to being readers, the fraternity brothers brought us some Elephant and Piggie books to add to our collection.  Each copy they donated was a Geisel Honor Book.  What a great way to honor Seuss and support literacy.  Thank you!

In addition to readers and having lots of Seuss books available to kids, I unboxed our latest book order from Bound to Stay Bound.  It was packed with graphic novels and many other fantastic books.  It didn’t take long for our ravenous readers to check out pretty much every graphic novel I ordered.  Some kids even returned a 2nd time to check out more.  Happy Read Across America!

New graphic novels #newbooks #bookstagram #librariesofinstagram

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More new graphic novels #librariesofinstagram #bookstagram #newbooks

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Celebrating Read Across America, Dr. Seuss, and Our Community

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March 2nd is always a special day for our school. We have a long tradition of having guest readers for all classrooms in honor of Read Across America and the birthday of Dr. Seuss.  The goal is to have two readers for every classroom. This allows more connections to the community, more books to be heard, and also more people in case we have people who are unable to come.

Celebrating Seuss with guest readers in every room #readacrossamerica #seuss #reading #guestreader #community #celebration

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Courtney Tobin is a parent volunteer at our school who organizes my library volunteers. She also creates a Signup Genius for events like this one.  She puts 2 slots for every class, and we start sending it out asking for readers. The link is put in my library newsletter, library facebook page, and grade level parent representatives send it out to lists of parents.  I invite district leadership including our superintendent, public relations, and board of education members.

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As the event nears, we always have empty spaces still left, so we repeat sending out the link and send it to additional places like the UGA Athletic Association. Usually be the day of the event, the list is full and we have people who show up who didn’t even get to sign up.

It takes a whole community to pull off 2 readers in every class.

We gather in the library, and readers check in with Kim Ness, another wonderful parent volunteer. She does this while I’m helping with morning broadcast. Readers select a Seuss book from our library collection and my personal collection and socialize and practice reading. We gather for a group picture and a huge thank you for taking time to celebrate reading with our students.

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It’s always fun to race around the school to try to catch a glimpse of the smiling faces in every class and the community readers having such a great time sharing stories.

For the remainder of the day, we continue our Skype connections with other schools around the country. This is a continuation of our World Read Aloud Skypes.

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Today, we connected with:

  • Shannon Hyman in Glen Allen, VA and her 3rd grade students to read Be a Friend and Mother Bruce. Their teacher was a big UGA fan!
  • Lisa Lindeman in Babylon, NY and her 5th grade students to read Snappsy the Alligator
  • Terry Freyou in Coppell, TX and her 5th grade students to read Be a Friend
  • Sarah Staudt in Mason City, IA to read Mother Bruce
  • Donna MacDonald in South Burlington, VT and her 1st grade to read Snappsy the Alligator
  • Dana Susko in Santa Barbara, CA and her Prek to read The Day the Crayons Came Home
  • Carol Scrimgeour in Essex, VT and her Kindergarten to read Snappsy the Alligator

It is always a magical day connecting on Skype because the kids share a story across the miles and make connections with another school. I love pulling up a map and talking about how technology not only lets us see and talk to people in other places, but it helps us literally connect the dots between our locations and know in real-time how long it would take us to get there. We’ve talked about tolls, traffic accidents, construction zones, megabus, and alternative routes along with our celebration of great stories.

We’ve also encountered technical difficulties.  One school had to cancel due to the internet being out in their school, but it was a life lesson that when something doesn’t work, you just carry on.  When we connected with Lisa Lindeman, we could not get Skype to connect us.  We tried multiple times but communicated in the chat. We finally decided to give Google Hangouts a try.  She had never used it, but she was willing to try.  It worked like a charm, but more importantly it showed our students and teachers in both states that we weren’t afraid to fail, back up, and try something else. Life isn’t smooth, and things don’t always work out, but we can’t just give up easily when something is frustrating or hard.

Thank you to everyone who read in our classrooms and connected with us. Happy Read Across America Week and Happy Connecting!

Dr. Seuss Author Study Centers

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It has been some time since I did traditional types of centers that student rotate through.  Third grade is currently working on a Dr. Seuss author study as they close out the year, and they wondered what students might do in the library related to Dr. Seuss.  We looked at the days on the calendar along with everything that has to be done and decided that there wasn’t time to pull off a project around Dr. Seuss and really give it the time it needed.  Instead, we decided that I would give students some experiences to connect with Dr. Seuss as enrichment.

Before student arrived, I setup the 5 centers around the library so that they were somewhat in a circular arrangement.  I wrote the 5 centers on the whiteboard so that students could check the order as needed.

When students arrived, I explained each center very briefly and then we numbered off 1-5 to begin centers.  Each center lasted about 10 minutes before rotating to the next center.

Center 1: Tongue Twisters

Listen to our tongue twisters here!

I found a variety of tongue twister online as well as some Dr. Seuss books that had more tongue twisting lines than others.  At this center, students practiced reading tongue twisters from the table, recited ones they already knew, or even made up their own.  When they found one they were happy with, they recorded the tongue twister on Flipgrid.  They loved listening to how other students sounded and many students “liked” other student videos.  Most students recorded more than one tongue twister while at this station.  I had fun with one student writing a variation of Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.  Her family own a pickle business, so we were trying to change the words to match her family business.  We came up with “The Phickle Chickle picked a peck of Phickles Pickles.”  I encouraged her to continue writing her version and we would record it sometime.

Center 2: Checkout

Rather than waiting until the end to have students check out books, I made it a center.  Students could check out up to 5 books or just browse the library if they had enough books out already.

Center 3: Seussville on computers

I setup 5 Lenovo computers with the Seussville website pulled up.  Most of the students had never visited this site, so this gave them some time to explore the videos, games, and activities that fill this site.  Many found things that they wanted to print out and do later, so I hope some students discovered some summer activities.

Center 4: iPad apps

I downloaded 2 free iPad apps related to Dr. Seuss.  One is the Happy Birthday to You camera.  This was definitely the most popular app of the two.  Students enjoyed taking selfies or pictures of friends and then using the stickers to develop their own Seuss personality.  This would have been a great lead in to creative writing.  Students could have created their picture and then developed an accompanying story to match the picture.  The other app was the Dr. Seuss Fun Machine, but students moved away from it fairly quickly due to its simplicity and lack of clear instructions.

Center 5: Seuss books

We have SO MANY Dr. Seuss books in the library, but it’s amazing how many of them students have never seen or read.  I loved having a station built in where students could just spend time browsing Seuss books, reading along, or buddy reading.  This was a center that most of the teachers visited along with students to read with them or listen to them read.

This was a wonderful end of the year activity, but I saw several potential opportunities that could have taken us into a larger project or even just a follow-up lesson.  It reminded me that centers can serve many purposes and are still a great way to split students up into a variety of experiences.

Dr. Seuss Day: Our Read Across America Celebration

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Today was the beginning of a very exciting week in the Barrow Media Center.  Each year on March 2nd, we schedule guest readers for every classroom in the school.  These readers select favorite Dr. Seuss books to share with our students.  It is amazing to see our community come together for this event.  Each time we celebrate, there are new faces that join our readers.

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Courtney Tobin helped me this year to organize readers.  She created a Signup Genius and parent leaders in each grade level began sharing the signup.  It was also shared with our regular library volunteers and on our library and PTA Facebook pages.  By this morning, we had almost 2 readers for every classroom.

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Readers gathered in the library, chose their books, and socialized before we took a group picture.

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Then, students escorted them to their classrooms to read.  I quickly ran around to as many classrooms as I could snapping pictures.  It was so special to see students circled up on the floor listening to the words of Seuss spoken into the air.  There were also special memories shared as readers brought in their own copies of books that they had read to their children or had even owned as a child.  My wife, Denise Plemmons, shared a copy of Green Eggs and Ham with my daughter’s PreK class and she was able to show them where she had written her name in the book when she was a child.

These are the kinds of things that can’t be replaced by technology.  While I’m a huge advocate of using technology to share our voice, it doesn’t replace the shared experience of sitting around a book, hearing the pages turn, and losing yourself in the illustrations.  Thank you to all of the readers who took time to share stories with our Barrow readers.

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This was just a warm-up to the 38 skype and Google hangout sessions that we have schedule this week for Read Across America and World Read Aloud week!

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What a way to start the week for Read Across America and World Read Aloud Day.  Our morning kicked off with about 40 guest readers (2 in every classroom PreK-5th).  First, these readers gathered in the library to select books.  Many thanks to Kim Ness for checking all of the readers in and Julie Moon for setting up our Signup Genius which kept us organized.  They were full of energy and spent time connecting with one another, sharing stories, and getting pumped up to read to classrooms.

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After a group picture, our 5th grade BTV crew escorted readers to classrooms and they got started sharing Dr. Seuss books, laughing, and learning with our students.  It was so much fun to go around the school and hear Seuss words filling the air, seeing kids smiling, and hearing their laughter.

Following this, we started the first of 36 Skype sessions to celebrate Read Across America and World Read Aloud Day.  We are creating a Google Earth Tour as we connect, so I will post that at the end of the week.  For now, I’ll share some images and video from our week.  Today, we connected with:

Okle Miller 2nd grade, Tampa FL
Crystal Hendrix Asheville, NC
Wendy Garland 4th grade Massachussetts
Jennifer Reed 3rd grade Massachussetts & Peter Reynolds
Jenny Lussier 2nd grade Connecticut & Ame Dyckman
Nancy Edwards 6th grade, Seattle
Shannon Miller K/1 Iowa
Kathy Schmidt Gwinnett GA 1st

 

Read Across America and World Read Aloud Day 2014 is Here!

World-Read-Aloud-Day-2014Wow!  I am so excited that Read Across America and World Read Aloud Day is here.  Some miraculous things have happened since planning for this week started in December.

The shared Google Doc that Shannon Miller and I created has been very busy and growing every day.

I’ve been having countless conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and email to connect our teachers and students with authors and classrooms around the world.  The global collaboration that has gone into this week is energizing, inspiring, and exhausting!  I can’t wait to see all of the planning come to life next week.  I know that there will be so many moments  that will inspire and surprise us during the week.  I’m also thinking back to last year and how the weather changed our plans!  I’m hoping for global great weather next week so that all of our connections happen.

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Here’s a look at our week!

On Monday, we will have about 50 guest readers from the community reading Dr. Seuss books in every classroom.

These are a few of the books we will share with libraries, classrooms, and authors around the world during the rest of the week.

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On Monday we will connect with:

  • Okle Miller and her students in Florida
  • Crystal Hendrix and her students in North Carolina
  • Wendy Garland and her students in Massachusetts
  • Jennifer Reed and her students in Massachusetts along with author, Peter Reynolds
  • Jenny Lussier and her students in Connecticut along with author, Ame Dyckman
  • Nancy Edwards and her students in Seattle, WA
  • Shannon Miller and her students in Iowa
  • Kathy Schmidt and her students in Gwinnett County, GA

On Tuesday, we will connect with:

  • Erika Victor and her students in Berlin, Germany!
  • Jennifer Reed and her students in Massachusetts
  • Heather Temske and her students in Roswell, GA
  • Laura D’Elia and her students in Massachusetts
  • Christy Brennan and her students in Pennsylvania
  • Shannon Miller and her students in Iowa along with author, Deborah Freedman

On Wednesday (the official World Read Aloud Day), we will connect with:

  • Donna MacDonald and her students in Vermont
  • Matthew Winner and his students in Maryland
  • Anne Marie Pace, author
  • Kate DiCamillo, Newbery-winning author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
  • Sherry Gick and her students in Indiana along with author, Barbara O’Connor
  • Shannon Miller and her students in Iowa along with author, Jenny Sue Kostecki Shaw
  • Tanya Lee Stone, author

On Thursday, we will connect with:

  • Edie Crook and her students in North Carolina
  • Okle Miller and her students in Florida
  • Cherie Smeltzer and her students in New Hampshire
  • Shawna Ford and her students in Texas
  • Jenny Lussier and her students in Connecticut
  • Wendy Garland and her students in Massachusetts
  • Shannon Miller and her students in Iowa

On Friday, we will connect with:

  • Meghan Nels and her students in Massachusetts
  • Shannon Miller (Iowa), Matthew Winner (Maryland), and Jesse Klausmier
  • Cathy Potter and her students in Maine
  • Shawn Ford (Texas) and Shannon Hyman (Virginia) and their students
  • Stacy Ford and his students in Texas
  • Randie Groden and her students in Massachusetts
  • Shannon Miller and her students in Iowa with author, Tom Angleberger

Whew!  It will truly be an amazing week!

We are going to attempt to document our week as much as possible through pictures and videos. We are also going to work on a map of our virtual travels using Google Tour Builder.  During each Skype, we will make sure to ask where are guests are specifically located.  Then, after the Skype, I will pull up our Google Tour and we’ll add pins and details to the map.  By the end of the week, I can’t wait to look at the whole tour and remember our travels.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Every year we host a “Dr. Seuss Day” in honor of his birthday and Read Across America Day.  This year we had 40 guest readers from the community and from Sigma Phi Epsilon at UGA.  These readers were scheduled by the media center and sent to classrooms to read Dr. Seuss stories.  As always, the kids were so excited to have the community come into their classrooms to read.

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Thank you to:

Tyler Sonnier (organizer of the Sig Ep brothers)

Blake Hudson

Cleve Jackson

Luke Mosley

Hester Meyers (Former Barrow librarian, parent, and now grandparent)

Gant Jones

Davis Webb

Brooks Tilley

Raleigh Garett

Joey Sharp

Jed Darden

Cam Hay

Todd Lambert

Paul Kurtz (UGA professor)

Taylor Richardson

John Austin Vance

Jeremy Howard

John Manack

Robin Krause

Andrew Lipsey

Cuthbert Langley

Kenneth Reynolds

JoBeth Allen (UGA professor and Red Clay Writing Project leader)

Bryn Adamson (Actress & Barrow mom)

Andrew Walker

Brent Zurcher

Jess Milner

Ryan Garrahan

Janet Geddis (owner of Avid Bookshop)

Maxine Eason (former principal)

Denise Spangler (Board of Education member)

Brad Glissen

Graham Holt

Heidi Davison (former mayor)

Kevin O’Neil (Barrow parent)

Keith Weaver (former Barrow teacher)

Ken Mauldin (Barrow parent & district attorney)

Joe Garrigan